This year's Hallandale Invitational was one for the books as some the nation fastest athletes attended. For a meet that's been held seven years in a row, it seems like the competition gets better and better and there is never a dull moment.
"This year we have a lot more competition. We have a lot of top athletes coming down from the South Florida area as well as the Central Florida coming down to compete in this preseason meet," explains Hallandale Chargers coach, Coach John Battle.
Before the meet started I spoke with some of South Florida's most known coaches about their teams as well as their upcoming seasons. When it came to season expectations Coach Carmen of Miami Northwestern said, "I just want to be able to develop as many kids as I can and when we come to these meet these kids will be able to execute what they learned in practice and bring it into the meet."
Today the competition was very deep in every event. Some of today's top performers were Kimani Rushing (Hallandale HS), Javon Patterson (Boyd Anderson), Kayla Johnson (Southridge HS), Symone Mason (Southridge), Ulani Toussaint (Miami Northwestern). Also, some middle school star performers were Daishon Spann (Lauderdale Lakes), Dominique Spann (Lauderdale Lakes), and Amaya Thomas (Lauderdale Lakes). The best elementary schooler of the day was Tovani Mizell who won both the 300m and the 200m, but he ran the FASTEST time in the world for an elementary school. William Gordan threw of 52'7" in the shot put as well!
It was a close battle between Timetria Mitchell (Miami Northwestern) and Chanel Freeman (Hallandale HS) in the girls 100m hurdles. Mitchell won the race running 13.95 and Freeman took 2nd with a time of 14.06. Running close behind the two front runners was Freemans' teammate Lamisha Simmons running 14.28. In the boys 110m hurdles 1st through 3rd was a tight race between Jordan Washington (Cypress Creek High School), Kamaron Davis (South Dade Express), and Robert Bogle (Dillard HS). The times were separated by .13 seconds. Washington won the hurdles running 14.70, 2nd place was Bogle with a time of 14.80 and Davis ran 14.83. In the 60m dash middle school Brianna Williams won the middle school event running 7.81. In the high school 60m Symone Mason (Southridge HS) ran a time of 7.57 to blow out the competition, with the next fastest time being from Naya Quinones (Southdade Express) running 7.90. In the men's 60m dash, one of the fastest juniors in the nation, Amir Rasul (Columbus) ran 6.82 for a great season opener.
In the elementary school 300m Tori Thomas (G-Force) ran 50.33 to win the event. In the girl's middle school 300m, Jantaijah Ford ran 40.63 to win the event; she could have run with the high schoolers and could have placed in the top 5. For the elementary boys, Tovani Mizell ran the FASTEST TIME in the WORLD for an elementary schooler running 47.38, and he's only 9 years old! For the high school girls 300m Symone Mason wins again in a time of 38.59, she also wins the 200m running 24.56. In 2nd and 3rd place Twanisha Terry (Miami Northwestern) and Kayla Johnson (Southridge) running 40.33 and 40.99. The top 8 high school girls ran under 41.1 in the 300m and most of them came from the fastest heat. Ulani Toussaint ran 41.09 in a heat by herself. For the boys, Tyler Johnson of Southridge stole the show running 34.62 in the 300m. In 2nd and 3rd were Oliver Alexandre and Amir Rasul running 35.11 and 35.88.
In the high school 1500m Dominique Spann, Lauderdale Lakes middle schooler won the race running 5:1163. In the 1500m Carlos Penaranda dominated the competition running what looked like an easy time of 4:08.90. In 2nd place was Boyd Anderson's Javon Patterson running 4:21.48 and following in 3rd was John Medina running 4:24.53. Some outstanding showings in the 200m besides Symone Mason were Robyn Jones (25.42), Shaniya Williams (25.62) and Naya Quinones (25.83). For the guys 200m, the showing was pretty great across the board. The top 3 guys were Eric Whipple (22.07), Zidan Ellis (22.28), and La'Drell Green (22.65).
In the final event, and the most awaited 600m the reputation of fast time were lived up too. In the girls 600m it was a tight race for the top 4 spots which are only really separated by 2 second. Kayla Johnson who got 3rd last year came out on top running 1:37.81. In 2nd, 3rd and 4th place were Jantaijah Ford and Daishon Spann (the middle schoolers of the high school group) running 1:38.34 and 1:38.75 and myself running 1:39.38. For the guys 600m, the reigning champion from last year Javon Patterson ran 1:20.83 with at least a lead of 5 meters over the rest of the field. Patterson the year before ran 1:20.54 fighting to the wire with Deron Gordon, so this definitely shows that things are different this season.
The 7th Annual All Comers Meet was one for the books, and it was definitely won of the fastest yet. For more inside information check out our full results and some interviews with South Florida's best coaches Coach Battle, Coach Carmen and Coach D Wright! This is only the beginning; track season is right around the corner everybody!