Monday, July 1, 2019

Wow, Just Wow

I took my time to ponder, consider and ruminate over the amazing season of track and field that was produced by the high school athletes who attend high schools across Lee County.  Anyone who reads this blog knows that I focus mainly on distance runners, but I must give a tip of the cap to the incredible senior season from Fort Myers High's Jacob Lemmon.

I have a soft spot in my heart for throwers.  My cousin Doug Knop was a multiple Big 8 champion in the discus and was an All-American at Kansas while being a long time school record holder.  Lemmon stepped his game up leading the nation for most of the season with a state record toss of 209 feet, six inches.  The Virginia bound thrower became a more than adequate shot putter this year and added a second gold medal at State in that event.

Then there were the sprinters from Dunbar.  Seneca Milledge will join Lemmon at Virginia.  Besides snagging 100 meter gold at State he and his Tiger teammates blazed a stunning 40.27 4 x 100 relay to take another gold in Jacksonville.  Milledge assets, his incredible physique, makes him susceptible to breaking down.  Otherwise I have little doubt he would have had a monster season in the long jump and been a force at 200 meters.  He is simply an amazing sprinter.

But I gravitate toward distance and middle distance runners.  Those of you who follow my blog know that I had great expectations for this outdoor season and I was waiting to write about it expecting some big results in June from the state's best middle distance runner.  Estero's Hugh Brittenham capped an outstanding high school career completing a difficult double at the Florida State Championships. Brittenham scored double gold running 4:14.73 and 1:52.4 in the 1,600 and 800.

We all expected Hugh to compete in the post season and make a run at a sub 1:50 800.  But I will praise Brittenham and his coach Brian Olitsky for deciding to end the season early, on a high note.  Last season Brittenham was running on fumes when he ran both the Brooks and New Balance post season meets.  Instead, he's spending the summer getting ready for cross country at the University of Florida.

The Oliveira twins didn't disappoint either.  Neither Sierra or Moriah captured individual gold but their efforts led Evangelical Christian to a team title at State and both ran on winning 4x800 and 4x1600 relay teams.  Sierra ran a PR at 800 meters in a superb 2:11.04 to finish second.  Moriah ran an astounding 53.70 to finish 2nd in the open 400. Both young women will be seniors next year.  We should see more fireworks.

The best single performance of the year belonged to double state champion Jessica Edwards of Cantebury.  She ran a monster PR to hold off Sierra Oliveira in winning the 800 clocking a national class time of 2:08.40.  Edwards also captured gold in the 1,600 running 5:06.78.  Edwards had a couple of tantalizing attempts at a sub 5 minute 1,600, a barrier that will most certainly be broken next year.

2020 promises to be wide open on the boys side of the distance scene while Edwards and Oliveira will duke it out over the middle distances.  Can either of these outstanding runners clock a 2:05?  I wouldn't be surprised if either or both did.

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