JACKSONVILLE -- A blistering start in the 400 meters helped Dillard’s Shakima Wimbley earn her first state gold medal and even bragging rights with her fellow state champion brother Joshua on Friday.
Enduring storm-like conditions, the University of Miami prized recruit opened up a 15-meter lead at the 200-meter mark and held off a late charge from Hillsborough’s Jorian Ordway to win the FHSAA Class 3A state title in 55.69 seconds at the University of North Florida.
“It means a lot to me,” Shakima Wimbley said. “All the hard work I have done and all the times I didn’t get the gold or didn’t even qualify, my last year I got the gold.”
Joshua Wimbley, a 400-meter state champion for Piper in 2005, cheered his sister from the stands and later met her in the Hodges Stadium tunnel for a warm embrace.
“Just to see Shakima blossom into one of the elite athletes in the nation means everything to me,” Joshua said. “She was 10 when I won states and followed me to every track meet. I am a proud big brother.”
Shakima finally silenced the back-and-forth rivalry with Joshua by winning a gold medal to cap an undefeated season in which she posted a 53.67 (No. 3 time in the nation) and signed a letter of intent with the University of Miami.
“Josh has always been competitive about it,” Shakima Wimbley said. “I finally got the gold so now I can be like ‘Yeah I got it.’ He’s always talking trash about, ‘Oh I got the gold’ and all this stuff. So yes, that’s exciting. We’re equal now.”
Shakima Wimbley came back to finish third in the 200 meters.
Storm-like conditions spoiled any hope for state records and forced track officials to move up the finals start times.
Hallandale, behind its dynamic duo of Regine Williams — only three weeks removed from a car accident — and Lia King, made a valiant charge to upset heavy state favorite Miami Northwestern, but came up short.
Miami Northwestern finished with a rush to post a meet-high 74.50 points and Hallandale finished second with 54 points to secure its highest finish in history.
“I think our girls did a fantastic job dealing with all the adversity they had to do endure this season,” Hallandale coach John Battle said. “For them to come back and compete at a meet on a grand stage like this, through the weather and throughout the different distractions and maintain focus, they did a phenomenal job. They made history.”
Williams and King staked Hallandale to an early lead by going 1-2 in the long jump.
Williams also finished third in the 100, second in the 200 and then teamed with King to lead the Chargers’ 1,600 relay to a fourth-place finish.
King finished second in the triple jump (37-10.75) and third in the 100 hurdles.
“Lia brought out the best in me all season,” Williams said. “It felts good to have somebody take some of the pressure off me. Even if I didn’t do good in my event, I knew she would do well in hers.”
The Pines Charter 3,200 relay team of Timothy Taylor, Andrew Iglesias, Daniel Penaranda and Carlos Penaranda made good on its promise to give coach Joe Hazera his first top-three state finish with the Jaguars by clocking 8:07.35.
“That was a great honor,” Carlos Penaranda said. “I felt blessed able to give that to coach. We only have one senior so we’re going for it next year.”
Blanche Ely’s Reshard Robinson, an LSU football recruit, had a false start in the 100 finals to sink his bid to cap an undefeated season with a gold medal.
Robinson had an opportunity to redeem himself in the 200 but faltered rounding the curve and finished seventh in 21.98.
“I wasn’t nervous,’’ Robinson said. “I just wanted to send a statement that I was the fastest in the state. I jumped the gun and it ended it.”