When sophomore Tyrese Cooper transferred from 4A American High School to 3A Norland, I guarantee you no sprinter in the classification was happy. Cooper, who won the 200 and 400 as a freshman and was second in the 100 meters at the state meet, is one of the best the state has EVER seen and he has the national records, titles, and times to prove it. "Smoke" has run 10.49, 20.66, and 45.45 already this season and the potential to run even faster on the blue track at IMG is exciting to anyone.
If anyone is to beat Cooper, there best chance comes in the 100m dash. Widchard Guervil of Fort Myers looked excellent at his regional running 10.49, and there are USF signee Chauncy Smart, and Lincoln's Marquel Pittman. Smart was third last year at Brooks PR and clocked a 10.30w at last year' Florida Relays. Pittman ran 10.57 in Tallahassee in March.
Cooper owns the fastest time in the nation in the 200 with his 20.55 the next fastest is Marquel Pittman of Lincoln who won the FSU Relays in 21.11. Nonetheless a half of a second is a lot of time in any race especially at this distance. In the 400, the Norland sophomore is one of the fastest the state has EVER seen. It looks like he would win his signature race easily, but that was until Leander Forbes of Leon dropped a 45.95 to win 3A Region 1. Nobody is even close to those two and although Forbes has the 45 to his record, it would be a major upset if he could dethrone Cooper.
In the hurdles, 3A boasts two of the best in the nation in LSU signee Damion Thomas and Miami Northwestern's Thomas Burns. Thomas best of 13.43 is one ranked in the top five in the world for U20 athletes and US#2 behind only national record holder Trey Cunningham. Burns recently ran 35.51 at the regional meet. The mark is the second ever in Florida history behind only Olympian Bershawn "Batman" Jackson.
In the distance events, Creekside's Jackson Storey returns to defend his 800m crown. The Columbia University signee will field a test from Estero's Hugh Brittenham and a slew of other sub 1:55 runners eager to get their slice of the pie. Michael Phillips of Chiles, the 3A cross country state champion is one of the top seeds in both the 1,600 and 3,200 and will face stiff competition with Creekside's Matthew Clark and Nick Deal, Joshua Collins of Belen Jesuit, Evan Babatz of Ft. Myers and Sean Heera of Clearwater just to name a few.
Miami Northwestern has the top seeds in the 4x1, 4x4, and 4x800. Look for Fort Myers to challenge in the 4x1 and Creekside to give them a run in the 4x8. As for the 4x4, they've run 3:10 several times this season. No team is coming close to that time except the blue and gold.
Field event standouts to watch for include University of Alabama football signee Jarez Parks one of the top throwers in the state. He'll go head to head with newly signed University of Florida thrower Ed Shelikoff. Parks Sebastian River teammate Queshun Watson is a threat in both the long jump and triple jump.The pole vault will be a three headed battle between Ivan Piccioni, Carter Palasti, and Seth Musselman of Harmony.
Lincoln, Northwestern, Hillsborough, won their respective regional team titles and Lincoln has a ton of speed. They are projected to win in our virtual meet but only in the slimmest of margins over Miami Northwestern. Our third through eighth teams are separated by only FIVE points. This one could come down to the 4x400m relay, the last event of the night.