Miami Northwestern’s girls have set the standard among Miami-Dade County teams for consistent success in track and field statewide.
But team success this season likely won’t be limited to the Bulls, who are chasing another major milestone.
Ransom Everglades’ girls’ team finished third last season at state in Class 2A and graduated record-breaking pole vaulter Nati Sheppard. But the Raiders should be able to to challenge once again as they return a balanced squad that will be led by its distance runners.
Senior Lauren Archer and junior Beatriz Ruan figure to be formidable again in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, challenging for state championships in those events and in the 3,200-meter relay.
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Junior Debbie Ajagbe is also back, giving Ransom a strong presence in the throwing events.
Southridge appears to be the county’s top girls’ team in Class 4A as the Spartans return Symone Mason, one of the most versatile juniors in the county.
Northwestern should remain at the forefront of the state’s best programs as the Bulls return another deep squad capable of notching multiple individual titles as well as success in the relays.
Legendary coach Carmen Jackson’s squad is aiming to extend its championship streak to eight consecutive seasons.
Barring any major setbacks, the Bulls would match the record streak set by St. Thomas Aquinas from 1998 to 2005 — a run in which numerous talented stars emerged, including Olympian Sanya Richards-Ross.
Northwestern is led by senior Timetria Mitchell, a returning state champion in both the 100 and 300 hurdles, and junior sprinter Twanisha Terry, who won both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at state last year.
Terry and junior De’Andreah Young return to anchor the Bulls’ 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams, which each won state titles in 2015. Senior A’Sja Baker leads the Northwestern distance-relay squad that should once again be among the state’s best.
Junior Taranique Alexander, an excellent jumper, is back as well, and junior Kaylah Clark leads a solid group of throwers.
Daesha Rogers, who ran for Northwestern last year, had a solid cross-country season at North Miami and hopes to build off of it in track.
Northwestern sophomore hurdler Thomas Burns, the younger brother of former Bulls and University of Miami star hurdler and wide receiver Artie Burns, should shine once again in both his events.
Burns and a talented Northwestern squad, much like football, should find itself in a battle with rival Miami Carol City for supremacy in Class 3A.
NEW STATE DIGS
The state meets have moved a little closer this season as the FHSAA chose IMG Academy in Bradenton as its new host site after four years at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville.
The format also changed as all four classifications’ competitions will run simultaneously on the same two-day weekend.
The first major meet of the season — the Louie Bing Invitational — will be held Friday and Saturday on the new track at Tropical Park.
Monday: Regular season began.
Friday-Saturday: Louie Bing Invitational at Tropical Park.
Feb. 27-28: Southridge and Ferguson Invitationals.
March 4-5: Sam Burley and Hallandale Invitationals.
March 9-10, 15: GMAC championships.
March 12: Bill Wilson Invitational.
March 18-19: Gary Townsend Invitational in Atlanta.
March 31-April 2: Pepsi Florida Relays and Youth Fair Invitational.
April 11-16, 18-23: Districts.
April 25-30: Regionals.
May 6-7: State championships at Bradenton IMG Academy.
2015 STATE CHAMPIONS
Boys: Class 4A: Orlando Dr. Phillips; 3A: Tallahassee Chiles; 2A: Hallandale; 1A: Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy. Girls: 4A: Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas; 3A: Miami Northwestern; 2A: Hallandale; 1A: St. Pete Admiral Farragut.
Boys: 1. Carol City, 2. Northwestern, 3. Coral Reef, 4. American, 5. Belen Jesuit; Others: South Dade, Columbus, Southridge. irls: 1. Northwestern; 2. Southridge; 3. Ransom Everglades; 4. Carol City; 5. Ferguson; Others: Jackson, Killian, North Miami.
TOP RETURNING BOYS
Carlin Berryhill, Coral Reef, Sr.; Cameron Berryhill, Coral Reef, Sr.; DiCaprio Bootle, Southridge, Sr.; Thomas Burns, Northwestern, So.; Gabriel Correa, Ransom Everglades, Sr.; Jose Enriquez, Homestead, Sr.; Humberto Freire, Columbus, Sr.; Milton Ingraham, Dade Christian, So.; Jessi Jeudi, South Dade, Jr.; Derwin Moultrie, Coral Reef, Sr.; Amir Rasul, Coral Gables, Sr.; Montray Smith, Carol City, Sr.; James Wiggins, South Dade, Sr.; Shammond Williams, American, Sr.; Bruno Zayas, Belen Jesuit, Sr.
TOP RETURNING GIRLS
Debbie Ajagbe, Ransom Everglades, Jr.; Taranique Alexander, Northwestern, Jr.; Lauren Archer, Ransom Everglades, Sr.; A’sja Baker, Northwestern, Sr.; Kaylah Clark, Northwestern, Jr.; Chanel Dawson, Northwestern, So.; Terneka Gibson, Carol City, Sr.; Shiree Hinds, Northwestern, Sr.; Symone Mason, Southridge, Jr.; Tiara McMinn, Jackson, Jr.; Timetria Mitchell, Northwestern, Sr.; Daesha Rogers, North Miami, Jr.; Beatriz Ruan, Ransom Everglades, Jr.; Twanisha Terry, Northwestern, Jr.; Ariayanna Val, Northwestern, Jr.; Natalia Varela, Gulliver, 8th; De’Andreah Young, Northwestern, Jr.
Note: For complete team-by-team outlooks, visit the online version of this story at www.miamiherald.com/high-schools
BOYS’ TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOKS
1. CORAL REEF (Coach Darryl Ward, 2nd year, 12-0). Last year: 12-0. Top athletes: Carlin Berryhill, Sr. (1600, 3200); Derwin Moultrie, Sr. (800, relays); Cameron Berryhill, Sr. (800, relays); Quinton Curry, So. (sprints); Damilio Summer, So. (200, 400).
2. AMERICAN – Top athletes: Shammond Williams, Sr. (sprints, relays).
3. SOUTH DADE – Top athletes: Jessi Jeudi, Jr. (jumps); James Wiggins, Sr. (jumps).
4. COLUMBUS (Coach Fred Foyo, 33rd year). Top athletes: Humberto Freire, Sr. (800); Chris Henderson, Jr. (200, 400); Chris Bentley, Jr. (pole vault); Andres Francisco, Sr. (pole vault); Deshay Fernandes, So. (1600); Danny Areces, Sr. (3200).
5. SOUTHRIDGE – Top athletes: DiCaprio Bootle, Sr. (sprints).
6. FERGUSON (Coach Ryan Raposo, 8th year, 65-7). Last year: 7-2. Top athletes: Guillermo Rojas, So. (1600, 3200); Leonardo Rodriguez, Sr. (800, 1600); Daniel Gonzalez, Sr. (pole vault); Daniel Verdecia, Sr. (1600, 3200); Adrian Arellano, Sr. (sprints).
7. BRADDOCK (Coach Alex Shaw, 1st year at BR, 10th overall). Last year: 4-4. Top athletes: Jonas Breton, Sr. (sprints); Andres Alderete, Jr. (sprints); Jason Reese, So. (sprints); Eliseo Torres, So. (distance); Frankie Perez, So. (distance); Gino Gonzalez, Sr. (distance).
8. CORAL PARK (Coach Michel Fotso, 14th year). Last year: 3-3. Top athletes: Joel Dominguez, Sr. (shot, discus); Manuel Lacayo, Sr. (800, 1600); Fabian Puig, Sr. (1600); Lucas Batista, Fr. (3200); Kevin Carvajal, Jr. (100).
9. PALMETTO (Coach Reynolds, 2nd year). Last year: 0-8. Top athletes: Malik Bell, Sr. (100); Philip Cruz-Rodriguez, Sr. (200); Sherron Jackson, Sr. (100); Zachary Rouviere, Jr. (1600); Johnnyx Charlemagne, Sr. (400); Nathan Wasserman, Sr. (800).
10. VARELA (Coach Mayra Sasso, 2nd year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Jay Stringer, Sr. (triple jump); Jovanny Valdez, Jr. (100); Raul Balarezo, Sr. (1600).
1. CAROL CITY – Top athletes: Montray Smith, Carol City, Sr. (sprints, high jump).
2. NORTHWESTERN – Top athletes: Thomas Burns, So. (hurdles).
3. BELEN JESUIT (Coach Victor Arrieta, 8th year, 123-0). Last year: 19-0 (District champions). Top athletes: Bruno Zayas, Sr. (800, 1600); Jaime Lopez, Sr. (3200); Daniel Mejia, Sr. (hurdles); Kevin Valdes, Sr. (shot, discus); Joshua Collins, So. (1600, 3200).
4. HOMESTEAD – Top athletes: Jose Enriquez, Sr. (pole vault).
5. NORTH MIAMI BEACH (Coach Denard Parks, 1st year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Keino Earchment, Sr. (100, 200); Joalem Numa, Sr. (200, 400); Leroy Wilson, So. (200, 400); Havel Tucker, Sr. (100); Gary Joseph, Sr. (400); Wendell Morrison, So. (100 hurdles).
RANSOM EVERGLADES (Coach Don Kappelman). Top athletes: Gabriel Correa, Sr. (1600); Jackson Mihm, Sr. (800); Andres Arango, Sr. (1600); Liam Balkan, Sr. (3200).
1. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (Coach Greg Magner, 21st year). Last year: 12-3. Top athletes: Aaron Ashe, Sr. (sprints); Bryan Pierre, Jr. (sprints); Miguel Augustine, Jr. (400, distance relays); Eudens Antoine, So. (sprint relays); Elvins Desarmes, So. (sprint relays); Enzo Bruno, Jr. (hurdles).
2. WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN (Coach Jose Garcia, 5th year, 15-18). Last year: 2-3. Top athletes: George Williams, Sr. (200, 400); J.C. Acevedo, Fr. (100, 200); Jorge Lopez (high jump, discus); Kyle Kissone, Sr. (triple jump).
3. PALMER TRINITY (Coach Johann Odermatt, 3rd year at PT, 11th overall). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Duncan Stoner, So. (1600, 3200); Tyler Farias, So. (800); Henry Fernandez, Jr. (800); Nicolas Rey, Fr. (1600, 3200); Guillermo Bonet, Sr. (hurdles, relays); Chad Serrate, Jr. (relays).
GIRLS’ TEAM-BY-TEAM OUTLOOKS
1. SOUTHRIDGE – Top athletes: Symone Mason, Southridge, Jr.; Kayla Johnson, Southridge, Jr.
2. FERGUSON (Coach Ryan Raposo, 9th year, 88-5). Last year: 9-1. Top athletes: Kaylee Alfaro, Jr. (1600, 3200); Jazmyn Martinez, Jr. (800, 1600); Samantha Ebanks, Sr. (400, 800); Nicolle Garcia, Jr. (800, 1600); Taylor Tejera, So. (800).
3. CORAL REEF (Coach Danelle Juste, 2nd year, 12-0). Last year: 12-0. Top athletes: Kaelyn Korovich, Sr. (800); Jaela Swasey, So. (100, 200); Rachael Osman, Jr. (1600, 3200); Rayquel Berry, So. (400).
4. SOUTH DADE (Coach Antoinette Major, 7th year at SD, 16th overall, 40-10). Last year: 5-5. Top athletes: Brandy Elysee, Jr. (200, 400); Serenity Grimes, Jr. (300 hurdles).
5. VARELA (Coach Antonina Gorban, 2nd year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Sofia Naya, Jr. (100); Mariana Morante, Jr. (800); Melissa Santiago, Jr. (400); Gindsey Millanes, Jr. (400); Ilenia Garcia, Sr. (100).
6. CORAL PARK (Coach Raul Esqueff, 1st year). Last year: 3-3. Top athletes: Claudia Gutierrez, Sr. (100 hurdles); Pricilla Talavera, Jr. (1600); Terry Alvarez, So. (1600); Carolina Dominguez, Jr. (triple jump); Gabriela Alvarez, Sr. (3200).
7. PALMETTO (Coach Reynolds, 6th year). Last year: 0-8. Top athletes: Eva Piacle, Sr. (100); Yuwei Jiang, Jr. (3200); Dominique Edwards, Jr. (800); Nina Harvison, So. (1600); Alieandrah Bernal, Jr. (3200); Alieajah Bernal, So. (1600).
8. BRADDOCK (Coach Carlos Cano, 3rd year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Emily Mendoza, Sr. (distance); Jessica Bango, Sr. (distance); Ismara Garcia, Sr. (distance); Jazmyn Moore, Sr. (short distance).
1. NORTHWESTERN (Coach Carmen Jackson). Last year: State champions. Top athletes: Taranique Alexander, Jr.; A’sja Baker, Sr.; Kaylah Clark, Jr.; Chanel Dawson, So.; Shiree Hinds, Sr.; Timetria Mitchell, Sr.; Twanisha Terry, Jr.; Ariayanna Val, Jr.; De’Andreah Young, Jr.
2. CAROL CITY – Top athletes: Terneka Gibson, Sr.
1. RANSOM EVERGLADES – Top athletes: Debbie Ajagbe, Jr. (throws); Lauren Archer, Sr. (distance); Beatriz Ruan, Jr. (distance);
2. JACKSON – Top athletes: Tiara McMinn, Jr.
3. GULLIVER (Coach Mike Ward, 1st year at GUL, 26th overall). Last year: Third at districts. Top athletes: Jazmyn Smith, So. (long jump, 400); Natalie Varela, 8th (1600); Nicole Mueller, Sr. (400).
4. CARROLLTON (Coach Liz Orlin, 1st year). Last year: N/A. Top athletes: Nicole Kolisch, Sr. (1600, 3200), Sofia Miguez, Sr. (400, 800); Tatyana Minnis, Jr. (200, 400); Sophie Polenghi, Jr. (100, 200, 400).
1. WESTMINSTER CHRISTIAN (Coach Jose Garcia, 5th year, 28-2). Last year: 4-1 (District champions). Top athletes: Natasha Strump, Jr. (800, 1600); Sofia Jimenez (200, 400); Elyse Valdez, Jr. (pole vault); Stephanie Jimenez (100, 200); Claire Kennedy, 7th (3200); Kyra Wells, 8th (1600, 3200).
2. PALMER TRINITY (Coach Tammy King, 3rd year at PT, 18th overall). Top athletes: Sophia Iglesias, Sr. (shot, discus); Autumn Jade Stoner, Fr. (pole vault); Julia Irvin, Fr. (pole vault); Camila Hidalgo, Sr. (300 hurdles); Carmen DelValle-Gonzalez, Fr. (400); Maya Lebowitz, So. (triple jump, hurdles).
3. ARCHBISHOP CURLEY (Coach Greg Magner, 21st year). Last year: 10-6. Top athletes: Cassie Poulard, Jr. (hurdles); Tekyra Paul, So. (sprints); Kayla Forbes, Fr. (sprints).