Athlete of the year: Jeremiah Green, Jr., Hillsborough
Why we picked him: One of the nation’s elite triple jumpers, Green owns two of the nation’s top six efforts for 2012 according to DyeStat. He posted a career-best 50-foot, 6.5-inch performance (fourth nationally) in February, and nearly matched it with a 50-3.5 effort (sixth) in winning the Class 3A state title in May. Interspersed between those performances was a fifth-place finish (48-2) at the New Balance Indoor Nationals in New York City in March. Additionally, Green placed fifth in the long jump at state, despite three consecutive scratches, and reached the medal stand a third time by running a leg on the Terriers’ 4x400 relay team that placed eighth.
Proudest accomplishment: His 50-foot, 6.5-inch triple jump, posted in late February at the Charles Johnson Invitational at King. “I didn’t think I could (break 50 feet), to be honest,” said Green, a 5-8, 155-pound three-way standout for Hillsborough’s football team. “But my coaches were always telling me I could do it.”
Future plans: Probably football, with some track on the side, at the collegiate level. A 500-yard rusher last season who also played defensive back, receiver and return specialist, Green has football offers from Bowling Green and South Alabama.
Did you know? The youngest of eight children, Green lost both parents within six months of each other at age 11. His dad, Vietnam War veteran Alfonso Williams, died of kidney failure just as Green was completing fifth grade. “Then like, two weeks later, we found out Momma had (breast) cancer),” he said. Sheila Green-Williams died in November 2006 at age 46; Jeremiah learned the news moments after playing in a youth football league game. He credits his grandmother, Betty Green, and sister Shawnte Hobby with raising him.
High jump, William Taylor-Haynes, Jr., Alonso: Region champion placed sixth at 4A state meet
Long jump, Jordan Davis, Sr., Alonso: Placed third on empty stomach at 4A meet — after taking SAT that morning.
Triple jump, Joshua Wyche, Sr., Jefferson: State qualifier was region runnerup to Green
Pole vault, Parker Diehl, Sr., Plant: County champion finished sixth at 4A state meet
Shot put, Isaac Edwards, Sr., Jesuit: His 57-2.75 effort in regular season was tops in the state
Discus, Neil MacInnes, Sr., Chamberlain: Valedictorian placed third at 3A state meet
110 hurdles, Samson Moore, Fr., Gaither: 3A state runnerup in inaugural varsity season
300 hurdles, Paul Barrett, Sr., Gaither: Cowboys’ three-sport star won 3A state title
100, Anthony Brown, Sr., Hillsborough: Hamstring injury kept this district, region champ out of 3A state meet
200, Eric Moate, Jr., Spoto: County champ suffered season-ending hamstring injury at districts
400, Ken Mention, Jr., Tampa Catholic: Eclipsed 49 seconds at 2A state meet to place sixth
800, Jonathan Moore, Jr., Jefferson: County, district and region champ finished third at 3A state meet
1,600, Lars Benner, Jr., Newsome: Placed seventh at 4A state meet in personal-best time (4:27.48)
3,200, Max del Monte, Sr., Chamberlain: In final prep race, FSU-bound star won 3A state title
4x800 relay, Steinbrenner (Tyler Lima, Zach Lima, Tanner Biles, Matt Magee): All-junior foursome fourth at 3A state meet in school-record time (7:57.82)
4x400 relay, Jefferson (Joshua Wyche, Jawuan Coffee, David White, Jonathan Moore): County championship team placed sixth at 3A state meet (3:20.04)
4x100 relay, Armwood (Wade Edwards, Kaylaun Edwards, Leon McQuay III, Alvin Bailey): 3A runnerup team missed state title by one-tenth of a second
High jump: Michael Tiller, So., Jefferson; Long jump: Brandon Ardley, Sr., Seffner Christian; Triple jump: Jordan Davis, Sr., Alonso; Pole vault: Bogan Stitzel, Sr., Plant City; Shot put: Shelldon Lewinson, Sr., Armwood; Discus: Michael Dvornik, Sr., Plant; 110 hurdles: Evan Jennings, Sr., Hillsborough; 300 hurdles: Evan Jennings, Sr., Hillsborough; 100: Deonte Williams, Jr., Tampa Bay Tech; 200: Wade Edwards III, Sr., Armwood; 400: DeAndre James, Jr., Blake; 800: Andrew LeBlanc, So., Bloomingdale; 1,600: Brandon Duncan, Sr., Armwood; 3,200: Brian Sharp, Sr., Robinson; 4x800 relay: Bloomingdale (Ryan Chadderton, Kevin Heron, Matthew LeBlanc, Andrew LeBlanc); 4x400 relay: Hillsborough (Kyren Hollis, Evan Jennings, Robert Wilson, Jeremiah Green); 4x100 relay: Hillsborough (Terrick Solomon, Anthony Brown, Brandon Walcott, Jeremiah Green)
Alonso: Brandon Robinson; Armwood: Cody Waldrop, Tyree Wilson; Blake: Keith Bythewood, Marcus Carter, Desmond Gaines, Damien Martinez, Anthony Starks; Chamberlain: Xavier Johnson; East Bay: Brandon Jones, Saleem Lintz, Ryan Rannie, David Wikes, Noah Williams; Freedom: Elga Davis, Alunte Fleshman, Andre Folkes, Tytis Glover, Nate Godwin, Keyjwan Hendrix, Anthony Hendrey; Jefferson: Charles Booth, Deiondre Porter, Tanilious Walton, James Wilson; Newsome: Todd Jackson, Liam Manville, Justin Martinez, Aaron Wade; Plant: Travis Christenberry, John Drawdy, Kyle Groh, Jacob Montgomery, James Staten; Riverview: Michael Babinec, Kendall Carolina, Marlon Fleming, Todd Flournoy, Kisuan Harris, Lasander Washington; Robinson: Terrance Baldwin, Brandon Peters, Robert Priester, Trae Washington; Seffner Christian: Seth Lewis; Spoto: Tim Adams, Geronimo Allison, Kelvin Gant, Darrin Morris; Tampa Bay Christian: Jamari Johnson; Tampa Bay Tech: Calab Chambliss; Tampa Catholic: Daniel Fasani, Pete Martinez, Justin Motlow, Nathan Nammour, Taylor Timmons; Tampa Prep: Chris Carnes, Miller Judge, Oscar Skjaerpe, Sam Wall; Wharton: Jayren Barginere, Jaylen Dinard, Eddie Gleason, Britton Lewis
Coach of the Year: Shawn Balow, Plant
Only a few months after taking a gig at the Brooklyn YMCA, Balow, who won six district crowns in eight seasons at Plant, was lured back to South Tampa last November by the impassioned pleadings of his athletes. The reunion resulted in county, district and region titles, and a 13th-place effort at the Class 4A meet.
Athlete of the year: Sandra Akachukwu, Jr., Freedom
Why we picked her: No local athlete in recent memory has enjoyed a more prosperous postseason, or pulled it off with less rumpus. After a disappointing day at the Class 4A, District 6 meet, where she won one event but placed second in three others, Akachukwu quietly reversed her fortunes at the region championships. Victories in the 100 meters, 200 and long jump were accompanied by a second-place finish in the high jump. Ten days later, at the 4A state meet in Jacksonville, the soft-spoken honors student inconspicuously earned top-eight finishes in all four events, including third in the high jump. Still, few realized the magnitude of her meet effort until she exited the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium — with four medals dangling from her slender neck. No county athlete (boy or girl) in any classification won as many.
Proudest accomplishment: Akachukwu indicated she was as stunned as anyone by her effort at state, where she hoped to place in two events. She set personal records in the 200 (24.88 seconds in the prelims), where she finished seventh; and long jump (18 feet, 3.75 inches), where she was fifth. Her 5-6 performance in the high jump was only 2 inches shy of state champ Faith Woodard of Riverview, but she outran Woodard in the 100 to place eighth.
Future plans: A transfer from King High, where she finished sixth in the high jump at last year’s 3A meet, Akachukwu aspires to become an athletic trainer and/or physical therapist. For now, college and Olympic hopes are percolating. Her dream schools: LSU, UCLA and Western Kentucky.
Did you know? Akachukwu, born in Massachusetts but raised in the Tampa Bay area, is the second youngest of five kids born to Nigerian parents. …She has amassed a 4.5 weighted GPA despite a class load that includes pre-calculus, advanced-placement courses in psychology and language composition, and Spanish III.
High jump, Faith Woodard, Jr., Riverview: Won Class 4A state title after runnerup finish in 2011
Long jump, Quatasia Fantroy, Jr., Alonso: County champ finished third at 4A state meet
Triple jump, Alexis Wright, Sr., Steinbrenner: University of Miami-bound star placed fifth at 3A state meet
Pole vault, Annie Harwig, Sr., Tampa Catholic: Her runnerup effort at 2A meet (11-6) broke her own school record
Shot put, Andrea Aaron, Jr., Chamberlain: County, district and region champ placed sixth at 3A meet
Discus, Addi Harden, So., Berkeley Prep: 2A state medalist had county’s best effort (122-3) of 2012
100 hurdles, Alexis Wright, Sr., Steinbrenner: Last year’s 2A champ placed fifth at this year’s 3A meet
300 hurdles, Mikayla Barber, Jr., Wharton: Region runnerup rebounded to place fourth at 4A meet
100, Kiana Bryant, Jr., Gaither: District champ qualified for 3A state meet
200, Carrol Hardy, Jr., King: District champion was 3A region, state runnerup
400, Jorian Ordway, Jr., Hillsborough: County, district and region champion placed third at 3A meet
800, Ciarra Hawkins, Sr., Hillsborough: Won region in personal-best 2:17.04, sixth at 3A meet
1,600, Colleen Doherty, Fr., Academy of the Holy Names: Placed sixth at 2A state meet in personal-best 5:13.54
3,200, Julia Rodriguez, Jr., Plant: Set a personal record (11:07.45) to finish second at 4A meet
4x800 relay, Plant (Caroline Gibson, Caroline Bado, Emory Pitisci, Scarlett Fox): All-junior quartet set school record (9:10.16), placed second at 4A meet
4x400 relay, Hillsborough (Tijah Ray, Jorian Ordway, Marilyn Hawkins, Ciarra Hawkins): County champions placed seventh at 3A meet
4x100 relay, Strawberry Crest (Yasmine Gardiner, Ambria Keys, Sequoya Williams, Brittany Barber): County champs eclipsed 50 seconds to reach 3A state meet
High jump: Anna Peyton Malizia, Fr., Plant; Long jump: Ryann McEnany, Jr., Holy Names; Triple jump: Quatasia Fantroy, Jr., Alonso; Pole vault: Ashley Cahill, Jr., Wharton; Shot put: KiKi Newsome, So., Armwood; Discus: Azia Hill-Josey, Sr., Brandon; 100 hurdles: Mikayla Barber, Jr., Wharton; 300 hurdles: Tyler Watson, Jr., Wharton; 100: Faith Woodard, Jr., Riverview; 200: Quatasia Fantroy, Jr., Alonso; 400: Faith Woodard, Jr., Riverview; 800: Scarlett Fox, Jr., Plant; 1,600: Claire Snyder, So., Tampa Prep; 3,200: Claire Snyder, So., Tampa Prep; 4x800 relay: Wharton (Erin Kocher, Mariah Henderson, Tyler Watson, Taylor Griffith); 4x400 relay: Wharton (Mikayla Barber, Tyler Watson, Erin Kocher, Mariah Henderson); 4x100 relay: Tampa Prep (Arianna Mosley, Caroline Alexander, Alyssa Bryant, Carly Reiner)
Holy Names: Natalie Hahn, Elise Heiman, Melissa Mainzer, Cristina Snyder; Alonso: Alexandra Biver, Lynette Robertson, Savannah Torres, Megan Wetzel; Bloomingdale: Julie Roggeman; Cambridge: Madison Cox; Carrollwood Day: Bailey Drury; Chamberlain: Emily Schonder; Freedom: Alexandra Mitchell, Ashley Smith, Annie Tedesco, Leah Wasserman; Newsome: Brianna Jackson; Plant: Kara Halfaker, Ruth Simpson; Riverview: Sheikala Benjamin, Maia Carter, Destriney Fleming, Kierra Haywood, Cassidy Howard, Morgan Speicher, Ravyn Thomas; Robinson: Aaliyah Gordon, Katherine King, Madison Mcvicker, Ruth Seleznick; Seffner Christian: Samantha Plager; Steinbrenner: Jessica Brewer, Lauren Garris, Salina Garris, MacKenzie Lyle, Daniella Matthews; Tampa Prep: Emma Golterman
Coach of the Year: Roy Harrison, Plant
After collecting his 10th state girls cross country title in November, Harrison watched his distance-running dynasty enjoy a prolific spring. Led by a school-record-setting 4x800 relay team, the Panthers won county, district and region titles before placing 15th at the Class 4A meet. For good measure, Plant compiled the best team GPA (3.611) of any county public school.