GIRLS WINNER: Regine Williams - Senior @ Hallandale
Heart and toughness. Those are the two qualities Hallandale coach John Battle will remember most about Regine Williams. The star senior was recently involved in a serious car accident and the coaching staff didn't even know if she would be able to compete in the state series let alone score points. Battle vividly remembers her lying in a hospital bed and later being rolled out in a wheelchair. That was two weeks ago. Coach Battle says the mindset is to keep her working hard and humble because both know the road back to greatness hasn't been easy and that the process to get their takes time.
"Keeping her healthy has been the main focus going to the district, regional, and state meet. She has been working a lot on her turnover and maintaining her form through the entire race and she seems to be peaking at the right time as we enter the post season."
What Williams did at the district meet was nothing short of remarkable. The senior set personal bests winning both the 100 (11.70) and 200 meters (23.76). Her 200 meter time is the sixth fastest time in the country and third behind fellow Floridians Kaylin Whitney and Kali Davis-White. She also advanced in the long jump with a third place showing and mark of 16-10.5 way off her personal best of 19-6 which she won the FHSAA 4A Outdoor State Finals with last year. Battle says Williams is a great example for her fellow teammates.
"Her versatility on the track provides us with an opportunity to compete as a team on a high level. Her leadership and high expectations for herself and teammates has been played a major role with the success we have had this year. She also serves as a leader for boys as well. As her coach I feel we have yet to see the best from her and I look forward to her doing something special and Jacksonville."
"I know for fact that wherever she signs with, will have one hard-working, very determined young lady. It has truly been an and pleasure to come across such an amazing individual like Regine. I'm sure of two things she will be an asset to wherever she lands and an asset to the world."
BOYS WINNER: Ceolamar Ways - Senior @ Nease
Ceolamar Ways decided to give up football and focus solely on track for his senior season. The Nease standout also picked the shorter sprints over the quarter-mile most have come familiar with seeing him run. The long jump also gone out of the list of events. Coach Bernie Blue says the physical wear on his body was evident by the postseason last year and this year he is as healthy and passionate about track as he could be.
"He chose to devote himself fully to TRACK ONLY over the summer with a different focus. Under the support of his father Chuck and his Young Achievers mentor Coach (Byron), Ceo began a rigorous training regiment centered around short sprints (60m / 100m, and 200m) which was based on the neet to get faster. He trained extensively and competed on the indoor circuit, realizing that he could really make the transition to short sprints."
While most Floridians were preparing for outdoor season, Ways was getting a jump start on the rest of his Sunshine State peers. He traveled to the University of Florida for the Jimmy Carnes Indoor meet, then to the University of Kentucky, finishing second and first in the 200 at the respective meets. Following the travel schedule, he flew west to Seattle for the Brooks PR Invitational where he competed in the 400 meters and was one of the top finishers before a disqualification ended the excitement. Blue says his star runner felt the dq' was uncalled for and it propelled him to push harder.
"He came back two weeks later to win the 200 at New Balance Indoor Nationals. It really boosted his confidence and got him back on track. Ceo has been seen as the underdog on the short sprint circuit, and this has enabled him to have a chip on his shoulder. He strongly believes that action speaks louder than words."
Backing up that statement, Ways dabbled in a couple of 400 meter runs at both Bob Hayes and FSU Relays winning both. He finished third at the prestigious Florida Relays in the 100 meter dash with a time of 10.68. Last week, he picked up a district championship in that event and ran a new personal best time of 20.93 in the 200 meter dash. Ways also ran a leg of the team's 4x100 helping them advance to regionals with a second place showing. Blue says the plan coming into the meet was to post fast times to ensure a great positioning for a regional seeding.
"I felt Ceo ran within himself at Districts. In the 100 meters, he focused on trying to press in the finals and post a 10.5 or better. In the 200 meters, he was in lane four and Nick Uruburu was in lane five. Ceo wanted to explode out and take over the race in the first 50 meters. His start put him ni great position and he exploded out of the turn, pressing to the end. He was hoping for 20.8, but finished in 20.93."
A never satisfied attitude fuels Ways to reach greater heights and give him the confidence in his abilities to grow. His goals for the postseason are to win both the 100 and 200. The competition will be stiff with the likes of fellow Jacksonville area star Kendal Williams and St. Petersburg Gibbs senior Trayvon Bromell. He hopes his efforts at state and at the Golden South Classic will set him up for a ticket to the Dream 100 in New York City. Coach Blue says he has had the pleasure of watching Ways grow from a no nonsense sixth grader to a young man with lofty ambitions.
"It has been a tremendous pleasure coaching and mentoring Ceo's progression. He is humble and well received by his peers. Ceo truly respects the sport (track) and loves what he does. UNC will be getting a stellar athlete with a heart of GOLD. Ceo has the determination and courage to take on future challenges and ambitions at the collegiate level. I look forward to following and supporting his future efforts."