FLAGLER PALM COAST - With no individual region track champions, area track and field athletes waited nervously Monday afternoon to see if their times, throws or jumps would be enough to get a ticket …
FLAGLER PALM COAST - With no individual region track champions, area track and field athletes waited nervously Monday afternoon to see if their times, throws or jumps would be enough to get a ticket to the FHSAA Track and Field championships to be held Friday and Saturday, May 7-8 at the University of North Florida.
Only the top two finishers in each event were automatically advanced to the state meet with the next 13 times or distances selected for the state meet.
Top track runner for Clay County was Keystone Heights High senior Camryn Williams who finished a strong second in the Region 2-2A 1600 with a state-ranked five minutes, 10.74 second finish behind Bolles’ Jillian Candelino’s 5:09.71.
Williams has fluctuated up and down with her times as a checkpoint for her targeted races and has produced some of the fastest state times in big meets.
In one of the more dramatic finishes of the Saturday list of region meets; 1-1A at Bishop Snyder; 1-3A at Orange Park High School and 1-4A at Flagler Palm Coast with Clay attending 1-2A in Panama City Beach, Fleming Island High jumper Cameron Mackenzie, who has jetted himself from a 5’-8” height two years ago to a near region title at 6’-5.5”, the final tally of the day came down to three jump-offs with Niceville’s Kendell Mosely for the region first place finish. Cypress Creek’s Jaden Mathieu had the top spot in class 4A secured at 1.98 meters (6’-6”).
“I know what it feels like to jumping tired,” said Mackenzie, who with Mosely both cleared 6’6” to fuel the jump-off for second place. “I took two jumps at 6’-8” after getting there after jumps at 1.72, 1.77 and 1.82, then two jumps each at 1.87, 1.92 and then 1.97 (6’-5.5”) before missing three at 6’-8”. That’s 12 jumps in the span of about two hours.”
Both jumpers missed at their attempts at 6’-8”, 6’-6” before Mosley made 6’-4” and Mackenzie failed.
“I guess I should do a lot more cardio and core,” said Mackenzie, a junior. “My sophomore to junior year, I went from a best of 5’10” to 6’-5” this season just working on form, looking at film and working with coach Darryl Thompson.”
At the region 1-3A meet, in the triple jump, Orange Park multiple athlete Josiah Sabino; state swimmer, region basketballer and, now, a state meet triple jumper, finding his rhythm for the triple jump seemed best suited for his basketball-dunking thighs to the tune of a second place finish by just about five inches.
“It’s a new sport kind of and I’m learning more each time I jump,” said Sabino, who finished at 44’-.75” to finish second to Belleview’s Cade Gray’s winning jump of 44’-5.25”. “I won’t lie, I threw up before the meet I was so nervous. I couldn’t eat anything. I was scared last night about this, but we did it.”
Sabino, known for his high-flying slam dunks on the Raiders basketball team as a leading scorer and an All-State selection recently, jumped just 6’-2” in the high jump, but thought the basketball jumping was more in line with the triple jump.
“I can dunk off either leg and I think with the skip here, the triple just was an easier transition,” said Sabino, eighth ranked for the state meet with Kyree Brown of Sebastian River top ranked at 46’-7.”
Orange Park got a second second in the jumps with senior long jumper Markez Sermons, a top candidate in the sprints from districts, focusing to take second at 22’-7.25” to Leon’s Curtis Williams’ winning jump at 24’-11”. Williams is top ranked state wide with Sermons sixth.
At region 1-1A, with the Stratton siblings; junior Matthew and eighth grade sister Rebecca, both advancing to the state meet, it was St. Johns Country Day School sprinter Stanley Cowherd who grabbed some headlines with advancement in three events for the Class 1A championships. Cowherd joined Matthew Stratton, advancing in the 1600 and 3200, with top 15 statewide finishes in the 200 (11th in 22.45), 400 (4th at 50.11) and long jump (7th at 21’-2”). Cowherd was second in the long jump at his region meet by eight inches. Cowherd’s 50.11 in the 400 is a hair from top seed Micah Mays of Benjamin School who is top-ranked at 49.23.
State meet qualifiers (rank)
1A: SJCDS: Ethan Beauvais shot put (13th), Matthew Stratton 1600 (6th), 3200 8th); Stanley Cowherd (200 (11th), 400 (4th), long jump (7th); Rebecca Stratton 1600 (8th); Ava Johnson 400 (16th).
2A: KHHS Camryn Williams 1600 (2nd)
3A: MHS Wyatt Underwood Discus (9th); OPHS Josiah Sabino Triple Jump (8th); OPHS Markez Sermons Long Jump (6th); OPHS 4 x 100 relay (8th); OPHS Joel Childs 300 hurdles (8th); RHS Rasheed Baker 110 hurdles (13th); RHS James Snipes 1600 (11th); MHS Nya Russell Long jump (12th); RHS Zoe Whaley High Jump (4th); RHS Blythe Duchene 800 (11th)
4A: FIHS Cameron Mackenzie High Jump (3rd); FIHS Ezra McCollum High Jump (10th); FIHS 4 x 800 boys relay (8th); FIHS Emma Richard Javelin (4th); FIHS Marissa Deckard Javelin (9th); OHS Arianna Eason Triple Jump (5th); OHS Tamira Briley Triple Jump (8th); FIHS Gabrielle Flores High Jump (10th); OHS Sydeny Brown High Jump (15th); FIHS Isabelle Flores 300 Hurdles (7th); OHS Sierra Barerra 800 (14th).