Eastside track team off to a running start


Eastside High School track coach Clarence Collins, right, works with Roneka Bradley during practice at Cone Park.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.

The 2013 Eastside High School boys and girls track teams are trying to repeat as District 4-2A champions under the leadership of coach Adrian Taylor.

The Rams have a host of experience and several promising young athletes on the girl's team, with the boys being led by two seniors, Sir Jackson, a hurdler, and Carsten Thuey-Bloodworth, a standout in the 800-meter race.

Taylor said repeating as district champions would be nice, but he understands it will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination.

"It is going to take a lot of hard work and we are going to have to continue to be dedicated," said Taylor, who is in his fifth year at the helm of the Eastside track program.

The Rams compete in a 10-school district that also includes Baker County, Baldwin, Bradford, Crescent City, Fort White, Newberry, Palatka, Santa Fe and Suwannee high schools. He said all of the schools in the district are tough, but there are several the Rams have had a hard time with in the past.

"Bradford and Suwannee are always tough and Baker County and Santa Fe are no slouches either," Taylor said.

The Rams have competed in the Ron Riddle Invitational held March 1 in Clay County, the Spruce Creek Invitationalon March 9 in Port St. Joe and the Disney Invitational held last Saturday in Orlando.

Taylor said Jackson and Thuey-Bludworth, who were district champs last year in the 300 hurdles and 1,600, respectively, are the top performers so far this season for the boys. He said the top performers on the girls team so far have been senior Madison Brown (200 and 4x100), juniors Roneka Bradley (300 hurdles) and Alshatek Frazier (100 and 200), sophomore Shataya Williams (100) and freshmen Shadayzia Bullock (discus and shot put), Vanessa McAdams (400) and Mia Varner (800).

Brown, Frazier and Williams were on the Rams' 4x100 relay team last year that captured the district championship in that event.

Taylor said the Rams have been doing alright this year and will only get better as the season progresses.

The district championship meet will be held on April 10 at Palatka High School, the Region 2 championship meet on April 18 at Bolls High School in Jacksonville and the Class 2A state championship meet on April 27 at Hodges Stadium on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

"They are enjoying the work and are trying to get back to the level they were at last year," Taylor said. "I am very pleased with the progress they are making."

Taylor said he is excited about the possibility of repeating as district champions, but he doesn't talk about it much.

"I always tell the kids they will get out of it what they put in it," Taylor said. "I don't put any pressure on them. The kids from last year's team remind the newcomers that they have a title to defend."

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