Friday, June 28, 2019
Lynn Ramsey - Florida Catholic
MIAMI | St. Thomas Aquinas’ repeat victory in the Class 4A Florida Girls Track and Field Championships may have looked easy. Coach Alex Armenteros said it wasn’t so. The Raiders used their depth to overcome injuries and still overwhelm the field.
The biggest miss came when defending high jump and 100 hurdles winner Zatoria Thompson injured a knee while posting state-qualifying finishes at regionals and could not compete.
Eddiyah Frye and Emelia Chatfield each won individual events, and the Raiders won both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Their depth showed in the fact that Aquinas also posted multiple points-winning finishers in four events.
“That was huge. We had depth all over the team,” Armenteros said. “That makes it very competitive in practice. These young ladies are used to competition. Some of the best times in the state are on our team. They feed off each other.”
Aquinas’ depth especially showed in the hurdles. Chatfield set a state-meet record in the 300 hurdles in 41.34, just off the state-best 41.15 she ran in regionals. Teammate Alexis Glasco finished third in 42.23.
Nikia Smith’s 14.32 time was fourth-best in the 100 hurdles, an event where the Raiders had four of the top seven times in the state. Chatfield, who had the best time in the state in the 100 hurdles, tripped at regionals. Armenteros said the fall at regionals made Chatfield more determined to shine in the 300 hurdles.
“Emelia ran an incredible race (in the 300 hurdles),” Armenteros said. “That’s incredible to run a 41.1.”
Frye won the girls long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 8 3/4 inches, beating East Bay’s Alaina Hall by 2 1/4 inches. Frye led every flight, posting her winning jump on her third attempt. Frye also took fifth in the 100 hurdles.
Armenteros said the victory was a superb effort for Frye, a sophomore. “She went into the track meet sort of an underdog. She managed to put some great jumps together to help out the team.”
St. Thomas Aquinas’ youth movement continued in the 4x100, where freshman Promise Fitzpatrick, sophomore Glasco, sophomore Zahra Kelsey and junior Jermecia Brown won in 46.28. The freshman, two sophomores and a junior succeeded so well that Armenteros refrained from his usual strategy of switching out runners in each round.
Chatfield teamed with Brown, Zahria Allers and Chenelle Williams to win the 4x400 relay in 3:43.72. Armenteros was happy that not only did that relay close out the victory; it also got the Raiders past a pesky Sunrise Piper team that had beaten the Raiders in prior meets.
He also said that Williams, who excels in the 400 and 200 but did not qualify for state due to a hamstring injury, also came up big on the final leg. “She was very excited about doing the 4x400,” Armenteros said. “It was a phenomenal job.”
Allers grabbed a second-place finish in the 100 meters and a third-place effort in the 200. Brown finished sixth in the 100. Hannah Lowenstein took third in the high jump, while teammate Anaiis Sheeres took seventh.
Senior Kerrigan McGreevy took eighth in the 3,200, and Rondajai Washington took eighth in the 400 meters.
Armenteros lauded his seniors – McGreevy, Nicole Torres-Santos, Jordan Harriott, Jaziah Ochoa and Sheeres. “(McGreevy) did phenomenally all year,” he said. “She didn’t run the kind of meet she wanted at state, but she was very helpful not just running but as a good leader.”