It’s time to anoint Booker T. Washington the sprint capital of Florida.
The Tornadoes, led by Nigel Bethel II winning the 100 and 200, and their nation-leading 400-meter relay team (40.57), cruised to victory, putting on a show at the Region 4-2A championships at the Ansin Sports Complex on Wednesday.
Bethel, a first-year 100-meter runner, started the fireworks by out-leaning Miami Jackson’s Tyrone Thornton at the finish line to win in 10.60. Thornton finished in 10.62. In between Bethel returning to win the 200 (21.10) ahead of teammate Deltron Hopkins, Kealen Graham, Hopkins, Terrawn McPhee and Bethel took the 400-meter relay in 41.39. The relay team was minus Krondis Larry, the reigning 400-meter state champion.
“All our runners on the 4x100 are good no matter who we put on it,’’ Bethel said. “We are undefeated in the 4x100 and leading the nation and looking to stay undefeated. If we put Krondis back on at states, we can go 40.3 if not 40.6.”
Larry took a pass on the 400 meter relay, with the 400 meters the next race, and then won the distance in 48.30, helping the Tornadoes win the team title with 100 points.
The biggest surprise came in the girls 100 hurdles, where Somerset’s Chanel Freeman beat Hallandale’s Kimani Rushing, the favorite. Freeman finished in 14.02 with Rushing a step behind in 14.06.
“I tried my best,’’ Freeman said. “My competition was Kimani. I had to push my hardest. I had to come in here positive. Today I got out of the blocks faster and had to push my way through.”
Rushing, however, bounced back to win the 300 hurdles in 44.91. She also won the triple jump to spark the Chargers to the girls team title.
The top four qualifiers advance to the FHSAA Class 2A State Finals on May 3 at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
In the girls 1,600 meters, Miami Jackson’s Daesha Rogers jumped out to an early lead on Pine Crest’s Julia Montgomery, in a rematch of rivals, only to see Montgomery storm back to take the lead at the 900-meter mark and win in 5:06.04.
Rogers appeared to run out of steam on the final lap and surprisingly failed to qualify for the state meet.
“I’m happy with the 1,600,” said Montgomery, who added the 3,200-meter title and led the Panthers 3,200 relay to victory. “I just had to go out there and push the pace after every lap and so that was just my goal and it played out well. I wasn’t surprised about Daesha. I knew she would get off to a fast start.”
Rogers, however, kept alive her bid for a repeat state title in the 800 meters by winning in 2:16.72, ahead of Ransom Everglades’ Lauren Archer (2:17.32) and Jatan Folston.
Hallandale’s John Battle IV, set himself up as a state favorite by winning the 110 hurdles in a personal-best 14.02. Battle’s teammate, Antwuan Musgrove, followed in 14.54.
“My start is what I have been focusing on all week,” Battle said. “Getting out the blocks, that was probably my best start today. I’ve been doing power work, exploding out the blocks. I’m ready to go 13 seconds now.”
Pompano Beach’s Jayson Francois, however, spoiled the Chargers’ bid for a hurdles sweep with an upset in the 300. Francois clocked 38.59 to finish ahead of Musgrove (38.98). Battle finished fourth.
Ransom Everglades’ rising sophomore Gaby Correa won the boys’ 1,600 meters in 4:22.03. Calvary Christian’s Joel Lacy qualified by placing fourth in 4:31.59.
Cardinal Gibbons’ Stefan Duvivier rode the momentum of his late-season resurgence by winning the high jump with a 6-4 leap. Miami Booker T. Washington’s Pierre Thelon took second (6-2) and Calvary Christian’s Jordan Sampson followed (6-0).
Broward swept the top four spots in the girls discus behind American Heritage’s Phoebe Gustely (137-0), Hallandale’s Lamisha Simmons (118-4), Heritage’s Sophia Gustely (113-8) and Hallandale’s Tanisha Hardy (112-3).
Pine Crest’s John Decker turned in a devastating anchor leg on the 3,200 relay team to help the Panthers rally from a 70-meter deficit to win in 8:11.25. Cardinal Gibbons took second in 8:13.22 and Miami Jackson third in 8:20.49.
Decker pulled out of the 1,600 meters, a distance he had the potential to medal at the state meet, but followed with a victory in the 800 meters. Decker finished in 1:58.77.
Region 4-2A championships