JACKSONVILLE - A rookie and a veteran got top area honors for the FHSAA track and field state championships at University of North Florida with Fleming Island High senior Emma Richard taking third at …
JACKSONVILLE - A rookie and a veteran got top area honors for the FHSAA track and field state championships at University of North Florida with Fleming Island High senior Emma Richard taking third at the Class 4A javelin and St. Johns Country Day School distance runner Matthew Stratton also getting third in his event, the 3200 meters, in Class 1A.
For Richard, and for the javelin event, the first medals awarded at the state meet level were a return to the fore of one of the more exciting throwing events of track with Richard improving her school record to 118 feet, two inches.
Javelin champion Ely Makenzee of Niceville won at 129 feet, eight inches with Niceville teammate Megan Hague second at 124’-4”.
Richard improved steadily through the competition wtih her throws rising from 98 feet on her first throw to improvements of 105 feet, 112 feet and her final 118 foot toss for third.
Richard, a multi-sport athlete; volleyball and basketball, at Fleming Island and heading to the Coast Guard Academy for volleyball, is the school record holder and first javelin medal winner for the school. Fleming Island had a second finisher in the girls javelin with Marissa Deckard, a junior, finishing 13th with a 95’-11” toss.
Stratton battled a familiar sounding foe; Oak Hall’s Caden Montini, younger brother to Class 1A cross country two-time champion Austin Montini with Stratton second and third behind Montini, now at Yale University, the past two years. In the 3200, Stratton took third with a split of 9:42.56. Montini, 20th in cross country in November, and Seffner Christian’s Adam Nipper broke from the lead three-pack that had Stratton to stage a dramatic finish at the tape with Montini edging for the win at 9:39.11 to Nipper’s 9:39.24.
Also from St. Johns, sprinter Stanley Cowherd produced top finishes in the 200; fourth in the 400 in 50.40 seconds, 14th in the 200 in 22.91 seconds and 10th in the long jump at 20’-8.5”.
For St. Johns girls, Rebecca Stratton was 12th in the 1600 (5:33.08) with Ava Johnson finishing 16th in the 400 in 1:04.55.
For Fleming Island, medals also went to high jumper Cameron Mackenzie, eighth in high jump at 6’-1.5” after a dramatic jump-off battle at 6’-6” last week at regions, and a school record 7:59.64 for the boys 4 x 800 relay team; Alex Bendig, Michael Lyon, Jayden Scherer and Jack McDade, for seventh place. Ezra McCollum, high jumper, did not clear a height. Miami Columbus posted a 7:51.52 to win the event.
For Fleming Island’s girls, Gabrielle Flores, in high jump, took 12th as a freshman at 4’-11.75” with older sister Isabelle finishing11th in the 300 hurdles in 45.77.
Also in Class 4A, Oakleaf High junior sprinter Arianna Eason took fourth in the triple jump at 37’-8” with teammate Tamira Briley finishing 15th at 34’7.5”. The winning jump was 39’-7”.
Sprinter Alyssa Williams took sixth in the 400 in 57.01 with teammate Taylor Silkert 12th at 59.50. The winner’s time was 54.09. In the 800, sophomore Sierra Barrera was 15th in 2:21.12 while junior high jumper Sydeny Brown was 11th at 4’-11.75”.
In the Class 3A meet, long jumper Markez Sermons was eighth at 22’-4.5” and combined forces to get a ninth place finish in the 4 x 100 relay with William Restall, Nolan Chambers and Lawrence Thomas in 42.43. Dillard won the very fast event in 41.42 with the top 12 teams all under 43 seconds.
In the 300 hurdles, Orange Park got 12th behind Joel Childs’ 40.17 second finish.
In Class 3A, Ridgeview got a fifth place finish from high jumper Zoe Whaley, a junior, at 5’-3.75” while 800 meter specialist Blythe Duchene finished 13th in 2:25.87.
Ridgeview’s boys got a 12th in the 1600 from junior James Snipes in 4:32.98 and a 14th in the 110 hurdles from Rasheed Baker in 15.31 seconds. The top two finishers in the 110 hurdles were under 14 seconds; 13.62 and 13.77.
In Class 3A, Middleburg’s lone male athlete was Wyatt Underwood, a sophomore, in the discus with a 16th place finish at 124’-10”. Underwood had a best of 146’-1” from the region meet. Middleburg freshman Nya Russell finished 11th in the long jump at 17’-3.5”.
In Class 2A, for Keystone Heights, 1600 meter specialist Camryn Williams finished 14th in 5:42.72. Williams ran 5:10 at regions a week prior. Lily Henne of Montverde Academy won at 5:01.77.
Clay High had two athletes in Class 2A, both discus throwers, with Annalee Harbison placing 13th at 104’-1” and Kenya Tinajero placing 16th at 86’-1”.