UF signee Arroyo shines at Florida Relays

Colonial High School's Andres Arroyo sprinted to the nation's top time in 800-meter run this year at the Florida Relays on Thursday.

Brett Le Blanc / Correspondent
Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 12:22 a.m.

Many of the nation's best high school track and field athletes were in action Thursday at the 69th annual Florida Relays at Percy Beard Track.

And it was a soon-to-be Gator that stole the show.

Orlando Colonial's Andres Arroyo, the nation's top miler, showed some sprinter speed in blasting the field and the Florida Relay record by running a 1:47.79 in the 800 meters, topping the nation's best time by four seconds and registering the fourth fastest 800 ever run in high school.

That came a few minutes after eighth-grader Daesha Rogers of Plantation American Heritage won the girls 800 in 2:11.69, the fifth-best time in the country.

But the first day of the three-day track and field event had several local accomplishments as well, including from a future Gator football player.

Gainesville's Chris Thompson qualified for the 100 meter finals, taking the last spot with a run of 10.85, just ahead of teammate Kenric Young (10.88). The future UF wide receiver was the Hurricanes' top sprinter with elite runner Tony James still on the sidelines with a hamstring strain.

“It feels great to be in the finals,” Thompson said. “I wished I could have run better in the preliminaries.

“Kenric and I are always competing against each other. I know I need to stay focused tomorrow, run my race and finish hard.”

Buchholz's Michael Tillman and LeAndre Rembert of Santa Fe actually had the day's best local showing in field events with Tillman placing second in the long jump (22-8.75) and Rembert third in the shot put (52-9). Gainesville's Ralph Webb, a future Vanderbilt Commodore in football, took sixth in the long jump (22-8.75), an event he won the state 3A title in 2012. Brandon Robinson of Tampa Alonso won the long jump with a leap of 22-10.50

Tillman had little time after his jumps to prepare for the 100, which he finished 12th (10.98).

“There definitely wasn't a lot of time between the jumps and the 100,” Tillman said. “I had been out two weeks with a hamstring and just got back. I came out pretty strong with my jumps, and then I ran a PR and season best in the 100, so I'm pretty pleased.”

Oak Hall junior Brittney Olinger took seventh in the 3200, lowering her season-best time by more than 11 seconds with a 11:12.96. A year ago, Olinger took fifth at 1A state.

In other local results, Crystal Williams of Gainesville just missed qualifying in the 100 hurdles, posting a 14.82 to finish 10th. Only the top nine times qualified for today's finals. Joseph Janson of P.K. Yonge took 11th in the 1600 run (4:27.90), Gainesville's Nia Flagg 14th in the 100 (12.37) and Buchholz's Naquan Howard 16th in the 100 hurdles (15.44).

The meet continues Friday with both field and track events starting at 10 a.m. A stellar college competition, that includes athletes from as far as Southern Cal, with the day's highlights being the 100. The 100 finals for high schools begin at 2:10 p.m., with the colleges following at 2:20 p.m.

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