State track titles

for Rodgers, Collier and Rivers

By Randy Lefko Sports Editor
Posted 5/9/19

JACKSONVILLE – Three area track athletes; Fleming Island High’s Glenn Rodgers, Orange Park High’s Alex Collier and Oakleaf High’s Jalen Rivers answered plenty of pre-race …

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State track titles

for Rodgers, Collier and Rivers


JACKSONVILLE – Three area track athletes; Fleming Island High’s Glenn Rodgers, Orange Park High’s Alex Collier and Oakleaf High’s Jalen Rivers answered plenty of pre-race speculation by winning in dramatic fashion state track titles in Saturday’s championship meet held at University of North Florida.

Orange Park High junior sprinter Alex Collier blasted the field in the Class 3A 400 meters for his gold medal but added to the drama of the day with a third in the 100 meters and a spectacular anchor leg on the Raiders fourth place 4 x 400 relay on the second day of the championship weekend.

For Rodgers, who has toyed with nationally ranked times throughout his senior campaign, minor adjustments to his highly technical event came to play in his come-from-behind win in the Class 4A 110 high hurdles where the top three hurdlers finished within just a half second of each other.

For Rivers, who has dominated the Class 4A shotput lists since about mid-season, his gold medal came with yet another 50-foot plus toss that bested the field.

Collier, who has chased Miami Norland senior Tyrese Cooper, the top ranked sprinter not only in Florida, but nationally, the 400 meter showdown was a second shot at Cooper for Collier after a thrilling second place finish at the Bob Hayes Invite.

“He’s the guy I’ve been gearing all of my training for,” said Collier, who surged in the final 80 meters to nail his elusive sub-47 second effort at 46.33 for the win. “I ran his race at Bob Hayes and he beat me. I ran my race today and I beat him. Period.”

Ironically, Cooper was also on Collier’s mind for the earlier 100 meters where Miami Northwestern High was going to field three sprinters to the mix of the expected showdown between Collier and Cooper.

As the field bolted from the start, Collier gapped the field with a fast start and battled to hold on to third in 10.75, but a tad in front of Cooper.

“I wish I could do that one again,” said Collier. “I got a great start, but the rest of the field came after me. I thought I had it, but against this field, I had to stay focused with my finish. I had to reset my head to take the 400 later in the day.”

For Rodgers, who had the second fastest time in the nation at the Bob Hayes Invite; 14.22, the Class 4A field was loaded to the hilt.

“We worked on two things this week; the start and the last three hurdles,” said Rodgers. “I knew if I got a clean start, three steps and a clean first hurdle, I would be in the best position of the field. That’s how it all starts.”

Rodgers nailed the start and was even with the field with South Dade’s Ulysses Grace on his right side and Miramar’s Osaji Skyers on his left side sprinting toe-to-toe.

“We’ve been working on staying focused and low to the hurdles the last three hurdles to not give away precious seconds,” said Rodgers. “After the last hurdle, I came down first, it was all about the lean.”

Grace, who was slightly ahead of the torrid pace, tumbled after the last hurdle while Rodgers inched past Skyers to win in 14.20 with Skyers second in 14.21 and Grace reaching the line in 14.25 in one of the closest finishes of the day.

“Every little piece of the race came together today,” said Rodgers. “I’ve had some stumbles this year, but when you compete right on the edge, things can happen. The key is stay focused, learn from it and move forward.”

Rivers, who won his region title last week with a 52’-8.75” toss after a district 1-4A winning 54’-3.25”, continued his streak with a winning toss of 54’-4” to win by just five inches over Flagler Palm Coast’s Paul Nelson. Nelson bested Rivers after two throws with Rivers taking the lead on his third throw. Rivers fouled on his fourth throw, but Nelson threw 52’-9” on his final put.

Other highlights for the championship weekend included a second place finish in the Class 1A 300 meter hurdles from St. Johns Country Day School’s Courtney Sage, a junior, who also finished seventh in the 100 hurdles. Sage’s 300 hurdles time of 45.38 was a new personal fastest after she won the region 1-1A title in 46.00 last week.

In the Class 1A 3200 meters, St. Johns freshman Matthew Stratton ran his personal best for a second week in a row with a fourth place 9:28.62. Stratton also placed ninth in the 1600 in 4:29.70.

In Class 2A, milers Joel Nesi of Ridgeview and Alex Guy of Keystone Heights, both seniors, finished sixth and seventh, respectively, to end their careers with medals after a running span since eighth grade for the two athletes. Guy also finished seventh in the 800 in 1:55.27.

“Joel and I have been running against each other since eighth grade,” said Guy. “To finish together at state in our last race was pretty neat.”

Guy, who broke a 15 year school record in the 1600 during the season, knew the Class 2A race was going to be crowded.

“We wanted to get him in the mix and in position for a final kick after the final turn,” said Keystone Heights coach Richard Bland. “I take him nine out of 10 times if he’s close enough to be the toughest guy out there.”

For Ridgeview coach Al Nesi, watching his son compete in his final race and medal was only a prelude to fall races in cross country.j

“I am emotional, but I don’t see it as his last race, but as the start of a new chapter,” said Nesi, who was visibly emotionally spent from the day. “I get to now watch him in college (Flagler College). He’s had a good senior year.”

In Class 3A, Orange Park High senior John Abate, who won district and region titles in the high jump, continued his medals in the event with a third place that topped Middleburg High’s Bryce Quiett. Abate also finished seventh in the 300 hurdles with another click off his best time from 38.66 at regions to 38.62 on Saturday.

In the Class 3A 1600, Orange Park High senior John Bear finished off an injury-plagued final year with a medal; eighth in 4:25.64.

“To get a medal after this whole season was fighting this nagging knee was pretty big for me,” said Bear, who plans to run at Florida State College of Jacksonville in the fall, heal up some more and then transfer to a four year school. “I really wanted to get here and be able to give it my best shot. I never thought about not coming.”

Also in Class 3A, Collier anchored his Raiders 4 x 400 relay team to a fourth place finish that had the track fans on their feet with his explosive final 80 meters, but Miami Carol City answered with a 3:11.50 to best the field; Orange Park’s 3:18.76. Orange Park did beat Bartram Trail by one place.

In Class 4A, Fleming Island High freshman distance runner Mei Chiang got her first tasted of elite level running at the state level with a 15th in the 3200 and an 18th place in the 1600; both with times very much slower than Chiang’s seasonal bests.

Oakleaf High’s girls 4 x 100 relay team blasted a third place run behind St. Thomas Aquinas and Dr. Phillips with the top three separated by less than two seconds; 46.28, 47.54 and 47.62 for Oakleaf.

One fourth place finish with some excitement was Oakleaf High’s Loren Johnson, a senior, who was the defending long jump champion. Johnson finished fourth in her event by six inches.


800 Girls

1. Jessica Edwards, Canterbury

21. Juliet Moody, SJCDS, 2:29.22

3200 Boys

1. Gabriel Curtis, Mount Dora Christian,9:22.27

4. Matthew Stratton, SJCDS, 9:28.62

16. Ben Kailes, SJCDS, 10:06.48

100 Hurdles Girls

1. Britain Musick, Lakeland Christian 14.91

3. Kayla Cleveland, University Christian 15.12

7. Courtney Sage, SJCDS, 15.91

100 Girls

1. Tamari Davis, Oak Hall, 11.47

17. Kendall Sage, SJCDS, 13.03

400 Boys

1. Adrian Harris, Northside Christian, 47.89

7. Corey McDaniels, SJCDS, 50.92

300 Hurdles Girls

1. Britain Musick, Lakeland Christian, 44.19

2. Courtney Sage, SJCDS, 45.38

200 Boys

1. Kesean Brown, Oak Hall, 21.76

13. Corey McDaniels, SJCDS, 22.98

1600 Boys

1. Junious Brown, Maclay, 4:20.92

9. Matthew Stratton, SJCDS, 4:29.70

1600 Relay Girls

1. Evangelical Christian 3:52.18

22. SJCDS, 4:41.90 (Sage , Moody , Gregson , Conde , Sage , Johnson)


800 Boys

1. Chase Rivera, Bolles, 1:51.92

7. Alex Guy, KHHS 1:55.27

19. Elias Perez, RHS, 2:01.49

3200 Relay Boys

1. Lake Wales 7:51.53

2. Bolles 7:52.50

12. RHS, 8:16.39 (Garcia, Frietze, Perez, Nesi, Kelley)

100 Boys

1. Milledge Seneca, Dunbar, 10.55

10th prelims Trai Cooper, RHS, 11.18

1600 Boys

1. Charles Hicks, Bolles, 4:13.47

2. Robert Pedroza, Key West, 4:13.82

6. Joel Nesi, RHS, 4:25.37

7. Alex Guy, KHHS, 4:25.43

High Jump Boys

1. Caleb Snowden, Dunbar, 6’-11.5”

9. Jaden Roy, RHS, 6’-3.5”

High Jump Girls

1. Emma Symonds, Villages, 5’-3.75”

15. Zoe Whaley, RHS, 4’-11.75”


400 Boys

1. Alex Collier, OPHS, 46.33

2. Jovan Ferguson, Miami Carol City, 47.63

3. Donte Sol, Wesley Chapel, 48.12

(Miami Norland Tyrese Cooper, DQed for unsportsmanlike conduct after finishing second to Collier; also DQed in 100 final)

100 Boys

1. Marcus Fleming, Miami Northwestern, 10.62

2. Jaquez Stuart, Miami Northwestern, 10.71

3. Alex Collier, OPHS, 10.75

300 Hurdles Boys

1. Jevon Williams, Ely, 36.54

7. John Abate, OPHS, 38.62

200 Boys

1. Marcus Fleming, Miami Northwester, 21.01

10. Keanan Restall, OPHS, 22.25

1600 Boys

1. Hugh Brittenham, Estero, 4:14.73

8. John Bear, OPHS, 4:25.64

1600 Relay Boys

1. Miami Carol City, 3:11.50

4. OPHS, 3:18.76 (Abate , Dixon , Soto , Collier , Elmore , Walker)

5. Bartram Trail, 3:18.76

High Jump Boys

1. Donald Chaney, Belen Jesuit, 6’-7.5”

3. John Abate, OPHS, 6’-5.5”

4. Bryce Quiett, MHS, 6’-3.5”

Discus Girls

1. Qua’Liyyah Taylor, Bartram Trail, 148’-10”

22. Destiny Basden, OPHS, 96’-11”


3200 Girls

1. Alyssa Hendrix, Riverview, 10:33.25

15. Mei Chiang, FIHS, 11:28.78

3200 Relay Girls

1. Newsome High, 9:21.20

14. FIHS, 9:51.33 )Kortright , Burke , Iller , Chiang , Schaudel , Detwiler , Adams , Millican)

3200 Relay Boys

1. Oviedo 7:45.95

3. Flagler 7:58.79

9. FIHS, 8:03.06 (Ashe , Ayers , Ashe , Opp , Walrod , Bendig , St. Laurent , McDade)

110 Hurdles Boys

1. Glenn Rodgers, FIHS, 14.20

2. Osaji Skyers, Miramar 14.21

3. Ulysses Grace, South Dade, 14.25

5. Nathan Farrell, Flagler, 14.69

400 Relay Girls

1. St. Thomas Aquinas, 46.28

2. Dr. Phillips, 47.54

3. Oakleaf, 47.62 (Davis , Eason , Fitzgerald , Peoples , Briley , Clark)

1600 Girls

1. Alyssa Hendrix, Riverview, 4:53.70

18. Mei Chiang, FIHS, 5:24.18

1600 Relay Girls

1. St. Thomas Aquinas, 3:43.72

21. FIHS, 4:06.24 (Burke , Amsden , Kortright , Millican , Iller , Chiang , Flores , Schaudel)

1600 Relay Boys

1. Piper, 3:15.42

19. FIHS, 3:24.07 (Ashe , St. Laurent , Jones , Ashe , Ayers , Opp , Huynh)

3200 Boys

1. Angel Vicioso, Oviedo, 9:15.50

20. Will Livesay, FIHS, 10:03.15

Long Jump Girls

1. Eddiyah Frye, St. Thomas Aquinas, 18’-8.75”

4. Loren Johnson, OHS, 18’-2.25”

Shot Put Boys

1. Jalen Rivers, OHS, 54’-4”

Triple Jump Boys

1. Robbie Peterson, Sarasota, 49’-.25”

21. Anthony Taylor, OHS, 41’-7.75”

Team scores

Boys 3A

1. Miami Northwestern 56

2. Hillsborough 39

3. Miami Carol City 34

4. Orange Park 30

5. Lehigh 28

6. Boyd Anderson 25

7. Vanguard 24

8. Belen Jesuit Prep 24

9. Ely 23

10. Bartram Trail 22.5

18. Ponte Vedra 13

25. Nease

33. Gainesville

35. Creekside

38. Terry Parker

41. Middleburg 5

Girls 3A

1. Miami Northwester 98.25

2. Chiles 46

3. Northeast OP 42

7. Creekside 27

11. Bartram Trail 21.5

35. Paxon 4

37. Gainesville 3

40. Ponte Vedra 2

Girls 4A

1. St. Thomas Aquinas 82

2. Miami Southridge 44

3. Piper 37

20. Oakleaf 11

32. Mandarin 7

51. Flagler Palm Coast 1

Boys 4A

1. Miami Columbus 45

2. Flagler Palm Coast 41

3. Piper 33

11. Buchholz 22

14. First Coast 17

21. Fleming Island 10

23. Oakleaf 10

33. Fletcher 5

37. Sandalwood 4.5

Boys 2A

1. Bolles 64

2. Rickards 50

3. Dunbar 49

7. Palatka 21

16. Wolfson 15

22. Bishop Kenny 10

24. Ribault 9

39. Keystone Heights 4

43. Ridgeview 3

46. Raines 3

Girls 2A

1. Hallandale 66

2. Cocoa 64.25

3. American Heritage Plantation 59

5. Raines 37.25

12. Episcopal 23

17. Bolles 12

39. Bradford 2

Boys 1A

1. First Academy Orlando 65

2. Mount Dora Christian 55

3. Oak Hall 47

5. Bishop Snyder 29

30. St. Johns Country Day School 7

43. Providence 3

Girls 1A

1. Evangelical Christian 51

2. Lakeland Christian 49

3. Oak Hall 47

7. Providence 25

13. Bishop Snyder 19

19. Trinity Christian 12

22. St. Johns Country Day School 10


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