Add Hallandale sophomore Kimani Rushing and Miami Jackson’s Tyrone Thornton to the short list of track superstars capable of singlehandedly carrying a team to a state title.
In further proof they have joined that select company, Rushing and Thornton each had three captivating victories on Saturday to leave a Hallandale Invitational crowd buzzing.
Rushing, clocked a new U.S. No. 1 13.87 in the 100 hurdles, a U.S. No. 4 42.80 in the 300 hurdles and a U.S. No. 5 39-3 in the triple jump, an event she came in ranked No. 2 in the U.S. (41-0).
Hallandale coach John Battle III, as good a talent evaluator and motivator in the business, projected Rushing would be a star in the hurdles and triple jump despite never competing in those events before transferring this season.
The nationally-ranked results has given Rushing the cache to be known much more than just the younger sister of her star receiver brother George Rushing, a Wisconsin commit.
“Every meet I surprise myself,” Rushing said. “I trust in myself to know I’m getting faster and faster, and one day I will have all these fantastic times. It was time to step up and make a name for myself. No one calls me George’s little sister any more. Now they say, ‘Hey, that’s Kimani Rushing.’ ”
Thornton, meanwhile, looked in post-season form by winning the 100 in a Florida No. 5 10.57 and then returning to reel in Westminster Academy’s rising star Andrew James with 40 meters left for a come-from behind victory in the 200. Thornton finished in a Florida No. 2 21.26 and James, who won the 400, took second in 21.53.
Thornton warmed up for his tour-de-force performance in the crowd favorite sprints by winning the long jump in 21-7.
“This is my year,’’ Thornton said. “It makes me feel good that coach made me a captain. I told my coach I will put the team on my back. It’s my team and my time to shine.”
Hallandale’s John Battle IV, an LSU football recruit went 1-3 in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles with his grandmother and grandfather providing an endearing video and film tag team capturing John’s final Hallandale Invitational performance.
Miami Jackson’s James Alexander and Christopher Mainer had career-best days to sweep the shot put and discus titles, respectively. Alexander threw 53-3 to set a meet record and Mainer went 138-11.
Boyd Anderson got victories from Javon Patterson (800) and Phillip Lee (high jump and triple jump) to win the boys’ team title.
Southridge’s scintillating come-from-behind victory in the boys’ 1,600 relay provided the fitting finish to an adrenaline-packed meet. Following exchanges from Ronald Beasley, Ki-Jana King and Tyler Johnson, first year runner Johnny McIntyre reeled in three runners on the anchor leg to cap the Spartans rally. After crossing the line, teammates converged on McIntyre to offer chest bumps and high fives in celebration.
“At the time I got the baton I was like, “I have to win for my team.’’ McIntyre said. “I want to make my mother proud. I want to win. This brought my team’s spirit up. To see one of their rookies coming through. “
Westminster Academy Brandon Berajano won the 1,600 and 3,200 before returning to run a pivotal second leg on the Lions’ third-place 1,600 relay team.
Miami Jackson freshman star Daesha Rogers bounced back from an uncharacteristic fifth-place finish in the 1,600 and second place finish in the 800 at the Sam Burley Invitational to win both races convincingly.
Southridge rising freshman Symone Mason helped the Spartans dominate the girls’ sprints by winning the 100 (11.96) and then returning with Dominique Bullock, Naya Quinones and Destiny Woodard to win the 400 meter relay in 47.41.