Florida Friday Highlights From New Balance Nationals

Florida highlights from the second day of the 2022 New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Friday, June 17th.

The Miami Southridge girls relay squad (competing as South Dade Express) of Brianna Harper, Tamia Benton, Alyssa Jones, and Cynteria James won the New Balance Nationals title in the 1000 meter swedish sprint medley relay in dominant fashion with their runaway victory by four seconds at 2:13.02.

The same group girls with exception of adding Somiyah Braggs to replace Harper battled later in the championship girls 4x200 meter relay with the powerhouse Bullis School program of Maryland and finished as national runners-up with a sizzling 1:35.44 effort, which ranks third fastest in Florida high school history behind only 2014 St. Thomas Aquinas at 1:33.43 and 2017 Miami Northwestern at 1:34.56.  

The Palm Beach Central girls competing under Fast Lane Track Club also earned All-American honors in the 4x200 winning their heat and finishing with the fifth fastest time overall at 1:40.74. 

The 4A state champion in the boys 100 meter dash in Creekside sophomore Christian Miller  advanced out of the first round of the championship boys 100 meter dash with a 10.60 clocking making him the 9th fastest qualifier overall as well as did Darren McQueen Jr. of Christopher Columbus grabbing the 24th and final qualifier spot with a 10.77 performance in the prelims. 

Unfortunately in the semi-finals later in the day, Miller just missed qualifying for the finals by thousandths of a second as the ninth fastest performer at 10.58. 

A total of 6 among the 24 qualifiers in the opening round of the championship girls 100 meter dash were from Florida led by four-time 4A state champion sprinter Jassani Carter of Flanagan rolling to a 11.56 clocking to win her heat as the third fastest qualifier.

Also moving onto the semi-finals round with her from Florida were Palm Harbor University's Rachael Uvieghara (6th, 11.73), Cocoa's Shaunteria Thomas (10th, 12.01) and Liana Tyson (11th, 11.88), Miami Southridge's Somiyah Braggs (17th, 12.03), and Creekside's Sydney Campbell (19th, 12.04). 

Carter would be the only one of the half dozen though to qualify for the finals during the semi-finals later in the day as she won her heat again with an even faster time and wind-legal effort of 11.54 to make her the second fastest heading into the last round. 

Spanish River junior Nicolas West just missed All-American honors in the championship boys 400 meter hurdles posting a personal best time of 54.60 for the ninth fastest time overall among the three heats. 

Already having established himself as the top freshmen hurdler in Florida this spring in the 300 meter hurdles as All-State sub 40 second performer, Jonathan Carter of Flanagan got an opportunity to measure up against the top ninth graders in the country in the 400 meter hurdles and proved himself there as well winning the freshmen boys 400 at New Balance Nationals in 56.87. 

P.K. Yonge junior Zuriel Reed slipped just inside the top 8 to earn All-American honors for the championship girls 400 meter hurdles with her eighth place finishing time of 1:02.87 after primarily running the 300 meter hurdles this spring with times in the 41-43 second range. 

The Indian Rocks Christian boys, state champions in the fall for cross country and this spring in the 4x800 meter relay, got on the podium in the rising stars division of the distance medley relay with a seventh place effort of 10:55.55. 

After their great battles all season long down in South Florida including in the state meet to produce sub 2:10 times, Northeast's Samantha Kavanagh (20th, 2:12.38) and St. Thomas Aquinas' Cha'iel Johnson (27th, 2:14.49) appeared to struggle maintaining that momentum and fitness level over 6 weeks removed from the state meet at New Balance Nationals in the fast heat of the championship girls 800. 

After racing on Wednesday at Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle and becoming only the 10th Florida high school runner ever to break 1:50 in the 800 meter run, Hagerty junior Miguel Pantojas flew back across the country to race again in Philadelphia to finish third for All-American with a time of 1:51.05. 

The sophomore David Serra of Ransom Everglades, who has stepped up mightily in the post-season finished 12th overall in the championship boys 800 with another 1:53 performance at 1:53.48. 

Doubling back from their All-American sub 15 minute efforts in the 5K on Thursday night, both Leon sophomore Patrick Koon (16th, 9:12.00) and Hagerty junior Brayden Seymour (23rd, 9:23.30) appeared to be fatigued from those efforts in trying to double back for the two mile run on Friday at New Balance Nationals despite running sub 9 minutes earlier this season at FSU in the 3200 meter run.