Hialeah American was the boys’ team to beat at the Class 4A state track finals until St. Thomas Aquinas coach Alex Armenteros proved he can win the big one without a star runner.
Quieting critics who claimed Armenteros’ previous five state titles were built solely on the All-American talent he brought in, Armenteros was awarded the National High School Coaches Association National Boys’ Track and Field Coach of the Year award.
“We have had more talent in the past, but last year’s boys’ team was hard working and very dedicated,” Armenteros said. "They knew we didn’t go into the season with a superstar. In the long run they weren’t labeled as superstars but they performed like superstars. A lot of the credit goes to my assistant coaches, who do a great job getting our athletes to peak around state championship time.”
While the Aquinas girls’ team cruised to its second consecutive state title and 10th overall, there were doubts on the boys’ side. But the Raiders rallied around their rare underdog role as Rasheed Tatham upset Ari Cogdell to win the 400, freshman Trevon Grimes won the 300 meter hurdles, Ryan Crozier took the discus and Gabriel Darosa surprised with a second-place finish in the 800.
Armenteros was considered a stronger contender for the National girls coach award, which went to Long Beach Poly’s Don Norford, despite Aquinas taking two of three matchups against Long Beach Poly at the Texas Relays, highlighted by it’s 800 meter relay winning in a national record 1:33.47.