Up until the District 15-2A championships, Coral Springs Charter sophomore Calvin Jackson was best known as the son of former Dolphins defensive back Calvin Jackson and a promising receiver for the Panthers.
On Thursday, Jackson stepped out of his NFL playing father’s shadow in dramatic fashion by pulling off an upset victory in the 100 meters at Calvary Christian Academy.
Jackson got his quickest start out of the blocks of his young career and held off a hard-charging Calvary Christian’s Roger Pettingell, the favorite, to win in a personal-best 10.93 seconds.
“I am just trying to make it big, make it into regionals,” Jackson said. “I beat my personal-best 11 flat. I’m just running the 100 to get better for football. I had some butterflies [Thursday]. I didn’t even think I would make it to the finals. I’m flying under the radar. I want people to underestimate me.”
Pettingell finished second in 10.97 in the 100 but bounced back to win the 200 in 22.05.
The upsets continued in the girls’ 400-meter relay, where a strong anchor leg from Joe’Alle Claiborne led Gibbons’ Alexis Golden, Abigail Perry and Ashley Wilson to victory in 50.13. Claiborne also finished fourth in the 100 and long jump.
It was also a changing of the guard in the boys’ 400-meter relay, where Chaminade’s Nikkoli Jaghai, Najee Boyer, Lemuel Jones and Arthur Forest won in a season-best 42.89.
The top four finishers advance to the Region 4-2A championships on Wednesday at the Ansin Sports Complex.
American Heritage’s Deja Parrish, a Clemson signee, kept her bid for a repeat 400-meter state title alive by winning in 58.21. Calvary Christian’s Rachel Sieradzan finished second in 58.90.
Hallandale sophomore Kimani Rushing, the breakout star in Broward this season, looked head and shoulders above the competition in winning the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and triple jump (40-6).
It was a familiar scene in the girls’ 1,600 meters, where Pine Crest’s dynamic trio of Julia Montgomery (5:24.81), Tsion Yared (5:25.54) and Katherine Jovanovic went 1-2-3. A two-time reigning Class 2A state cross-country champion, Montgomery is trying to add the 1,600-meter state title after winning the 3,200 last season.
But in the 3,200 meters, it was Yared (12:07.79), the diminutive sixth-grader, who led the 1-2-3 finish, with Montgomery second and Jovanovic third.
Hallandale took an early lead on the boys’ and girls’ sides with its superiority in the sprints, but, ultimately, Pine Crest and Calvary Christian emerged with the girls’ and boys’ team titles, respectively, based on their distance corps.
It was anybody’s guess which Stefan Duvivier would show up during an inconsistent regular season, but the Cardinal Gibbons senior thrust himself back into the Class 2A state title conversation by winning the high jump in a personal-best 6-5.
Gibbons senior Rick Calabro booked his first regional ticket after three seasons of coming up short by winning the discus with a personal-best 147-10 and finishing fourth in the shot put.
The boys’ 1,600 saw Calvary Christian’s Joel Lacy open a 30-meter lead at the bell lap only to see Pine Crest’s John Decker reel in Lacy with 120 meters left with a devastating kick to win in 4:34.74. Lacy (4:35.19) and Gibbons’ McKenna Lasher (4:36.03) followed Decker across the finish line. Decker returned to win the 800 meters, his strongest race, in 1:59.69.