JACKSONVILLE -- For a pair of Dade Christian athletes, a matter of inches meant the difference between a state title and a runner-up finish Friday at the Class 1A state track and field championships held at the University of North Florida.
Jonathan Saintil was less than 14 inches behind the winning effort of Austin Warren of Mount Dora Bible who had a jump of 46-4. Warren cleared 46 feet on three of his four jumps, electing to pass on his last two tries. Saintil, knowing he had to hit a personal best to win the event, instead fouled three times while trying to get the maximum distance on his jumps.
“That wasn’t my best jump of the season, but I kept trying,” the junior jumper said. “He hit that 46-foot mark right from the start.
“I had to dig deep and try to hit that but I couldn’t get there. I scratched a couple times and that hurt my chances.
“Austin and I are good friends. He’s a good jumper so I knew it would be a good competition.
“I beat him at a meet at Disney a couple of weeks ago and was hoping I could repeat that here and win a state title.”
Also earning runner-up honors was shot putter Andrew Florvil who was a mere one-quarter of an inch behind the winner, Dwight Tucker of Lake Mary Prep. Tucker’s toss of 51’4” just edged out Florvil, who had won a competition between the two in an earlier meet this year.
It was the second heart-breaking disappointment at the state high school level this academic year for Florvil. Last fall, Dade Christian fell short to University Christian of Jacksonville in the Class 1A football championship.
Since that game, Florvil dropped 30 pounds from his 230-pound playing weight as a running back. He didn’t like the heavier weight and wanted to compete in track closer to 200 pounds.
“I actually beat him with a better throw on my last throw but I scratched, Florvil said. “I threw it 53 feet and that’s what I was aiming for. I could have won a state championship and set a school record if I hadn’t scratched on that last throw.”
It marked the second year in a row that Florvil lost out on a state title in the last round of throws in the shot put competition. A year ago, he was leading the event but was passed by two others on their final throw of the night.”
“So I’m kind of used to the upsets,” he said with a little laugh to ease the pain of how close he was to winning a state title.
“The upsets, they come and they go. I’m kind of used to [them].
“But one thing about me, I’m not going to stop trying until I finish my goals. I will finish them.”
Saintil and Florvil’s runner-up finishes were matched by Dade Christian’s second-place finish in the 1,600 relay. Those three close finishes accounted for 24 of the team’s 34 points. The relay team, which finished just over a second behind Calvary Christian of Fort Lauderdale, jumped three other teams with the runner-up finish to grab a third place team finish in the meet.
Holy Trinity won the boys’ title with 80 points with First Academy of Orlando taking second with 61.5 points.
Florvil will now concentrate on which college to attend. He’s narrowed his choices to Kentucky Christian University (and Trinity International.
“I’ll make my decision in about a week. I’m thinking about doing track in college, I’m just not sure.” He said.