As competition stiffens, Palm Beach County can expect to earn medals at state track and field
Thursday, May 03, 2012
by Matt Porter
Though Park Vista track coach Jeff Fossen is bringing seven high-ranked boys to Saturday's Class 4A state meet, he doesn't expect his team to capture a state title.
Not this year. Not in this field.
"Third would be phenomenal," Fossen said.
As always, there will be talent from Miami-Dade, Broward and Orlando at the 4A meet, held at the University of North Florida's Hodges Stadium. But fans making the drive from Palm Beach County will have plenty to savor.
"It's definitely an up year," said Fossen, who has been at Park Vista for eight years and has coached in the county for the last 20. "This year, there's a lot more Palm Beach County kids. Track is really on the upswing and it's showing."
According to seed times, 23 medals are expected to be won by Palm Beach County individuals or relay teams in 17 boys events. Nine county girls are seeded eighth or higher.
"Overall, it's one of the strongest [fields] I've seen," said Fossen, who began coaching track in 1984 and has been in the county since 1992. "There's some speed out there, for sure."
Take the 100-meter dash, for example. Dwyer sophomore Johnnie Dixon, whose personal best is 10.68 seconds, might be the favorite in another year. He's seeded fifth, behind top qualifier Marvin Bracy of Orlando-Boone, who runs a 10.25, the season's fastest time by a U.S. high school athlete.
"Normally if you run 11 flat, you might get a place," Fossen said. "You won't this year."
Palm Beach County athletes should be jockeying for position all day.
Dwyer senior Moriel Pitt is seeded first (14.03) in the 110 hurdles, while Park Vista junior Christopher Grinley is fifth (14.42). Grinley is seeded first (37.72) in the 300 hurdles; Pitt is third (37.79).
Dwyer senior Jethro St. Hubert is seeded second (23-2) in the long jump, while Royal Palm Beach senior Tremane McCullough is fourth. St. Hubert is fourth (46-0) in the triple; McCullough is eighth.
In the 400, Park Vista senior Edens Thermidor is the second seed (47.98), while Palm Beach Central senior Travis Morrison (third, 49.01) and Atlantic junior Jean Poulard (eighth, 49.80) are right behind.
Park Vista's 1600 relay (second) should be closely followed by Atlantic (fourth) and Royal Palm Beach (sixth).
Jupiter junior Angelo Goss' 6-foot-7 high jump has him in line for silver, while Park Vista junior Nick Adelphonse (6-4) and Jupiter junior Heath Appleman (6-2) could medal.
John I. Leonard senior Anderson Charles wants double gold in the 800 (second) and 1600 (first). His seed time is two-tenths of a second behind Lake Brantley senior Otniel Teixeira. In the 1600, he's nearly three seconds ahead of the field.
On the girls' side, Santaluces has a pair of seniors looking for multiple medals. Clariwin Dameus is seeded fifth in the long jump and third in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. Miriam Pierre is top seed in the shot put and third in the discus.
Elsewhere, Seminole Ridge junior Alexandria Jackson is second in the shot, while Royal Palm Beach freshman Erin Ford (second in the 400) is looking for gold in her first state meet.
At Friday's Class 3A meet, Palm Beach Lakes senior Shamaz Quince is seeded second in the long jump and third in the triple; Boynton Beach freshman Stacey Destin is second in the high jump; and Lake Worth has two juniors - high jumper Tiah Sanborn and 300-meter hurdler Shakira Bartley - who are expected to medal.