Best known as the son of Trish Butler, the NCAA All-American distance runner turned St. Thomas Aquinas cross-country coach, Raiders junior Matthew Butler made a name for himself in dramatic fashion Friday.
With Trish Butler shouting encouragement from the sidelines, Matthew Butler outsprinted Pembroke Pines Charter’s Carlos Panaranda in the last 50 meters to win the BCAA Championships boys’ title in a personal-best 16:39 at Markham Park.
“It seemed like a five-hour sprint,” said Matthew Butler, who led Aquinas to its seventh consecutive boys’ title. “It wasn’t ending. I was trying to catch up to the Pines Charter guy. I didn’t think I could do it. Then I heard my mom scream at me. Then I said, ‘Oh gosh, she will be mad at me if I don’t win this.’ My legs were dying, but I wouldn’t allow myself to lose to him.”
Panaranda’s teammate Andrew Iglesias, the 2011 BCAA champion was never a factor and finished 22nd opening the door for a new county champion to be crowned.
Matthew Butler had or shared the lead until the 2.5-mile mark when Panaranda surged ahead, leading to an all-out sprint for the title.
Panaranda finished second in 16:40, although a mixup with his number going through the chute led to the official scorer refusing to recognize him as the BCAA runner-up.
But Jaguars coach Joe Hazera said a photo taken at the end of the race confirmed Panaranda wore the correct number, restoring his second-place finish.
Coral Glades’ Anthony Deleva (16:45) finished third.
“I wouldn’t give this up for anything,” an elated Panaranda said. “I have only been running for 10 months. For two weeks, my mind-set was to win this. I always imagine coming across the line and finishing first, but second place is good.”
Meanwhile, St. Thomas Aquinas star freshman Alexa Cruz started what she hopes will be a four-year BCAA reign by winning the girls’ title in 19:09.
“I am so excited that I won,” Cruz said. “This is just a big encouragement booster. It would mean a lot to win this race all four years. I just have to keep working hard.”
Looking every bit the No. 1-ranked team in 4A, Aquinas went 1-2-4-5 behind Cruz, Marina Braynon-Moore (19:39), Brianna Rischar and Megan Schloss to score 20 points and secure its third consecutive girls’ title.
BCAA Championships – Girls’ top 10 finishers – 1. Alexa Cruz (STA) 19:09, 2. Braynon-Moore (STA) 19:39, 3. McNeal (CB) 20:02, 4. Rischar (STA) 20:17, 5. Schloss (STA) 20:34, 6. Rodriguez (CG) 20:42, 7. Funquee (Monarch) 20:48, 8. Kloepfer (STA) 21:17, 9. Prock (Mon) 21:24, 10. Reynolds (CB) 21:30. Top 5 teams: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 20, 2. Cardinal Gibbons 65, 3. Cypress Bay 77, 4. Douglas 137, 5. Coral Springs 192. Boys’ top 10 finishers – 1. Matthew Butler (STA) 16:39, 2. Carlos Panaranda (PPC) 16:40, 3. Deleva (CGlades) 16:45, 4. Haugen (STA) 17:01, 5. Baglieri (Mon) 17:10, 6. Gimeaez-Beron (Nova) 17:17, 7. Oropeza (McA) 17:22, 8. Bell (CS) 17:23, 9. Lacy (SP) 17:30, 10. Ozery (Doug) 17:30. Top 5 teams: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 51, 2. Douglas 83, 3. Pines Charter 132, 4. Cooper City 163, 5. Cardinal Gibbons 223, 6. Cypress Bay 231.
• American Heritage 51, Pompano Beach 6: Pompano Beach was unable to contain American Heritage’s big-play offense as the Patriots rolled to a district win.
The Patriots (6-1, 2-0) relied on their offensive stars to keep the Golden Tornadoes (0-8, 0-3) winless.
Tyler Cogswell finished the game with 142 yards passing and three touchdowns — all to Isaiah McKenzie. Sony Michel added 93 rushing yards and two scores.
• Hallandale 33, Stranahan 0: Tyler Huntley passed for 221 yards and four touchdowns as host Hallandale blanked Stranahan.
Huntley was 10 of 17 with no interceptions, and Hallandale amassed 365 yards in total offense.
The Chargers (3-4) took advantage of two Hussein Gordon touchdown receptions from 13 and 14 yards out, and cashed in on Tyrone McGowan’s 60-yard scoring catch to blow the game wide open. Paul Anderson also caught a 24-yard touchdown pass, and Taj McGowan ran for a 2-yard score in Hallandale’s homecoming win.
Stranahan (1-7) rushed for 119 yards, but had trouble moving the ball past midfield on Hallandale’s charged-up defense. Braxton Davis ran for 43 yards on 11 carries for the Mighty Dragons.
• Inlet Grove 25, Somerset Academy 6: J’Quan Napier threw all four of his touchdowns to Shawun Lurry as the visitors from Riviera Beach spoiled the Panthers’ homecoming.
Napier threw for 272 yards, completing 8 of 12 passes, as he connected with Lurry with scoring plays of 37, 80, 25 and 55 yards. Lurry led the Hurricanes (5-3) with 210 receiving yards on five catches. He caught three of his touchdowns in the first half.
Deion Pierre led the Panthers (1-6) with 110 rushing yards on 16 carries. His 13-yard run midway in the third quarter avoided the shutout.
• Monarch d. Fort Lauderdale 25-11, 25-6, 25-20: Shaybre Davis 9 kills, 3 blocks. Amanda Sinatra 16 assists, 11 points, 4 aces. Mon 14-3.
Northeast at Blanche Ely, 7
Smoothie King Invitational - Consolations: 8:30 a.m.; Copper/Bronze finals: 12:15; Silver final: 4; Gold final: 5:15