Florida Relays Boys Distance Preview: Haynes Will Have Work Cutout For Him In Loaded 800m


Yohance Haynes of St. Thomas Aquinas is bringing the South Florida flare to Gainesville this weekend. Haynes, a senior, has dropped his times at every meet this year and currently owns a state leading 1:53.20 in the 800.

The high school portion of the  2016 Florida Relays kicks off Thursday night with the 1,600m run (non invitational), 800m run, and 3,200m run and the boy's races are solid fields. Not many out-of-state contenders, but plenty of in-staters that could take down some state leading times. 

Boys 1600m Run

Trinity Prep junior Trent Mandato staked claim to a 16.78 second personal best in the 3200m last Friday at the FSU Relays to take fourth in a time of 9:15.96.  He followed that up with a 22nd place finish in the 1600m on Saturday in a time of 4:29.73- albeit a little tired from his Friday night performance. He'll be fresh for this one so I expect a big personal best-possibly flirting with the 4:20 barrier.

Gainesville senior and UF signee, Blake Lowery, grinded out two huge personal bests in the 3200m and 1600m at the FSU Relays last weekend; his 9:24.01 for 12th place was a personal best by 10.70 seconds and his 4:22.68 was a personal best by 7.24 seconds. He'll be running in front of his hometown crowd and so expect a big race from a kid whose pain threshold is among the best. Just watch him run, you'll see what I mean.

The Numbers

Trent Mandato, Jr, Trinity Prep,2016 FSU Relays 3200m, 4th, 9:15.96 personal best by 16.78, 1600m, 22nd, 4:29.73, 1600m personal best 4:29.55

Blake Lowery, Sr. Gainesville, Florida signee, 2016 FSU Relays, 12th, 9:24.01 personal best by 10.70, 1600m, 13th, 4:22.68 personal best by 7.24, 2015 FHSAA 3A Cross Country Champs, 2nd, 15:46.79

Boys 800m Run

This field is loaded. There are five with personal bests of 1:55 or better. Of those, St. Thomas Aquinas senior Yohance Haynes is running the best. His 1:53.20 to win the BCAA Champs by 2.57 second eclipsed his personal best by 0.77 seconds.

He'll be challenged by Florida signee Justin Pacifico. Pacifico has shown great range. He finished second at the FHSAA 4A Cross Country champs and has opened with a longer distance emphasis this track season. His 9:27.55 3200m at FSU Relays was good for 17th. But now, the emphasis turns to the 800m and 1600m. Pacifico owns a best of 1:53.34 in winning Golden South last year which was preceded by a runner-up at the FHSAA State 800m champs in 1:53.46. More impressive to me was his 1:54.99 at the Jimmy Carnes Indoor meet on February 6. The strength is there, now comes the speed. He looks primed to challenge his personal best and then some.

Three others that can't be discounted are Lake Mary's John Lyons, Charlotte's Marshal Dillon, Cooper City's Jose Penalver, and Flagler Palm Coast's Kadeem Wynn. All of these athletes have dropped down into the 1:55 range and are looking to go faster in an expectedly fast race. 

Dillon's impressive and dominating win at Jimmy Carnes mile in a time of 4:21.41 showed a potentially great outdoor season was on the horizon. Dillon has not disappointed, running a 1:55.81 personal best at the Tarpon Invite last week.

Penalver improved 4.67 seconds to a 1:55.10 at February's Louie Bing Invite. Lyons sped to a 3.58 second personal best to win the Brain Jaeger Elite Classic in 1:55.81. And then there is Wynn who cut 0.75 off his personal best to finish a hard fought 3rd at the FSU Relays in a time of 1:55.66.

Expect a fast early pace by Haynes and strong finishes from Pacifico and Dillon. I predict a 1:51 high to 1:52 low will win this race.

The Numbers

Justin Pacifico, Sr, Flagler Palm Coast, UF Signee,  2015 FHSAA 4A State runner-up, 15:42.37, 2016 FSU Relays, 17th, 9:27.55, 2015 Golden South, 1st, 1:53.34, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Champs, 2nd, 1:53.46

Joseph Jackson Storey, Jr, Creekside, 2016 Friday Knight Invite, 1:57.32, 2016 Bolles Bulldog Classic, 1st, 4:18.69 personal best by 0.19, lowered 2016 best 2.09, 2015 FHSAA 3A, 14th, 16:29.76

John Lyons, Sr, Lake Mary, 2016 Brian Jaeger Elite Classic, 1st, 1:55.81 persona best by 3.58, 2016 Jeff Wentworth Relays, 1st, 4:18.88 personal best by 2.25, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Champs 1600m, 5th, 4:22.68, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Cross Champs, 11th, 16:18.82

Marshall Dillon, Sr, Charlotte, 800m personal best by 1.33, 1:55.51, Tarpon Invite, 1st place, 2015 Florida Relays, 6th, 4:18.43. 2016 Jimmy Carnes Mile, 1st, 4:21.41, 2015 FHSAA 3A State Cross Champs, 6th, 16:04.66

Yohance Haynes, Sr, St. Thomas Aquinas,  2016 BCAA Champs, 1st , 1:53.20 win by 2.57 personal best by 0.77

Jose Penalver, Jr, Cooper City,  2016 Louie Bing 800m, 2nd, 1:55.10 personal best by 4.67

Kadeem Wynn, Sr, Flagler Palm Coast, 2016 FSU Relays, 3rd, 1:55.66 personal best by 0.75

Others to watch:

John Volmar,Sr, Freedom(Orlando), 1:53.94 personal best, FHSAA 4A Region 1, 2nd 

Emare Hogan, Jr, Dr. Phillips, 1:54.86 personal best, 2015 Brian Jaeger Classic, 3rd

Qaseem Wajd, Sr. Tampa Prep,  1:54.89 personal best, USF/Steinbrenner, 1st

Boys 3,200m Run

This race has a solid, but not as deep field as the FSU Relays. But, there is potential for it to be just as fast.

Sarasota senior and East Tennessee State signee, Adam Bradtmueller opted to try his hand at the Dream Mile Golden ticket at the Raleigh Relays last week instead of competing in the FSU Relays. He was rewarded with a 4:17.31 personal best in the mile or roughly a 4:16.9 in the 1600m. The surprise winner of last fall's FHSAA 4A State Cross Country Championships is showing good form and here, he'll be running in his 3200m of the season.  He'll have to find a balance between that speed and strength, but a low 9:10 or high 9:0x is quite possible.

He'll have plenty of company. Lyman's Joshua Jacques hung tough at the FSU Relays until Noah Perkins blew open the race with a 2:09 last 800m. Jacques still managed a 9:23.33 for 14th place and came back to run 4:24.61 on Saturday. Now, the senior has to find that sweet spot of a race like he found in qualifying for eighth at last fall's Foot Locker South Regional. His personal best of 9:11 is tops of the field and he is certainly in shape to improve on his FSU Relays performance.

Creekside junior, Matthew Clark won this year's Bolles Bulldog Classic in a fine 9:26.73. That was 5.71 second improvement on his personal best. The FHSAA 3A State Cross sixth placer seems to have upped his game and could be ready for a big improvement Thursday night.

Shorecrest Prep's Luke Peterson showed he has speed to go along with his strength as he set personal bests in the 800m, 1:56.08, and the 1600m, 4:19.07 at the FSU Relays last weekend. The FHSAA 1A State Cross Country runner-up could be a big factor in the title hunt Thursday night.

The numbers

Adam Bradtmueller, Sr. Sarasota, East Tennessee State signee,  2016 Raleigh Relays, 4th, 4:17.31 personal best, 2015 FHSAA 4A, 1st, 15:44.83,  2014 Florida Relays, 3rd, 9:25.44

Luke Peterson, Sr, Shorecrest Prep, 2016 FSU Relays 800m, 4th, 1:56.08 personal best by 1.18, 1600m, 3rd, 4:19.07 personal best by 3.33.

Joshua Jacques, Sr, Lyman, 2016 FSU Relays, 10th, 9:23.33, 1600m, 14th, 4:24.61 2015 FHSAA 4A State 3200m Champ, 9:11.00 personal best, 2015 Foot Locker National Finalist, 32nd, 15:58.70, 2014 FHSAA 4A State Cross Champ, 1st, 15:16.00

Blake Lowery, Sr. Gainesville, Florida signee, 2016 FSU Relays, 12th, 9:24.01 personal best by 10.70, 1600m, 13th, 4:22.68 personal best by 7.24, 2015 FHSAA 3A Cross Country Champs, 2nd, 15:46.79

Chas Cook, Sr, Trinity Prep,  2016 FSU Relays 3200m, 14th, 9:26.11 personal best by 2.70, 1600m, 17th, 4:26.04, 2015 FHSAA 2A State Cross Champs, 1st, 15:53.49

Matthew Clark, Jr, Creekside,  2016 Bolles Bulldog Classic, 1st, 9:26.73 personal best by 5.71, 2015 FHSAA  3A State Cross Country Champs, 5th, 16:03.02

Boys 1,600m Run (Invitational)

Friday night's invite has all the makings of a sub 4:15 race- Justin Pacifico will be dropping down to the shorter races where he excels and Jordan Armstrong will have most likely one leg of the DMR in the AM under his belt  before this one big open race.

Pacifico looks to be racing one race each day at the Florida Relays. The strength he has shown in his 3200m should be more than enough to have him at 100% for Friday night's invite. Armstrong's personal best of 4:18.28 came after a monster 15.82 second personal best in the 3200m Friday night at the FSU Relays. The last 1600m of the 3200m was quick- 4:29 for Perkins and about 4:34 for Armstrong. So in this one, Armstrong will have a bit more energy for a predicted fast race.

Charlotte's Marshall Dillon thumped a solid field at Jimmy Carnes on February 6th running 4:21.41 for a mile-roughly 4:200 for the 1600m. He looked full of run then and his 1:55.51 on March 24 shows that he is ready for a fast race-- certainly better than his 4:18.43 set at last year's Florida Relays in finishing sixth.

Freedom's Timothy Doyle and Ransom Everglades' Gabriel Correa have both cut their 1600m personal best by 2+ seconds to come within striking distance of the 4:20 barrier. This venue and field will be the place to drop it even further.

Expect an honest pace and a fast finish. Someone will make that final 100m sprint to win this one.

The Numbers

Justin Pacifico, Sr, Flagler Palm Coast, UF Signee,  2015 FHSAA 4A State runner-up, 15:42.37, 2016 FSU Relays, 17th, 9:27.55 personal best, 2015 Golden South, 1st, 1:53.34 personal best, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Champs, 2nd, 1:53.46.

Jordan Armstrong, Sr, Lyman, Air Force signee, 2016 FSU Relays, 2nd 4:18.28 personal best by 1.83, 3200m, 2nd 9:13.55 personal best by 15.82 seconds, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Champs, 5th, 15:56.89, 2015 FHSAA 4A 1600m, 3rd, 4:20.11, 3200m 5th, 9:30.90.

John Lyons, Sr, Lake Mary, 2016 Brian Jaeger Elite Classic, 1st, 1:55.81 personal best by 3.58, 2016 Jeff Wentworth Relays, 1st, 4:18.88 personal best by 2.25, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Champs 1600m, 5th, 4:22.68, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Cross Champs, 11th, 16:18.82

Luke Peterson, Sr, Shorecrest Prep, 2016 FSU Relays 800m, 4th, 1:56.08 personal best by 1.18, 1600m, 3rd, 4:19.07 personal best by 3.33

Timothy Doyle, So, Freedom(Orlando), 2016 Sanford-Seminole Invite, 1st, 4:20.03personal best by 4.99, 2015 FHSAA 4A Cross Country Champs, 28th, 16:35.68, 2015 FHSAA 4A 800m, 6th, 1:56.34. 2015 FHSAA 4A Region 1, 4th, 1:54.58 personal best

Jack Bluth, Sr, Milton(GA),  2016 1600m seasonal best 4:21.19, 2nd Jerry Arnold Georgia Challenge, 1600m personal best, 4:20.49 Georgia Olympics, 9th

Gabriel Correa, Sr, Ransom Everglades,  2016 FSU Relays, 9th, 4:20.38 personal best by 2.96, 2015 FHSAA 2A State 1600m Champs, 2nd, 4:28.27, 2014 FHSAA 2A State 1600m Champs, 1st, 4:21.41, 800m personal best 1:59.50, 1st, Belen Home Meet.

Marshall Dillon, Sr, Charlotte, 800m personal best by 1.33, 1:55.51, Tarpon Invite, 1st place, 2015 Florida Relays, 6th, 4:18.43. 2016 Jimmy Carnes Mile, 1st, 4:21.41, 2015 FHSAA 3A State Cross Champs, 6th, 16:04.66

Calum McFetridge, Jr,  Buchholz, 2016 Sanford-Seminole Invite, 2nd 4:22.34, 2015 FHSAA 4A State Cross Champs, 3rd, 15:53.75


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