The Northwestern girls’ track team winning another state title was as simple as 1-2-3.
It's rare when a team can win a state championship without using any points accumulated from running events. But then this Northwestern girls’ track team is in a class of its own.
The Bulls cruised to their sixth consecutive state track title and 11th in 12 years under coach Carmen Jackson scoring 154 points to easily outdistance the rest of the field. Northwestern scored more points than the combined scores of the next five team finishers.
Northwestern boys team scored 30 of its 35 points in two events but came up three points short of champion Chiles. The Bulls were trying to match the feat of their female counterparts and earn the first dual state titles in the same meet in school history.
The outcome of the girls championship was over after just six events. The Bulls had already pushed their team total to 78 points at that time and could have packed up their gear, got on the bus and stared the 7-hour trek back to Miami.
Spearheading the decisive early charge was a trio of throwers — shot put and discus standouts Lloydricia Cameron, Jontavia Dykes and Akassja White. The three seniors posted identical 1-2-3 finishes respectively in both of their specialties and that alone was good for 48 points. That total also would have been good enough to win a state crown.
Add in a fifth-place finish from Kaylah Clark in the discus along with a third and fourth place finish from Briana Eskridge and Taranique Alexander respectively in the triple jump, a sixth by Alexander in the long jump and a seventh from La'Kayla Harris in the same event and you get 68 points in field event efforts alone. The extra early points came from a winning effort by Northwestern's 3,200 relay unit of Ricardia Cooper, DeAndreah Young, Asja Baker and Lenneshia Gilbert. Clearly though, the double 1-2-3 finish in the two throwing events by the three seniors set the tone for the day for the Bulls.
"We win state championships by supporting each other and encouraging each other," said Cameron who ran her career state title total to five (three discus and two shot put crowns). "Every day we compete and push each other in practice. That's what has enabled us to get this far. We're like sisters, you can't break us, 1-2-3."
There could be a break coming now however. Cameron and Dykes will take their skills to Florida next fall. White has yet to make her college decision and is still weighing options.
Northwestern added 30 points to its team total by winning all three relay events in relatively easy fashion. The Bulls won just one other individual event when Timetria Mitchell won the 100 meter hurdles, but they had plenty of depth, scoring some points in most of the races.
The Bulls boys’ team simply waited to long to get rolling. After nine events, they had scored but four points. A 1-2-7 finish in the 400 meter race by Jeffery Green, Cordell Lamb and Fiteau Pinchinat respectively, produced 20 points and vaulted the Bulls into first place in the standings. But in the next six events, the only point they managed was an eighth place finish by Deandre Baker in the 200. A win in the 1,600 meter relay in the last event of the night still left the Bulls three points short of their quest for a state title.