Kids, high schoolers face off at Carnes indoor

Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 12:10 a.m.

At the Jimmy Carnes Indoor Track and Field Meet, age really is just a number.

In a 4x200 relay heat that pitted 10- and 11-year-olds against high schoolers, sixth-grader Nadira Evans ran her fastest 200 trying to catch the older girls.

“At first, seeing the high school girls, I was really nervous,” she said. “But I hate to lose even more. I was so competitive and fired up.”

Evans and her Gainesville Striders Track Club teammates Brianna Washington, 11, and Tamari Davis, 8, will face even more high schoolers today after turning in top times for girls 12 and younger in their events.

The meet, in its fourth year at the Stephen O’Connell Center, showcases young talent during the college and open meet on the second day of competition. The top 12 finishers in each of Saturday’s events return to race in front of college students and coaches.

Davis, a second-grader at Lake Forest Elementary, won her three events, turning in times of 8.31 seconds in the 55-meter dash, 31.26 seconds in the 200-meter dash and 2:14.17 in the 4x200 relay for 7- and 8- year-olds.

“I’m the fastest girl in my whole school,” she boasted.

Washington anchors the 10- and 11-year-old 4x200 relay team that won the age group with a 2:00.74 performance. She qualified with fourth- and fifth-place finishes in the 400 and 200, respectively.

Duane McKee, youth coach with the Striders, said the chances to run with older, faster competition “pulls them along and gives them competition they don’t usually see in their age group.”

Many local runners use the event to gauge their training as they head into the high school spring track season. Gary Evans, meet director and head track coach with the Striders, said he noticed a lot more high school athletes at the 1,000-runner youth event. About 500 to 600 runners will compete in the college or elite races today.

“This meet is a springboard,” said Gary Evans, meet director and head track coach with the Gainesville Striders. “For the high schoolers, it gives you an idea of where you’re at to launch your season. For the youth, it’s tough competition to prepare for the Junior Olympics.”

To see results of both day’s races, go to

Two Buchholz sprinters dashed their way to top-10 finishes. Marquis Noble, last year’s Sun track athlete of the year, came in eighth in the 55-meter dash with 6.57 seconds. Cecil Rolle finished third, running the 400 in 51.08 seconds.

The Sun’s cross-country runner of the year, Chris Godwin, picked up a half-dollar-sized blister on his left foot during the mile, his coach Ron Norris said, which ended his weekend early. The Buchholz junior had been scheduled to compete in the 3000-meter run.

Gainesville’s Joy Hooper grinded out a seventh-place finish in the 800 with her time of 2:33.22. Also for the Hurricanes, Chante Chatman finished in the top third of runners with a 16th-place run in the 55, turning in a time of 7.78 seconds.

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