Gainesville Elite blaze to track record in 4x100 relay
Published: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 12:17 a.m.
One way to describe the Gainesville Elite's men's 4 x 100-meter relay team would be extremely talented.
Another would be thrown together.
The four runners – Rondell Sorrillo, Tony McQuay, Mikel Thomas and Mike Rodgers – put their team together earlier in the week for the Florida Relays. All four of them had never competed together in the 4 x 100.
“I didn't even practice handoffs with my leg,” Rodgers said.
It didn't matter.
Gainesville Elite set a track record and a Florida Relays record with a time of 38.52.
“It is what our name says; we are an elite group,” McQuay said.
Sorrillo, McQuay and Thomas, who live in Gainesville and train at the University of Florida, all participated in the 2012 London Olympics. Sorrillo and Thomas represented their home country of Trinidad and Tobago. McQuay, a former Gator track star, represented the U.S. Rodgers, who lives and practices in Austin, Texas, would have been in London if he didn't break his foot a week before the Games started.
The winning foursome edged out a Star Athletics team (38.59) that had two household names: former Gator football and track star Jeff Demps and Justin Gatlin, who won a silver medal as a member of Team USA's 4 x 100 relay team in London as well as a bronze in the 100 meters.
Having Rodgers join the three Gainesville runners didn't seem to concern any of the four runners.
“Mike's been doing it long enough; it comes natural,” McQuay said . “You really don't need too much practice. It is all about trusting each other. We came out here and put it together and set a new track record.”
The much-anticipated running of the high school 4 x 100-meter relay at the Florida Relays finished in record-breaking fashion Saturday.
It was not the way the Gainesville High's relay team of Ralph Webb, Chris Thompson, Dontarian Evans and Kenric Young hoped they would finish. They hoped they would've started better too.
“We know that we could do way better,” said Webb, who ran the first leg. “It was a mishap. The blocks slipped from under my feet when I took off. I was expecting the official to blow the gun. Imagine what would have happened if I didn't slip out of the blocks.”
Despite the mishap, the Hurricanes still ran their fastest time this year at 41.19.
It was good enough for fourth behind first place American Heritage, Miami Washington and Orlando Jones, respectively. Heritage's time of 40.49 and Washington's time of 40.60 were the two fastest high school times this year. Heritage's time is the third fastest all-time among high schools in the state of Florida.
GHS sprinter Tony James, one of the fastest runners in the state, could have run in the race for the Hurricanes despite his injured hamstring. Coach Rod McNealy “didn't want to push him” though.
UF women's 4 x 400 relay team – Destinee Gause, Eboney Eutsey, Robin Reynolds and Lanie Whittaker - broke their own school record they set last week at the Texas Relays. Their time Saturday night was 3:27.43. The previous mark was 3:27.61. It actually was only good enough for second though. One Goal Athletics, made up of former Olympians, was first with a time of 3:24.58.