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State track journal: Locals run, jump and relay to titles

Triple jumpers, distance experts, team titans ... Tampa Bay puts it all on display on the final day in Jacksonville.
The Newsome girls, led by Keleigh Scallon, center, win the 4x800 relay Saturday afternoon with a strong final 800 by Scallon. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
The Newsome girls, led by Keleigh Scallon, center, win the 4x800 relay Saturday afternoon with a strong final 800 by Scallon. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)
Published May 5, 2019
Updated May 5, 2019

JACKSONVILLE — Newsome’s girls felt pretty darned good when they stepped onto the track Saturday morning for the Class 4A 4x800 state-title race.

After all, the Wolves were the No. 2 seed.

A few minutes later — when they fell to 11th place midway through the relay — they reassessed that feeling.

Newsome’s third and fourth legs, junior Emma Solis and sophomore Keleigh Scallon, looked at each other and Scallon said, “Looks like we’re going to have to make up ground.”

They did.

After Solis zipped around her two laps in two minutes, 19 seconds, she handed the baton to Scallon in fourth place, 80 meters behind the leader.

Related: RELATED: East Lake's Parker Valby sets state 3,200 record

Heading into the last lap, Scallon was almost up to the lead pack, and then with 300 meters remaining, she said to herself, “I might as well go now because it looks like the leaders are slowing up.”

Down the stretch, with the crowd cheering — “I could hear my teammates and my mother (Kristina) yelling for me,” Scallon said — she held off a furious last surge by Lake Brantley.

Scallon crossed the finish line in 9:21.20, exactly one second ahead of Lake Brantley.

“That was so exciting to finish like that and win the state title,” Scallon said. “I can barely believe it.”

The victory was the highlight to an outstanding couple of days for Scallon, who finished second in Friday’s 800 meters at 2:12.34, about the same time she ran on the final leg of the 4x800.

Northside Christian senior Adrian Harris defends his title in the 400 meters, winning the Class A state title in 47.89 seconds. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

Golden focus

Not that he wasn’t into it before, but this year Adrian Harris got really serious about track.

The Northside Christian senior said he kind of burst onto the scene last year, surging late in the season largely on talent, which led him to win the Class A state title in the 400 meters.

“After that I said, ‘I’m going to work harder than ever to make sure I can defend my title,' ” Harris said.

Mission accomplished.

On Saturday, Harris pretty much smoked the Class A field, winning the 400 in 47.89 seconds.

“I felt great,” Harris said. “It was an awesome day.”

Shorecrest senior Renice Dacres charges toward victory in the Class A state final triple jump, winning with a leap 11.65 meters, or 38-2.75 feet. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

Triple jump central

Few times has Tampa Bay been better represented in one event at the state meet than on Saturday afternoon in the triple jump.

Not only did the event feature two state champions from Tampa Bay — Shorecrest Prep senior Renice Dacres in Class A and Zephyrhills senior Cartrell Strong in Class 2A — but it had 11 athletes finish in the top eight of their respective classifications.

Dacres started things off by winning the girls Class A crown with a leap, jump and bound of 11.65 meters or 38-2.75 feet, and Cartrell followed with a state-title mark of 14.46 meters (47-5.25 feet).

The biggest bunch up of locals was in the girls’ Class A competition where Keswick Christian senior Abigail Leuthold placed second (11.39 meters, 37-4.5 feet), followed by Carrollwood Day School junior Tionna Waters in fifth (10.92, 35-10), Northside Christian eighth-grader Grace Lathrop in sixth (10.89, 35-8.75) and Calvary Christian junior Jordyn Showers (10.85, 35-7.25).

In Class 4A girls, Alonso junior Shaniya Benjamin was third (11.67, 38-3.5) and Sickles senior Olaoluwakitan Adeniji was seventh (11.32, 37-1.75), and in Class 2A, Berkeley Prep senior Chloe Davis was eighth (11.23, 36-10.25).

In Class A boys, Carrollwood Day junior Christopher Sheppard was sixth (13.17, 43-2.5) and in Class 3A boys Hillsborough senior Xavion Lockwood was fifth (13.79, 45-3).

Riverview junior Alyssa Hendrix wins the Class 4A 1,600 meters Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after taking the 3,200 title as well. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

Tough turnaround

Two 3,200-meter winners from Friday night — Riverview junior Alyssa Hendrix in Class 4A and East Lake junior Parker Valby in Class 3A — came back Saturday afternoon to race in their respective 1,600 finals.

Both ran well, but only Hendrix pulled out another victory, winning in 4:53.70, or a little more than a second ahead of Plant freshman Mary Ellen Eudaly, who also placed second to Hendrix in the 3,200.

“I knew it was going to be the same kind of race today,” Hendrix said. “I knew (Eudaly) was going to come at me at the end. I was ready for it.”

Valby, meantime, perhaps was little more fatigued than usual after setting the state record in the 3,200 meters on Friday night in 10:10.45.

On Saturday, Valby finished second in 4:57.96, or almost a full seven seconds behind the winner, Valarie Lastra, who won in 4:50.62.

Robinson junior Ethan Geiger wins the Class 3A 3,200-meter race Saturday evening, a full day after the race was supposed to be held, but was delayed several times because of rain and lightning. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

Geiger gets it done ... finally

The Class 3A 3,200-meter boys final was delayed Friday evening because of bad weather and then postponed late Friday night — with all the runners standing on the track seconds before the gun fired — only to get rescheduled for late Saturday night.

Once again on Saturday night all 24 runners lined up, and once again, wouldn’t you know it, they were called off the track for another 40-minute lightning delay.

Finally, around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, the race was run, and finally, Robinson junior Ethan Geiger could show everybody, or rather the smattering of people still left in the stands, how good he was.

Geiger won rather comfortably in nine minutes, 16.71 seconds, almost three seconds ahead of the runnerup.

“I think I was a little off because of all the weather delays,” said Geiger, who pulled out of Saturday’s 1,600 after the 3,200 was moved. “But it feels great to finally win. I came here with the mission to win and it feels good after all the work I’ve put in.”

A few minutes after Geiger won, the Class 4A 3,200 went off and Wharton’s Nehemiah Rivers, who also had pre-race designs on winning, came in third in 9:24.85. Alonso’s Yonas Sauers and Countryside’s Alec Latzke followed with fourth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively.

Full local medalists from Saturday

Pole vault

Carrollwood Day senior Hailey Crow, second in Class A (3.15, 10-4)

Gaither sophomore Elizabeth Lydon, third in Class 3A (3.45, 11-3.75)

Gibbs senior SaraLynn Palmer, fourth in Class 2A (3.15, 10-4)

Tampa Bay Tech junior Michael Hopkins, fifth in Class 3A (4.20, 13-9.25)

Clearwater Central Catholic junior Olivia Rodriguez, sixth in Class 2A (3.15, 10-4)

Sunlake junior Juliette Pacheco, seventh in Class 3A (3.30, 10-10)

Long jump

East Bay junior Alaina Hall, second in Class 4A (5.65, 18-6.5)

Steinbrenner junior Aidan Bitter, fifth in Class 4A (6.73, 22-1)

Keswick Christian senior Abigail Leuthold knows she hits a good one the moment she hits the sand. Good enough, in fact, to place second in the Class A triple jump. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)

Triple jump

Zephyrhills senior Cartrell Strong, first in Class 2A (14.46, 47-5.25)

Shorecrest senior Renice Dacres, first in Class A (11.65, 38-2.75)

Keswick Christian senior Abigail Leuthold, second in Class A (11.39, 37-4.5)

Alonso junior Shaniya Benjamin, third in Class 4A (11.67, 38-3.5)

Hillsborough senior Xavion Lockwood, fifth in Class 3A (13.79, 45-3)

Carrollwood Day junior Tionna Waters, fifth in Class A (10.92, 35-10)

Northside Christian eighth-grader Grace Lathrop, sixth in Class A (10.89, 35-8.75)

Carrollwood Day junior Christopher Sheppard III, sixth in Class A (13.17, 43-2.5)

Sickles senior Olaoluwakitan Adeniji, seventh in Class 4A (11.32, 37-1.75)

Calvary Christian junior Jordyn Showers, seventh in Class A (10.85, 35-7.75)

Berkeley Prep senior Chloe Davis, eighth in Class 2A (11.23, 36-10.25)

Javelin throws showcase

Wharton junior Zach Godbold, first in boys (52.40, 171-11)

Plant City senior Katherine Ruppert, second in girls (35.58, 116-8)

Springstead sophomore Tallia Russell, fourth in girls (32.52, 106-8)

Shot put

Largo senior Bethal Miles, fifth in Class 3A (15.84, 51-11.75)

Lennard senior Laudrey McCray, sixth in Class 3A (15.70, 51-6.25)

Wiregrass Ranch senior Kasean Ridgel, seventh in Class 4A (15.26, 50-0.75)


Alonso senior Sowande Walker, second in Class 4A (50.01, 164-10)

Largo senior Bethal Miles, second in Class 3A (52.68, 172-10)

Indian Rocks Christian junior Brett Stallo, fifth in Class A (40.83, 133-11)

Lennard junior Hunter Myers, sixth in Class 3A (47.51, 155-10)

Sunlake senior Joseph Perez, seventh in Class 3A (46.38, 152-2)

Admiral Farragut sophomore Maurice Leon, eighth in Class A (39.34, 129-1)


Newsome girls, first in Class 4A (9:21.20)

Berkeley Prep girls, second in Class 2A (9:29.85)

Admiral Farragut boys, second in Class A (8:15.89)

Indian Rocks Christian boys, third in Class A (8:18.77)

Citrus Park Christian boys, fourth in Class A (8:19.87)

Seffner Christian boys, fifth in Class A (8:23.11)

Citrus Park Christian girls, seventh in Class A (10:01.23)

Bell Creek girls, eighth in Class A (10:17.50)

100 hurdles

Bell Creek sophomore Angel Parks, fifth in Class A (15.31)

Admiral Farragut junior Jolie Caya, eighth in Class A (15.96)

110 hurdles

Hillsborough senior Jaden Dixon, second in Class 3A (14.32)

Carrollwood Day senior Seth Cribben, third in Class A (15.33)

Calvary Christian senior John Karlen, seventh in Class A (15.77)

100 meters

Gaither senior LaSarah Hargrove, second in Class 3A (11.74)

Largo senior Dianisity Bolden, third in Class 3A (11.91)

Admiral Farragut senior Jazmine Alderman, third in Class A (12.38)

Steinbrenner junior Zayne Jack, fourth in Class 4A (11.98)

Shorecrest junior Mikera Patton, sixth in Class A (12.47)

Largo junior Khaishef Edwards, seventh in Class 3A (11.13)

East Bay junior Johnnie Dorris, seventh in Class 4A (11.27)

Anclote senior Jyrhen Francis, eighth in Class 2A (11.06)


Admiral Farragut girls, second in Class A (48.66)

Carrollwood Day School girls, third in Class A (48.92)

Indian Rocks Christian girls, eighth in Class A (51.30)

Zephyrhills boys, eighth in Class 2A (43.14)

Northside Christian senior Adrian Harris defends his title in the 400 meters. (SCOTT PURKS | Special to the Times)


Northside Christian senior Adrian Harris, first in Class A (47.89)

Wesley Chapel senior Donte Sol, third in Class 3A (48.12)

Wharton junior Kennaria Gadson, third in Class 4A (54.75)

Calvary Christian senior Gabriel Dials, fifth in Class A (50.64)

Alonso junior Shaniya Benjamin, fifth in Class 4A (55.69)

Northside Christian sophomore Tytiana Wilson, fifth in Class A (56.23)

Admiral Farragut senior Faith Nelms, eighth in Class A (57.33)

300 hurdles

Hillsborough senior Jaden Dixon, third in Class 3A (37.84)

Berkeley Prep senior Chloe Davis, third in Class 2A (44.08)

Bell Creek sophomore Angel Parks, third in Class A (45.58)

Hillsborough senior Qadiir wajd, sixth in Class 3A (38.60)

Admiral Farragut junior Jolie Caya, seventh in Class A (48.32)


Anclote senior Jyrhen Francis, second in Class 2A (21.65)

Northside Christian senior Adrian Harris, second in Class A (22.05)

Gaither senior LaSarah Hargrove, fourth in Class 3A (24.15)

Admiral Farragut senior Jazmine Alderman, fourth in Class A (25.22)

Hillsborough freshman Erriyon Knighton, fifth in Class 3A (22.02)

Largo senior Dianisty Bolden, fifth in Class 3A (24.29)

Alonso junior Shaniya Benjamin, seventh in Class 4A (24.62)


Riverview junior Alyssa Hendrix, first in Class 4A (4:53.70)

Plant freshman Mary Ellen Eudaly, second in Class 4A (4:54.54)

East Lake junior Parker Valby, second in Class 3A (4:57.96)

Citrus Park Christian junior Reed Legg, third in Class A (4:23.34)

Holy Names junior Megan Hughes, fifth in Class 2A (5:10.57)

Sunlake senior Dominic Burleson, sixth in Class 3A (4:24.19)

Calvary Christian senior Callie Friske, sixth in Class A (5:18.96)

Admiral Farragut junior Philip Henderson, eighth in Class A (4:29.62)

Plant junior Keith Gibson, eighth in Class 4A (4:23.77)


Admiral Farragut girls, second in Class A (4:02.37)

Hillsborough boys, third in Class 3A (3:17.70)

Northside Christian girls, fifth in Class A (4:05.82)

Northside Christian boys, sixth in Class A (3:25.22)

Indian Rocks Christian boys, seventh in Class A (3:28.72)

Berkeley Prep girls, eighth in Class 2A (3:56.35)


Robinson junior Ethan Geiger, first in Class 3A (9:16.71)

Wharton senior Nehemiah Rivers, third in Class 4A (9:24.85)

Alons junior Yonas Sauers, fourth in Class 4A (9:26.30)

Countryside senior Alec Latzke, seventh in Class 4A (9:36.88)


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    Little change at the top as the regular season winds down.
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    Chamberlain’s James Ash, Wharton’s Edwouens Marcelin, Steinbrenner’s Jacqueline Figueredo and Robinson’s Emily Kemp are also honored at the sixth annual awards banquet.
  3. Chamberlain offensive tackle Cesar Reyes said via Twitter on Sunday he plans to sign with USF. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Bulls fortify depth at quarterback and on the offensive line.
  4. Jesuit's Brett Gerena (7) celebrates recovering a fumble in the third quarter of this past season's Class 5A region semifinals. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
    The Black Knights have commitments for 2020 from five locals, the most of any Division I-A program in the country. And they may gain more.
  5. Saturday's Seminole Shootout was full of closely contested basketball action. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Berkeley Prep and Clearwater also pull out tight thrillers Saturday.
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  7. Hillsborough senior forward Cantia Rahming, right, is among the nation's leaders in rebounds per game. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The senior has been a menace on the boards after missing out on significant playing time in last year’s run to the state final four.
  8. In his one season at Middleton, Mike Williams led the grieving Tigers to a 5-5 record. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
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  9. Florida receiver Josh Hammond (18) on the field during practice for the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field on Monday. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Plus Plant High product Jake Fruhmorgen’s journey from Clemson to UF to Baylor to the East-West Shrine Game.
  10. Justin Lucena has been with Sunlake since he was a freshman, enduring losing seasons before the recent turnaround. [SCOTT PURKS  |  Special to the Times]
    The Seahawks endured years of losses but confidence is high in this group that a playoff run, and possibly a district title, are in reach.