Orlando Jones' Whitfield sets mark at Florida Relays
Published: Friday, April 5, 2013 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.
For one day St. Petersburg Gibbs junior Trayvon Bromell had the nation's fastest time in high school in the 100 meters, running a stunning 10.34 in Thursday's preliminaries at the Florida Relays.
By Friday, Orlando Jones' Levonte Whitfield had wiped that away.
Whitfield, the three-time Class 2A state champion in the event and the favorite coming in, put his name back on top with a national-best 10.28 to win the 100 finals before an anxious crowd at Percy Beard Track. Bromell, who finished second at last year's Class 3A state meet, false-started, denying him a chance to defend his brief rise as the country's top sprinter this year.
“(The false start) didn't affect me, because I stayed calm,” said Whitfield, who has signed with Florida State to play football and run track after decommitting from Miami a year ago. “I blocked everything out and focused on running my own race. Coach always tells me there are going to be false starts, you have to block it out.”
With Bromell not beside him, Whitfield blistered the track, well ahead of second-place finisher Xavier Adams of Spruce Creek (10.50) and Ceolamar Ways of Ponte Vedra Beach Nease (10.68). Whitfield's time fell short of the track record of 10.17 set by South Lake and former Gator Jeff Demps in 2008.
“I wished he hadn't false-started,” Whitfield said of Bromell. “I've raced him a couple of times. It would have been a good one, but I would have pulled it out.
“This is a big meet, a lot of colleges are here and high schools too. This is a big event.”
Gainesville's Chris Thompson, who ran on the outside in lane one, finished seventh with a time of 10.83.
“I felt pretty good about it,” said Thompson, a UF signee in football. “I corrected the things I didn't do well yesterday and ran a better time today.”
Thompson was the second leg in the Hurricanes' 4x200 relay, which took first after St. Thomas Aquinas was disqualified. Other members of the foursome were Kylan Oates, Dontarian Evans and Kenric Young, who finished in a school-record time of 1:27.28.
During the event, Thompson stumbled as he was handing the baton to Evans, who was running the third leg. As the exchange was made, the senior laid out on the track.
“We kind of got our legs tangled on the exchange,” Thompson said. “I was able to get him the baton. It was close. We did good though. I think we did better than we even thought we would.”
Whitfield's cousin and current Seminole, Marvin Bracy, took third in the men's 100 (10.20). Southern Cal's Aaron Brown (10.143) just nipped Darrell Wesh of Virginia Tech (10.146) to finish first.
In the girls 100, Clermont East Ridge's Kaylin Whitney won the event in 11.54, followed by Deanna Hill of Lake Highland Prep (11.85) and Diamond Spaulding of Plantation American Heritage (11.96).
UCF sophomore Octavious Freeman, who dominated the Florida Relays running for Lake Wales High, is doing the same running for the Knights, easily winning the 100 with a personal-best 11.02, tops in college and a new track record as well. Candyce McGrone of Nike took second at 11.39.
She also matched the top collegiate time in winning the 200 Invite in 22.85, edging Natasha Hastings of Under Armour (22.89).
The Gators had two titles for the men, both with collegiate best times, in Dedric Dukes (200, 20.38) and Sean Obinwa (800, 1:47.66).
For Oak Hall coach Edwin McTureous, the meet was a chance for his girls team, which has the best group of distance runners in the area, to compete on a big stage. On Friday morning, in an event that is not part of the normal high school schedule, the Eagles finished fifth in the distance medley relay (12:55.55), which consists of four different legs — 1,200, 400, 800 and 1,600 — in that order.
For three of the four members — junior Brittney Olinger, seventh-grader Grace Blair and eighth-grader Lauren Perry — all competed on Thursday night, with Olinger and Perry running the two mile (3,200). The fourth member of the relay was eighth-grader Natalie Carr.
“Last night to today for us was an opportunity for us to run against some schools we won't see in our classification,” said McTureous, who led the Oak Hall cross country team to its first state title in the fall. “We are getting prepared for postseason. Trying to make some final decisions as to what we are going to do starting at districts and at regions, where are we going to put some of the kids.
“I was pleased with their effort this morning. I thought they did well for some of them that came off from running last night. As a whole, I thought effort was very good. Now we can regroup and get focused for the important part of the season.”
On Thursday, Oak Hall will host the 10-school District 5-1A meet, which will also include Bell, Bronson, Cedar Key, Cornerstone Academy, Hawthorne, Lafayette, P.K. Yonge, Lecanto Seven Rivers Christian and St. Francis.
Both Olinger and Perry set season-best times in the 3200 on Thursday. For Olinger, who finished fifth at 1A state in the event last year, running a 11:12.96, just a second slower than she did at state, is a good sign, McTureous said.
“That is probably the third fastest time overall that she has ever run,” he said. “She has been running well this year, just hasn't been in a race where she has had that competition all the way through. It was the fastest she has ever run at the Florida Relays, and she is excited about that. Two years ago she did 11:10 at state (placed fourth), which is her PR. Normally she would run a 11:19 or 11:20 here at the Florida Relays, but for us to see her run a 11:12, I think the goals we have for her to run at regions and state are well within her grasp.”
Other local results, on Thursday, Suwannee senior Logan Boss took second in the girls high jump at 5-8, a personal best. Samantha Cook of Bradford finished fifth in the shot put (41-6.50), Kiana Davis of Buchholz took eighth in the girls triple jump (35-9.25), Santa Fe's Darrell Powell (42-5) placed ninth in the triple jump and Sean Dudley of Buchholz took 12th (41-3.50).
Future Gator safety Keanu Neal of South Sumter finished seventh in the 110 hurdles (14.62). Former Buchholz standouts Marquis Noble and Chris Godwin also were in action on Friday. Noble, the 2010 Class 4A state champion in the long jump, placed third in the long jump for North Carolina A&T (23-6). Godwin, a freshman at Florida State who is being redshirted, ran the last event of the night unattached in the men's 5000, finishing 22nd (15:03.15).
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