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Florida Relays Preview (HS) - Florida Relays 2012

Published by
DyeStatFL   Apr 4th 2012, 5:28pm

Florida Relays Preview (HS) - Florida Relays 2012

by Ricky Quintana for DistancePreps.com


Gainesville, FL- The 2012 Pepsi Florida Relays will showcase the top talent in the State Friday and Saturday as the old encounters the new and a host of top talent descends on James G. Pressley Stadium at Percy Beard Track.

The old and new, you say? Well how about Marvin Bracy and Jeff Demps.

Four years ago, Jeff Demps was a senior at South Lake High School and set the high school world afire with a head turning 10.17 meet record at the Florida Relays. Demps went on to win the state title and then mix it up with the top US sprinters at the 2008 Olympic Trials, posting a world junior record of 10.01 in the quarterfinals.

Now, another sprinter from Florida is bettering Demps marks with sensational performances.

Marvin Bracy (sr, Boone, Orlando) first earned recognition as a soph, winning the FHSAA State Championships with a scorching 10.19 wind aided effort.

Since then he has claimed another state title, won the adidas Grand Prix, the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships, the Pan Am Junior Championships, and set the US High School Indoor Record in the 55m with a 6.08 time. Most recently Bracy, an FSU signee, won the prestigious Texas Relays in 10.06 with a wind of 2.4 meters per second (0.4 over the allowable 2.0mps for record purposes).

At the same meet, Jeff Demps ran 10.01 with a 2.6mps, to claim the top time in NCAA DI.

So in a span of 40 minutes, fans can watch Bracy take aim at the WJR of 10.01 at 3PM and then watch Demps run the 100m in the college men’s final at 3:40PM.

Bracy will have some familiar faces to compete against. Cousin Levonte Whitfield (jr. Jones, Orlando) 10.39w this year will be in the field along with, Kendall Williams (so, Stanton, Jacksonville) 10.39w, and Anthony Brown (sr, Hillsborough) 10.50.

Not to be outdone, the 100m Girl’s high school race should be sensational as well.

US #1 and US #2, teammates Shayla Sanders (sr, Boyd Anderson, Fort Lauderdale) and Kali White-Davis (jr) will square off in the girl’s 100m at 2:40PM, Sanders has been untouchable this season winning the Jimmy Carnes Invite, Brooks PR Invite, and posting the national leading time of 11.33.  White has been just a few ticks off posting a 11.46 this season.  US #5 Tristie Johnson (sr, Ed White), Ashley Jocelyn (sr, Miramar), and Kyri Tabor (sr, Hallandale) all have run 11.89 or faster and will complete a strong field.

Sanders is close to last year sprint sensation, Octavious Freeman’s (Lake Wales) Florida Relays meet record of 11.29. She is also knocking on the door of the US High School All Time top ten of 11.21 or better. The best ever is Angela Williams (Chino, CA) 11.11 set in 1998. Florida’s best time ever is Chandra Cheeseborough’s (Ribault, Jacksonville) 11.13 set in 1976.

The distance carnival has seen great success in recent years and Friday night’s action should not disappoint.

In the Girl’s 800m, US #2 and Florida #1, Daesha Rogers (7th grade, American Heritage, Plantation) enters with the top time of 2:11.14. She is two seconds clear of her next closest challenger, Jacoy Hutto (jr, Wekiva) who is coming off of injury. That will not keep Rogers from setting a blistering pace as it is the AAU age group record holder’s wont to go after times and records. Tanisha Coppin (sr, Boyd Anderson), owner of a 2:14.57 personal best, Kristen Zarella (jr, Lakewood Ranch), owner of a 2:14.80 personal best and 5A Georgia 800m State Champion, QuanDra Shanks (jr, Brookwood) round out a formidable field.

In the Girls’ 1600 meter run, Lily Williams (sr, Chiles, Tallahassee) will be stepping down to a shorter distance after winning the FSU Relays 3200m in a personal best of 10:30.53. The Vanderbilt signee and 2010 and 2011 FHSAA State 3A Champion in the 1600m and 3200m has a best of 4:56.53 this season and is in prime shape to better her personal best of 4:52.05 set at the Florida Relays last year.

Olivia Ortiz (jr, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton) has had a great year thus far. She pulled an upset over Williams to earn the FHSAA 3A State XC Championship.  She followed that with a fifth place finish at the Foot Locker South Regional Cross Country Championships and a 19th place finish at the Foot Locker National High School Championships. Two weeks ago at the FSU Relays, Ortiz finished 2nd to Williams in the 3200m, 10:40.64, and won the 1600m in a personal best of 4:56.55. 

The field includes three other sub 5 minute runners in Bridget Blake (so, Dr. Phillips), Mary Kate Ponder (sr, Mandarin), Kacy Smith (jr, Estero), 2nd at last year’s Florida Relays and Georgia State 5A 1600m Runner-up, Caroline Kissel (sr, Brookwood).

Julie Macedo (sr, Charter School of Wilmington, DE) signed with the University of Florida in the fall after a splendid cross country campaign. The Nike Cross Country Nationals Southeast Regional champion ran a 3200m personal best of 10:34.70 and is 18 seconds better than the second fastest entrant, Carly Thomas (sr, Chiles, Tallahassee).

Five runners total in the field have cracked 11 minutes previously - Caroline Barlow (Gulf Coast), Bryce Seymour (Circle Christian) and Julie Wollrath (Holy Trinity, Melbourne). A fast pace could tow several others under the barrier eclipsing the record of six from last year.

In the Girls 100m Hurdles, Florida’s #1, #2 and #4 will face off.  Jamika Glades (sr, Dillard, Fort Lauderdale), Jasmine Willson (sr, University, Orlando) and Deasha Gordon (so, Boyd Anderson, Lauderhill Hill) will be the top entrants. The three have bests between 14.22 and 14.36 so it will be close.

In the relays, Boyd Anderson’s sprint prowess will be on display. The Cobras enter with a US #2 time of 45.94 and have a chance at the Florida Relays record of 45.38 set by Roosevelt (MD) in 2009.  They could crack the top ten with a sterling effort of 45.23 or better. The Cobras will also have a chance to field a great 4 x 200m team though they could be spread thin with the relays all occurring on the final day, Saturday, of the meet. St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) owns the Florida Relays meet record mark of 1:37.45.

In the 4 x 400m relay, seven of the top ten Girls teams this season will toe the line. St. Thomas Aquinas, 3:47.56, holds a narrow edge over American Heritage, 3:48.86, and South Dade, 3:49.78.

Seven of the top ten teams are entered in the 4 x 800m relay. St. Thomas Aquinas leads the way with a season best of 9:25.20. Lakewood Ranch is a few seconds back with a season best of 9:28.84. Providence and American Heritage are two other teams within 5 seconds of the Mustangs. A lot of fast closers in Daesha Rogers (American Heritage), Kristina Zarella (Lakewood Ranch) could take this one down to the wire.

University of Florida signee, Ryan Schnulle (sr, Charlotte, Punta Gorda) will be testing his mettle for the second week in a row against Otniel Teixeira (sr, Lake Brantley). Schnulle out lasted Teixeira at last week’s Holy Trinity Classic to score a personal best of 1:51.90 for US #4 best time to Teixeira’s 1:52.61.

The field is solid with 4 other posting personal bests of 1:55 or better.  Adel Yoonis is the defending GA 5A state champion (1:54.23) and his teammate, Paris Colson owns a 400m personal best of 48.20 making this an intriguing match-up. Edward Romero (sr, Flanagan, Pembroke Pines), 1:53.05, Jake Burton (sr. Martin County, Stuart), 1:53.42,  and Daniel Dey (sr. Olympia), 1:54.39 round out one of the deeper fields in recent memory.  No more than 3 runners have cracked the 1:55 barrier since 2008 and the fastest time since 2008 has been Isaiah Smith’s (Lake Weir) 1:52.61 from 2010.

The fastest time in the US is 1:50.89 run by Marcus Dixon (sr, White River, WA).

Eight of Florida’s top ten 1600m runners will be vying for the Florida Relays title. Otneil Teixeira (sr, Lake Brantley) is scheduled to double up Friday night and has the fastest time of all the entrants with his 4:14.78 best set at the FSU Relays. Billy Anguish (sr, Winter Park) is his closest challenger boasting a 4:16.25.

The rest of the field is very close with eight entrants having season best times between 4:18 and 4:19.

Ryan Gousse (sr, Trinity Prep, Winter Park) is the top entrant in the 3200m. Gousse’s 9:21.97 stands at #4 in Florida. Mac Reynolds (sr, Nease, St. Augustine), a University of Florida signee, set a fast early pace at the FSU relays and enters with the second fastest time of 9:24.85.

Jerry Melnyk (sr, Little Rock Central, AR), the Arkansas Indoor State Champ, Will Templeton (sr, Hardoin Valley, TN), Patrick Fleming, (jr, Pope, Marietta, GA), and Brookwood, GA teammates,  Matthew Barudin (sr) and Matthew McClintock (jr) add some state diversity to the field.

In the 110m Hurdles, Florida’s 6th, 7th and 8th fastest performers will go head to head.  Walter Tucker (American Heritage, Plantation) is the fastest of the bunch with a season best of 14.37. That came under windy conditions so he will face tough competition from Ben Bocio (sr, Baker, Cape Coral), 14.39 and Thurston Davis (sr, Godby, Tallahassee) 14.40.

St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) enters with Florida’s fastest 4x100 time, 41.45. However, they are not the fastest in the field. Creekside (Fairburn, GA) comes in with US #3 of 40.96 along with US #4 Charles Drew (Decatur, GA), 41.04.  Aquinas Florida Relays record of 40.68 will be tested here in what should be a memorable race. The nation’s best time of 40.59 is held by De Soto, Tx.

Creekside (Fairburn, GA), Charles Drew (Decatur, GA),  and St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) have the best core of sprinters, but we will have to wait and see what athletes they line up with for the Boys 4x200. De Soto, TX owns the fastest time in the country with a 1:24.04.

In the Boys 4x400, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) has run the 6th fastest time in the country this year; 3:15.62. American Heritage (Plantation) and Hallandale are not too far off with their 3:15.85 and 3:15.95. Aquinas and Northwestern (Miami) battled to a Florida Relays record 3:11.49 last year and again this years event should provide a fitting end to the weekend.

In the Boy's 4x800, Winter Park HS is Florida’s #3 ranked team with its 7:58.33. No other team has broken 8:00 minutes, but Brookwood, GA is the closest at 8:00.01. Lake Nona (Orlando) and Bartram Trail (Jacksonville) are the next closest with times of 8:03.70 and 8:04.05.


Ricky Quintana has been writing about track and field and cross country since 2001.

A former high school coach, Ricky has written for Track and Field News and Running Times magazines and DyeStat.com, Track Shark.com, Fast Women.com, Men's Racing.com internet sites and the Orlando Sentinel, Gainesville Sun, and the Tampa Tribune newspapers covering high school, collegiate, and professional running and track and field.

In addition, Ricky has announced the FHSAA State Cross Country and Track and Field Championships, FSU Relays, Florida Relays, NCAA Division I East Regionals Track and Field Championships, ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships and several local, and regional track and field and cross country championships.

Ricky has also served as regional editor for the inaugural Nike Team Nationals and worked for the National Scholastic Sport Foundation in hosting the Great American,and High School Indoor and Outdoor Championships.


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