There was no denying Booker T. Washington a state title this time.
After missing out on a state title in track by one and two points the last two years, the Tornadoes overwhelmed the field Friday night at a rain-soaked University of North Florida track complex.
Booker T. finished with 61 points to easily turn back Tallahassee-FSU (39 points) and Hallandale (33), the only other schools to score more than 26 points.
For the eight participants that Booker T. brought to the meet, it marked their second state title in the last five months. All eight track and field performers were members of the football team that won the Class 4A title. In some circles, they were called the best high school football team in the nation last fall.
Six of the eight track performers made the most of their speed.
The Tornadoes scored 60 points in three individual events and two relays, with each performer running either 100, 200 or 400 yards.
Leading the way for the Tornadoes was Nigel Bethel. He won the 100 and 200 meter dashes, earned a third state crown with the Tornadoes winning effort in the 400-meter relay, and missed out on a day of perfection when the Tornadoes 1,600 relay team finished second by half a second to FSU.
“This is wonderful. It’s actually bittersweet for me because I’m losing such a good group of kids, kids that have really helped our football and track programs become one of the premier programs in the state,” Booker T. coach Tim Harris Jr. said. “Since these kids joined the program four years ago, and after winning a state football championship back in December and now winning a state title in track, it’s just a wonderful feeling.
“They refocused their attention from football to track to win two state championships. I couldn’t be prouder of these kids, all eight of whom were members of the football program last fall.”
Bethel barely had time to catch his breath in-between events.
The four-star defensive back who surprised many when he flipped his commitment from Miami to instead sign with Texas Tech, said he wants to do continue with both sports once he gets to college.
“I play football but I take track very seriously,” he said. “I love both the same. I put a lot of hard work into track and expect to get the same back from it.
“I owe a lot to my teammates. We all run about the same 100 and 200 times, so we all compete at a high level. We really go after each other in practices and that makes us better once we get to the meets.”
The other sprinters include Krondis Larry, Deltron Hopkins and Terrawn McPhee. The four speedsters combined to run both relay events. In addition, Krondis finished first in the 400 dash and Hopkins added a pair of third place finishes in the 100 and 200. The final Tornadoes point came on an eighth place finish by Pierre Thelon in the high jump.
Two other area athletes earned state titles. Ransom Everglade’s Gaby Correa took first in the Class 2A 1,600-meter run while Dade Christian’s Jonathan Saintil won Class 1A triple jump.
Other area athletes who scored points in the meet were Jackson’s Tyrone Thornton, who took fourth in the long jump, Daesha Rogers had a fourth-place finish in the 800, and Archbishop Curley’s Germaine Small was runner-up in the long jump.
Girls’ 1A results: Discus: Hunter Sullivan, Jo Carr., 117-10. Shot Put: Hunter Sullivan, Jo. Carr. Grace Casagrande, Card Moon., 11:01.54. Long Jump: Daryth Gayles, Holy Trin, 20-0. Triple Jump: Darrielle McQueen, No. Florida, 38-6.25. Pole Vault: Bobbi LaBrant, Ind. Rocks, 10-0. High Jump: Desiree Nathe, Bis McLau., 5-2. 100 Hurdles: Brittany McGee, Ad. Farr, 14.83. 300 Hurdles: Brittany McGee, Ad. Farr, 46.44. 100: Teahna Daniels, Fir Acad., 11.74. 200: Teahna Daniels, Fir. Acad., 23.68. 400: Gabrielle Gayles, Holy Trin, 54.60. 800: Emily Stallings, Prov., 2:17.67. 1600: Sarah Candiano, Evan., 5:04.79. 3200: Grace Casagrande, Card Moon., 11:01.54. 400 Relay: Holy Trinity Academy (G.Gayles, D. Gayles, Pound, Kilborne), 49.0. 1600 Relay: Oak Hall (Green, Evans, Rosenberg, Blair), 4:02.19. 3200 Relay: Oak Hall (Olinger, Evans, Blair, Rosenberg), 9:35.22. Team results: Holy Trinity Academy 70.5, Evangelical Christian School 43, Oak Hall 42, Westminster Academy 40, Admiral Farragut Academy 40. Girls’ 2A results: Discus: Phoebe Gustely, Am. Hert., 126-03. Shot Put: Jhane Carter, Astro., 43-06.0. Long Jump: Danielle Phillips, Rock, 19-05. Triple Jump: Kimani Rushing, Hall., 38-01.0. Pole Vault: Nicole Carroll, Tam Cath., 12-0. High Jump: Edquish Alvin, Hall., 5-07.0. 100 Hurdles: Stefani Kerrison, Jones, 14.02. 300 Hurdles: Kimani Rushing, Hall., 43.36. 100: Deanna Hill, Lake High., 11.94. 200: Alfreda Steele, Pasco, 24.05. 400: Caitlin Wilson, Tall. Godby, 54.8. 800: Caitln Collier, Bolles, 2:13.5. 1600: Julia Montgomery, Pine Crest, 5:03.34. 3200: Mackenzie Wilson, Bolles, 10:50.95. 400 Relay: Rockledge (Gonzalez, Cobbs-Marcus, Phillips, Simmons), 47.77. 1600 Relay: Miami Jackson (Bendross, McMinn, Rogers, Lovett), 3:38.15. 3200 Relay: Bolles (Arnold, Burkett, Wilson, Collier), 9:15.19. Team results: Bolles 66, Hallandale 63, Pine Crest 44, Godby 40, Rockledge 40. Boys’ 1A results: Discus: Dane Stolsig, West Fla., 158-11. Shot Put: Chris Miller, Fir. Acad., 53-09.50. Long Jump: Gabriel Moore, Free., 22-05.75. Triple Jump: Jonathan Saintil, Dade Chr., 44-05.25. Pole Vault: Drew McMichael, Evang., 14-06.0. High Jump: Terrel Phillips, West. Acad., 6-02.0. 110 Hurdles: Michael Taylor, Fir Acad, 14.67. 300 Hurdles: Michael Taylor, Fir. Acad., 39.7. 100: Michael Timpson, Fir Acad., 10.56. 200: Christian Philpott, Nor. Fla., 21.59. 400: Christian Philpott, Nor. Fla., 48.17. 800: Daniel Welch, Holy Trin., 1:56.96. 1600: Franco Martins, Wind., 4:22.33. 3200: Franco Martins, Wind. Prep, 9:26.01. 400 Relay: First Academy (Washington, Timpson, Plante, Durham), 42.61. 1600 Relay: First Academy (Middleton, Durham, Plante, Timpson), 3:19.69. 3200 Relay: Maclay (Daughton, Rutledge, Simpkins, Gwynn), 8:09.03. Team results: Westminster Academy 96.5; First Academy 90, North Florida Christian 49.5, Holy Trinity Academy 41, Freeport 29. Boys’ 2A results: Discus: Dane Stolsig, West Fla., 158-11. Shot Put: Rashodd Hadley, Baker Co., 55-0.0. Long Jump: Jonah Daniels, Epis, 22-2.75. Triple Jump: Gino Brown, Cham., 47-7.0. Pole Vault: Harry Glasser, Bolles, 16-0. High Jump: Corion Knight, Wakul., 6-04.0. 100 Hurdles: Raekwon Marrow, Wolf., 14.57. 300 Hurdles: Ahmad Middleton, Dund, 37.12. 100: Nigel Bethel II, Wash, 10.73. 200: Nigel Bethel II, Wash., 21.22. 400: Larry, Wash., 48.74. 800: John Decker, Pine Crest, 1:54.95. 1600: Gaby Correa, Rans, 4:21.41. 3200: Leonel Delacruz, Immo., 9:29.17. 400 Relay: Washington (McPhee, Hopkins, Larry, Bethel II), 41.19. 1600 Relay: Tall. FSU (Robinson, Davis, Brown, Williams), 3:17.98. 3200 Relay: Pine Crest (Srour, Gonzalez, Welch, Decker), 8:08.19. Team results Washington 61, Tall. FSU 39, Hallandale 33, West Florida Tech 26, Bishop Kenny 22.