Athletes Of The Week: Michelle Howell, Javon Patterson

<div style="background: url(; width: 100%; height: 100px"> <h1 style="color: #fff; line-height: 100px; text-align: center; font-size: 42px; text-shadow: 2px 2px 4px rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.8);"> Florida Athletes of the Week</h1> </div>

GIRLS WINNER: Michelle Howell - Senior @ Seminole Ridge

Seminole Ridge senior Michelle Howell began running at an early age.  Early on her dad and coach, James knew she was going to be fast. In her latter years of elementary schools, he enrolled her on a club team called Junior Striders where she first got exposed to the sport at a competitive level.  He says by the time she got to the middle school level she was already pretty quick and easily made the track team as the fastest runner.
"Her main event became the 400 meters (but she could have easily run any of the running events from 100m to the mile and won). I volunteered my time to help coach, but tried my best to only coach her within a group. During middle school she ran the 4 x 400m relay, 800m medley relay and  was undefeated in the 400m all three years (county champion)."
It seemed like the quarter mile would be her go to event in high school as well.  It was for three years until her and her dad decided it was time to make the switch to the 800. He says her versatility and cross country training made it a smooth transition to the longer distance. 
"The decision was made just prior to the start of the track season and I think that she now loves to run the 800m more than the 400m. It is definitely her race, it is perfect combination for her speed and endurance abilities."
The 2013 season started out slow for Howell, an FIU signee,but the times were not reflective of what was to come. The lack of competition in Palm Beach County made it tough for her to post very impressive times as she lead most of those races. It was all part of the game plan to peak at the right time. Her dad says the 4x800 meter relay became their best friend in terms of speed work.
"She almost always would get the baton far back and had to work hard to catch everyone and since she was going out the first 400m in 60 to 61 seconds (she always wants to close the gap as quick as possible) she had to struggle to finish strong. What a great training tool for me. And then to come back and run an open 800m and finish with the anchor leg on the 4 x 400m."
Howell had been flying under the radar leading up to the state meet. After, was a different story. She beat the field by six seconds and nearly broke the meet record with a new personal best at the time of 2:10.12. Her confidence began to grow as she entered the Golden South Classic which once again featured another deep field including 2A state champion Daesha Rogers. Howell and her dad knew that if they wanted to win they needed to tuck in behind Daesha early  and make her move in the last 200. She did just that and cruised into a new personal best of 2:09.61. Her dad says her season couldn't have gone any more perfect.
"She set the school record for the 800 meter broken over and over again, Panther Relays Mile Medley record, County Champion, District Champion, Regional Champion,  and 4A State Champion, she got the 4 x 800m girls to state (especially Cassie Barrrett a senior and close friend), Golden South Champion, Sun Sentinel and Palm Beach Post Athlete of the Year. I even  got Coach of the Year from the Sun Sentinel. Yes, it was a great season."

Michelle's Athlete Profile


BOYS WINNER: Javon Patterson - Sophomore @ Boyd Anderson

Javon Patterson is only a sophomore, but is putting up times of an experienced runner. The rising standout at Boyd Anderson has seen his maturity grow both as a person and as an athlete over the past two years. He started running cross country for the Cobras as a freshman and transitioned to the track. Coach Duchane Thomas says at first he found it difficult to embrace  cross country, but it has helped maximize his potential in the 800, by strengthening is core.
Patterson started his season with an indoor win at the Jimmy Carnes Indoor Youth Meet at the University of Florida. From there he went onto compete on the national stage at Arcadia in California. Coach Thomas says it was the big meets like that and the postseason that they aimed for from the beginning of the season.
"We have been working all season for Arcadia, Regional, State and Golden South, therefore we know going into Arcadia that he would have to PR in order to compete on that stage.  Arcadia was his second 800 of the season and the plan was for him to at least go 1:54.  We were not surprise with the time because we know that in order for him to reach his target goal he had to go 1:54 or better in California."
Patterson placed fifth in a new personal time of 1:54.49. From there he won his next three meets including a small quad meet, districts and regionals. At state, he would face the tough task of competing against Colonial senior Andres Arroyo who was going for the historic triple, and trying to cement his legacy as one of the best distance runners the state has seen. 
The sophomore finished second behind Arroyo in a time of 1:56.85, respectable considering the conditions on that rainy Saturday afternoon. It was a great confidence booster knowing he could compete with the best of the best. Patterson then shifted his focus to the Golden South Classic where he would have just as much elite competition. Coach Thomas says the goal was to end the year ona  high note.
"I told him he was ready to go 1:52 or better.  I knew he was ready to run that time based on how his training was going leading up to state."
Patterson crossed the line with another runner-up finish, but this time it was another personal best. His time of 1:51.15 is the second fastest in the state only behind Arroyo, the fastest for any sophomore in the country, and the 15th fastest time in the U.S. for 2013 regardless of class.  Coach Thomas says they were very pleased with his performance and expect to see more excitement out of Javon in the coming years.
"We were very pleased and excited with his time.  We have been working towards that goal and to see it come to fulfillment is wonderful. Javon has a natural God given talent that I have not seen in all my coaching.  He has a great AAU coach (coach Barrett) who set the foundation for us and we were able to build on that.  Javon Patterson is one to watch for along time to come."
Javon's Athlete Profile