After travelling throughout the region, the Bartow High School track teams finally had their chance to show their talent before the home crowd. The occasion was the annual J J Corbett track meet, an event which carries plenty of prestige throughout the area.
This year’s edition included seven schools joining the host Yellow Jacket squad as All Saints, Auburndale, Fort Meade, Haines City, Kathleen, Lake Region and Ridge Community were the ones getting on the buses this time.
Weather wiped out the Thursday night pole vault competition that had to be scheduled elsewhere since the Bartow field cannot accommodate that competition. George Jenkins High School had agreed to provide the venue in 2013. For awhile, the Friday appeared in jeopardy as rain continued up until the noon hour. By the time of the start of afternoon competition, field conditions were satisfactory and no further weather threat existed. In fact, temperatures were near ideal into the evening hours for the students.
Field events opened around the Bartow High School stadium with jumping events such as high jump and long jump at the perimeter of the football field. The discus and shot put events were held on the BHS football practice field not far from the stadium itself. Field events were concluded before the running events began. A few teams were running behind schedule, causing a slight delay in order to give the athletes proper time to prepare.
When the points were tallied, there was cause for celebration. Bartow’s girls team had won the competition by 22 points over Kathleen. The Bartow boys team had captured first place in seven events and claimed the team title by less than 10 points. It marked the first time in history that both of the Bartow teams have won the J J Corbett meet.
On the girls side, Destini Williford was among the top event winners, picking up first place in three individual events and running as the anchor in the 4x100. Her talent was also showcased when she paused from her competition to sing the national anthem.
Williford’s individual wins came in the long jump, 100 meter dash (by more than a half second over second place), and 200 meters. Amerika Thomas snagged the win in discus by 8 1.2 inches. The Bartow team took the 4x100 and 2000 medley.
Other top finisher in the competition included RaeChanze Thompson (second in triple jump, third in 400m), Marissa Hagins (third in long jump), Danielle Brown (second in high jump), and Courtney Lamoureux (third in 100m hurdles). Bartow team runners finished third in the 4x800 and 4x400 relay races.
For the boys, Hieden Cummings topped the medalists with a pair of victories in track events, winning the 100 meter and 200 meter competitions. Kahlil Holt took the win in shot put and Darius Jackson was number one for high jump Kalil Lamont won the 110 hurdles and placed second in the 300 hurdles.
Other top finishes included senior three-sport athlete Michael Walker (third in long jump, second in 100m) and Dorian Lorente (second in 400m), Bartow won the 4x100 and 4x100 thrower’s relay, the latter event open only to those who had competed in discus and shot put earlier in the day.
Among the Bartow competitors, 20 seniors were getting their last chance to be on the home field. The seniors were highlighted in the event program.
Seniors on the girls team include Danielle Brown, Amber Browning, Marissa Hagins, Ronda Osborne, Ariel Schleicher, RaeChanze Thompson, Deaundra Williams and Destini Williford. The upperclassmen for the boys squad are Gabriel Al-Shaer, Jonathan Battle, Hieden Cummings, Darius Jackson, Kalil Lamont, Jared Oliver, Eric Rookard, Alex Strozier, Michael Walker, Jeramy Williams, Rashad Wright and Tom Zhang.
Joining the previously mentioned seniors on the girls team are Stephanie Cati, Kayla Charles, Saundria Cowart, Keeunshay Crawford, Adonicah Cummings, Kendall DePriest, Simone Gable, Ajanique Gaines, Lexi Gann, Amanda Giggy, DaShayla Green, Shanaudika Hopkins, Keishira James, Courtney Lamoureux, Precious McIntosh, Kamiah Miller, Haneen Ottallah, Jenna Pahlman, Aundrika Patterson, Belinda Ramirez, Alauna Reckley, Adriana Strozier, Amerika Thomas, Nyla West, and Avis Williams.
Joining the seniors on the boys team are Justin Alford, Joshua Barber, Nicholas Beatty, Mike Beltre, Ryan Daniels, Jesus Dominguez, Tony Gibson, Terriyon Haynes, Daniel Heaney, Kahlil Holt, Troy Jones, Dorian Lorente, Ziere (Keith) McCoy, Kani McGarr, Isom Morris, Carlos Northern, Hobbes Parisien, Ben Putnam, Keyshawn Roberson, Ronald Robinson, Christopher Swindle, Marcus Tarver, Sefe Wences and J’ahtee Wilson.
The girls are coached by Marnee Cobb with Jesse Marion coaching the boys. Team manager is Jonathan Lott. The teams will travel to George Jenkins High School this week for the final match before district competition.