Coach Disqualifies Own Runner At Start Of Track Race

* Race video shows the interaction taking place between the coach and runner

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ST. CLOUD, Fla. -- At the FHSAA 4A District 10 meet on Thursday at Harmony High School, an event Flrunners covered, a bizarre and troubling interaction took place when a high school track coach disqualified his own runner from a potential regional-qualifying race, in his best event.

Aedan Rendek, a senior distance runner at Viera High School, was about to step on the line as the top seed in the 1,600 meter run, his third race of the meet. He had earlier won the 3,200m in 9:53 and was 10th in the 800m in 2:11.

But the latter performance reportedly drew the ire of his head track coach, Kerron Greaves, who was displeased with the effort by Rendek -- mainly, because the senior has a personal best of 1:57 over the distance -- and proceeded to scratch his athlete from his next race. 

On the surface, Viera was competing for a top-two team finish at the meet. Rendek's performance in the 800m did not register any points. 

Vero Beach ultimately earned the team title on Friday. 

Flrunners has learned that Greaves requested that Rendek be scratched in the 1,600m, which is the Butler University signee's primary event and a race where he owns a personal best of 4:17.

Rendek, as well as another Viera distance coach, protested that decision.

Then, Rendek showed up on the starting line for the 1600m.

But what ensued was an uncomfortable shouting match and chaos at the start line between coaches, officials and athletes. The timer, the starter and the meet referee seemed confused by the interaction. 

Rendek ran under protest and finished in the top four in 4:37, which would have auto-qualified him to advance to the regional meet and continue his season.

But Greaves' request for a scratch was granted. Rendek was officially disqualified without a time.

As it stands now, Rendek will only compete at the regional meet in the 3,200m.

It is unclear at the moment if there is any path forward for Rendek to be re-instated back into the 1600m for the regional meet. FHSAA officials and the Viera High School administration, Flrunners learned, are aware of the situation and are investigating the matter. But the issue is a complicated one between a coach, his athlete and ultimately the school. These matters are often decided behind closed doors. 

The entire situation may have been avoidable with a different effort from Rendek in the 800m, however, track and field is a complex sport and sometimes there are variables worth considering.

Some meets are contested in the middle of the day, with conditions of sweltering heat and humidity. Athletes who compete in more than one event are often asked to perform at a high level. But at what cost? 

Was this situation handled appropriately by any party, especially by the adults? Based on what Flrunners witnessed first-hand, that does not appear to be the case.

The two head track coaches of the same team were both in vocal disagreement and publicly opposed each other in conflict over how to handle the situation up until the firing of the starter's pistol.