American Heritage senior sprinter Jerimy Strainge has plans to throw down the gauntlet in his first return to the Florida Relays on Saturday since a hamstring pull at the 2011 Florida Relays knocked him off the radar.
“Going back to Florida Relays and stepping on that track will be amazing,” Strainge said. “I know what it felt like to go against Marvin Bracy and then get hurt. That was the end of everything. I want to make a huge statement. I want our 400 relay team to run the fastest time in the nation.”
The Patriots’ quartet of Khari Herbert, Isaiah McKenzie, Torrance Gibson and Strainge clocked a nation-leading 41.01 on March 9 but have since been supplanted by the 40.84 turned in by Edna Carr Magnet (La.).
If the conditions at Percy Beard Track are ideal, Heritage coach Corey Hicks believes the Patriots have a chance at eclipsing the state record (40.54) and national record (39.76).
A freshman phenom at North Broward where he won Class 2A state titles in the 100 and 200 meters, Strainge became somewhat of a forgotten sprint star after pulling up in a star-studded Florida Relays sprint showdown and then missing his junior season to rehabilitate.
But Strainge reintroduced himself in dramatic fashion at the City of Miramar Invitational when his scintillating anchor leg propelled the Patriots to its school record of 41.01.
“The injury was a dark point in Jerimy’s life,” Hicks said. “When he was state champion everybody was calling him for workouts. All of a sudden you hear from no one. I am looking forward to Jerimy doing what he does best and shake things up. I feel he is in the best condition that he has been in.”
Heritage’s bid for a repeat state boys title got a huge boost this past Summer when Strainge transferred from North Broward Prep, a move which reunited him with Hicks, his coach at North Broward.
Since Strainge underwent hip surgery, Hicks has incorporated more stretching and less weights into Strainge’s workout program. The result has been a more sleek-looking and flexible Strainge who appears to have rid himself of the hamstring pulls that plagued his young career.
The plan to focus on the 200, 400 and 1,600 relay this season and not run the 100 until the state qualifiers is aimed at building Strainge’s strength and stamina. Strainge currently owns the state’s No. 16 time in the 200 (21.40), off his career-best 21.16 but promises to be ready to reclaim his spot among the state’s elite sprinters at the State Finals.
“I have something to prove to myself and my family,” Strainge said. “I’m going to be better than the old Jerimy Strainge. Way better.”
Both Sagemont boys and girls teams won the District 14-1A finals at Woodmont Country Club Thursday.
For the Lion boys it is nothing extraordinary as they have now won 10 consecutive district titles including a Class 1A state championship in 2011. For the Sagemont girls, it’s something entirely different.
Coach Steven Browne’s girls only had four players on the roster two seasons ago, not enough for Browne to play someone at each of the five singles positions and barely enough for him to formulate two doubles units.
That team fought hard just to finish third in district finals, a remarkable feat given how the numbers were stacked against it.