Thursday High School Events Preview For Florida Relays

Current US #1 ranked and University of Florida commit Kevar Williams of DeLand headlines the boys 100 meter dash field on Thursday at the Florida Relays.

A preview of all the high school events scheduled to be contested on Thursday, March 31st at the 2022 Florida Relays in Gainesville.

MileSplit will be on-site uploading archived race video replays on-site along with photo coverage. 

Boys Shot Put

The Niceville senior duo of Noah Harman and Mitchell Ratley will attempt to go 1-2 together in the event with the current top two season-best marks in the state this spring at 16.86 meters (55'3.75") for Harman and 16.73 meters (54'10.50")for Ratley. Harman and Ratley finished 1st and 3rd respectively last week at the FSU Relays.

The Bob Hayes Invitational champion Dylan Horne of Ocoee has struggled with being consistent this season but has shown the capability to launch a big mark as shown with his FL #3 ranked mark of 16.48 meters (54'1") at Bob Hayes. 

South Miami senior Tyler Washington has been one of the better shot put throwers in South Florida this spring including a season-best 15.88 meters (52'1.25") win at the Sam Burley Invitational earlier in the month, while another thrower from Miami in Ian Johnson of Belen Jesuit finished right behind Ratley for fourth place at FSU Relays last week in a 15.6 meters (51'2.25") season-best. 

New Smyrna Beach's Chance Tressler has only lost in two meets this season including one meet to Ratley at the East Coast Classic and one meet to Horne at the Bob Hayes Invite with FL #8 season-best mark of 15.74 meters (51'7.75").

Girls Discus

Virtually all of the best girls discus throwers in Florida will be on Gainesville on Thursday including all of the top 5 ranked as well as 9 of the top 10 ranked. Defending 3A state champion Akari Issac of Tamp Bay Tech leads the field after launching a personal best 43.64 meters (143'2") throw last week at the Manuel-Griffen-Fraundorfer Relays. Isaac has competed exclusively local in Tampa area meets so far this season, so will be exciting to see how she measures up against the best from all parts of the state at the Floria Relays. 

The state's most versatile thrower in being viewed as one of the best in all three throwing events including the discus in Niceville senior Megan Hague is coming off a trip to Austin for the Texas Relays one week ago. She is looking to bounce back from her worst mark of the season last week (36.65 meters) return to her form from earlier in the season when she threw for a then state leading mark of 42.52 meters (139'6") at the East Coast Classic in late February.

The field is so deep with 9 girls who have thrown over 130 feet this season in the competition that many potential winners can be found in the entry list.

Countryside's Johntavia Shaw, North Miami's Tamaiah Koonce, Mandarin's Damoni Kelly, and Fort Myers' Julian Lemmon have all gone either undefeated or only lost one competition at worst this entire season in their respective regions of the state for the discus. Shaw, Kelly, and Koonce are also among the top contenders for the shot put competition later in the meet with Shaw being the current state leader at 14.26 meters. 

Boys Long Jump

The boys long jump at the Florida Relays will include 4 competitors ranked among the top 10 in the state with season-best marks over 7 meters between FL #1 Mateo Smith of Boyd Anderson at 7.26 meters, Kyvon Tatham of Pembroke Pines Charter at 7.2 meters, Micah Larry of Montverde Academy at 7.18 meters, and Claude Campbell of St. Thomas Aquinas at 7.05 meters.

At the start of the season, all four jumpers went head to head at the Louie Bing Invitational whereas 3 of the 4 popped off their best marks still almost 6 weeks later with the Boyd Anderson senior Smith winning the competition with a wind-legal leap of 23'9.75". Tatham at 23'7.50" and Larry at 23'6.75" also recorded season-best marks with him at Louie Bing to round out the top 3, but are looking to leapfrog the state leader on Thursday at the Florida Relays.

Campbell of St. Thomas Aquinas finished in between Smith (1st) and Tatham (4th) last week at the BCAA Championships with a season best mark of 7.05 (23'1.50") meters to move him inside a Florida top 10 ranking.

Girls Long Jump

The greatest girls long jump in Florida high school history and the first to leap over 21 feet in Alyssa Jones of Miami Southridge headlines the field at Florida Relays. The Stanford commit went over 21 feet indoors to win the New Balance Nationals Indoor title earlier this month in New York City, while she also currently is the state leader outdoors in the event with a season-best mark of 6.14 meters (20'1.75") from the Sam Burley Invitational. She has competed more sparingly this season than prior seasons to this point saving her legs for the championship season and beyond. 

Her closest competitor will be Rockledge junior Nischa King as the only entrant to have leaped over 19 feet this season with a 5.82 meters (19'1.25") season-best from the Kowboy Invitational. King is tied for the #2 ranking overall in the state of Florida with Chelsi Williams of George Jenkins, who will not be at the Florida Relays this weekend.

Meanwhile, there is a good group of girls beyond the top 2 seeds in the long jump with marks over 18 feet this season with Lehigh sophomore Sanaa Geter (FL #6 18'10"), American Heritage senior Destiny St. Cyr (FL #7 18'7.25), and Niceville junior Mikayla Williams (FL #10 18'6") in particular all looking to join the 19 foot club at some point this season. 

Girls High Jump

Alyssa Jones will have a busy Thursday at the Florida Relays bouncing back and forth from the long jump and the high jump. The state's top returnee in the event and a two-time 3A state champion in the high jump has yet to compete or get a mark in the event this spring, but has a lifetime best over 6 feet at 1.83 meters.

Jones will need to be on her game at the Florida Relays as she will be dueling it out with the current state leader this season in Trinity Prep freshmen Victoria Hill, who is also close to becoming a 6 foot high jumper herself with a season-best clearance of 1.8 meters or 5'10.75". Hill's next best clearance is 1.57 meters, so will be looking to see her consistently reach the heights from her Citrus League Championships performance a month ago to ascend her to the top of the state leaderboard. But remarkable as a freshman nonetheless.

Another athlete to watch based on recent performance is last weekend's FSU Relays winner Brooke Hawkins, a junior at Fort Walton Beach. Hawkins cleared a personal best of 1.67 meters or 5'5.75". There are two others in the competition, who share the same season-best performance in Saint Andrew's junior Victoria Schrubb and Naples senior Mollie Jean Baptiste.

Multi-event athlete Ellis Weekley of Berkeley Prep should also fair well after winning the IMG Spring Break Invitational's heptathlon two weeks ago including a 5'4.25" clearance in the high jump. 

Boys Pole Vault

The final field event competition to finish on Thursday and that is weather pending will be the boys' pole vault headlined by state leader and defending 1A state champion Nick Molly from the Community School of Naples, while will be challenged by a field featuring 9 of the top 10 ranked vaulters in the state. 

Right now, Molly enjoys a full foot gap over the next best vaulters in the state as the only one to successfull clear a metric height that puts him well over 16 feet at 5 meters (16'4.75"). The Princeton commit has vaulted no worse than a clearance of 4.8 meters this season, which is still better than the season-best clearance of the state's #2 ranked vaulter and in attendance at the Floria Relays in Cardinal Gibbons senior Sam Mrky at 4.65 meters or 15'3".

Mrky was a runner-up at last week's FSU Relays to a competitor from Alabama but has won all of his other outdoor competitions this season including the Louie Bing Invitational and BCAA Championships. Mrky actually did challenge Molloy for deciding on who would be the top high school vaulter at the Florida Indoor Pole Vault Championships in early February before ultimately finishing 3rd overall at 4.75 meters.

Other top challengers to Molloy in the field include two vaulters over 15 feet this season in FL #3 ranked Nicolas Souto of Belen Jesuit (4.6 meters) and FL #4 ranked Alex Georgiev of Montverde Academy (4.57 meters). Souto is looking to bounce back from a disappointing 7th place showing (4.1 meters) at the FSU Relays after winning the IMG Spring Break Invitational the week before in his 4.6 meters personal best. The defending 2A state champion Georgiev finished 3rd at the FSU Relays right behind Mrky and is only a sophomore.

Boys 100m Dash

The future Florida Gator in Kevar Williams of DeLand will be center stage in the center lane in the fast section of the boys 100 looking to prove again to his future college coaching staff exactly why they put faith in him to offer him an athletic scholarship to their program. The current US #1 ranked in the 100 meter dash with a 10.37 wind-legal personal best at the Bob Hayes Invitational two weekends ago, Williams will be facing much of the same competition that he saw in the finals two weeks ago in Jacksonville.

Creekside sophomore Christian Miller was a runner-up to Williams at Bob Hayes with a breakthrough clocking of 10.47. Miller is certainly someone to keep an eye on running so fast at such a young age.

Meanwhile, the Miami Northwestern duo of junior Trimaine Brown and senior Jamari Sharpe both have dipped into the 10.5's this season and coming off a trip to the Texas Relays a week ago with Sharpe running his 10.55 PR, while Brown's 10.54 best comes from the Bob Hayes Invitational finals. 

Both IMG Academy in Davonte Howell (FL #7 10.56) and Demari Wilson (FL #11 10.62), as well as Montverde Academy in Micah Larry (FL #10.63) and Zyaire Nuriddin (FL #13 10.63), have a pair of speedsters. Nuriddin, the current national leader in the 400-meter dash at 46.19 and the adidas Indoor Nationals champ in US #3 all-time 46.04, could potentially surprise out of a slower heat in the section on time finals with his clear talent and range. He defeated Williams head to head last week in the 200 meter dash at the FSU Relays last Friday with a 21.20 performance.  

Girls 100m Hurdles

While the current national leader in the boys 100 meter dash will be featured on the home stretch side of the track in Kevar Williams, simultaneously happening on the backstretch side of the track will be the current national leader in the girls 100 meter hurdles competing in Niceville junior Skye Tolbert.

Tolbert clocked the nation's fastest wind-legal time in the event earlier this month in South Florida at The Elite 16 Invitational when she won with a sizzling 13.53 performance. Tolbert has broken 14 seconds in a total of four races this season including twice last week at the Texas Relays in the prelims (13.93) and finals (4th, 13.69). While she was certainly hoping to legitimize her national leading time going into hostile territory last week against the best of Texas, she will have ample opportunity to reaffirm her standing against Florida's best on Thursday.

The seeded section of the girls 100 meter hurdles will include 8 of the 10 fastest hurdlers in the state this season including last week's winner at the FSU Relays in Aleesa Samuel of Somerset Academy Pembroke Pines with a FL #3 season best of 14.09. Samuel impressively also was the national runner-up in the 60 meter hurdles as a freshman at the New Balance Nationals Indoor earlier this month in New York City.

Other top challengers in the race for Tolbert will be Bob Hayes Invitational champion and sub 14 second performer Brittney Jennings of Sandalwood with her 13.98 best ranking her second in the state and looking to bounce back after a loss last week at FSU Relays to Samuel. Miramar's Terica Boyd was the runner-up to Tolbert in her national leading time race at the Elite 16 Invite with a 14.21 season-best and comes into the Floria Relays ranked 5th in the state.

Girls 100 Meter Dash

More great face-offs of Florida's fastest will be found in the girls 100-meter dash with 15 competitors in the field among the top 2 sections who have run under 12 seconds this season.

The matchup for the win will likely be between the state's top two ranked in Montverde Academy junior Micayah Holland at a US #3 11.47 season-best and Miami Southridge junior Cynteria James at a US #5 11.59 season-best. Holland won in their first head-to-head encounter earlier this season at the Louie Bing Invitational to set a meet record in 11.64. The adidas Indoor Nationals champion in the 60-meter dash is coming off breaking a meet record in another big meet in the FSU Relays last weekend in 11.47.

James has won all of her races since the loss to Holland in the season opener including an incredible 11.59 100 and 23.52 200 double at the Sam Burley Invitational on March 5th. 

Two others to watch in the race from great performances one week ago include US #8 ranked Columba Effiong of IMG Academy after a swing and wind-legal 11.69 PR win at the Guy Thomas Memorial Classic weekend as well as US #11 ranked Sophie Haag of Calvary Christian following an 11.76 runner-up finish at FSU Relays behind Holland.

The field is truly elite and the second-fastest heat will be stacked too including last year's 4A state champion and last week's BCAA champion Jassani Carter of Flanagan with an 11.72 season-best. She was a runner-up at the Elite 16 Invitational earlier this month to Jayda Bushay of Miami Northwestern, who took advantage of wind-aided conditions to drop an 11.63 PR and will also be racing at the Florida Relays.

Also expected to be in the mix for the girls 100-meter dash on Thursday will be Cocoa's Liana Tyson, who was a narrow runner-up to Haag two weeks ago at the IMG Spring Break Invitational with an 11.70 season-best and is the defending 2A state champion.

Boys 110 Meter Hurdles

The boys hurdles will be happening at the same time as the girls 100 meter dash on the backstretch, but make sure pay close attention to the fast heat with the state's top 4 ranked athletes all competition and the push for a sub 14 seconds is on.

Nease senior Cyrus Ways is the current state leader in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles. Last week, he opted to focus on the boys 300 meter hurdles at FSU Relays and the result was a new PR and US #3 time of 37.36. After winning the Bob Hayes Invitational two weeks ago in a state-leading and wind-legal time of 13.99 and the first sub 14 second time of the season, the Penn State commit might need another sub 14 in the tank to hold off this field of challengers.

Raines senior Harrison Robinson, the runner-up to Ways at the Bob Hayes Invitational and last year's 2A state champion in the 110-meter hurdles, will also be in Gainesville to press him again through the last hurdle set with his 14.08 personal best. 

Meanwhile, New Balance Nationals Indoor 60 meter hurdles All-American David Frasier of IMG Academy will get his first chance to face off against many of the state's top hurdlers this season after making his way to IMG from Virginia for his senior year. Frasier had been a national leader and state leader earlier in the season, but now is looking for a chance to improve his standing as his 14.16 season best ranks 3rd fastest for all-conditions in the state behind only Ways and Robinson. 

Tristan Simmons, a junior at Miramar, is arguably the best hurdler from South Florida right now and makes the trip up to Gainesville after major wins this season at the Louie Bing Invitational and Elite 16 Invitational including an FL #4 14.25 season-best and PR in the event. 

Girls 800 Meter Run

There is the potential to see our first sub 2:10 race of the season in the girls 800 when the likes of FL #1 ranked Samantha Kavanagh of Northeast (2:10.93 SB), FL #3 ranked Layla Haynes of IMG Academy (2:11.99 SB), and FL #4 ranked Michelle Smith of Montverde Academy (2:12.25 SB).

In particular, due to the fact that neither Kavanagh nor Haynes are afraid to take out fast with an aggressive first 400 meters, the pace could be setup for someone to be the first to dip under the time. Kavanagh is coming off an impressive state best 2:10 victory two weeks ago at the BCAA Championships in a highly competitive race featuring the Dillard girls and defending state champ Chai'iel Johnson of St. Thomas Aquinas. 

Meanwhile, Haynes blitzed a 2:11 solo effort at Dunbar this past Saturday and the versatile Smith, who is also competing in the 100-meter hurdles less than 30 minutes before on Thursday, dropped several seconds off her PR with her 2:12 victory at FSU. Both Haynes and Smith are newcomers to this Florida coming from Caribbean islands to attend boarding schools in Florida with Haynes from Barbados and Smith from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. 

A couple of wildcards to add into the race include the Cambridge Christian duo of Mary Ellen Eudaly and Caroline Lehman, who have yet to run the 800 this season and are among the state's fastest all-time when it comes to the 1600 and 3200-meter distances. Both have run in the mid 2:10's before with Eudaly having the slightly faster wheels and a 2:13 personal best from last spring. 

Berkeley Prep senior Carsyn Martz has been more of a sprinter and soccer player for her high school career, but showed at the Set Goals Not Limits Distance Showcase two weeks ago when she won in a 2:16 performance of her potential in the 800 and could show even more in a stronger field at the Florida Relays. 

Boys 800 Meter Run

Fort Walton Beach senior Luke Larkin will try to win the boys 800 at both the FSU Relays and Florida Relays in the same season, which would be a remarkable feat.

Larkin is coming off winning the FSU Relays 800 last Friday night in a new personal best time of 1:54.04 to make him the top seed based on season best times for Thursday's race at the Florida Relays as the state's #3 ranked performer. 

It will be a pack of guys having run in the 1:55-1:56 range looking to try and ruin his plans of winning both major meets with the best challenge being 3 entrants who have run 1:55 this season in West Boca Raton's Ryan Douihech (FL #6 1:55.04), Hagerty's Miguel Pantojas (FL #8 1:55.13), and St. Thomas Aquinas' Anthony Herrera (FL #9 1:55.28).

A sub 4:20 miler Douihech ran his time very early in the season in a win at the Louie Bing Invitational and might be in much better shape to push for 1:54 or faster, while Pantojas is in his first season at Hagerty and seems to be thriving having the likes of Brayden Seymour as a training partner. 

Herrera was pushed to the line for the BCAA Championships title and PR two weeks ago by Boyd Anderson's Jonathan Petit-Frere (1:56.00) as both will be in Gainesville to race against each other again on Thursday. 

Girls 400m Dash

The girls 400-meter dash will be a very intriguing race to see where the top seeds are currently at with their health and fitness at this point of the season. 

The two-time state champion and a national champion in Aaliyah Butler of Miami Northwestern should be the favorite and looked to be getting back to top form in a 54.71 victory at the Bob Hayes Invitational two weeks ago. The University of Georgia commit has a lifetime best of 52.25 from her freshman year, while had a season best of 53.05 last year as a junior. 

Earlier in the season, she pulled up early into the first turn at the Louie Bing Invitational 400 meter finals due to injury, but appears to be all healthy now. In that race, Javoyna Valcourt of Montverde Academy won with the still state-leading time this spring at 54.30. 

Ironically, Valcourt ended up injuring herself later in the meet during the 200 meter dash finals and has slowly been working herself back into form as shown with a 57.14 performance last weekend at FSU Relays.

Valcourt might still be a few weeks of training away from being back to top shape, so Butler's competition on Thursday looks to be from two other 54 second performers this season in Ocoee senior Alyia Green (FL #2 54.65) and St. Francis Catholic senior Twainese Johnson (FL #4 54.89). Johnson gave Butler a real push and challenge for the win at the Bob Hayes Invitational two weekends ago. Meanwhile, Green has yet to lose a 400 meter race this season including a win and trip down in South Florida for the Sam Burley Invitational earlier this month.

A young talent to watch in the girls 400 meter dash will be Chaminade-Madonna freshman Tyra Cox, who rolled to a 55.96 personal best victory at Dunbar last Saturday to move up to a FL #6 ranking in the event. 

Boys 400 Meter Dash

It will be interesting to see how the current national outdoor leader and US #3 all-time indoor performer in the 400 meter dash in Montverde Academy junior Zyaire Nuriddin will approach his specialty event on Thursday at the Floria Relays.

He has had two straight weekends of all-out efforts in the event, but will not have the level of competition that he has seen to push him in those recent meets to chase after a sub 46-second performance with only one other entrant in the field under 48 seconds and ranked among the top 10 in the state in Boone junior Aidan Mizell (FL #5 47.92). 

Nuriddin two weekends ago won the adidas Indoor National title in the 400 meter dash with the 3rd fastest time ever in U.S. high school history. Last week, he destroyed the FSU Relays meet record with a 46.19 best to take back the national leader position in the event outdoors. 

Girls 3200

After seeing 8 girls break 11 minutes in the 3200 meter run last weekend at FSU Relays, only one of those girls will be doubling back to run it again at the Florida Relays in Pine Crest sophomore Brooke Hooper. Hooper ran a lifetime best of 10:47 for sixth place at FSU to make her the top seed and favorite for Thursday's race. 

Behind her will be a pack of girls having run in the 11:00's to 11:10's range ready to join her under 11 minutes led by Kate Drummond of Buchholz and Annie Loehle of Mandarin, who finished right together at FSU running season-best times of 11:02. Meanwhile, Ashley Fitzgerald of American Heritage was not present last week at FSU Relays nor was Andrea Ballestero of Osceola as each has run season-best times of 11:08 in prior meets. Expect both to be in the mix as well and Fitzgerald certainly has a lot of experience racing Hooper in South Florida. 

Boys 3200

Matthew Stratton of St. Johns Country Day missed out on the historic boys 3200 race at FSU Relays last weekend with 5 boys breaking 9 minutes, but that did not stop him on the same night rolling to a personal best 9:06 solo at Pedro Menendez High School. 

With many of the top performers from FSU Relays 3200 opting out of the Florida Relays or at least the 1600 meter run this weekend, Stratton finds himself alone as the top seed and heavy favorite to win the 3200 on Thursday in Gainesville. 

His odds are certainly great to win on his future home track for the Gators as the University of Florida commit. The 1A state cross country champion from the fall, Stratton's top competition should come from the 3A state cross country runner-up in Belen Jesuit sophomore Joshua Ruiz, who finished 10th at the FSU Relays 3200 in a 9:14 personal best. Others coming back from their FSU Relays races and break 9:20 last week are Buchholz junior Emerson Miller (FL #14 9:16.43) and Seffner Christian senior Andrew Stone (FL #18 9:19.93).