South Plantation star football recruits John Franklin and Alex Collins have some track state championship hardware to collect before hitting the college gridiron full-time.
Franklin recruited Collins to run the 400-meter relay this season and the payoff continued on Thursday with the Paladins, along with Taj Thomas and Rodick Archer winning the Region 3-4A title in a Florida No. 6 41.30 at Palm Beach Dwyer High School.
“It was hard getting him out here at first,” said Franklin, who is headed to FSU.
“I talked him into doing it. Once he saw what we could do he was on board. “For us to go out together our senior year, with a gold medal hopefully, would be a great way.”
Franklin warmed up for his scintillating anchor leg by winning the 100-meter dash in 10.83.
South Broward’s Khalil Henderson and DeAndre Henderson went 1-3 in the boys’ 200 meters but it took Kahlil recovering from a poor start and unleashing his patented kick on the straightaway to win in 21.37.
“I had a bad takeoff,” Kahlil Henderson said.
“I didn’t run the time I wanted to. My pickoff is really good so I used that to my advantage.
“I really won’t look past anybody next week because anything can happen.”
Khalil Henderson returned to anchor the Bulldogs’ 1,600-meter relay team to victory.
The St. Thomas Aquinas girls’ team beat reigning state champion Boyd Anderson 185-126 for the region title, setting up what should be a two-way battle for the Class 4A State Finals at the University of North Florida on May 4.
Meanwhile, the St. Thomas Aquinas boys’ team, possibly closing in on a sixth consecutive state title, piled up 112.50 points to win the Region title.
The top four finishers qualify for the FHSAA Class 4A State Finals.
It was all business for Boyd Anderson’s Daeshon Gordon, the reigning 100 hurdles state champion, who set herself up for a hurdles state sweep with a double victory.
“Winning both hurdles was big because every point counts,” Gordon said.
“I’m just doing my part. I can only go stronger next week and drop my times.
“The 100 hurdles is my title. That is all I can say. It’s my title.”
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Matthew Butler, in only his first season of running the 1,600 meters, stamped himself a state contender by winning that race in 4:22.50.
“This was great,” Butler said.
“I started off as an 800 runner so I am really glad that I can come into this new event and make myself proud.”
Miramar’s Jabari Hill stole some of the spotlight by finishing second in the 110 high hurdles and then returning to win the 400 in 48.68.
But the 110 hurdles was where Boyd Anderson suffered its biggest disappointment when Deron Gordon, ranked No. 9 in the state, finished eighth and failed to qualify.
In the girls’ 200, St. Thomas Aquinas’ Krystal Sparling made things interesting by mounting a late charge on Boyd Anderson’s Kali Davis-White but Davis-White held on for the victory in 23.76 to complete a sweep of the sprints.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Kendall Ellis, a two-time defending 400 meter champion, won that event, finished third in the 200 and led the Raiders’ 1,600-relay team to victory.