In a blockbuster move, distance running phenom Daesha Rogers, who has won four individual state titles entering her freshman season, has left three-time defending state track champion Plantation American Heritage for Miami Jackson High School.
Rogers, a top contender for the FHSAA Class 2A state cross-country title, followed her father Dave Rogers, who accepted an assistant coaching position with Jackson this past summer.
While Dave Rogers expressed gratitude for Daesha to compete on the varsity level starting as a sixth-grader at Heritage, he cited the Patriots’ coaching turnover as the biggest factor in transferring Daesha to Jackson.
“Every time you turned around it was a coaching change at Heritage,’’ Dave Rogers said. “Daesha ran under two different cross-country coaches and three different track coaches there. That made it hard for her to build chemistry with those coaches. To go through those different coaches in transition was frustrating. You want the best for your kid.”
Daesha Rogers’ move to Jackson keeps her in Class 2A, where she enters with the No. 2 returning time (18 minutes 22.30 seconds) behind Pine Crest’s defending state champion Julia Montgomery (17:52.60). Rogers has a runner-up and third-place finish at states the past two seasons.
Rogers’ exit could be a crippling blow to the Patriots’ bid for a fifth consecutive state track title. The long-striding fan favorite wasted little time establishing herself as a rising force in the sixth grade and ultimately became the catalyst behind the Patriots’ championship run. During that span, Rogers won four individual state titles and led the Patriots’ 3,200-relay team to a pair of state victories.
This summer, Rogers raised the bar even higher, setting two AAU club national meet records in the 400 (55.82) and 800 (2:10.28) in the 14-year-old division before storming to a national 800-meter record (2:08.15), winning the 400 and 1,500 and then leading the Miami Dade Track Club to a national record in the 1,600 relay (3:47.28) at the AAU Junior Olympics.
Beyond her star power, Rogers’ lead-by-example work ethic has a way of raising the level of her teammates. That bodes well for a Generals program that views Rogers’ arrival in the same light as former Miami Jackson superstar Robin Reynolds, who won the most individual state track titles (14) in FHSAA history
“I think the move to Jackson will benefit Daesha,’’ Dave Rogers said. “Track is an individual sport first and then it becomes a team effort. She knows all the weight is on her shoulders. She knows what she is up against. We have a good coaching staff. Hopefully we can pull the best out of the kids there. The exciting part is getting other girls to compete with her.”