Friday, April 12, 2019

Leon County's middle schools rumble at the Raider Invitational Track Meet

I learned to ride a bicycle on the Rickards High School track in 1967. The track was a 440-yard blacktop oval then, and it still was ten years later when I was running high school track in Tallahassee, Florida. Since those times, the facility has been replaced by a 400-meter circuit with a blue synthetic surface. That new Rickards track was where the middle school athletes of Leon County Schools came on Thursday afternoon, 11 April 2019, for their second meet of the season, the Raider Invitational.

Competition opened with the girls' 1600. Eighth-grader Maya Tang of Deerlake won the event for the second time in a row this season, running 5:51.87. Swift Creek eighth-grader Stella Lewis improved her season best to 5:58.20 to take second. A'zion Jackson of Raa also ran a new season best, placing third in 6:10.31.

Wyatt Townsend's winning streak in the boys' 1600 at Leon County Schools meet goes back to the 2018 season. The Deerlake eighth-grader extended that streak to six races at the Raider Invitational, taking first in 5:01.15. This time, though, Fairview seventh-grader Patrick Koon was just twenty meters behind Townsend, finishing runner up in 5:04.88. Justin Greenwood, another Fairview seventh-grader, moved up from the 800 to try the 1600 for the first time this season and placed third in 5:06.18.

In the girls' 100-meter hurdles, Angel Roberts of Raa got her first win of the 2019 season, racing over the barriers in 17.67. Jade DuBose of Nims, who had won the girls' shot put a week earlier at the season opener, took third in the hurdles with a 19.20.

At the Trojan Invitational, the first meet of the season, Juvon Pettway had finished runner-up to Le'kel Manna in the boys' 100-meter hurdles. At the Raider Invitational, Swift Creek's Pettway wouldn't settle for second again, winning the race in 15:59. Cade Swart of Deerlake took second in 15.84, and Mikael Myrick of Raa was third in 16.13.

The hurdle crew did their job, and the straightaway was clear for the girls' 100-meter dash. Danae Baker of Raa won the event for the second week in a row, this time in 12:97. Naudia Williams of Montford gave her a race, though, finishing second in a very close 12.98. Racing the 100 for the first time this season, Cecilia Dixon of Swift Creek took third in 13.25.

David Hogan of Swift Creek was also racing the 100 for the first time this season. He went 12.01 in the third section of boys' race, taking first. Keyon Brown of Fairview came close, running 12.06 in section four and placing second. Malek Jackson of Cobb ran 12.19 in section two, but in section four Zanario Travis of Nims equalled Jackson's time, and the two tied for third.

Channey Richardson of Cobb had not only won the girls' 400 at the season opener, she was also the Raider Invitational defending champ in the event. Richardson repeated, running a winning 63.19. Deerlake's Madison McNeil ran a season-best 63.77 to take second. Trying out the event for the first time this season, Fairview's Alexandria Kennedy ran 64.88 for third.

Kenneth Jenkins of Raa had run 55.5 for third in the boy's 400 at the Trojan Invitational. He improved both time and position the second time out, winning the boys' 400 at the Raider Invitational in 54.65. Racing 400 for the first time this season, Montford's Rhyder Poppell was second in 55.65. Corey Stavres of Swift Creek, also making his first appearance of the season in the boys' 400, nabbed third in 57.46.

For the second week in a row, the Raa girls were the class of the girls' 4 x 100 relay, running a season-best 52.12 for the win. The Cobb girls were runner-up in 53.38, and Fairview third in 53.90.

In the first meet of the season, Nims had taken first in the boys' 4 x 100 and Cobb second. It was the same at the Raider Invitational, but with faster times. Nims was first in 46.07 and Cobb second in 46.28. The Swift Creek boys put together a season-best performance of 47.54 to take third.

In the girls' 800, Alima Hemenway didn't run as fast as she had at the Trojan Invitational, but she didn't have to. The Swift Creek eighth-grader won the event for the second week in a row, finishing the two-lap race in 2:40.15. Montford seventh-grader Skye Williams, stepping into the 800 for the first time this season, took second with a 2:42.30. After running her season best 1600 earlier in the meet, Stella Lewis of Swift Creek was back on the track running her first 800 of the season. Lewis went 2:42.77 for third.

Keveon Ruffin of Nims won the boys' 800, running 2:12.10. Ruffin had been second in the event at the Trojan Invitational. Ja'Marie Clemons of Cobb tried the 800 for the first time this season and placed second in 2:13.05. Danny Anderson of Nims was also in the 800 for the first time in 2019; he was third in 2:22.03.

Gabria Cottrell sprinted a winning 27.59 in the girls' 200, the best time recorded in the event by any girl so far in this Leon County Schools middle school season. Already a winner in the 400, Channey Richardson returned to the track for the 200, clocking a second-place mark of 27.63. Makayla Caldwell, competing at 200 meters for the first time this season, was third in 28.35.

Sheldon Richardson of Nims stepped onto the track for the first time this season and won the boys' 200 with a 24.26. It was also the first 200 of the season for Zhantavious Mills of Cobb and Keyon Brown of Fairview, with Mills moving up from the 100 and Brown moving down from the 400. The two tied for second in 24.77.

The girls competition on the track concluded with the 4 x 400 relay. The Fairview girls won the event for the second week in a row, setting a season-leading mark of 4:29.97. The Raa girls went 4:31.78 to repeat their Trojan Invitational placing as runners-up. Swift Creek was third for the second week straight, this time in 4:34.88.

The Fairview boys carved more than seven seconds off of their Trojan Invitational peformance in the 4 x 400, winning the relay in 3:53.03. The Nims boys also went under 4:00 for the first time this season, taking second in 3:59.63. The Swift Creek boys had won the relay at the Trojan Invitational, but at the Raider Invitational they were third in 4:10.36.

After the Raider Invitational, Griffin's Kinsleigh Hunter had the Leon County Schools season-leading mark in the middle school girls' high jump. Hunter won the event with a leap of 1.57 meters. Another Griffin athlete, Maryam Parishani, placed second at 1.47. Daphne Story of Fairview cleared 1.42 for third.

Errol Quallo of Fairview had tied for ninth in the boys' high jump at the season opener. But at the Raider Invitational, Quallo improved 30 centimeters, clearing 1.62 meters and winning the event. Wayne Maxwell of Nims was second at 1.42 meters. Seven athletes cleared 1.37 meters and tied for third--Corey Stavres of Swift Creek, Ayden Fryar of Cobb, Ja'Marie Clemons of Cobb, Randall Pompey of Fairview, Tavares Herring of Raa, Kyan Singleton of Deerlake, and Ryan Poage of Deerlake.

Alexandria Kennedy didn't just take third for Fairview in the girls' 400. The eighth-grader also won the girls' long jump for the second week in a row, this time leaping 5.11 meters. Danae Baker of Raa, winner of the girls' 100, jumped 5.05 meters and took second for a second week in a row. Dyani Steward of Cobb, who took fifth behind Baker in the 100, was third in the long jump at 5.04 meters.

You'll recall that Raa's Kenneth Jenkins won the boys' 400, but he was also busy on the infield, winning the long jump with a mark of 5.78 meters. Malek Jackson of Cobb was second at 5.60 meters, and Michael Ash of Swift Creek third at 5.54 meters.

Asanti Stewart had her first outing of the season in the girls' shot put, and won the event with a mark of 11.39 meters. High jump winner Kinsleigh Hunter placed second with a toss of 10.36 meters. Raven Hall of Deerlake was third-best in the event, sending the shot 9.57 meters.

Jordan Clark of Nims won the boys' shot put at the Trojan Invitational, and he also won the event a week later at the Raider Invitational, hurling the weight 12.55 meters. With a mark of 11.74 meters, David Laws of Nims was second to his teammate for the second week in a row. After placing fourth in the shot at the Trojan Invitational, Laddarion Dudley of Griffin moved up to third at the Raider Invitational, improving his mark to 11.67 meters.

When all the events were scored, Raa was first among the eight schools in the girls' team standings with 87-5/6 points. The Raa girls had also won the week before at the Trojan Invitational. The Fairview girls were second with 61 points, and Swift Creek was a close third with 60-1/6 points.

The Nims boys finished second to Fairview in the season opener, but at the Raider Invitational Nims took first in a nine-team field with 92-1/2 points. The Fairview boys were second with 75-5/8 points, and the Cobb team was third with 61-3/4 points.

The next meeting in the middle school track season for Leon County Schools will be the Lion Invitational at Leon High School on Thursday afternoon, 18 April 2019. The season concludes with the LCS Championship Meet at Godby High School on Thursday afternoon, 25 April 2019.


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