Florida's national dominance in the hurdles was on full display on Friday at the Brooks PR Invitational with a top 3 sweep of the girls 100-meter hurdles race as well as a 1-2 showing in the boys 110-meter hurdles competition.
The girls 100-meter hurdles has been an event that Florida has been top-heavy represented in the national rankings all outdoor season between the likes of Eddiyah Frye of St. Thomas Aquinas, Lucheyona Weaver of Dunbar, and Amanda Kinloch of North Miami as well as Frye's teammate Alexis Glasco. While Glasco was not competing at Brooks PR, Florida still had the trio of Frye, Weaver, and Kinloch to put on a show in the Pacific Northwest.
Racing into a headwind, Frye improved upon her existing national leading wind-legal best in the 100-meter hurdles with a 13.35 victory followed by Weaver trying to challenge her from the inside in second place at 13.56, and Weaver's future college teammate North Carolina A&T in Kinloch grabbing the final top 3 spot on the awards podium in 13.67.
Weaver was certainly racing this weekend as well as training over the last few weeks with a heavy heart as her head track coach at Dunbar High School in Guy Thomas has been in intensive care now for weeks battling for his life with the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Frye had announced last month that she had decided to de-commit (and released from her signing) from the University of North Carolina.
The rivalry this season between Dillard's Jerry Philippe and Dunbar's Leonard Mustari in the boys 110-meter hurdles dates all the back to late February in Miami at the Louie Bing Classic when Philippe got the better of Mustari in what stood as the nation's fastest wind-legal performance for the entire track season at 13.49.
Mustari was able to get revenge at the FHSAA State Finals in the 3A race to edge out Philippe with a 13.62 PR performance as well as claiming the 300-meter hurdles state title as well in a 37.16 personal best and state leading performance.
Almost 4 1/2 months since their first race of the outdoor season, Philippe and Mustari matched up one more time for their best of 3 series in the 2021 outdoor season. This time in a location very far from home in Seattle, Washington at the Brooks PR Invitational.
Philippe got off to a great start on Mustari as well as the rest of the field and never looked back to run a new personal best as well as wind-legal effort of 13.45 for the victory to improve upon his national leading time, while Mustari actually ran a personal best time as well and faster than any wind-aided performances prior including the state meet win in 13.59 for runner-up honors.
The duo from Florida actually ran into a +1.3 headwind, so imagine how fast they could have run in more favorable conditions. It also is a testament to how much both of these runners stayed sharp and fit in preparation for this race almost two full months since the FHSAA State Finals in Jacksonville to be ready to roll as they did at Brooks PR.
It will be rivalry certainly to be missed next 2022 outdoor season with both hurdlers graduating.