Floridians Sprint Past Field At Brooks PR, Whitney, Sparling 1-2, Plus Other Great Performances

(Photo by Gary Paulson)

Eleven Floridians headed to the Pacific Northwest to test their skills against the top runners in the country at the 2014 Brooks PR Invitational. After soaking in all Seattle had to offer Thursday and Friday and mingling with other athletes it was down to business when they took to the track on Saturday. After winning the Dream 100 in New York City a week prior, East Ridge's Kaylin Whitney continued to tear up her competition. After a much anticipated match up with Long Beach Poly's Arianna Washington was foiled due to a tweaked hamstring, it looked like Whitney was a shoe in for the bronze shoe given to the winners of each race. A great start propelled her to a time of 11.35, just off of her personal best of 11.27. Krystal Sparling of St. Thomas Aquinas was second in 11.61 with University of Southern Cal signee Deanna Hill finishing her high school career with a fourth place finish and time of 11.90. Whitney will compete in Eugene at the USA Junior Trials in hopes of making the world team!
4A state champion Terry Jernigan competed against the best of the best for the second consecutive week and like in New York City came up just short finishing in second place with a time of 10.41. Jernigan could possibly travel to Eugene to try and make the world junior team. His PR of 10.27 is one of the top times in the country. Piper's Andre Ewers was sixth in 10.75.
Three Sunshine state hurdlers competed this weekend. Justin Cromartie had the least ammount of state titles of the bunch, but that didn't matter. After a second place finish at Golden South, and running against some pros in Clermont, the 3A 110m champion scored a silver medal with a time of 14.01. He admits it wasn't the best race for any of the hurdlers, but a second place finish is still something to be proud of. Coach Scott Gowan said that Cromartie, who is still unsigned, is one of the hardest working athletes he's coached, and one of the top hurdle technicians in the country.
Two of the state's top hurdlers University of Miami signee Stefani Kerrison and LSU signee Daeshon Gordon were fifth (13.86) and sixth (13.89) respectively in the 100 meter hurdles.

American Heritage class of 2014 quarter-miler Deja Parrish rounded out her high school career with a fifth place showing and time of 58.63. Parrish was third at the indoor event last year and  will be running for Clemson University in the fall. University of Southern Cal signee Kendall Ellis also made the trip to Seattle, but an injury prevented her from running.

Leon class of 2015 standout Sukhi Khosla overcame some jostling late in the race to pass five guys in the final meters. Khosla placed sixth with an impressive time of 4:09.39. 

Khosla's take on the race and the complete Brooks PR experience: "The race was a good learning experience. People are much more aggressive than I was expecting and I will definitely be more ready for that type of race next time. The weekend was pretty awesome and Brooks did a fantastic job setting up a well-organized and entertaining time in Seattle. They also paid for everything. I didn't spend a single dollar even on a snack so that was great. I'll be looking forward to getting an invitation next year to come back."
Senior to be Javon Patterson was 8th in the 800 in 1:54.07. 

Patterson's take on the race and overall Brooks PR experience: "I thought the race would havee been faster than it was. Since the first lap was so slow it made the race more difficult to run. Overall though, it was a good experience for me to travel by myself and get to know different runners from around the country."

Overall, Florida athletes had a great experience in Seattle from riding the ferris wheel to competing at beautiful Rendon Stadium, competing against the best, and making friendships that will last for years. For some this marked the end of their high school careers, for others just a taste of what is to come.

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