Bobcats' Noble wins long jump at Relays


Lake Wales’ Octavious Freeman, left, won the girls 100-meter dash at the Florida Relays.

Brad Mcclenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, April 1, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 2, 2011 at 12:39 a.m.

It wasn't the best time of day to long jump at a competitive track and field meet, but Marquis Noble's second effort Friday morning at the 67th annual Florida Relays left no doubt who was the top high school leaper at Percy Beard Track.

The Buchholz senior had a jump of 23 feet, 4.50 inches to capture the event, topping C.J. Davidson of Daniel High in Central, S.C. (22-11.25) and Jovan Davis of Wekiva (22-9.75), who also finished second in the 110 meter hurdles.

“It's a lot different long jumping in the morning than in the afternoon or evening, when your body is fully awake and ready to go,” said Noble, the defending Class 4A state champion in the long jump and one of the nation's elite leapers. “I had to get going two hours earlier today to get my body going.”

The high school portion of the meet continues today, opening with the 4x1600 meter girls relay at 9 a.m. The collegiate portion starts at 11:30 a.m. with the women's javelin.

Noble had a jump of 24-6.50 at Showalter Field in Winter Park to win the state title last year. Although national elite jumper Robinson Therezie of Miami Jackson was a no-show at Friday's meet, Phillip Dorsett, another one of the nation's top leapers and a talented wide receiver who is heading to Miami, competed in the same flight as Noble.

“He is one of the best jumpers in the nation, so I was aware of him,” Noble said of Dorsett, who finished in fourth (22-9.50). “It always helps having competition. You have to push yourself even harder because you know if you don't, you could get beat.

“It's going to take a great effort to win state this year. Last year was last year. My goal jump is to top 25 feet. I really believe I can reach it, but everything would have to be perfect.”

Noble also competed in the 100-meter dash, finishing fifth with a personal record time of 10.78. His heat, one of 17, came after the fastest heat in the event, which pitted the nation's top sprinter Marvin Bracy of Orlando Boone and fourth-ranked Levonte Whitfield of Orlando Jones. It wasn't a contest, as Bracy, running with the aid of a slight breeze, clocked in at 10.26. Current Gator Jeff Demps, who won Friday's men's collegiate 100 meters (10.07), holds the high school meet record at 10.17, set in 2008.

“I had a bad start, but I thought I finished strong,” Noble said of his 100. “To finish in the top 5, I'm pretty excited for me.”

Perhaps the performance of the day for high schools came in the girls 100 meters when Lake Wales senior Octavious Freeman, the three-time state champion and No. 1 sprinter in the nation, set a meet record with a 11.29, blowing away the field, which included Gainesville junior Kadeidra Jackson.

“I've run against her before, at the Bob Hayes Invitational, so I knew what she could do,” said Jackson, Alachua County's top female sprinter, who finished 15th with a 12.35. “I didn't concern myself with her. I just wanted to hold my own against the others and set a personal record. I didn't do that, but I feel good about how I have been running.

“I want to get under 12 (seconds) and finish in the top three at state. I just have to keep working hard. I finished third last year at state with P.K. Yonge (1A), and I want to finish in the top three this year at Gainesville High (3A).”

Hurricane senior Sarena Humphrey dropped her personal best time by almost two seconds in placing fifth in the 800 meters at 2:20.93.

“We thought she did well, but thought she could have done even better if she was seeded in the faster heat,” said GHS coach Rodney McNeely. “It took some time for her to recover from basketball, and we now expect her to run personal bests at our next meet and at districts. Sarena has a very competitive spirit, and gets a lot of support from her family and her team.”

Among other local results, Dennis McGee of Gainesville had a personal record throw of 50-02.25 to finish eighth in the shot put.

Contact Larry Savage at 352-374-5050 or larry.savage@gvillesun.com.

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