Micah Evans, one of the state's top returning vaulters and a senior at Gulf Coast High School, picked up not far where he left off last spring in Thursday's Bears Preseason Classic at Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples, Florida.
Evans finished off last year vaulting to a personal best height of 14'10". He was just off that this past week in his opening meet of the 2021 outdoor season with a state-leading clearance of 14'5.25".
His teammate and fellow senior at Gulf Coast in Yeremi Tatis also recorded an impressive early-season mark in the field events on Thursday as he nearly reached 22 feet in the long jump with a winning leap of 21 feet and 11 inches in very competitively close competition with Island Coast sophomore Kelton Henderson as the runner-up at 21 feet and 9 1/2 inches. Tatis ranks now second in the state of Florida currently with his season-opening mark.
Henderson did enjoy a first-place showing in the 100-meter dash as the underclassmen sped away from the field in a time which ties his all-time best at 11.24 and ranks fifth-fastest currently in the state of Florida. He also won the triple jump competition with a top mark of 40 feet and 6 3/4 inches.
Another exceptional athlete part of the class of 2021 for Gulf Coast in Hudson Jean dominated both hurdles races at Palmetto Ridge posting times of 15.31 in the 110-meter hurdles and 41.16 in the 300-meter hurdles. Hudson was knocking on the door of breaking 15 seconds in the 110 hurdles (15.09 PR) and 300 hurdles (40.88 PR) last spring before the season was shut down.
There were solid throws performances as well in the meet most notably by Island Coast senior Dominick Russell launching a throw of 144 feet and 5 inches in the discus throw, while Gulf Coast senior Jackson Beebe edged him out by two feet in the javelin throw at 142 feet and 5 inches.
Loren Brown, a senior at Community School of Naples, was one of the top performers among all the girls events as she crushed the competition in both the 400 (1:01.82) and 200 (27.13) meter dashes.
Meanwhile, the girls 1600 meter run saw one of the closest races of the day going down to the line between a pair of juniors in Barron Collier's Emily Rypina (1st, 5:35.49) just able to edge out Palmetto Ridge's Sonia Lountchenko (2nd, 5:35.88) on her home track.
A similar even closer finish was witnessed in the even longer distance event in the 3200-meter run between Grace O'Malley from Community School of Naples taking the win in 12:48.14 barely over Palmetto Ridge freshman Bailey Giles in second place at 12:48.23.
Barron Collier High saw two of their freshmen newcomers lead the way in the 800 meter run with Rilee Morrison at 2:34.64 and Ada Thomsen at 2:36.19 going for a 1-2 finish together in the two lap event.
Immokalee junior Heaven Cummings threw for a top-five mark in the state for the shot put winning by over six feet with her toss of 35 feet and 5 inches. She came back to take first place in the discus as well with a throw of 81 feet and 7 inches.