Like all other spring sports during 2020, track and field athletes didn’t get an opportunity to showcase their abilities against Florida’s best as competitions abruptly shut down in mid-March last season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
But, local performers and schools made up for lost time during the 2021 Florida High School Athletics Association (FHSAA) state track and field championships, at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville.
More than two dozen boy and girl athletes from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area ran, jumped and tossed their way to podium honors, or top-eight finishes, across all classifications at the state meet, on May 7 and May 8. (Several others earned top 16 overall finishes in the finals, as well.)
The performances included a handful of individual and relay gold medalists.
Land O’ Lakes senior Isaac Tavo showed his pure strength, taking first-place crowns in both the 3A boys shot put (57-7) and discus (154-0). Tavo bested Tallahassee Rickards sophomore La’Darion Dudley in the shot put (55-1.5) and Milton senior Dominic Lucas in the shot put (151-5), respectively.
Gaither senior Elizabeth Lydon claimed first in the 3A girls pole vault, clearing 11-9.75, narrowly edging Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy sophomore Sydney Nicholson, who cleared the same height but lost on fewer misses.
Sunlake senior Daniella Vance earned top crown in the 3A girls javelin, tossing 119-6, to beat the event’s second-place finisher, Harmony junior Thora Gaston (117-11).
Land O’ Lakes resident Elli Black — a seventh grade home-school student who competes for Tampa Cambridge Christian School — anchored her school’s 4×800 relay team that took first in the 1A event, clocking 9:26.12. Others on the winning relay squad included juniors Caroline Lehman, Moriah Friedman and Mary Ellen Eudaly.
Black also took silver in the 1A 1,600-meter run, posting 5:01.75. She was second to the older Eudaly, who timed 4:52.93.
There were other notable showings throughout the meet, including several athletes making multiple podium appearances throughout the competition.
Wharton junior Brooke Reif established herself as one of the state’s top distance runners, taking third place in both the 4A girls 1,600 (4:57.58) and 3,200 (10:49.47).
Zephyrhills junior Maguire Neal took sixth in the 3A boys 300 hurdles (39.09) and anchored the Bulldogs seventh-place 4×100 relay team, which also featured juniors Willie Queen and Timothy Jackson, and senior Clayton Cornelius, together clocking 42.39.
Sunlake senior Cade Whitfield went fifth in the Class 3A boys 800-meter run (1:56.52) and paced the Seahawks’ third-place 4×800-meter relay, which also featured sophomore Alex Pena and juniors Cason Meyer and Colby Robbins, together timing 8:00.34.
Bishop McLaughlin junior Dontrevius Jackson positioned himself as one of the state’s best small-school sprinters, placing fourth in the 1A 200-meter dash (22.19) and fifth in the 100-meter (10.83).
Others went home with exclusive hardware, too.
Cypress Creek senior Carlos Lacosta took bronze in the 2A boys discus (143-9), finishing behind Boynton Beach Somerset Canyon senior Tremain Robinson (153-0) and Sarasota Cardinal Mooney senior Max Middleton (150-9).
Carrollwood Day junior Camila Garanton took silver in the 1A 300 hurdles (44.63), narrowly behind Naples Community School senior Loren Brown (44.45)
Local schools that earned points in the state meet for their respective classification included Bishop McLaughlin, Carrollwood Day, Cypress Creek, Gaither, Land O’ Lakes, Steinbrenner, Sunlake, Wesley Chapel, Wharton, Wiregrass Ranch and Zephyrhills.
The Land O’ Lakes boys tied for eighth place in 3A, tops among all local teams. Next best among area schools was the Wharton girls, who tied for 14th place in the 4A meet.
Wharton (Four points, tied-45th)
Steinbrenner (2.5 points, tied-56th)
100 — Tavis Wilson, Wharton, senior (ninth place, 11.07)
1,600 — Jared Hammill, Wharton, senior (fifth, 4:16.97)
High jump — Justin Boyles, Steinbrenner, senior (sixth, 6-3.5)
Pole vault —Illya Jackson, Wharton, senior (11th, 12-9.5)
Wharton (12 points, tied-14th)
Steinbrenner (Four points, tied-33rd)
400 — Serenity Brazell, Wharton, sophomore (11th place, 58.32)
1,600 — Brooke Reif, Wharton, junior (third, 4:57.58); Jacquelyn Abanses, Steinbrenner, senior (seventh, 5:03.59)
3,200 — Brooke Reif, Wharton, junior (third, 10:49.47); Jacquelyn Abanses, Steinbrenner, senior (seventh, 10:58.93)
110 hurdles —Kat Fleming, Wiregrass Ranch, junior (ninth, 15.13)
300 hurdles — Kat Fleming, Wiregrass Ranch, junior (ninth, 45.07)
4×800 relay — Wharton: Brazell, sophomore; Alexandria Frye, junior; Olivia Hammill, sophomore; Brooke Reif, junior (10th, 9:37.38)
Land O’ Lakes (22 points, tied-eighth)
Sunlake (10 points, tied-19th)
Zephyrhills (Five points, tied-39th)
100 — Maguire Neal, Zephyrhills, junior (12th place, 10.86)
200 — Jacoreyus Demps, Gaither, junior (15th, 22.77)
400 — Jaylon Gardiner, Gaither, senior (10th, 49.98)
800 — Cade Whitfield, Sunlake, senior (fifth, 1:56.52)
3,200 — Colby Robbins, Sunlake, junior (ninth, 9:33.47); Cason Meyer, Sunlake, junior (15th, 10:01.66)
110 hurdles — Maguire Neal, Zephyrhills, junior (16th, 29.83)
300 hurdles — Maguire Neal, Zephyrhills, junior (sixth, 39.09)
4×100 relay — Zephyrhills: Willie Queen, junior; Timothy Jackson, junior; Clayton Cornelius, senior; Maguire Neal, junior (seventh, 42.39)
4×400 relay — Gaither: Jacoreyus Demps, junior; Jacob Choe, senior; Tyler Summers, junior; Jaylon Gardiner, senior (14th 3:26.47)
4×800 relay — Sunlake: Cade Whitfield, senior; Alex Pena, sophomore; Cason Meyer, junior; Colby Robbins, junior (third, 8:00.34)
Triple jump — Mychael Tucker, Land O’ Lakes, sophomore (seventh, 45-3.75); Darrien Smith, Pasco, junior (14th, 41-3.75)
Shot put — Isaac Tavo, Land O’ Lakes, senior (first, 57-7); Aidan Marsh, Land O’ Lakes, sophomore (10th, 49-6.25)
Discus — Isaac Tavo, Land O’ Lakes, senior (first, 154-0)
Gaither (10 points, tied-20th)
Sunlake (10 points, tied-20th)
4×800 relay — Sunlake: Caitlyn Culpepper, junior; Shelby Viseur, junior; Ashley Spires, senior; Cathryne Newport, senior (12th, 10:16.80)
High jump — Maya Llanes, Zephyrhills, junior (15th, 4-9.75)
Pole vault — Elizabeth Lydon, Gaither, senior (first, 11-9.75); Lizzie Epps, Sunlake, junior (11th, 9-10)
Javelin — Daniella Vance, Sunlake, senior (first, 119-6)
Cypress Creek (Six points, tied-33rd)
Wesley Chapel (Three points, tied-48th)
100 — Davian Worrels, Wesley Chapel, senior (12th place, 10.86)
400 — Davian Worrels, Wesley Chapel, senior (eighth, 49.63)
1,600 — John Rowsell, Cypress Creek, senior (10th, 4:27.69)
High jump — Isaiah Burns, Wesley Chapel, senior (seventh, 6-3.5)
Discus — Carlos Lacosta, Cypress Creek, senior (third, 143-9)
Javelin — Carlos Lacosta, Cypress Creek, senior (12th, 139-11)
Girls—No local teams placed
300 hurdles — Ashleigh Lacey, Cypress Creek, senior (14th place, 49.27)
4×100 relay — Wesley Chapel: America Christopher, senior; Remiyah Harris, junior; Annalyse Rogers, junior; LaTia Dove, junior (12th, 50.92)
Long jump — Ashleigh Lacey, Cypress Creek, senior (16th, 14-10.75)
Bishop McLaughlin (Nine points, tied-31st)
100 — Dontrevius Jackson, Bishop McLaughlin, junior (fifth place, 10.83)
200 — Dontrevius Jackson, Bishop McLaughlin, junior (fourth, 22.19)
300 hurdles — Devin Chernin, Carrollwood Day, senior (13th, 43.39)
Triple jump — Gregory Smith, Carrollwood Day, freshman (11th, 41-5)
Javelin — Joseph Yann, Academy at the Lakes, senior (16th, 120-11)
Carrollwood Day (Thirteen points, tied-19th)
100 — Camila Garanton, Carrollwood Day, junior (ninth place, 12.62)
200 — Camila Garanton, Carrollwood Day, junior (ninth place, 26.20)
1,600 — Land O’ Lakes resident Elli Black, Cambridge Christian, seventh grade (second, 5:01.75)
300 hurdles — Camila Garanton, Carrollwood Day, junior (second, 44.63)
4×800 relay — Cambridge Christian: Caroline Lehman, junior; Moriah Friedman, junior; Mary Ellen Eudaly, junior; Elli Black, seventh grade (first, 9:26.12)
Long jump — Ariana Davis, Carrollwood Day, freshman (15th, 13-6.75)
Discus — Leighann Hanley, Carrollwood Day, freshman (fourth, 103-4)
Published May 19, 2021
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