Thursday, June 27, 2019
Lynn Ramsey - Florida Catholic
MIAMI | Jimmy Nutt’s pole-vault victory helped Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons post its best state-meet track finish in 32 years. Nutt helped the Chiefs finish with 30 points, helping them place fifth in the Class 2A Florida Track and Field Championships May 3-4 at the University of North Florida’s Hodges Stadium.
Nutt cleared 14-foot-9.25 in fewer attempts and won the pole vault in a duel of archdiocesan foes. Nutt cleared the bar at 14-9.25 in two attempts. Daniel Camacho of Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy took all three attempts to clear 14-9.25.
Nutt said he and Camacho have competed at district and region meets. When the third-place vaulter maxed out at 14-3, it was just the two archdiocesan vaulters.
The Gibbons senior said he went into the meet with the goal of making each height on the first try, because the first tiebreaker is number of misses at the final height. He passed at the initial height and did not miss until 14-9.25. Camacho had misses at each height, including 14-9.25.
“I had the feeling (14-9.24) was the bar I needed to clear to win,” Nutt said. “I was happy (Camacho) cleared it, because one of his goals was to make 14-9 to qualify for nationals. I was nervous when he cleared (14-9). 15-3 was a tough bar. We both wanted to clear it badly.”
Nutt’s 14-9.25 clinched only the second Cardinal Gibbons individual boys title, the first since Jeffrey Atkinson won the Class 4A pole vault in 1999.
Gibbons coach Jeremiah Whitfield said that Nutt provided great leadership for the team. He even ran legs on the team’s 4x400 relay, helping the Chiefs finish seventh.
The Chiefs also benefited from Jackson Marseille’s second-place finish in the high jump and Craig Saddler’s two top-5 finishes in hurdles.
Marseille, who cleared a nation-best 7-foot-1.75 on March 23, finished second with a 6-9.5 jump, trailing only the 6-11.5 of Dunbar’s Caleb Snowden. Whitfield said Marseille battled shin problems toward the end of the year. Whitfield said he’d averaged between 6-8 and 6-11 the rest of the year.
“It just was a better day for the other guy,” Whitfield said. “(Marseille) was winning until he couldn’t make the 6-foot-10, and the other guys did for the first time ever. Good thing is (Marseille) comes back.”
Saddler took third in the 300-meter hurdles, his natural event, in 37.76 seconds. But Whitfield said that his fifth-place finish in the 110 hurdles (15.13) was a big step. “We taught him to do 110 hurdles this year,” Whitfield said. “From where he started to finishing fifth in the state was an outstanding job for my coaches and for him for taking it all in.”
Chaminade-Madonna’s Torrie Cox had a couple of points-scoring finishes. Cox took fourth in the 400 meters in 48.69 seconds and eighth in the 200 in 22.05.
In Class 3A, Belen Jesuit’s Donald Chaney capped his high-school track career with his third state championship in the high jump. He won with a jump of 6-7.5, clearing every height in a single jump.
Chaney will not get a chance to compete for a fourth title, because he plans on graduating early and enrolling in college to begin his preparation for college football. Chaney, who also plays running back on the Wolverines’ football team, has committed to the University of Miami, though Georgia, Iowa, Penn State, Ohio State and LSU are still recruiting him.
“(Track) helps me become more conditioned, faster and more repetitive on the football field,” Chaney said. “It makes me more competitive. It helps a lot, strength-wise.”
That competitive streak came out in the goal he set in the first jump. “My first jump, I have to shut it down now. I’m going to jump my highest now and do what I have to do to put fear into my opponents.”
He passed on the opening height, then proceeded not to miss until all competitors had fallen. He became the first to three-peat in an event, a year after becoming the first since Eric Alvarez’s 2-mile repeats in 1984-85 to win back-to-back titles.
“I’m blessed. I wouldn’t be able to do it without God,” Chaney said. “It’s a really good opportunity to be one of the few at my school to have (repeated). I’m thankful for my teammates, my coaches and God.”
Chaney led three Belen individuals and a relay to score points. Cross-country state champion Javier Vento took third in the 3,200 in 9:25.39, while Sebastian Roa took fourth in the 1,600 in 4:21.77. The Wolverines also took sixth in the 4x800 relay in 8:00.19.
Cardinal Gibbons’ girls took 24th in the Class 2A girls meet with seven points. Aniyah Jones finished fifth for the Chiefs in the 300 hurdles in 44.68. Jones joined Leah Lemon, Alexandra Smallwood and Isis Lewis to take sixth in the 4x100 relay in 47.96.