South Florida is where it is at when it comes to the greatest wealth of track and field riches as the 2021 Louie Bing Memorial Classic was a great example of that claim.
A whopping total of 18 state leading times were produced over the two-day event at Traz Powell Stadium in Miami, of which 16 of those performances were US #1's! Note the below list of US #1's from the event does not include wind-aided performances which were superior, but cannot count towards national rankings.
- Boys 200m Dash - Jaden McBurrows (St. Thomas Aquinas) 21.89 (-3.0 wind)
- Boys 110m Hurdles - Jerry Philippe (Dillard) 14.19 (-1.9 wind)
- Boys 4x400m Relay - Northeast (Oakland Park) 3:22.20
- Boys 4x800m Relay - Christopher Columbus 8:05.36
- Boys Long Jump - Claude Campbell (St. Thomas Aquinas) 23-4.75 (+1.7 wind)
- Boys 1K SMR - Miami Northwestern 1:58.28
- Girls 200m Dash - Jassani Carter (Flanagan) 24.52 (-2.7 wind)
- Girls 400m Dash - Pebbles Scott (Miami Norland) 54.86
- Girls 800m Run - Jessica Edwards (Canterbury School) 2:12.99
- Girls 100m Hurdles - Eddiyah Frye (St. Thomas Aquinas) 14.16 (-2.3 wind)
- Girls 300m Hurdles - Amanda Kinloch (North Miami) 41.14
- Girls 4x400m Relay - St. Thomas Aquinas 3:49.91
- Girls High Jump - Alyssa Jones (Miami Southridge) 5-10
- Girls Long Jump - Eddiyah Frye (St. Thomas Aquinas) 19-6.25 (-1.9 wind)
- Girls Triple Jump - Jada Joseph (American Heritage) 39-10.75 (-0.6 wind)
- Girls 1K SMR - Miami Southridge 2:22.62
The best performances of the meet though may have come in wind-aided efforts that did not count as the nation's best between the hurdles finals champions and meet record-breakers in Eddiyah Frye of St. Thomas Aquinas for the girls 100-meter hurdles and Jerry Philippe of Dillard for the boys 110-meter hurdles.
Frye record the fastest time ever in the state history for all conditions for the girls 100 meter hurdles with her wind-aided (+3.2) clocking of 13.14. A little over a half dozen girls in US high school history have run faster in the hurdles event whether wind-legal or wind-aided. She had a stellar field to push her with Lucheyona Weaver of Dunbar in second at 13.56 and Amanda Kinloch of North Miami in third at 13.60 as one of the rare times that one will witness three girls under 14 seconds in the same race.
Despite the time not counting as US #1 or state record due to being wind-aided, Frye still ran a national leading time in the trials when she had a severe headwind instead and still mustered a 14.16 performance.
It was a big day for the UNC commit overall as she also won the long jump with a wind-legal and nation's best mark of 19'6.25", a runner-up in the 300-meter hurdles with a 41.42 lifetime best, and a member of the St. Thomas Aquinas girls 4x400 meter relay which closed the meet rolling to the US #1 time of 3:49.91.
Speaking of the 300-meter hurdles, Frye's lone loss of the meet was not because she did not run a time fast enough to win virtually every meet in the country, but simply she lost to an all-time great performance by North Miami's Amanda Kinloch. The North Carolina A&T commit shattered the old meet record with a time that might be as high as the third-fastest all-time in state history at 41.14. Only state record holder Markalah Hart at 40.28 from the 2017 FHSAA State Finals has run faster over the last 20 years, which Kinloch just happened to break Hart's meet record (42.02) at Louie Bing Classic from a year ago.
The hurdles definitely saw the best heavyweight battles of the meet with arguably some of the state's top stars facing off head to head. The boys' 110-meter hurdles finals could have gathered a top two any better from the state of Florida in a rare early-season matchup between Jerry Philippe of Dillard and Leonard Mustari of Dunbar. The finals were wind-aided like the girls with a +3.2 wind, but Philippe and Mustari took advantage of the strong tailwind beyond them to post mind-blowing times of 13.49 for the race winner Philippe and 13.82 for the rare runner-up Mustari.
Only a handful of Florida boys in the history of the sport have run faster than Philippe's performance on Saturday regardless of conditions or wind. Over the last two decades, only Damion Thomas at 13.32 (+3.2 wind-aided) in 2017, Artie Burns at 13.35 (-1.4 wind-legal) in 2013, and Eddie Lovett at 13.46 (+1.4 wind-legal) in 2010 have gone faster.
He also was able to run a solid time like Frye into a headwind in the prelims at 14.19, which at the time bettered his existing number one ranking in the country. The time was bettered by another Floridian on Saturday in Timber Creek's Ethan Exilhomme at the Tohopekaliga Invitational staying under wind-legal (+1.6) with his 14.06 clocking.
Pebbles Scott of Miami Norland was impressive breaking 55 seconds not once but twice in both the prelims and finals at Louie Bing to become the new national leader with a 54.86 performance in the finals being slightly better than her 54.90 run on Friday in the prelims.
Flanagan junior Jassani Carter defeated Scott (4th, 24.00) and a strong field of finalists for the girls 200-meter dash with a wind-aided performance of 23.53, which is her second-fastest time ever behind only winning the emerging elite division of the event in 23.33 at the 2019 New Balance Outdoor Nationals. Her 24.52 performance in the prelims on Friday currently holds up as Florida and the nation's top wind-legal time at 200 meters.
Canterbury School senior Jessica Edwards cruised in the prelims on Friday as the top qualifier for the girls 800 finals with a 2:16 run in the initial round. She took it up a notch and appears working her way quickly to her top 2:08 form winning the finals on Saturday with a state and national best time of 2:12.99.
She had some company and competition from age-group track star now turning into a high school track star in St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore Cha'iel Johnson as the runner-up in 2:14. Like Edwards, Johnson also ran her lifetime best of 2:08 back during the last full track season of 2019 when she was only an eighth-grader.
Another sophomore in Gulliver Prep's Jalen Brown was able to edge out the top qualifier and current US #1 leader for wind-legal times in Jaden McBurrows of St. Thomas Aquinas rolling to a sensational but wind-aided (+2.6) time of 21.44. The state's fastest time of the season for all conditions as Brown's promise has been already shown to us in recent years including a pair of sub 22 performances last year before the outdoor season was shut down and winning the FLYRA Middle School State title for 200 meters back in 2019.
A swift 200 finals saw 4 boys break 22 seconds, while the 100 finals were even deeper with all 8 finals breaking 11 seconds led by Jamari Sharpe of Miami Northwestern clocking Florida's fastest all-conditions time of the season with a 10.68 scorcher. The junior Sharpe had never broken 11 seconds before in the 100 meter dash and did so in a big way on Saturday.
Torrie Cox was consistently great in both rounds of the boys' 400-meter dash. After running 48.06 as the top qualifier in Friday's finals, the Chaminade-Madonna College Prep senior Cox recorded only his second sub 48 race ever in the one-lap event with Florida and the nation's number two time at 47.88. He only ranks behind another Floridian in Weston Baptiste's 47.63 from Warrior Classic on January 30th.
Fort Lauderdale senior Michael Fiore was a runaway all weekend in the distance races as he crushed Friday's invitational 3200-meter field by a 28-second margin of victory in 9:33. He also ran the 800 trials on the same day and did not hold back as the top qualifier in 1:56, which he duplicated that time on Saturday in the finals winning by three seconds with the time of 1:56.81.
The relays were thrilling and stacked led by the Northeast (Oakland Park) boys on Friday in the prelims running a US #1 time of 3:22 in the 4x400 meter relay, while the Christopher Columbus boys also ascended to the national leaderboard in the 4x800 meter relay pulling away with a 12-second margin of victory at 8:05.36. Northeast either did not load up or had an off race in the finals finishing last in the 4x400, while St. Thomas Aquinas took first in the finals at 3:23.54.
With 3 of the top 4 finishers in the girls' 100-meter dash finals and all under 12 seconds, Miami Southridge showed a glimpse of how special their 4x100 meter relay squad could be this season. They then put it all together in an actual relay race getting the baton around the track with a swift 47.53 victory in the finals. The Lady Spartans also celebrated another relay win in the rarely contested 1000 meter sprint medley relay at 2:22.62.
The track was so good and so busy with national class times, it could be easy to overlook what happened in the field events at the Louie Bing Classic but that would be considered malpractice. A total of four of the meet's numerous US #1 performances were produced by jumpers.
Frye's nation-best mark in the long jump was already mentioned as part of her quadruple that earned her meet MVP honors.
Meanwhile, Alyssa Jones of Miami Southridge seems to be already attacking the high jump bar for a clearance of 6 feet and we are not even into March yet. Jones was able to successfully clear 5'10" this weekend, which pushes her all the way to the top of the state and national rankings in the girls' high jump by the reigning Gatorade athlete of the year for the state of Florida.
Jada Joseph of American Heritage was also very close to knocking on the door on a meaningful barrier to break in the 40-foot mark for the girls' triple jump. Joseph leaped on Friday to a wind-legal nation's top mark of 39'10.75" into an actual slight headwind.
Claude Campbell of St. Thomas Aquinas was a distant third place in the boys 110-meter hurdles in one of the faster top two's that you will ever see in a high school track meet in Florida, but he was the one that got the distance in the long jump competition on Friday. He got big air staying just under wind-legal (+1.7) with his new national leading mark of 23'4.75" (7.13m).