If one wanted to make a case for the most dominant high school track athlete in the State of Florida, the discussion would have to begin and almost certainly end with Bolles junior Caitlin Collier. Collier pulled off the distance trifecta over the weekend at IMG Academy in Bradenton. Distance sweeps were common over the weekend as both Oak Hall's Grace Blair and Fort Myers' Krissy Gear did it. However, prior to that, only Collier (in 2016) and Chiles' Lily Williams in 2012 have been the only female runners to pull off such a feat, in the modern era. Collier's accomplishment was magnified in that she pulled the distance sweep two years in a row. That had not been done since Bayshore's Betty Jo Springs did it in 1977 and 1978, when the distance events were still measured in yards and Jimmy Carter was the president. Collier and Springs are now the only two athletes in Florida state history to have such record.
"I was just going, just trying to maximize," Collier said. "I had to just go all out."
With the 800m and 3200m already in the bag from Friday, Collier set off in the 1600m final against a very tough Natalie Varela of Gulliver Prep. The pair quickly started to pull away from the field and finished their second lap at 2:24. Collier then began to pull away. She put five seconds between her and Varela and then cranked it up to cruise to a 4:50.48, fastest among all classifications. Varela, just a freshman, settled for fourth as Key West sophomore Nicole Matysik took second in 4:75.65. North Marion's Leigha Torino was third at 4:58.92. Collier's 2:07.40 split in the 4x800m relay was the clincher and they won that in 9:12.01.
The Bolles girls comfortably out-paced American Heritage 90-64, as Collier and the rest of the 4x800m relay accounted for 40 of those points.
Not to be out-shined, Miami Jackson's Tiara McMinn opened some eyes and dropped some jaws over the weekend. McMinn brought the high jump title (5-10.75) over from Friday and on Saturday, dominated the hurdles. In the 100s her top qualifying time of 14.37 from Friday was offset by her 14.20 to win the finals on Saturday. Her 41.60 from Friday's 300m prelims was a bit faster than her 41.96 that won the finals on Saturday. McMinn, like Collier, swept her three individual events for the second straight year. A fine way to end her high school career.
"I felt like my 100 hurdles could have been even better, I stumbled on two hurdles," McMinn said. "I wanted to go for the three golds and I PRed in the high jump."
Ransom Everglades senior Debbie Ajagbe did all she could to round out a fantastic high school career by sweeping the throws. Ajabe's 51.58m (169-3) throw in the disc, was more than 40 feet ahead of the field. That throw slides in at eighth in the US this season. She also won the shot with a 12.90m (42-4) throw. It was the second straight year Ajagbe won the disc.
Sweeps were the trend on the girls side of Class 2A. Sprinter KaTia Seymour of Palatka swept the sprints. She ran a sizzling 11.51 on Friday to take the top seed into Saturday's final and an 11.57 into a negative 1.2 headwind to win the final. Her 22.89 from prelims setup a finals win in 23.48 into a negative 2.7 headwind. It was also the second straight year Seymour swept the sprints.
"I was actually trying to PR today but it was so windy, it was hard," Seymour said. "I could feel people near me (during the race), I just wanted to keep my pace and get to the end."
Seymour has an 11.26 from the Great Southwest Classic in New Mexico from 2016 that she is still chasing. She'll have a chance to do that at FSU next season. With the help of former multiple state champion Robin Reynolds, who just graduated from UF, Seymour's chances look pretty good.
The 400m final was slightly anticlimactic after state leading and defending champ Maiah Walker of Lake Wales false started. Walker brought a 54.71 from Friday's prelims over to Saturday's final but she fliched in the set position and was disqualified. It opened the door for American Heritage's Danielle Bess (1st in 55.38) and Kenya Thompson (2nd in 56.56) to take top honors. Bess is just a freshman and Thompson an eighth-grader. Walker managed to grab fifth in the 200m final and eighth in the 100m final. Walker, just a junior, still has another shot at redemption.
Bess and Thompson helped the Heritage 4x400m relay take first in 3:50.26. Heritage's Morgan Rhett, Kori Collins, Myrka Cadet and Jada James won the 4x100m reay in 46.70.
Hallandale's Takira Williams jumped 11.98m (39-3.75) to win triple jump, just and inch-and-a-half past Caroline Johnson's 39-2.25.
On the boys side, American Heritage looked to be easy team favorites with the likes of Anthony Schwartz and Tyson Campbell among others but a botched 4x100m relay and a hamstring injury to Schwartz knee-capped the team score. The Hallandale boys pounced on the opportunity.
They got a runner up finish in the 400m final from Peter Anderson (47.30), another runner-up finish from Amari Johnson in the 300m hurdle finals, a third-place finish in the shot from Milton Ingraham, a fifth-place finish from Favien Lively in the 110m hurdles.
Then they took the 4x800m relay to start the day (8:06.17) and edged out Palatka 3:14.31 to 3:15.63 to cap the night with the 4x400m title. Heritage could have saved it with a fourth-place or better finish in the 4x400m but a banged up squad slid to fifth and Hallandale won the team title 57-56.
Campbell stepped up, winning both the 100m (10.76) and 200m (21.35) finals.
Perhaps not quite as dominant as the distance sweep but no less impressive was Lincoln Park senior Caleb Pottorff's dissection of the 1600m and 3200m races. Pottorff won the 3200m on Friday by more than 12 seconds. He won the 1600m on Saturday by more than six seconds. His 4:16.21 and 9:13.39 were tops among all classifications over the weekend. It marked back-to-back titles for the senior in the 3200m. Pottorff competes in all kinds of big meets but the state finals have a special motivation for him.
"It's definitely the biggest stakes," Pottorff said. "You train all year for one meet and that's state. To go out on top is a huge blessing."
Citrus' Israel Diaz won boys high jump at 2.00m (6-6.75) in a jump off with Bolles sophomore Bryson Kirksey. Satellite's Noah Mumme cleared 4.68m (15-4.25) to win pole vault. Bishop Kenny's R'Lazon Brumfield won the triple jump at 14.54m (47-8.5). Archbishop McCarthy's Marcus Mijares won disc at 50.82m (166-9). Diego Fagot of Calvary Christian went 17.48 (57-4.25) to win shot.
Booker T Washington's Tyquan Thornton won the 400m final in 47.09.
Raines' Chase Bonham and Godby's Tyricke Dickens split the hurdle titles.