The Polk County Track and Field Championships, which traditionally had been the meet prior to the district meets, again comes early as the county teams will be at George Jenkins High School on Saturday.

Auburndale is the heavy favorite in the girls competition. The Bloodhounds, who already were strong, have been bolstered by a pair of freshmen sprinter, Sanya Tillman and hurdler Tyra Thomas.

George Jenkins has a deep squad and is the favorite in the boys competition.

In the girls competition, the sprints should be among the most competitive. Tillman has the fastest time in the 100 and 200. She should be challenged by teammate Kyndall Burrows and Lake Wales' Maiah Walker.

Burrows was Auburndale's top sprinter last year.

Tillman has the county's best time in the 100 at 12.15, just ahead of Burrows' 12.23 and Kathleen freshman I'ashia Wilson's 12.24

In the 200, Tillman is first at 24.63 and Burrows is third at 25.07.

Walker, who had the best times in the county in the 100 and 200 last year, has yet to run the 100 but is second in the 200 at 24.74. She began the year with an injury and has run in just two meets. In her premier event, the 400, Walker ran the county's best time (55.78) last week. Tillman could challenge Walker in the 400.

Thomas, the daughter of head coach Sheryl Covington-Thomas, has replaced former Bloodhound Monae' Nichols, who is now at Bethune-Cookman, as the top 100 hurdler. Thomas already has the third-fastest time (14.35) in the 2000.

Thomas also enters the 300 hurdles with the county's fastest time (44.37), just ahead of teammate Cathrina Morris (44.58). The 300 hurdles could be an interesting race. Lakeland Christian's Britain Musick, who was a 1A state champion in both hurdle events last year, has gotten off to a slow start as she has been nursing a sore ankle. In winning the 300 hurdles at state last year, she ran the third-fastest time (43.94) by a county runner since 2000.

Thomas won three events as she is the top seed in the triple jump.

Lakeland Christian's Sydney Cabrera is the top seed in the high jump and long jump, and will challenge Thomas and Kathleen's Tammy Thompson in the triple jump.

In the boys competition, four athletes enter as the top seeds in two events. Auburndale senior Tony Pierce is the heavy favorite to win both the discus and the shot put. George Jenkins sophomore Tyson Williams is favored in both hurdle events.

The other top seeds in two events are Lake Wales' Paul Stafford in the 1,600 and 3,200, and Mulberry sophomore Arian Smith in the 200 and long jump.

The 200 could be the most-intriguing race. Smith's time of 21.78 is the fastest time in the event, just ahead of Winter Haven senior Cardet Bienvenue's 21.97. However, Bienvenue has been the dominant Polk runner in the event recently, having never lost the 200 to another Polk runners since the beginning of last season. They haven't faced each other yet this season.

There are other athletes who could win more than one individual events. Lake Gibson senior Nick Taylor is favored in the high jump as the top seed and is seeded third in the long jump.

George Jenkins sophomore Terrance Denson is seeded first in the 400 and second in the long jump.

The county meet begins with the field events at 9 a.m. The running preliminaries begin at 11:30 a.m. with the running finals scheduled to begin around 3 p.m. Admission is $5.