Once again, it was business as usual for the Northwestern girls’ track and field team.
Northwestern started piling up the points early at the FHSAA Finals on the campus of IMG Academy and gave the rest of the Class 3A field no chance as it claimed its state-record eighth consecutive state championship and 13th team state championship. Capping the two-day event with a second-place finish in the 1,600 meter relay, Northwestern’s 157.5 points were 114.5 more than second-place Northeast of Oakland Park.
“We were ready to run and win,” said Northwestern junior De’Andreah Young, who won first place in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 41.85 seconds, ran a leg on the second-place 1,600 relay team and helped give the 1,600 relay team a state title with a time of 9 minutes 17.86 seconds on Saturday. “Throughout the whole trip, we knew that we came up here for business and we didn’t allow any distractions.”
Senior Briana Eskridge claimed Northwestern’s first state title of the meet on Friday by clearing 5 feet, 8 inches in the high jump. Northwestern’s Taranique Alexander and Eskridge placed second and third, respectively, on Friday in the the long jump, while Shiree Hines was fourth in the 800 race that was won by seventh-grader Jinah Mickens-Malik of Mater Academy Charter School in Hialeah Gardens with a time of 2:13.80.
Starting Saturday with a victory in the 3,200 relay, Northwestern picked up 23 points in the triple jump as three of its athletes placed in the top four. Alexander was first, Eskridge finished second, and freshman Dascha Robinson was fourth.
University of Florida-bound senior Timetria Mitchell teamed with Alexander, Twanisha Terry and Ulani Toussaint to give Northwestern a winning 400 team. Mitchell also won the 100 hurdles and was part of the 3,200 relay team.
“I feel we knew what we have done and the work that we have put in to get to this point,” Mitchell said. “We just had to keep the legacy going.”
The Northwestern boys’ team concluded the Class 3A competition by winning the 1,600 relay 3:14.22. The 10 points enabled the Bulls to create four-way tie for fifth place with 23 points.
In the Class 4A boys’ competition, Columbus finished fourth overall with 34.5 points. Just 2.5 points separated the top four teams as Lyman claimed the overall title with 37 points.
South Florida Heat won the 1,600 relay and finished in an 11th-place tie with Dade Christian in the Class 1A team standings.
North Miami and Southridge finished the Class 4A girls’ competition by finishing first and third, respectively, in the 1,600 relay. Southridge entered the final event 12 points behind eventual team champion Bradenton Lakewood Ranch and the six points for the 1,600 showing put it six behind in the final standings.
Jackson and Gulliver Prep were sixth and ninth, respectively, in the Class 1A girls’ team standings.