Track & Field | Season preview

Top runners chasing glory

 

Sprinters Kendall Ellis, Kali Davis-White and Deja Parrish are in pursuit of records and titles in a bid to create their own legacies.

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SEASON OVERVIEW

Top 10 Girls’ teams

1. St. Thomas Aquinas

2. Boyd Anderson

3. American Heritage

4. Hallandale

5. Calvary Christian

6. Nova

7. Dillard

8. Flanagan

9. Blanche Ely

10. Pine Crest

Top 10 Boys’ teams

1. St. Thomas Aquinas

2. American Heritage

3. Hallandale

4. Flanagan

5. Boyd Anderson

6. Blanche Ely

7. Dillard

8. Fort Lauderdale

9. Calvary Christian

10. Westminster Academy

Reigning state champions

GIRLS — 1A: Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian. 2A: American Heritage. 3A: Miami Northwestern. 4A: Boyd Anderson.

BOYS — 1A: Holy Trinity. 2A: American Heritage. 3A: Bartram Trail. 4A: St. Thomas Aquinas.

Key dates

Feb. 22-23: Louie Bing Invitational (Traz Powell).

March 1-2: Sam Burley Invitational (Southridge).

March 2: Pine Crest Panther Relays, Archbishop McCarthy Big Blue Invitational.

March 9: Miramar Invitational (Ansin Sports Complex); Hallandale Invitational, Dade Christian Crusaders Invitational.

March 13: Fort Lauderdale City Championships.

March 15-16: Hurricane Invitational (Miami).

March 23: BACA Championships (Dillard).

April 4-6: Florida Relays (Gainesville).

April 8-13: Districts (1A-2A).

April 15-20: Districts (3A-4A).

April 17-20: Regionals (1A-2A).

April 24-27: Regionals (3A-4A).

April 26: Class 1A state finals (Jacksonville University).

April 27: Class 2A state finals.

May 3: Class 3A state finals.

May 4: Class 4A state finals.

RETURNING BROWARD STATE INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONS

Walter Tucker, American Heritage, Sr., 110 hurdles; Ryan Davis, Highlands Christian, Sr., 300 hurdles; Kendall Ellis, St. Thomas, Jr., 400; Daesha Rogers, American Heritage, 8th grader, 800; 1,600; Emily Gale, Calvary Christian, Sr., pole vault; Daeshon Gordon, Boyd Anderson, Jr., 100 hurdles; Khadeeja Dooling, American Heritage, Sr., 300 hurdles.

GIRLS’ ATHLETES TO WATCH

American Heritage: Deja Parrish, Daesha Rogers, Diamond Spauding, Khadeeja Dooling, Rachelle Alexander; Boyd Anderson: Kali Davis-White, Daeshon Gordon, Camora Sanders, Chyna-Joi Staton, Widline Lageroy, Sapphire Daniel; Calvary Christian: Emily Gale, Amanda Gale, Rachel Sieradzan, Alia Hammer, Ebony Brown; Cardinal Gibbons: Morgan Rodriguez, Victoria Vigarino, Brittany Morgan, Ashley Wilson, Kimani Rushing; Cypress Bay: Katherine Macneal, Lauren Reynolds, Jacky Huchler, Harmony Grace, Carala Daza; Dillard: Shakima Wimbley, Brianna Allen, Shankese Shivers, Jasmine Nicolas; Flanagan: Laura Morency, Deja Bush, Dominique Edwards, Shayan Pottinger-Wood, Nadia Francis; Hallandale: Edquisha Alvin, Lamisha Simmons, Tanish Hardy, Regine Williams, Lia King; North Broward Prep: Kayla Burke, Jenna Shortridge, Katie Pinnell, Dana Hernandez; Pine Crest: Julia Montgomery, Mellissa Chang, Savanna Gornisiewicz, Natalie Lindo, Hannah Montague, Ella Wurth, Nyla Lindo; Pompano Beach: Tyra Frazier, Brandi Taylor, Danyae Hamilton, Junivia Jeffers; St. Thomas Aquinas: Kendall Ellis, Nastolgia Smith, Kailin Houston, Narinah Jean-Baptiste, Christina Kalis, Toria Levy, Krystal Sparling; University School: Kaela Fennall-Chin; Westminster Academy: Amanda Baker, Brooke Oman, Mary Margaret Schmidt, Kristen Selbach, Georgia Smith.

BOYS’ ATHLETES TO WATCH

American Heritage: Jerimy Strainge, Walter Tucker, Khari Herbert, Torrance Gibson, Isaiah McKenzie, Sony Michel; Boyd Anderson: Javon Patterson; Cardinal Gibbons: Trevon Lee, Austin Blazs, Jake Roberts, Anthony Julmisse, Deon McIntosh; Calvary Christian: Asher Shashaty , Roger Pettingell. Nahel Abugattas, Bruce Brown; Flanagan: Lincoln Minto, Avonte Boykin, Juan Acosta, Chris Keel, Zach Evans; Dillard: Brandon Mosley, Rutchy Zephir, Dre’Sean Nelson, Joshua Williams, David Ware; Fort Lauderdale: Lamark Campbell; Hallandale: John Battle IV, Jaquez Wilson, Darmon Horne, Antwum Musgrove, Joshua Hammond, Shammond Williams; North Broward Prep: Jack Klumpp, Max Shooster, Jason Shortridge, Adam DeVita, Michael Murray; Pine Crest: Matt Hernandez, Derek Logue, Alex Welch, Gareth Wilson, Ryan Welch; St. Thomas: Matthew Butler, Dion Collier, Frederick Coppet, Maurice Dix, Yohance Haynes, Manuel Velasquez; University: Jordan Scarlett, Quincy Wilson, Matthew Nelson, Brandon Boyce, Rashard Causey; Westminster Academy: Ryan Rickel, David King, Matthew Sharpe, Chase Allsworth, David Osley, Elijah Thompson.


flyon@MiamiHerald.com

No matter how hard you tried, it would be hard to match three more diverse personalities than American Heritage’s Deja Parrish, Boyd Anderson’s Kali Davis-White and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Kendall Ellis, who each will represent Florida in the Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle on Sunday.

In contrast to the bubbly Davis-White, who keeps the mood light, Parrish is even keeled and Ellis is the cerebral student of track and field history.

As unique as this dynamic sprint trio appears, a desire to step out of the shadows of past superstars is the common goal that binds them.

Ellis chases the 400-meter state record of former St. Thomas Aquinas great Sanya Richards. Davis-White will try to replace former Cobras teammate Shayla Sanders as the Class 4A state champion in the 100 and 200. And Parrish appears to have an obstructed path to her first individual state sprint titles with the graduation of her Class 2A nemesis, former Miami Jackson superstar Robin Reynolds.

Davis-White, a FSU signee, finally gets the spotlight all to herself after forming the nation’s most formidable sprint duo with Sanders the past two seasons.

Davis-White, who will enter the season ranked No. 2 nationally in the 100 (11.45) and 200 (23.57) after helping Sanders lead the U.S. 400-meter relay team to gold at the IAAF World Junior Championships, will be tasked with helping Boyd Anderson defend its first girls’ track state title.

“Just realizing that Shayla, our captain, is gone, somebody has to take the torch,” said Davis-White, a state runner-up in the 100 and 200 last season. “I feel some responsibility because I know the ropes, of what it takes. I’m not worried about personal times this season.”

Already in select company by winning back-to-back 400-meter state titles in her freshman and sophomore seasons, Ellis (53.22) knows eclipsing Richards’ hallowed 52.51 — deemed untouchable by most, would cement her legacy.

“I don’t want athletes comparing themselves to Sanya, I want them comparing themselves to me,” Ellis said. “The fact that Sanya went to St. Thomas makes me want the record even more. I’m going for that record this season. It’s going to take the extra work.”

Ellis, who should play a huge role in Aquinas’ challenge to the Cobras’ reign in 4A, said the three sprint stars — early co-favorites for Runner of the Year along with American Heritage’s Daesha Rogers, should bring out the best in each other.

“The competition should push all of us,” Ellis said. “I think we all run very differently but we share that same mentality of going out there to win. It should be a battle every time we get out on the course.”

Early signs show Parrish, a key figure in the Patriots’ back-to-back state titles, is ready to add state titles in the 200 and 400, which Reynolds held a monopoly on last season.

Parrish opened the indoor season with a scintillating 57.13 (No. 10 nationally) to win the NCRunners Elite Holiday Invitational in North Carolina and then cruised to the Jimmy Carnes Meet title in 57.64. Parrish (53.20 in the 400, 23.94 in the 200 ) said she felt burdened the past two seasons with the constant comparisons to Reynolds, who capped her illustrious prep career with a state-record 14 individual state titles.

“This season I feel so relaxed,” Parrish said. “It’s going to be a great, all-around season. I can feel it. I’ve always felt this pressure of me and Robin going back and forth. This season I’m going to enjoy track and field more.”

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