High School Sports

Southridge, Northwestern take home girls track titles

ctrainor@miamiherald.com

They’ve been bitter rivals on the track since the late 1990s. Five times, Southridge and Northwestern’s girls have finished 1-2 at the state meet.

Saturday, for the first time ever, the two most decorated girls’ tracks programs in Miami-Dade County history each got to be state champions on the same day.

The Bulls cruised to the Class 3A title, their 14th overall (the most in state history) and ninth in a row (surpassing the streak previously set by St. Thomas Aquinas of eight from 1998 to 2005). The Spartans emerged with their first state title since 2008 by taking home the Class 4A decidedly.

“It feels great because a lot of people have been sleeping on us, saying we lost it and couldn’t get it back,” said senior Symone Mason, the nation’s fastest high school sprinter who capped her career at Southridge by sweeping the 100, 200 and 400 meter dashes on a windy Saturday afternoon at IMG Academy. “We had the right type of kids this season to earn the state title back. And it feels great.”

BIG WINNERS

Nobody from Miami-Dade or Broward Counties won more gold medals in individual events this weekend than Mason and Miami Jackson senior Tiara McMinn, who followed up her high jump victory on Friday by winning the 100 and 300-meter hurdles in Class 2A for the second year in a row.

McMinn, who still hasn’t decided on college and will choose between the University of Miami, Nebraska and LSU in the coming weeks, joined Northwestern sprinter Twanisha Terry this weekend in becoming the most recent Dade athletes to wrap up their high school careers with six individual state titles.

Only seven other girls have achieved the feat. The only Dade girl with more than six individual state titles remains Jackson’s Robin Reynolds, the state leader with 14.

“It feels great to come out here and defend my state titles for the third year in a row and as a team win another state title,” said Terry, who is headed to USC.

“Some said it was hard to defend titles back to back. I can say it wasn't easy. You have to come in with a humble mindset and remain humble at all times. Don't get too arrogant or feel you're better than anyone and race your races. Now, I'm ready to go handle business on the next level.”

After having nine girls win state titles on Friday, 13 more local individuals and six relay teams became state champions on Saturday.

St. Thomas Aquinas, which finished as the state runner-up in the team standings in 4A, took home its only gold medal in the 400-meter relay (47.11).

In Class 3A, Northeast sophomore Jan’Taijah Ford defended her state title in the 400 meter dash with a personal record time of 53.90 seconds and led the Hurricanes to a runner-up finish in the team standings.

The rest of the winners in the class belonged to Northwestern, which won the 400-meter relay for the fourth year in a row and the 1600-meter relay for the fourth time in five years.

After Markalah Hart was disqualified in the 100-meter hurdles – an event she was favored to win – for jumping the starting gun, the standout freshman bounced back by resetting the state record in the 300 meter hurdles with a blazing time of 40.28 seconds, the second-fastest time in the country this year.

Senior Taranique Alexander, who won the long jump on Friday, won her second consecutive state title in the triple jump with a leap of 40-feet, 1 ½ inches.

AJAGBE SWEEPS THROWS

Among the small schools, few had a bigger day than Ransom Everglades senior Debbie Ajagbe. The future Miami Hurricane won her third consecutive state discus title in Class 2A with a personal-best throw of 169-feet, 3-inches and then her first shot put state title with a throw of 42-feet, 4-inches.

“I just stopped thinking and that worked really well for me,” Ajagbe said laughing. “I came into this just wanting to have fun in my last high school track meet and whether I had a personal record or not, it didn’t matter.”

Her discus mark was 40-feet better than the rest of the field Saturday. It also ranked as the seventh-best throw in the country this season and topped the longest throw in Miami-Dade County high school history, which she already owned at 167-feet, 4½ inches.

Ajagbe joined Southridge’s Akera Lathan (2000, 02-03) and Gulliver’s Kimberly Barrett (1998-00) as the only three-time state discus champions in county history.

Ransom placed fifth in Class 2A and was one of four local teams to finish in the top five behind state champion Jacksonville Bolles.

Plantation American Heritage, the state runner-up, won the 400 and 1600-meter relays and freshman Danielle Bess won the 400-meter dash (55.38).

Hallandale placed third. Chargers junior Takira Williams won the Chargers’ only state title with a leap of 39-feet, 3 ¾ inches in the triple jump.

GIRLS RESULTS (DADE/BROWARD PLACERS)

CLASS 4A

Team standings: 1. Southridge 90.5; 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 54.5; 3. Riverview 39; 4. Lakewood Ranch 38; 5. Winter Park 36. Other locals: 10. Flanagan 22; 22. Monarch, Douglas and Varela 8; 27. Fort Lauderdale 6; 31. Killian 5; 42. South Plantation 2; 48. Ferguson 1.5; 49. Coral Reef 1.; 53. Coral Springs 0.5

Track events – 4x800m relay: 1. Winter Park 9:17.60; 4. Southridge 9:29.63; 8. Ferguson 9:47.10. 100m hurdles: 1. Kenya Dillon (Olympia) 14.34; 5. Jonae Harris (SR) 15.45; 7. Kristen Laidlaw (STA) 15.73. 100m: 1. Symone Mason (SR) 11.70; 3. Shaniya Williams (SR) 11.95; 6. Zahria Allers (STA) 12.13; 7. Zatoria Thompson (STA) 12.22. 4x100m relay: 1. St. Thomas Aquinas 47.11; 5. Killian 47.98; 8. Coral Reef 48.65. 400m: 1. Symone Mason (SR) 52.69; 3. Kayla Johnson (SR) 54.35; 5. Maya Fabri (FLAN) 56.41; 7. Erica Murphy (STA) 57.27. 300m hurdles: 1. Jamiah Jackson (Orlando Evans) 42.65; 2. Devin D’Olivera (FLAN) 43.31; 3. Imani Christian (STA) 43.99; 4. Jonae Harris (SR) 45.02; 6. Kristen Laidlaw (45.86). 200m: 1. Symone Mason (SR) 23.48; 4. Shaniya Williams (SR) 24.52; 6. Zahria Allers (STA) 24.67; 8. De’aria Smith (KIL) 25.24. 1600m: 1. Bailey Hertenstein (Riverview) 4:54.55. 4x400m relay: 1. Southridge 3:43.04; 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 3:45.16; 5. Flanagan 3:53.64.

Field events – Pole Vault: 1. Haidyn Turner (Winter Springs) 11-5.75; 3. Kendyl Kerekes (SAT) 10-6; 8. Lizt Del Castillo (FERG) and Kaci Thomas (CS) 9-6.25. Triple jump: 3. Courtney Gibson (SR) 39-8.75; 8. Danisha Nicholas (FLL) 36-11.75. Shot put: 1. Merari Coronado (Oviedo) 41-10.75; 2. Shannon Moise (DOU) 41-1.5; 7. Ashley Josue (SP) 38-7. Discus: 1. Jae Crawford (Orlando Boone) 136-9; 2 Sophia Gustely (MON) 129-06.

CLASS 3A

Team standings: 1. Northwestern 136; 2. Northeast 50; 3. Fort Myers 42; 4. Tampa Hillsborough 38; 5. Tallahassee Lincoln 37. Other locals: 12. Dillard 16; 16. Carol City 10; 21. South Broward 8; 23. Mater Academy 6; 28. Boyd Anderson 5.

Track events – 4x800m relay: 1. Niceville 9:20.97; 2. Dillard 9:26.29; 3. Northwestern 9:35.97. 100m hurdles: 1. Alessa Sandusky (Tampa Gaither) 14.55; 3. Ariayanna Val (NW) 14.58; 7. Carshaylah Harrison (NE) 15.54; Markalah Hart (NW) False start. 100m: 1. Twanisha Terry (NW) 11.75; 7. Roshelle Francois (DIL) 13.27; Daneisha Woodside (NE) DNS. 4x100m relay: 1. Northwestern 45.39; 4. Northeast 48.03; Dillard DNF. 400m: 1. Jan’Taijah Ford (NE) 53.90; 5. Ulani Toussaint (NW) 56.39; 8. Takiyah Johnson (NE) 58.01. 300m hurdles: 1. Markalah Hart (NW) 40.28; 2. De’Andreah Young (NW) 41.86; 5. Carshaylah Harrison (NE) 44.14; 6. Ariayanna Val (NW) 44.18. 200m: 1. Twanisha Terry (NW) 23.73; 3. Jan’Taijah Ford (NE) 24.07; Rochelle Francois (DIL) DNS. 1600m: 1. Kristlin Gear (Fort Myers) 4:56.04. 4x400m relay: 1. Northwestern 3:43.94; 2. Northeast 3:49.87; 5. Dillard 3:56.54.

Field events – Pole Vault: 1. Abigail Olson (Merritt Island) 11-5.75. Triple jump: 1. Taranique Alexander (NW) 40-1.5; 3. Dascha Robinson (NW) 39-3.

CLASS 2A

Team standings: 1. Jacksonville Bolles 90; 2. American Heritage 64; 3. Hallandale 51; 4. Jackson 37; 5. Ransom Everglades 35. Other locals: 13. Gulliver Prep 20; 22. Chaminade-Madonna 8; 29. Archbishop McCarthy 5.

Track events – 4x800m relay: 1. Jacksonville Bolles 9:12.01; 2. Pine Crest 9:25.00; 3. Hallandale 9:38.23. 100m hurdles: 1. Tiara McMinn (JAX) 14.20; 4. Ashante Harvey (HAL) 15.06; 5. Asia McMillon (AH) 15.06. 100m: 1. Katia Seymour (Palatka) 11.57; 2. Briana Williams (CM) 11.84; 5. Morgan Rhett (AH) 12.32; 6. Jada James (AH) 12.36. 4x100m relay: 1. American Heritage 46.70. 400m: 1. Danielle Bess (AH) 55.38; 2. Kenya Thompson (AH) 56.56. 300m hurdles: 1. Tiara McMinn (JAX) 41.96; 4. Asia McMillon (HER) 44.52; 6. Kerra Williams (HAL) 45.40; 7. Keausha Bradley Macklin (HAL) 46.46. 200m: 1. Katia Seymour (Palatka) 23.48; 4. Morgan Rhett (AH) 24.94; 7. Danielle Bess (AH) 25.45. 1600m: 1. Caitlin Collier (Bolles) 4:50.48; 4. Natalie Varela (GUL) 5:00.46; 5. Tsion Yared (PC) 5:01.12. 4x400m relay: 1. American Heritage 3:50.26; 4. Hallandale 3:57.90; 5. Jackson 3:59.63.

Field events – Triple jump: 1. Takira Williams (HAL) 39-3.75; 5. Keausha Bradley Macklin (HAL) 38-0.75; 8. Tiara Taylor (JAX) 36-1.25. Shot put: 1. Debbie Ajagbe (RE) 42-4; 3. Amani Heaven (HAL) 41-8.5; 8. Tonyell Ming (HAL) 38-2.25. Discus: 1. Debbie Ajagbe (RE) 169-03; 4. Madison Malone (AMC) 125-11; 8. Amani Heaven (HAL) 115-08.

CLASS 1A

Team standings: 1. Gainesville Oak Hall 75; 2. St. Petersburg Admiral Farragut 54; 3. Jacksonville Providence 47; 4. Lakeland Christian 32.5; 5. Melbourne Holy Trinity Academy 32. Locals: 13. Westminster Christian 16; 20. Palmer Trinity 10; 28. Westminster Academy 6; 43. Hollywood Christian and South Florida HEAT 2; 51. Archbishop Curley 1.

Track events – 4x800m relay: 1. Gainesville Oak Hall 9:33.65. 100m hurdles: 1. Britain Musick (Lakeland Christian) 15.49; 8. Cassie Pollard (CUR) 16.75. 100m: 1. Saraiah Walkes (Out of Door Academy) 12.35. 4x100m relay: 1. Admiral Farragut 48.90. 400m: 1. Saraiah Walkes (Out of Door Academy) 55.37; 7. Kaylen Clark (HC) 59.98. 300m hurdles: 1. Britain Musick (Lakeland Christian) 43.94. 200m: 1. Saraiah Walkes (Out of Door Academy) 25.20. 1600m: 1. Grace Blair (Oak Hall) 5:03.86; 5. Natasha Strump (WCS) 5:14.86; 8. Claire Kennedy (WCS) 5:20.48. 4x400m relay: 1. Pahokee 4:00.70.

Field events – Triple jump: 1. Katie Barnett (Admiral Farragut) 38-6.75.

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