|This is the first of two stories unveiling the 2023 Bosshardt Realty All Area Track and Field Teams. Go to our All Area Track and Field landing page by clicking here.|
The FHSAA Track and Field Championships at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville last month showcased some of the top athletes in the Main Street Daily News area.
But one of those literally went a little higher than anyone else on the inaugural Bosshardt Realty Girls Track and Field All Area teams.
Highlighting the small school team (Class 1A and 2A) is senior Nicole Shepherd of Bell, who took home the 1A state title in the high jump with a leap of 1.62 meters (5 feet, 3/4 inches).
Shepherd outpaced the two second-place finishers, who were at 1.52 meters, to become the only area girls state champion.
“She is a very naturally gifted athlete, very hard worker,” said Brad Surrency, who is in his 13th year as head coach of the Bell track and field team. “She is one of those rare athletes that can see the goal she wants to set and is able to attain it very easily.”
Shepherd, who advanced to state in the high jump and the triple jump, signed to compete at the University of North Florida next year.
“It’s just an amazing opportunity,” Surrency said. “We have had very few coming out of Bell who have been able to go to the Division-I level and for her to go to a top-notch school, but also one that is close for her friends and family to go and watch her compete, we are really excited about that.”
She has been participating with the Bell track and field program since her freshman year.
“Besides her athletic ability she was a great leader, one of our team captains,” Surrency said. “She was also in the top 10% of her graduation class this year. She did very well academically. She is a quiet leader but the girls followed her lead without her being in their face, which was very encouraging.”
P.K. Yonge, which finished ninth as a team at the state meet, placed a pair on the small school team.
Senior Zuriel Reed, who was named to the team as a sprinter (100/200/400 and hurdles), just missed joining Shepherd in the winners’ circle at the 1A event, finishing second in the 200-meter dash with a time of 24.77 seconds.
Reed also placed fourth in the 100, running a time of 12.26 seconds.
Teammate Nymera Presley, who is another sprinter representative on the small school team, finished second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 14.15. The time was the second fastest in the area record book only behind new P.K. Yonge athletic director and former Blue Wave track star Valerie Flournoy’s winning time of 14.03 in 2006.
Presley also finished sixth in both the 100 and 200 races.
The small school distance runner (800/1600/3200) is Sydney Miller of Oak Hall.
The senior just missed a victory in the 800, finishing third with a time of 2 minutes, 20.10 seconds.
“Sydney’s calm demeanor and her competitive desire to win will be greatly missed from the girls’ program,” said Oak Hall coach Edwin McTureous. “Sydney ends her career with two more state medals solidifying her as one of the top runners to come through the area and Oak Hall. The past seven years have flown by and I have been lucky to have been her coach.”
The top thrower, which consists of the discus, javelin, and shot put, goes to junior Jadyn Mosley of Branford.
Mosley finished ninth in the 1A girls javelin competition with a toss of 32.83 meters (107 feet, 8 inches).
On the Class 3A/4A big school team, the top local finisher at the 4A state championship meet was senior Kate Drummond of Buchholz.
The University of Florida signee finished third in the 1600 with a time of 4:58.74, which was only four seconds behind the winning time.
Drummond is the distance runner representative for this inaugural track and field team.
The top local jumper from the 4A meet is teammate Kaniya Booker. The Buchholz senior took 11th in the high jump at the state championships with a leap of 1.57 meters (4-11¾).
The big school sprinter is senior Kalani Vreen of Gainesville High School. Vreen finished 12th in the 200 (25.37 seconds) and 16th in the 100 (12.29).
“Kalani performed very well and I’m very proud of her,” said Gainesville coach Tabresha Blake. “She had some obstacles to overcome in the beginning of the season and she did just that, especially after last season where she didn’t advance past Regionals; but was able to come back this season and not only be a state qualifier in one event but three. It’s things like that I love to see as a coach.”
Blake said that Vreen is a leader both on and off the track.
“From being captain of the girls team and President of Black Student Union, she’s always motivating others, congratulating them on their accomplishments, and getting them involved so they don’t feel left out,” Blake said. “She also helped start and run our track team’s social media page which highlighted our athletes’ journey throughout the season.
“Overall Kalani is an amazing student, athlete and friend. I’m honored to have had the opportunity to coach her, know her and watch her grow. She will be greatly missed by the coaching staff as well her teammates and we wish her nothing but best in her future endeavors.”
SMALL SCHOOL GIRLS (1A-2A)
Sprinter – Nymera Presley (Sr.), P.K. Yonge (2nd state 100 hurdles, 6th 100, 6th 200)
Sprinter (100-400, hurdles) – Zuriel Reed (Sr.), PK (2nd state 200, 4th state 100)
Distance (800-3200) – Sydney Miller (Sr.), Oak Hall (3rd state in 800)
Jumper (High jump, triple jump, long jump, pole vault) – Nicole Shepherd (Sr.), Bell (1st state in high jump/13th state triple)
Thrower (discus, javelin, shot) – Jadyn Mosley (Jr.), Branford (9th state in javelin)
BIG SCHOOL GIRLS (3A-4A)
Sprinter (100-400, hurdles) – Kalani Vreen (Sr.), GHS (12th state in 200 / 16th state 100)
Distance (800-3200) – Kate Drummond (Sr.), Buchholz (3rd state 1600/4th state 3200)
Jumper (High jump, triple jump, long jump, pole vault) – Kaniya Booker (Sr.), Buchholz (11th state in high jump)