Florida's Next Wave Of Female Quarter-Mile Phenoms



Running the 400m in a competitive state like Florida, where there are so many talented girls in the event makes it hard to shine when it comes to the high school season as well as the summer circuit. Ladies like Kendall Ellis, Sharrika Barnett and Gabrielle Gayles are just a few 400m standouts. Last week at the AAU Club Championships three ladies represented the Sunshine State very well, bringing back some very fast times that look promising going into the next season.These young ladies are going into the 2015 track and field season as some of the best quarter runners. Symone Mason, Erin Ford, and Tamani Wilson all showed that they are a force to be reckoned with in this monster event.
 
Symone Mason had an amazing freshman year at Miami Southridge as she was a very important piece to the 4A Region 4 runner-up team. She placed 6th in the 200m at the state meet running 24.60 and just missed out of the 400m finals placing 10th.  She’s coming in among the top in all of 4A in the 400m, 200m, and 100m for 2015. On the day of finals at the AAU Club Championships Symone was running the 100m, 200m, 400m and 4x100m relay. She cruised an 11.88 in the finals of the 100m, speeded across the line to a new national record of 23.66 in the 200m, but her best race hands down was her 400m. Symone ran a very smart 400m, she didn’t press the first 250m, but she kept the other two leading girls within striking distance. As they were coming off the turn all three girls were even and once they hit the 50m it was Symone and Tamani Wilson fighting to the finish. The closer the finish line got the more you could see that Symone was inching ahead and when they both crossed the finish line I was in awe at the time. Symone ran another new national record of 53.57 and Tamani ran 53.97, both personal bests for the girls! I don’t expect Symone’s season to end, as we’ll see her at the AAU Junior Olympics.
 
For Tamani,  many don’t even know that she didn’t compete in the state series this year because she transferred in the middle of season to from Maclay to Northside Christian. In 2013 Tamani was the 1A 200m champion running 25.44, she also placed 3rd in the 400m running 56.50 and helped her team win the 1A State Championship over Holy Trinity. This season Tamani went to bigger meets to get the exposure needed to make her 400m better. She attended meets like Louie Bing, Bob Hayes Invite, and UNF Spring Break Invite where she won the 400m (56.74). Tamani has performed very well on the summer circuit as she took 2nd at Golden South running 55.74; she also went to New Balance Outdoor where she ran 54.97. Then exactly a month after her PR at New Balance, Tamani drops a 53.97 to place 2nd in her age group. She also ran the 200m and placed 3rd with a 25.02. Coming back into 1A next year, Tamani has the #1 spot in the 400m.

The senior of this 400m phenom group, Erin Ford has definitely come a long way from being Under the Radar. Erin’s summer circuit consisted of going to Golden South, New Balance and AAU qualifiers. She had a fantastic week at the Club Championships were she did a 400m, 200m double. On the day of finals Erin PR’d in the 400m running a 54.42, coming on strong in the last 75 meters is what she’s known for, and it’s exactly what she did to come in a very close 3rd, as 1st ran 54.01. Erin was the only Florida girl representing in the 17-18 age group final. After all the 800m’s and 4x100m relays came the 200m where she placed 2nd  running 23.81, which is her fastest time this season. She’s the 4A District 10 and Region 3 400m and 200m champion, and had a 4th and 5th place finish at the 4A state meet. Coming in as one of the fastest returners in 4A, Erin has some steep competition like the runner up, senior Sharrika Barnett and sophomore Symone Mason. No doubt that this upcoming year Erin might try to run the 100m, 200m, and 400m at the state meet and place in all three. It’s a task that is rarely done as 4A is very competitive in the sprints, but knowing Erin that won’t stop her.
 
These three ladies are the reason why Florida is one of the top 400m states. They’ve all put their names on the map and there is no doubt we will be seeing their names more and more as the 2015 track season approaches. 

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