Track and field | Season preview

American squad in race to join elite group

 

Season overview

Key dates

Feb. 21-22: Louie Bing Invitational at Traz Powell.

Feb. 28-March 1: Sam Burley Invitational at Southridge.

March 8: Bill Wilson Invitational in Sebastien; Crusader Invitational at Dade Christian; Falcon Invitational at Ferguson; Hallandale Invitational

March 15: Bob Hayes Invitational at Jacksonville; Disney Showcase in Kissimmee

March 18-19, 21: GMAC championship

March 21-22: FSU Invitational

April 3-5: Pepsi Florida Relays in Gainesville

April 5: Youth Fair championship

April 7-12: Districts (Class 2A-1A)

April 14-19: Districts (Class 3A-4A)

April 16-19: Regionals (Class 2A-1A)

April 23-26: Regionals (Class 3A-4A)

May 2: State championship at University of North Florida (Class 1A-2A)

May 3: State championship at University of North Florida (Class 3A-4A)

Defending state champions

Boys — Class 4A: Orlando Olympia; 3A: Jacksonville Bartram Trail; 2A: St. Pete Lakewood; 1A: Melbourne Holy Trinity.

Girls — Class 4A: Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas; 3A: Northwestern; 2A: Plantation American Heritage; 1A: Maclay.

Top returning boys

Christian Williams, American, Sr. (High jump); Tyrone Thornton, Jackson, Sr. (long jump); Fred Jones, Central, Sr. (discus, shot put); Deltron Hopkins, Booker T., Sr. (100, 200); Krondis Larry, Booker T., Sr. (400, 100); Vaquan Small, Booker T., Sr. (800, 1600); Nigel Patten, Booker T., Sr. (100, 200, 400); Nick Diaz, Sunset, Jr. (1600, 3200); Kenny Castro, Sunset, Sr. (1600, 3200); Amir Rasul, Columbus, So. (100, 200).

Top returning girls

Nati Sheppard, Ransom, Jr. (pole vault); Lloydricia Cameron, Northwestern, Sr. (shot put, discus); Lauren Archer, Ransom, So. (800, 1600); Lourdes Brea, Lourdes, Sr. (3200); Kimani Austin-Reese, Central, Sr. (hurdles); Daesha Rogers, Jackson, Fr. (800, 1600); Symone Mason, Southridge, Fr. (100, 200, 400); Dominique Bullock, Southridge, Sr. (long jump); Katrina Santiago, Ferguson, Sr. (1600, 3200).

Boys’ season outlooks

CLASS 4A

1. AMERICAN (Coach Enrico Knowles, 10th year at AM, 13th overall). Last year: 10-2 (Regional champs). Top athletes: Christian Williams, Sr. (HJ, LJ); Ari Cogdell, Jr. (400); Wisdom Offor, Sr. (TJ); Ed Crouch, Sr. (100).

2. COLUMBUS (Coach Fred Foyo, 31st year). Last year: Regional runner-up. Top athletes: Amir Rasul, So. (100, 200); Humberto Freire, So. (800); Antonio Arzola, Sr. (800); Ryan Severdija, Sr. (800).

3. SOUTHRIDGE (Coach Rodney Wright, 10th year at SR, 11th overall, 224-0). Last year: 10-0. Top athletes: Tyler Johnson, Jr. (400); Omar Williams, Sr. (800); Ki-Jana King, Sr. (400).

4. FERGUSON (Coach Ryan Raposo, 6th year, 51-4). Last year: 8-1. Top athletes: David Claro, Sr. (HJ); Sean Carranza, Sr. (PV); Julian Sanabria, Jr. (100, 200, 400); Santiago Saiki, Sr. (3200).

5. SUNSET (Coach Alex Shaw, 2nd year). Last year: District runner-up. Top athletes: Nick Diaz, Jr. (1600, 3200); Ronny Greenup, Sr. (1600, 3200); Kenny Castro, Sr. (1600, 3200); Malik Gunter, Jr. (800).

6. CORAL PARK (Coach Dane Ireson, 4th year at CP, 7th overall). Last year: 7-0. Top athletes: Nayran Fernandez, Sr. (HJ, LJ); Leonel Pozo, Sr. (1600, 3200); Christian Marenco, Sr. (800, 1600); Hermes Espinosa, Sr. (shot put).

7. DR. KROP (Coach Danac Labrun, 4th year). Last year: 17-21. Top athletes: Francisco Trujillo, Sr. (300H, 800, discus); Robert Henderson, Jr. (100, 200); Malcolm Martin, Jr. (LJ, TJ); Ryan Jackson, Jr. (hurdles).

8. BRADDOCK (Coach Juan Torres, 8th year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Christian Linares, Jr. (110H); Lazaro Cespedes, Jr. (100); Alvaro Rivandeneira, Sr. (800); Terry Hilton, Jr. (400).

9. PALMETTO (Coach Bryant). Last year: 0-7. Top athletes: Aaron Maxwell, Jr. (3200); Kyohei Misawa, Jr. (1600); Andrew Lewis, Jr. (100); William Christian, So. (800).

CLASS 3A

1. BELEN JESUIT (Coach Victor Arrieta, 6th year, 85-0). Last year: 16-0 (Regional champions). Top athletes: Ryan Rodriguez, Jr. (1600, 3200); Fabian Tomas, Sr. (1600, 3200); Stephane Francoeur, Jr. (300H); Daniel Neptune, Sr. (hurdles).

2. MATER ACADEMY (Coach Al Parker, 10th year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Gilbert Rodriguez, Sr. (1600); Miguel Lescano, Sr. (800).

CLASS 2A

1. BOOKER T. WASHINGTON (Coach Tim Harris Jr., 4th year). Last year: State runner-up. Top athletes: Deltron Hopkins, Sr. (100, 200); Krondis Larry, Sr. (100, 400); Vaquan Small, Jr. (800, 1600); Nigel Bethel, Sr. (100, 200, 400).

2. MONSIGNOR PACE (Coach Johann Odermatt, 1st year at Pace, 8th overall). Last year: District runner-up. Top athletes: Peter Paul Grootens, Sr. (1600, 3200); Dimitri Wolf, Sr. (800, 1600); Chris Ventura, Jr. (3200); Robert Harding, Fr. (100, 200).

CLASS 1A

1. DADE CHRISTIAN (Coach Shavar Jackson). Last year: Third at state. Top athletes: Jonathan Saintil, Sr. (jumps); Caleb Mallory, Sr. (HJ, 800); Iverson Williams, Jr. (800, 1600); Blake Janvion, Jr. (300H).

2. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (Coach Greg Magner, 20th year). Last year: 12-0. Top athletes: Bryan McDonald, Sr. (shot, discus); Nikko Antido, Sr. (800, 1600); Germaine Small, Sr. (100, LJ); Isaacson Innocent, Sr. (300H).

3. WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN (Coach Jose Garcia, 2nd year, 3-1). Last year: 3-1. Top athletes: Shane Riera, Fr. (1600); Elbre Gaiter, So. (400); George Williams, So. (400); Hunter Ager, Jr. (1600).

Girls’ season outlook

CLASS 4A

1. FERGUSON (Coach Ryan Raposo, 7thyear, 69-4). Last year: 11-0 (Regional runner-up). Top athletes: Katrina Santiago, Sr. (1600, 3200); Sydney Molina, Sr. (shot, discus); Kamaria Johnson, Jr. (100H, jumps); Lauren Gavulic, Jr. (800, 1600).

2. SOUTHRIDGE (Coach Dja Dugue, 6th year at SR, 8th overall, 71-3). Last year: 12-0 (Fifth at state). Top athletes: Symone Mason, Fr. (100, 200, 400); Dominique Bullock, Sr. (LJ); Reanna Payne, Sr. (100H); Kayla Johnson, Fr. (400).

3. LOURDES (Coach Tammy King-Foster, 7th year at LOU, 14th overall). Last year: District champions. Top athletes: Luly Brea, Sr. (1600, 3200); Sabrina Quijano, Fr. (800, 3200); Lianna Farnesi, So. (1600, 3200); Calyope Ortega, Fr. (3200).

4. DR. KROP (Coach Cythina Reynalds, 3rd year). Last year: District runner-up. Top athletes: Shirley Thesluma, Sr. (400); Jay McDowell, Fr. (800); Chelsea Lewis, So. (800); Tonie Jean, Sr. (discus).

5. CORAL PARK (Coach Mark Formosa, 6th year). Last year: 6-1. Top athletes: Ashley Pozo, Sr. (3200, 1600); Katherine Alzola, Jr. (800, 1600); Yessica Maltes, Sr. (1600); Laura Campo, Sr. (1600).

6. PALMETTO (Coach Reynolds, 2nd year, 0-7). Last year: 0-7. Top athletes: Katherine Heldt, Jr. (3200); Brianna Campos, Sr. (100); Shelby Reamer, So. (200).

7. BRADDOCK (Coach Carlos Cano, 1st year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Savanah Meghens, Jr. (400); Joyce Caba, Jr. (3200); Lorena Garcia, Sr. (400); Natalie Fernandez, Sr. (1600).

CLASS 3A

1. NORTHWESTERN (Coach Carmen Jackson). Last year: State champions. Top athletes: Lloydricia Cameron, Sr. (shot, discus).

2. MATER ACADEMY (Coach Al Parker, 10th year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Ulani Toussaint, 8th (200, 400); Venus Garcia, So. (1600).

3. MOURNING (Coach Andrew Bloodsaw, 2nd year at ATM, 7th overall). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Silvia Candio, Jr. (100, 200); Stephanie Jimenez, Jr. (800); Britany Benjamin, Sr. (400); Sasha Pierre, Sr. (LJ).

CLASS 2A

1. RANSOM EVERGLADES (Coach Mike Becker, 10th year at RE, 31st overall). Last year: District champions. Top athletes: Lauren Archer, So. (800); Nati Sheppard, Jr. (PV); Debbie Ajagbe, Fr. (shot, discus); Beatriz Ruan, Fr. (3200).

2. CARROLLTON (Coach David Alonso). Last year: 4-3. Top athletes: Sofia Miguez, So. (800); Andrea Zumpano, So. (800); Niki Kolisch, So. (3200); Taty Minnis, Fr. (400).

3. MONSIGNOR PACE (Coach Johann Odermatt, 1st year at MP, 9th overall). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Daiza Jones, Jr. (100); Nina Pulley, Sr. (400); Natalie Fernandez, Jr. (1600); Naja Murphy, So. (800).

CLASS 1A

1. WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN (Coach Jose Garcia, 2nd year, 4-1). Last year: 4-1. Top athletes: Victoria Hoppe, Jr. (1600, 800); Natasha Strump, Fr. (1600, 800); Dana Thomas, Sr. (3200); Alexandra Machado, Jr. (hurdles).

2. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (Coach Greg Magner, 20th year). Last year: 9-2. Top athletes: Carmen Pierre, Jr. (100); Anasthasia Portier, Sr. (200); Katiana Desarmes, Jr. (shot, discus); Carmita Lucien, Fr. (100, 200).

3. PALMER TRINITY (Coach Jan Murphy, 6th year at PT, 32nd overall). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Janelle Gonzalez, Jr. (800).


a1fernandez@MiamiHerald.com

Booker T. Washington, Northwestern, Central and Jackson all have several things in common in boys’ track and field.

All four schools have won state championships.

All are still strong contenders to win another this season.

And all have on-campus tracks to develop their stars.

There is a new school hoping to join those ranks that has had to take a tougher road to contention.

Fresh off its first regional championship last season, American returns a boys’ squad with plenty of potential to make a run at a state championship in Class 4A.

But the Patriots have developed over the past four years without an on-campus track or jump pits.

Instead, American coach Enrico Knowles’ squad travels to nearby tracks, parks or schools so his kids can train.

“We often go places nearby, or schools like Dade Christian are really good to us and let us use the high jump pits there to practice,” said Knowles, an American alumnus who ran track at the University of Mississippi. “I train my kids not to give excuses. They don’t complain and just go and make it happen.”

That “grind” has produced two high jump state champions in recent years at American. The first was Willie Bromell, who is now at Florida A&M University.

Christian Williams, a returning senior, became the second last season after jumping a height of 6-6 at the Class 4A state meet.

Williams, also a solid long jumper, leads American’s field event contingent, along with senior triple-jumper Wisdom Offor. But the Patriots should be strong again on the track as well

.

Junior Ari Cogdell, a regional champion in the 400 meters, is back along with juniors Kevin Turner, Kareem Bullard and senior Darius Fortune. Senior Ed Crouch will run the 100 meters, and senior Tristan Enriquez will run distance.

American should be particularly strong in the 800 meters with the addition of Yohance Haynes, a transfer from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, and Dawun Hilton, a transfer from Pace.

American only has won two state championships in the school’s history — girls’ basketball (1982) and boys’ soccer (1999).

“It would be something unheard of at this school especially the way we’d be able to do it,” Knowles said. “We want to show how hard we had to work to get to this point.”

Pure speed

Fresh off its national championship in football, Booker T. Washington is the top-ranked team in Miami-Dade County and the favorite to win the boys’ Class 2A title this season.

A year after coming up one point short of the championship to St. Petersburg Lakewood, the Tornadoes bring back nearly all of their track stars, who were also once again vital to the football team’s success.

Seniors Deltron Hopkins, Krondis Larry, Nigel Bethel and Terrawn McPhee are all title contenders in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, as well as the speed relays.

Junior Vaquan Small and senior Damas Petit are strong in the 800 meters and the mile, respectively, and should give the Tornadoes an overall strong team that can contend with anyone statewide when the finals begin.

Bulls are back

Led by senior thrower Lloydricia Cameron, a defending state champion in the shot put and discus, Northwestern is are favored to once again top the podium at the Class 3A meet.

If the Bulls win, it would be their sixth state title in a row and 11th overall, which would give them the most of any program in the state if Belle Glade Glades Central doesn’t also win its 11th this season.

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

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