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Thu. June 4, 2015 | Bob Putnam | Email

Brittany McGeeBailey HertensteinAlfreda Steele

Pinellas Athlete of the Year: Brittany McGee, Sr., Admiral Farragut

Why we picked her: The senior capped off her high school career with a record-setting performance at the Class A state meet. McGee won her first individual titles in the long jump (19-3.75) and triple jump (38-8), and defended her titles in the 100 hurdles (13.98) and 300 hurdles (44.39). She became just the sixth girls athlete to win four individual titles at a meet in one season and the first from the area to accomplish that feat since Clearwater Central Catholic’s Char Foster in 1996. Those first-place finishes contributed to 40 of the 76 points Admiral Farragut scored to become the first bay area girls track team to win a state title since CCC and Northside Christian both did in separate classes in 1996.

Most impressive accomplishment: McGee won four titles despite spraining her ankle in the triple jump, her second event. She still had to finish the triple jump, as well as run the preliminaries and finals of the 100 and 300 hurdles. McGee found the wherewithal to not only win but set personal records in the triple jump and 300 hurdles and a season-best mark in the long jump.

Did you know? State titles run in the family. McGee’s twin brother, Dontae, has won two straight wrestling titles (one each at Brandon and Admiral Farragut). He also did well in track with third-place finishes in the 110 hurdles and 4x100 relay.

What’s next: McGee has signed with Stanford, where she’ll compete in the heptathlon. To gear up for college, McGee will continue to run this summer. In two weeks, she’ll be at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C.

Hillsborough Athlete of the Year: Bailey Hertenstein, Fr., Riverview

Why we picked her: The first-year runner had quite a debut. It started with cross country in the fall and continued with distance events in track. So far, Hertenstein has won nearly every high school race she has entered. It didn’t take long for her ponytail to become a guidepost for other runners, the only marker they had to determine how far ahead of them she was. Hertenstein posted the area’s best times this season in both the 800 (2:14.41) and 1,600 (5:01.90), and the third-best in the 3,200 (11:19.13). At the Class 4A state meet, she took second in the 1,600.

Most impressive accomplishment: Hertenstein displays incredible endurance, appearing to be fully recovered seconds after running a long race while others are gasping for air. That stamina helped her complete a distance trifecta at the Class 4A, District 7 meet with victories in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. She capped off the night by running a leg on the winning 4x400 relay.

Did you know? Hertenstein’s parents were runners and that got her interested in the sport. She ran cross country for the first time and was the Tampa Bay Times’ Hillsborough County runner of the year. She tried running the 800 in middle school but wanted to test herself in longer races, too.

What’s next: Hertenstein has started working with year-round coaches to become a more skilled runner. This summer, she plans on logging plenty of miles in workouts and street courses to gear up for cross country season.

North Suncoast Athlete of the Year: Alfreda Steele, Jr., Pasco

Why we picked her: One of the most versatile — and talented — athletes in the area, Steele hoped to win three individual titles and place among the top three in the 4x100 relay at the Class 2A state meet. She won two — the long jump (19-0) and the 100 (11.44). In the relay, Steele ran a stellar anchor leg to help the Pirates finish second in 48.41. About the only thing Steele was unable to do was defend her title in the 200, taking second in 23.91.

Most impressive accomplishment: As the medals piled up for Steele, so did the points at the state meet. She accounted for 36 of Pasco’s 39 points to help the team finish fourth overall, the highest of any North Suncoast boys or girls team in any classification. Steele’s total on her own would have left her tied with Rockledge for fifth place in 2A.

Did you know? Steele posted personal-record times in the 100 and 200 at state. Her mark in the long jump was the second-best in her career. She also was the conference, district and region champion in all three events.

What’s next: Pasco moves up to Class 3A in track next season, which Steele said will be stronger competition. She already ran in the Golden South last week and plans to run in other meets throughout the summer.  

Coach of the Year: Phil Barnhill, Admiral Farragut

First team 

High jump, Kayla Maczuga, Sr., Freedom: The area’s highest place-winner cleared 5 feet, 6 inches to take second at the Class 4A state meet.

Pole vault, Jen Kistemaker, Sr., Osceola: The Florida walk-on had area’s best height at 12-2 and cleared 11-6 to win her first state title at the 3A meet.

Long jump, Jada Roberson, Sr., Hillsborough: At the 3A meet, she leaped a season-best 19-3.75 to take second.  

Triple jump, Jada Roberson, Sr., Hillsborough: County and district champion had area’s best mark this season at 38-10.

Discus, Ashaunti Brown, Jr., Admiral Farragut: Battled through injuries to take fourth in Class A (116-9).

Shot put, Chloe Jones, Jr., Hillsborough: One of the area’s best throwers won her first state title with a mark of 40-10.5 in 3A.

100, J’Nai Taylor, So., Riverview: The sprinter was undefeated in the event until the 4A meet, where she placed sixth in 12.08.

200, J’Nai Taylor, So., Riverview: Conference, district and region champ was sixth at state in 24.66.

400, Janae Caldwell, Jr., Spoto: Defending state champ had area’s top time this season (54.65) and took third at 3A state meet in 54.78.  

800, Bryanna Rivers, So., Wharton: Conference, district and region champ took sixth in 4A (2:16.53).

1,600, Hannah Brookover, Jr., Calvary Christian: Despite someone stepping on her shoe, Brookover finished third in Class A (5:07.22).

3,200, Hannah Brookover, Jr., Calvary Christian: Owned the top time of the season (10:47) and took fifth at state (11:20.12).

100 hurdles, Olivia Welsh, Jr., Dunedin: Versatile athlete took third in the event (14.14) at the 2A meet.

300 hurdles, Daneesha Davidson, So., Hillsborough: Placed second at the 3A meet in a bay area-best time of 42.46.

4x100 relay, Pasco (Richonda Samuel, Sydney Rouser, Ashton Brock, Alfreda Steele): Area’s top quartet was the 2A state runnerup in 48.41.

4x400 relay, Middleton (Anna Duclos, Alysa Swanson, Cindy Desir, Ranesha Bowden): They took sixth at the 3A meet in 3:56.26.

4x800 relay, Wharton (Serena Gadson, Bryanna Rivers, Searra Woods, Rania Samhouri): Placed a bay area-best third at 4A meet in 9:26.33.

Second team 

High jump: Emily Gauvey, Jr., Mitchell

Pole vault: Nicole Carroll, Sr., Tampa Catholic

Long jump: Katie Barnett, So., Admiral Farragut

Triple jump: Katie Barnett, So., Admiral Farragut

Discus: Ty’China Bush, Sr., Plant City

Shot put: Ashaunti Brown, Jr., Admiral Farragut

100: Jamesha Moorer, Fr., Lakewood

200: Janae Caldwell, Jr., Spoto

400: Ranesha Bowden, Sr., Middleton

800: Hayley Brahm, Sr., Northeast

1,600: Emily Kerns, Sr., Mitchell

3,200: Maggie Parrish, Jr., Chamberlain

100 hurdles: Aria Tate, So., Wharton

300 hurdles: Jasha Patrick, Sr., Hernando

4x100 relay: Middleton (Payton Swanson, Ranesha Bowden, Cindy Desir, Anna Duclos)

4x400 relay: Wharton (Serena Gadson, Aria Tate, Searra Woods, Janay Shuler)

4x800 relay: East Lake (Sabrina Siegel, Erica Lersch, Jennifer Lima, Wednesday Terry)

Third team 

High jump: Anna Peyton Malizia, Sr., Plant

Pole vault: Taylor Anderson, Sr., Mitchell

Long jump: Daneesha Davidson, So., Hillsborough

Triple jump: Daneesha Davidson, So., Hillsborough

Discus: Alexis Harris, Jr., Land O’Lakes

Shot put: Alise Davis, So., Tampa Catholic

100: Cieanna Nichols, Jr., East Lake

200: Aria Tate, So., Wharton

400: Tiyera Joseph, Jr., Steinbrenner

800: Serena Gadson, Fr., Wharton 

1,600: Lindsay Shealy, Sr., Armwood

3,200: Emily Kerns, Sr., Mitchell

100 hurdles: Michayla Williams, Jr., King

300 hurdles: Antwanisha Hill, Sr., Armwood

4x100 relay: Lakewood (Shakera Thompson, Tysheira Adams, Miriele Paul, Jamesha Moorer)

4x400 relay: Spoto (Antanae Shuler, Janae Caldwell, Kela Nelson, Brittany Thomas)

4x800 relay: Holy Names (Colleen Doherty, Greta Dieck, Lucinda Lennie, Siobhan Lynch)

Honorable mention 

Academy of the Holy Names: Greta Dieck (3,200), Lucinda Lennie (3,200); Admiral Farragut: Jazmine Alderman (100, 200), Katie Barnett (300 hurdles), Charlisa Jenkins (shot put), 4x400; Alonso: Alysa Jones (shot put), Kianna Williams (shot put), 4x100 relay; Anclote: Madelyn Nurge (long jump, pole vault, 100 hurdles); Berkeley Prep: Camryn Constant (300 hurdles), Madison Jenkins (high jump), Rhea Thielbar (triple jump, 800), 4x400, 4x800; Bishop McLaughlin: Taysha Kuhn (100); Bloomingdale: Theadra Turaga (discus); Calvary Christian: Emily Curran (400), Keely Durbak (100, 200), 4x100, 4x800; Clearwater Central Catholic: Michelle Dudenhoefer (300 hurdles), Ashley Moyer (400), Hayley Moyer (200, 400), 4x400; Dunedin: Olivia Welsh (pole vault); East Bay: Elyssa Paulding (discus), Troy Suor (long jump); East Lake: Alivia Abraham (100 hurdles), Cieanna Nichols (200), Kaitlyn Kirby (triple jump); Freedom: 4x100; Gulf: Jasmine Jackson (discus); Hernando: Jasha Patrick (100 hurdles), Lauren Plaugher (discus); Hillsborough: Chloe Jones (discus); Indian Rocks Christian: Bobbi LaBrant (pole vault, 800); Jefferson: Erykah Jerome (400); King: 4x100; Lakewood: Jakyra Brown (triple jump), Melissa Dones’ (pole vault, 100 hurdles), Jamesha Moorer (200); Land O’Lakes: Victoria Cannata (triple jump), Amelia Cary (shot put); Mitchell: 4x800; Nature Coast: Ashley Gentz (400, 100), Kaitlyn Pierce (triple jump), Nilsa-Marie Rodriguez (200), 4x100, 4x400; Newsome: Tyra Johnson (400), 4x400; Northside Christian: Morgan Brown (pole vault), Kara Eckstein (100 hurdles), Kelly Kellogg (pole vault); Pasco: Lezareia Gilbert (high jump), Lanashia Pope (discus); Pinellas Park: Kihla Holloway (discus); Plant: Rachel Goding (pole vault), Laura Jones (3,200), Gillian Minnehan (1,600); Plant City: Ty’china Bush (shot put); Seffner Christian: Elizabeth Hammontree (pole vault); Sickles: Saara Halme (triple jump); Springstead: Erin Blackwell (800), Jacy Scharlow (high jump), 4x800; St. Petersburg Catholic: Brooke Coughlin (high jump); Steinbrenner: Chanel Marchena (400), Emma Stevens (300 hurdles), 4x400; Strawberry Crest: Terra Brooks (long jump); Tampa Catholic: Alise Davis (discus), Kailiece Harris (400), Betia Washington (400), 4x400; Wharton: Serena Gadson (800), Khalesha Gibson (pole vault), Marin James (3,200), Amanda Lewis (pole vault), D’Andra McFarlane (300 hurdles); Wiregrass Ranch: Casey Chitty (pole vault)

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