Lake Brantley senior Sinclaire Johnson finished second in the 800m run at the 2014 Florida Relays. Johnson, an Oklahoma State signee and two-time state champion in both the 800 and 1,600m is entered in both events at the 2016 Florida Relays.
Distance action kicks off the Florida Relays on Thursday night with the girls invitational 1,600m run being held on Friday. There are solid fields throughout and the big question is will the athletes entered run all said events which span ~ 5 hours on day one.
Girls 1,600m Run (Non-Invitational)
First up is the girl's 1600m. Lake Brantley's Sinclaire Johnson is slowly getting back in the groove after last year's stellar campaign that saw her take down the state meet 800m record and claim titles in the 800m and 1600m. Her 5:14.65 is a tad off The Villages' Rebecca Clark's seasonal best time of 5:14.50 and a few hundredths faster than Pine Crest's Simone Vreeland time of 5:14.69.
Her 5:14.69 1600m time came nearly three weeks ago and with no reported race results since, we'll see how she fares against a good field.
Girls 800m Run
The 800m will be the highlight of the night. Daniel (SC) senior and Virginia Tech signee, Laurie Barton, has a seasonal best of 2:12.06 and a personal best of 2:08.93. She also sports a ninth place finish at last year's New Balance Outdoor Nationals in a none too shabby 2:09.69 time.
Lauren Archer proved to be a way- too- tough opponent at the FSU Relays last weekend tearing to a 2:12.80 time for the win over Hoover's Presley Weems. That was a foot short of her personal best of 2:12.20 set in finishing 5th at Golden South last May. Couple that performance with a 5:00.68 1600m in Saturday's 1600m final-just off her 5:00.33 personal best- and Archer is nearly at the top of her game in mid-March. The Dartmouth bound Archer will be a tough out in this strong field.
And let's not forget Sinclaire Johnson. The Oklahoma State signee sports the fastest personal best of the field- her 2:08.71 in wining state last year. She has a seasonal best of 2:17.69 from late February. This future Cowboy or should I say Cowgirl may be ready for a breakthrough.
Others In The Mix:
Hannah Brookover , Sr, UF Signee, Calvary Christian, 2:17.21 personal best 4th 2015 Florida Relays
Leigha Torino, Jr, North Marion, 2:17.73 personal best 2016 MCIAC Championships 1st place
Jennifer Lima, Jr, East Lake, 2:19.04 2014 FHSAA Finals 10th place
Annie Allmark, Jr, Suncoast, 2:21.38 12th 2016 FSU Relays personal best
Megan Giovanniello, Jr, Estero, 2:19.84 8th place 2016 FSU Relays
Daishon Spann, Fr, Boyd Anderson, 2:14.12 seasonal best Louie Bing 3rd place, personal best 2:11.76 AAU Club 2015, also running 100mH 14.52 Wind aided(2.6) 2nd place
Shiree Hinds, Sr, Miami Northwestern, 2:15.19 2nd place 2016 Sam Burley
Jordynn Tyndall, So, Eastside, 2:16.56 personal best Bob Hayes 3rd place,58.56 personal best 400m UNF Spring Break
Jatana Folston, Fr, Ransom Everglades, 2:16.18 seasonal best , Louie Bing, 2:15.78 personal best FHSAA 3rd place 2015, 56.93 2016 FSU Relays 400m 2nd place, 56.10 400m personal best 56.10 2015 USATF JO
Bryanna Rivers, Jr, Wharton, 2:16.96 seasonal best 2016 Kowboy Invite, 2:13.41 personal best Golden South 6th place
Sierra Oliveira, 8th grade, Evangelical Christian, 2:14.90 personal best FHSAA Region3- 1A, 2nd 2015 FHSAA 2:15.62
Anna Tovkach, So, Eastside, 2:18.97 personal best UNF Spring Break
Girls 3,200m Run
Last week's FSU Relays produced the fastest times of the season. This week, a few entries return for another stab at the deuce. Could faster times be possible? We'll see.
Hannah Brookover, a UF signee, fought hard closed the gap on front running Rafaella Gibbons in last week's 3200m at the FSU Relays, but could never bring it under five seconds and succumbed to a final sprint finish from Fletcher's Kaley Delay to finish third. She still lowered her personal best by 5.32 seconds, but I could bet that she wanted the win. She will be on her future home track so that may be the difference. She may not be able to avoid a wet track though- currently, there is a 60% chance of rain Thursday night.
Brookover's toughest challenge may come from St. Thomas Aquinas' Alex Cruz and upstart Melbourne Central Catholic junior, Amanda Beach. Cruz succumbed to a fast early pace at last year's Florida Relays and DNFed. This year, she has opened with a great 1600m win over 2015 FHSAA 4A State Cross Country Champ, Brittany Gill, in a PR of 5:03.57 by 0.10 seconds. Her 3200m personal best time of 10:43.57 came in 2014, but then she was only sporting 5:07.03 1600m personal best. If she can channel the 2013-2014 school year which saw her win the 4A State Cross Country Championship and the 3200m State title, Cruz could be your Florida Relays champ.
Beach followed Julia Montgomery's early pace in the next to last section of the girls 3200m FSU Relays Friday night. Then, she took over at about lap 5 and cranked out a series of 81 seconds laps to distance herself easily for a 16 second win and a personal best time of 10:48.35 by 28.71 seconds. A penultimate lap of 84 seconds certainly was due to having to go it alone for so long. Here she will have more company for longer so watch out!
Some of the more intriguing entries are Key West Freshman, Nicole Matysik and Lake Mary Junior Daniella Urzua. Maysik enters with a good-at- best time of 11:38.94. However, she raced to sterling 5:04.88 in the 1600m at the Dade Christian Crusader Invite to place a close second place behind Gulliver Prep's Natalie Varela. That performance was certainly a head turner and should the frosh realize her personal bests are in line with the favorites, she could be in the mix for the win.
Urzua looked powerful during the cross country season finishing third behind surprisingly dominant Riverview sophomore Bailey Hertenstein and Fletcher junior Kayley Delay. This track season she soloed a 11:10.63 in winning by over 47 seconds against a pretty tough Kara Funke of Leesburg at the Royal Invitational two weeks ago. That was just 2.96 seconds outside of her personal best set in finishing third at last year's state 3200m championships. If she can lop off another 20 seconds which is more than possible, she can lay claim to the title.
Others To Watch:
Leigha Torino, Jr, North Marion, 9th FSU Relays 11:05.19 personal best, 5th FHSAA 11:23.34, 6th FHSAA XC 18:44.51
Julia Montgomery, Sr, Pine Crest, William and Mary, 5:16.84 seasonal best FSU Relays 19th, 5:00.95 personal best FSU relays 2015, 11:21.53 seasonal best 3200m FSU Relays 13th, 10:43.16 personal best 2015 FSU Relays 2nd , 2013 State champ 3200m 11:01
Girls 1,600m Run (Invitational)
Approximately 24 hours rest will give some of the doublers a chance to recoup their energy at least. The 1600m Invite includes some of the same top players- Brookover, Cruz, Matysik, Beach, Archer, and Montgomery. Add in a few rested and top flight Georgians in 4:55.63 Milton senior and Furman signee, Riley Burr and 5:01.75 South Forsyth sophomore Kaylee Dupont , veteran North Miami junior and former 4:54.03 performer, Daesha Rogers, and FHSAA 4A State Cross Country Champ and Dillard senior, Brittany Gill, and we have another potential 5 minute busting field. I can remember when 5 minutes was not so common place. How the years have changed?!!
Burr cranked out a 4:55.63 last Saturday or was it Monday? I couldn't figure that out since the results listed the Fulton County Championships between March 26-28- possibly rain delayed. Her time was good enough for a 3.25 second improvement over her runner up finish at last year's GHSA State 1600m Championships. Burr has great speed too owning a personal best of 2:14.30 in finishing third at last year's GHSA State 800m Championships.
Rogers continues to keep the flame alive. The precocious child star popped a 2:10.82 behind Southridge junior Kalya Johnson at Louie Bing in mid February - her best opener ever. She has the best personal bests of the entire field- 55.82, 2:07.65, 4:54.03. If she can rekindle her ability to dominate a race, the field could be in trouble.
Gill finished second to Cruz at the BCAA 1600m Champs in a new personal best of 5:04.62. The senior was a dominant winner at the FHSAA 4A Cross Country Champs in November and I expect bigger things are to come from this standout.
Brookover showed an ability to bounce back from a top performance at the FSU Relays winning in a time of 4:56.83- that was just 1.20 seconds off her personal best she set at the Bolles Bulldog Classic in early March . She'll have a bit more of a rest here so could be a big factor in the title hunt.
Archer also rebounded well from a near 800m PR at FSU Relays. Her 5:00.68 was 0.55 off her personal best. She can make it a race of she is able to transfer her speed to four laps instead of two.