The District 16-2A track and field title is coming back to Key West and it truly took a team effort as only three Conchs claimed individual first-place finishes, but 19 were in the Top 4 of their events, qualifying them for the Region 4-2A Tournament, while 36 scored points by finishing in the Top 8 en route to the championship on Tuesday at Tropical Park Stadium in Miami.
"It was a great team effort by all," said Key West coach Dave Perkins. "Everyone contributed, many rose to the occasion and had their best performances of the season. You can't ask fir anything more than that."
The Lady Conchs actually had more individual champions with four, while qualifying for regionals in 10 events for a third-place team finish, and Coral Shores will have eight events entered in the regionals after claiming one individual title on Tuesday, but no team matched the productivity of the Key West boys.
Marques Williamson garnered a berth in four events for the Conchs, including winning two of the three individual titles for the boys — claiming the 300 hurdles in 43.99 seconds and the discus with a toss of 122 feet and 3 inches, while also taking third in the shot put with a heave for 39 feet, 4.5 inches and fourth in the javelin as his 132-foot, 5-inch throw was just behind teammates a district champion James Reynolds, who flung his 143 feet, 10 inches.
Also moving on for the boys are Kervins Nelson after taking third in the 400-meter dash in 50.25, while teammate Smondy Joseph was eighth in 54.45; Thor Eriksson was runner-up in both the 1,600-meter run — in 4:45.74 while scoring for Key West in the same event was Helmuth Beteva Leiva — and 3,200 meters — in 10:47.08 in front of teammates Nicholas Gonzalez and Spencer Lannigan, who were fifth and sixth, respectively. Suharevskis Niks-Davis and Will Andrews both will advance in the 110 hurdles taking second and fourth, Andrew’s 19.76 seconds just edging out teammates Henry Audette, who was fifth in 20.06. Ralph Jean and Kevon Mills tied for third in the high jump by clearing 5 foot, 5 inches; Brock Perkins was third in the pole vault with a leap of 8 feet, 6 inches, Colbin Hill was fourth with a height of 7 feet, 6 inches, and Liam Flores was fifth at 6 feet, 11.75 inches. Andre Otto will be joining Williamson in the shot put, in which Otto was fourth matching his teammate at 39 feet and 4.5 inches, and in the discus, in which Otto was third at 111 feet, five inches.
All three of the boys relay teams also advanced to the region round, with the 4x440 team of Michael Cates, Aiden Vernetti, Joseph, and Nelson, running to second-place while the 4x100 squad of Christian Opalsky, Cates, David Jans, and Nelson and the 4x800 relay of Beteva Leiva, Jake Clegg, Lucas Monteil and Stryder Graft both coming in third.
In total, there will be 18 Conchs boys traveling next week to compete in 19 different events, while for the Lady Conchs a total of 11 will be going to compete in 10 events. Leading the way is Savannah Chadic, who qualified in four events by taking second in the 200-meter dash in 26.56, as well as in the 400-meter dash in 1:01.33. Claiming the district crowns for the Lady Conchs were Jazlyn Perloff by jumping 9 feet, 1.75 inches in the pole vault, Monica Bailey in the discus with a toss of 91 feet, 2 inches, the 4x100 team of Julia Niles, Phaladine Noel, Nikki Tomita, and Chadic, and the 4x400 relay made up of Niles, Chadic, Grace Opalsky and Isabel Walterson in 4:12.78. Walterson also advanced in the 100-meter dash by placing fourth in 13.33, while also joining their teammates in the regional meet will be Charlotte Berube-Grey by placing fourth in the 110 hurdles in 18.35, Abigail Cowan who was runner up in the triple jump, and Jenkavia Harper who was fourth in the javelin with a throw of 79 feet, 6 inches.
Of the seven athletes moving on for Coral Shores in nine events, three set school records. Those were also all Lady ’Canes school marks as Riley Dodson won the shot put throwing 34 feet, 6.25 inches, breaking her own school record, and she was also third in the discus by spinning it 87 feet, 9 inches.
The other Lady ’Canes records setters were Maya Gade, who was third in the 400 meters running 1:02.00, and 4x100 relay of Lucia Rodriguez, Terran Clayton, Alexis Terry, and Gadea, who ran to a 51.84.
Chris Cooper also moved his name to the top of the school history books with an 11.35-second run in the 100-meter dash, but it was not good enough to advance for regional as he took sixth in the event, but teammates Aaron Anstett, throwing 104 feet, four inches, was fourth in the district, Orlando Pera, running a 19.37 for third in the 110 hurdles and Dhyan Herzberg leaping 19 feet, 6.75 in the long jump and 38 feet, 8.875 inches in the triple jump, which were both good for third.
Those 37 Monroe County athletes — 18 Key West boys who helped lead their quad to the title, 11 Lady Conchs, three Coral Shores boys, and five Lady ’Canes — who qualified for 32 different entries into 24 different events will be competing in the Region 4-2A Finals on May 1 at Calvary Christian in Fort Lauderdale.