The top Florida high school track and field athletes convened in Gainesville for the Pepsi Florida Relays this weekend with local athletes leaving their mark despite fierce competition.
The bulk of the high school events took place Friday from the University of Florida’s Percy Beard Track at James G. Pressly Stadium. However, the only Alachua County first-place finish came from Buchholz early Saturday.
Buchholz entered the boys 4x800-meter relay with the fourth-fastest seed time coming into the race. But the team of junior Riley Smith, junior Joshua Adolphson, sophomore Gino Palazollo and junior Evan Fleming overcame the odds to capture first with a time of 7 minutes, 53.14 seconds.
Smith put the Bobcats in front after the opening 800 meters after the first handoff. The Bobcats lost ground though, falling to second after the next handoff and sat in third going into the final leg.
Then Fleming surged ahead of Miami Northwestern and Flagler Palm Coast to take the gold for Buchholz. The Buchholz anchor turned in the only lap faster than 1:55 in the boys 4x800 as the Bobcats beat Flagler Palm Coast by less than a second. With that time on Saturday, the Bobcats recorded the second-best mark in Florida and the 10th-best time in the country this season, according to Athletic.net.
Santa Fe placed in the top five in two field events. Senior Kyren Washington, senior Kaleb Johnson and junior Elijah Kellum all turned in solid performances.
On Friday, Washington and Johnson finished second and third, respectively, in the high jump.
Washington took second with a 6 foot, 9.5-inch jump, while Johnson brought home third with a mark of 6-8.25 feet.
Kellum joined his Santa Fe teammates them in placing in the top five on Saturday. The junior’s first triple jump attempt was a personal best at 44-4 as he finished fifth.
Other top-five finishes for Alachua County athletes included Buchholz senior Kate Drummond’s fourth-place finish in the 1600 at 5:03.07.
Alachua County results:
800: 11, Sydney Miller, Sr., Oak Hall, 2:18.40; 29, Ashley Hamilton, So., Buchholz, 2:26.84
1600: 4, Kate Drummond, Sr., Buchholz, 5:03.07.
100 hurdles: 12, Nymera Presley, Sr., P.K. Yonge, 14.48; 25, Arielle Livingston, Jr., Eastside, 15.05.
4x800 relay: 6, Buchholz, 9:36.12; 7, Oak Hall, 9:40.59; 20, Gainesville, 10:33.12.
4x200 relay: 12, Gainesville, 1:44.17.
Long jump: 23, Destiny McBroom, Jr., Santa Fe, 15-7.
Triple jump: 15, Marina Fons de la Rica, So., Gainesville, 36-0.25.
100: 25, Kennith Martin, JR., Eastside, 11.52.
800: 8, Evan Fleming, Jr., Buchholz, 1:55.43.
3200: 9, Gino Palazollo, So, Buchholz, 9:36.34.
110 hurdles: 19, Antoneo Wilson, Jr., Eastside, 15.33.
4x800 relay: 1, Buchholz, 7:53.14.
High jump: 2, Kyren Washington, Sr., Santa Fe, 6-9.5; 3, Kaleb Johnson, Sr., Santa Fe, 6-8.25;
Long jump: 12, Jerrod Miller, Jr., Eastside, 20-10.75; 19, Elijah Kellum, Jr., Santa Fe, 20-3.5; 21, John Hear, Jr., Buchholz, 10-1.75
Triple jump: 5, Elijah Kellum, Jr., Santa Fe, 44-4
Pole vault: 13, Payton Pitts, Sr., Santa Fe, 12-11.5
Javelin: 8, Holden Johnson, Sr., Eastside, 162-5; 10, Ben Hockman, Fr., Santa Fe, 149-10.