Carnes indoor meet wraps up


Florida's Caitlin Schuessler competes in the women's pole vault during the Jimmy Carnes Invitational on Sunday. Schuessler ended up winning the event.

Brett Le Blanc/Correspondent
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 12:31 a.m.

Youth gave way to experience on the last day of the 6th Annual Jimmy Carnes Indoor Track and Field Meet as competition in the College/Open division was held Sunday in the O'Connell Center.

While most of Florida's men's and women's squads went to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the 2013 Razorback Invitational over the weekend, a handful of Gators who stayed behind competed Sunday.

One of them was junior Caitlin Schuessler, who responded with a win in the women's pole vault.

Schuessler, who competed for UF as a freshman in 2010, is just working her way into form after undergoing back surgery last August to repair a herniated disc.

Her winning effort of 12-1 1/2 was her best indoor mark since going 12-4 as a freshman.

“It's been really good,” Schuessler said. “I had back surgery last summer, so I've just been trying to recover from that and slowly get back into pole vaulting again. I'm healing still, but it's getting better.

“I'm very excited about competing in more meets this year and hope to keep improving.”

In addition, current UF sophomore Arlithia Mackey finished third (43-10) in the women's shot put.

A pair of ex-Gator greats who hold the school's respective all-time indoor shot put marks picked up wins. Kemal Mesic captured the men's title with a winning mark of 63-11 3/4, while Mariam Kevkhishvili won the women's title with a mark of 51-9.

There were two featured high school races — the mile run and 55-meter hurdles — held Sunday.

Miami Belen Jesuit Prep's Avery Lopez scored an impressive victory over a strong field in the boys' mile, taking control early and winning in 4:24.87, almost six seconds ahead of runner-up John Lindsey (4:30.20) from Winter Park.

“I was able to get out quickly, and that's what the game plan was,” Lopez said. “With about 1,200 meters to go, that's when I really took the initiative and started pushing the pace. Nobody was really testing me, so I just kept on building and building on that.”

Emily Edwards (Fort Myers Canterbury) took the girls' mile, winning in a time of 5:04.98 that was just .82 off the meet record of 5:04.16 set in 2010 by current UF junior Stephanie Strasser.

Edwards pulled away over the last half of the race to win by almost 10 seconds over runner-up Anne Kelly (5:14.37), who won the girls' 3,000 meters Saturday.

“I'm really pleased with how it went,” Edwards said. “I'm very happy with the time. This gave me the chance to see where I'm at, so it was really good overall.”

A number of Youth Invitational meet records were set over the weekend.

Among them were new marks by Stanton Prep's Kendal Williams (200 meters, 21.62) and St. Petersburg's Cayman Ellis (pole vault, 16-0) on the boys' side, while Boyd Anderson's Daeshon Gordon (55-meter hurdles, 8.20), Royal Palm Beach's Erin Ford (400 meters, 56.51), Lake Mary's Erica Sergeant (pole vault, 12-4), Boyd Anderson's Kali Davis-White (200 meters, 24.52), and Eastside's Shadayzha Bullock (shot put, 40-5 3/4) all set new girls' marks.

“I think it was outstanding,” meet director Larry Holsey said. “It was a very fulfilling weekend. The kids had a great time, there were a lot of records broken and the fans really enjoyed themselves.”

Also, while not a meet record, the 6.28 run by Gainesville's Tony James in winning the boys' 55-meter dash Saturday is the nation's fastest time this year.

“That lets you know that kids in this area are serious about track,” Holsey said. “It's very popular.”

Complete final results can be found online at www.halfmiletiming.com.

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