State track: New coach leads Admiral Farragut boys back to the top

Admiral Farragut's boys team celebrate their first state title in 85 years Saturday at IMG Academy. (Andy Warrener, Special to the Times)
Admiral Farragut's boys team celebrate their first state title in 85 years Saturday at IMG Academy. (Andy Warrener, Special to the Times)
Published May 8, 2016

BRADENTON — In his first year at Admiral Farragut, coach Arron Prather helped make school history Saturday at IMG Academy.

Prather has only been at Farragut five months and coming into the weekend, it had been 85 years since the boys won a state track and field title. But the Blue Jackets pulled it off with 40.5 points to win Class A. Shorecrest tied Orlando First Academy for second with 34.

"It hasn't even sunk in yet," Prather said. "God himself did this today. Mark 11:23 comes to mind."

AFA's Alex Gray won the 100-meters final in 11.12 seconds, but stumbled a bit out of the blocks into a strong headwind. It marked Gray's second straight title in the event. He also won the 200 final in 21.78. The Blue Jackets took third in the 4x100 relay (43.23).

Vault to the top

Starting off the day and nabbing Pinellas County's first state title was Calvary Christian's Morgan Brown in the Class A pole vault, clearing 11 feet.

Brown went three times at 11-7 but couldn't clear the height that was 3 inches off her 11-4 from the Karl Flammer Invite.

It marked Brown's first state title since she ruptured a ligament in her ankle in 2015.

The Warrior girls rose to fourth place in Class A with 38 points. Admiral Farragut's girls, coming off their 2015 state title, took third with 51. East Lake's girls tied for sixth in 3A with 21.

"The wind affected my plant a little bit but you've gotta work through the wind," Brown said. "I'm excited. Now I have all summer to work and improve for the junior Olympics in Jacksonville."

No catching Brookover

Adding to her title in the 3,200 and runnerup finish in the 800, Calvary Christian's Hannah Brookover got out front early in the Class A 1,600 — and never let up. Shorecrest's Olivia Rovin gave chase for a while and Oak Hall's Grace Blair held on the longest, but neither could keep up with Brookover as she cut the tape at 5:06.66.

"Sometimes these races are more tactical. This wasn't close to the time I wanted," Brookover said. "I didn't know the wind was that strong until I got out there."

Rovin took third in 5:14.17.

In the Class 3A 1,600, Jennifer Lima ran a personal-best and school-record 5:06.24, to take fourth place. Lima nearly missed the event as she misplaced her racing bib and scrambled to find a new one.

Clearwater's Sean Heera moved up from sixth place on the last turn and down the final straightaway to grab third in the boys' 1,600 (4:22.71).

Underdogs' day

The Shorecrest 4x800 relay shattered odds and expectations. The Charger boys only took third place at regionals, patching together a substitute-heavy squad that was good enough to take third and qualify.

"We came to (Devin Fabian's) house that Thursday, woke him up and told him he was running the relay," third-leg Justin Scoby said.

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Fabian got the boys through as open 800 champ Luke Peterson was sick. Peterson slotted back into the relay on Saturday and the boys sailed through the slower heat in 8:20.11 only to find that Maclay, in the fast heat, only managed an 8:22.93.

"I was standing on the bleachers, watching the time when I saw Maclay at 8:21 and then I saw everyone freaking out," second-leg Casey Cureton said.

Standout AFA girls

Admiral Farragut's Katie Barnett battled through a stress fracture in her foot to claim the Class A triple jump title at 37-9.5.

"The foot was feeling better. I think I was more excited and that helped me get over the pain," Barnett said. "I wish it would have been 40 (feet) but I'll take it."

Freshman Jazmine Alderman took third in the 100 (12.72) and second in the 200 (25.49). She and Barnett teamed up to take fourth in the 4x100m relay.

Ashaunti Brown was third in the shot put (37-11).

Other county notables

The Lakewood boys placed fourth in the 2A 4x100 relay (42.11). The Spartans' Jamesha Moorer was fourth in the girls 100 (12.11) but pulled her hamstring and scratched out of the 200. She was able to help the 4x100 relay to third place in 48.10.

Northside Christian had a big day in the hurdles as sophomore Tyler Rhodes and seniors Ben Knox and Jeff Goodwin went 2-4-7 in the 110s. Rhodes led the way in 15.40.

"It pretty exciting, shocking that we've done this well, but I was glad to have this season with them," Goodwin said.

East Lake's Cieanna Nichols was fourth in the 3A 400 (57.09).

North Suncoast stars

The North Suncoast crowned two champions. The first title went to Bishop McLaughlin's Owen Clanahan, who won the Class A 300 hurdles in 38.65. The second went to Hernando's Trevor Foley in the 2A 1,600.

Foley battled through a dense pack to slip into the lead, heading into the fourth lap when he was spiked by another runner in close proximity, stumbled but managed to keep his balance. Foley still had to deal with Lincoln Park's Caleb Pottorff right on his heels.

"I got scared with him right there that I might get kicked again," Foley said. "I knew if I had the lead with 400 meters to go, I knew I could out-kick everyone."

Foley set a personal record with his 4:18.98 by more than five seconds and was just one second off Hernando County and Hernando High record.

Ridgewood junior Brandon Schultz placed second in the 110 hurdles (14.65), just .02 behind the champion.

Nature Coast senior Ashley Gentz, who set a personal record in the long jump on Friday, set another PR on Saturday, taking fourth in the 2A 400 (57.58). Gentz ran a slightly better prelim time Friday, her 57.18 setting a personal and school record.

"I'm happy with how my last high school meet has gone; two PRs is a great finish," Gentz said.