There is always electricity in the air when Miami Northwestern and St. Thomas Aquinas go to battle in the sprint relays including the boys 4x400 meter relay on Friday night in Gainesville for the Florida Relays with the US #2 and US #3 ranked squads at 3:13.
Highlighting the fastest high school boys races from the 2022 Florida Relays on Friday in Gainesville.
Boys 3200m Run - Matthew Stratton (St. Johns Country Day School) 9:06.93
The University of Florida commit Matthew Stratton impressively ran a 9:06 3200 for the second straight Friday virtually by himself winning the fast heat of the event to kick off the day's races by nearly 20 seconds. Stratton certainly has the potential to go sub 9 this season as he rolled thru the first 1600 meters in 4:33 and split 4:33 on the last 1600 meters as well for an evenly split effort.
Stratton, unfortunately, did not have much competition with him as only Osceola's Will Stone was able to run somewhat off him for the first 4 laps. He might have to wait till the post-season to find a race with more ideal conditions and competition to break 9 minutes. Meanwhile, Anthony Matthew of Martin County in the next section after battling with Belen Jesuit sophomore Joshua Ruiz (4th, 9:26) would end up running the second-fastest time overall behind only Stratton winning his section in a 9:20 personal best.
Boys 100m Dash - Demari Wilson (IMG Academy) 10.49
The winner of the boys 100 meter dash did not come out of the fast heat including many of Florida's best including the US #1 ranked Kevar Williams (10.57) of DeLand. Williams actually finished second in the first heat to IMG Academy's Davonte Howell (10.56). But Howell's time would be immediately topped in the very next heat by his teammate and junior Demari Wilson, who clocked a US #7 performance of 10.49 for the fastest time overall amongst the 4 heats at the Florida Relays.
Wilson came to IMG Academy this year from a small town in Texas of Whitney, but made a big name for himself last May when he won a 100-meter dash state title for the 3A classification in Texas with a personal best clocking of 10.38. After starting his outdoor season in Florida with back-to-back 10.6's, Wilson appears to be quickly moving to his top state champion form from Texas.
Boys 110m Hurdles - Cyrus Ways (Nease) 13.66
The state leader in both the boys 110 and 300-meter hurdles, Cyrus Ways of Nease followed up a lifetime best in the 300-meter hurdles last week at FSU in 37.36 with another new personal best in the 110-meter hurdles and he clocked a wind-legal and US #3 victory of 13.66 at the Florida Relays. Ways held off a strong challenge from an out-of-state competitor in Jason Holmes-Williamson (2nd, 13.69) of Calvert Hall College in Maryland.
The Penn State recruit Ways topped his prior personal best of 13.73 in the 110 meter hurdles, which he ran last summer as the national runner-up at the Nike Outdoor Nationals in Eugene, Oregon.
Boys 400m Dash - Zyaire Nuriddin (Montverde Academy) 45.78
Montverde Academy junior Zyaire Nuriddin became only the 8th Florida high school athlete according to our own MileSplit database to break 46 seconds in the open 400-meter dash on Friday at the Florida Relays as he lowered his own national leading season and personal best in the event with an astonishing 45.78 performance.
Nuriddin has been on a tear over the recent month including a US #3 all-time indoor performance in winning the event with a 46.04 performance at the adidas Indoor Nationals two weekends ago in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Aidan Mizell of Boone gave him a challenge or at least stayed with him thru the first 400 meters and was rewarded with his first sub 47-second race at 46.99 for runner-up to give Florida now 4 juniors who have broken 47 between Nuriddin, Mizell, Mekhi Gammons, and King Mack. Read more...
Boys 800m Run - Miguel Pantojas (Hagerty) 1:52.71
After running unattached virtually for his first two years of high school running, Miguel Pantojas has certainly found his place with the Hagerty squad. The junior had a breakout race and performance on Friday at the Floria Relays dropping 3 seconds off his PR in the 800-meter run to run down one of Alabama's best in Alex Leath of Vestavia Hills with a 1:52.71 win at the Florida Relays. Only Rheinhart Harrison has run faster this season at the distance in the state of Florida.
A total of 6 boys ran 1:53 or faster in the 800 at the Florida Relays and ironically 4 of those 6 came from the "slow" section that followed with Jones senior Lorenzo Laurenzano at 1:53.05 winning the heat and posting the 3rd fastest time overall behind Pantojas and Leath from the first section.
Boys 1600m Run - Brayden Seymour (Hagerty) 4:13.62
For the second major meet in a row, Hagerty junior Brayden Seymour came in as the strong favorite to win and the top seed in a seeded section of 1600 meter with both races following a similar storyline to how it would unfold for another win and fast time for Seymour. Seymour pressed the first 800 meters from the gun to split 2:05 at the halfway mark, but by the bell lap over the next 400 meters had slowed up a bit to allow the pack to come back to him including Belen Jesuit senior Julian Rodriguez making an aggressive move and pass to him on the final 400 meters.
However, Seymour responded similarly as what he did last week when challenged and rallied for a strong last 100 meters to reclaim first. Oak Hall's Caden Montini also timed his kick well to give Seymour a race to the finish line but ultimately Seymour held him for a new state-leading time of 4:13.62. A total of 11 boys broke 4:20 between all the heats of the 1600 meter run for the deepest meet of the year so far for the event.
Boys 4x100m Relay - IMG Academy 40.38
The IMG Academy boys threw down their first sub 41-second performance in the 4x100 meter relay last week at Dunbar. They took it up a notch with the increased competition including a field with the state leader and only other sub-41-second squad in Florida this season in Miami Northwestern coming in at 40.95 season-best.
Unfortunately, the battle between the state's fastest two squads never got a real chance to materialize as Miami Northwestern failed to complete their first exchange from legs 1 and 2. IMG Academy simply sprinted thru that door when it opened to drop a new state best and US #3 time of 40.38. Their relay included the 1st and 3rd place finishers from the boys 100-meter dash earlier in the day in Demari Wilson and Davonte Howell to combine for real firepower in their lineup.
Boys 4x400m Relay - Miami Northwestern 3:13.16
Miami Northwestern got redemption from the handoff mishape earlier in the 4x100 meter relay by bumping their South Florida rival St. Thomas Aquinas off the state leaderboard and US #2 position in the 4x400 meter relay with their 3:13.16 victory to just hold off St. Thomas Aquinas in second at 3:13.73.
There was not much separation between the two powerhouse programs throughout the race with other teams such as Raines and Rockledge also challenging at various points. Miami Northwestern had the lead going into the final leg though and refused to give it up despite St. Thomas Aquinas having a fresh sub 47 leg in King Mack on anchor. The 3A state meet boys 4x400 finish should be a fun one with the same top 3 teams back in Gainesville in May with Miami Northwestern, St. Thomas Aquinas and Rockledge (4th, 3:17.28).