JACKSONVILLE -- Five years and running with no end in sight.
That best describes Northwestern’s girls’ track team, which romped to a fifth consecutive team title Friday at the Class 3A state championships at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida. The Bulls also tied Belle Glade Glades Central for the most team championships in state history with 10.
Northwestern’s boys’ team came within one event of making it a double team win. The Bulls finished with 39 points, just eight points behind team champion Bartram Trail, which had 47 points — including a deciding 10-points in the final race of the day, the 4-by-400 relay. Northwestern did not have an entry.
The elements weren’t conducive to track and field. A cold rain that never let up until the final three events of the day, coupled with blustery winds left it difficult to run into the wind or to get good footing on some of the field events.
It was so bad with the high jump that only two competitors in the boys event managed to clear the opening height of 6 feet, and thus were the only two place-winners in the event.
But for the Northwestern girls’ team, it put the tough weather conditions behind and concentrated on winning events.
“This never gets old, winning championships,” said Altoniece Williams, who contributed points in both hurdle races and as the lead-off leg of the winning 4-by-400 relay team. “I’ve won four of these titles and have enjoyed every one of them. I think there’s more to come too. The teammates I’m leaving are good enough that they can win another one next year.”
Lloydricia Cameron led the way for the Lady Bulls with a double win in her specialty, the shot put and discus. Even the discus competition had to be halted for over an hour because of unsafe conditions.
Northwestern had plenty of support for Cameron. Akassja White had third- and fifth-place finishes in the discus and shot put respectively, and Jontavia Dykes also placed in both events. The Bulls scored a combined 35 points in the two events, nearly half of their winning total of 74 1/2 points. That was enough to surpass Hallandale’s 54 runner-up points and the 43 points from third-place finisher Pine Forest. No other team scored more than 21 points.
Northwestern added 13 points in the 100-meter hurdles by virtue of Williams’ second-place finish and a fourth from Yolanda Springer.
The Bulls put an emphatic stamp on their title with a winning effort in the 1,600 relay.
“It’s just a blessing that we’ve won four titles in a row,” said Springer, who ran the third leg of the relay. “Our coach, Carman Jackson, has pushed us forward and told us to stay focused all year. She never gave up on us, would always fuss, fuss, fuss for us to do right and now she’s pushing us seniors on to college.”
Northwestern’s boys’ team was the recipient of a double win from hurdler Artie Burns, who captured both the 110- and 300-meter hurdles to account for more than half of the Bulls’ 39 points. Running the hurdles in windy, wet conditions wasn’t an easy task said the Miami football commit.
“It was tough getting your footing and staying in control going over the hurdles,” he said. “That wind coming around the last turn on the 300 was really tough. The weather really had an affect on the race. I just tried to get into a zone and keep my timing right all the way through the last hurdle.