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Hernando High

Boys Track and Field

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Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 05:21 PM

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Connor Foradas

Discus

Hernando – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Placed second in discus at 2A-6 Meet with a county-best toss of 132-5 … Finished fourth in 2A-II with a 131-8 … Qualified for states and ended up 13th (130-7) … County champion with a 119-2 throw.

QUOTES: "He's a young kid that's learning the trade. He hasn't got to his full potential. Once he learns to spin totally; he's got that body type, he's long, tall and lanky, he'll get stronger. I look for him to have a knockout year his junior year."

- Hernando head coach Rodney Byrd

Darren Hambrick

Shot put

Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: Recorded the county's finest throw in shot put when he captured that event at the Hernando Kiwanis Invitational, 46-9 1/2 … First at county meet with a 43-11.

QUOTES: "Technically he needs to improve, but as far as ability and body-wise, he's prototypical. He's got big legs, big biceps. As he gets more reps he should be very competitive."

- Hernando head coach Rodney Byrd

James Harkless

800 meter/1,600 meter

Nature Coast – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Repeat All-County selection, having made it as part of the 4x800 last year … Collected a regional championship in the 1,600 thanks to a county-best 4:34.39 at the 2A-II Meet … Won district titles in the 800 (2:03.82) and 1,600 (4:36.67) … Also earned county crowns in the 800 (county-best 2:00.44) and 1,600 (4:35.40) … Placed seventh in 800 at regionals (2:04.15) … Finished 11th in 1,600 at states, running a 4:37.64 … Also an All-County runner in cross-country.

QUOTES: "I think he had a breakthrough year. He probably realized how talented he really was and instead of being a young freshman following the other guys, he took the lead. .. I don't think he ever feels out of a race. He thinks he can win no matter what place he's in. He doesn't give up on himself. … He was huge. He was someone we always counted on to get the points. … He has a good attitude. He's very humble. He's a hard-working kid, there's no substitute for that. As long as he stays healthy, he can be one of the best we have."

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Tyrail Hawkins

100 meter/200 meter

Hernando – Junior

COMMENTS: Fantastic sprinting performance at county meet, taking first in the 100 (10.95) and 200 (22.44), posting county's fastest times in both events … Second in 100 at 2A-6 Meet (11.26) … Ninth in 2A-II in that race (11.40).

QUOTES: "He needs a little bit more work to be one of those top-notch sprinters in the Central Florida area. But I thought he raced pretty well. … He has good technique. There's no such thing as pure speed. You've got to be technically sound. … He needs to work on being a speedster rather than just a football player. … Football players tend to concentrate on football. If you concentrate on speed, it makes you a better football player."

- Hernando head coach Rodney Byrd

Steven James

Pole vault

Weeki Wachee – Junior

COMMENTS: A three-time All-County selection and county champion in pole vault … Won the county crown this year with a 13-0 … Placed second at 2A-III Meet with a county-best 13-6, an improvement of two feet over last year's high of 11-6 and one foot over his freshman best of 12-6 while at Central … Second in 2A-9 (13-0) … Weeki Wachee's first state qualifier in any sport, but scratched out.

QUOTES: "Steven did a great job. One thing with Steven with pole vault, not many people know much about it. He's kind of his own coach. He's got a good work ethic. He comes to practice every day. I learned a great deal from him. … That's a great thing. It's something no one can take away from him. He can be 80 years old on a cane, coming back for a reunion, and he'll always be known as the first person in Weeki Wachee history to make it to states. I know it's something he's proud of."

- Weeki Wachee head coach Mark Lee

Tyler Moore

3,200 meter

Nature Coast – Senior

COMMENTS: A three-time All-County pick, in the 4x800 as a sophomore and 1,600 as a junior … Ran the county's finest 3,200 time at the 2A-II Meet, placing second in 10:06.05 … Finished 15th at states (10:39.72) … Second in 2A-6 (10:37) … County champion with a time of 10:23 … Also All-County in cross-country.

QUOTES: "I think it was his best season by far. He's one of those kids we knew had a lot of talent, he just had to figure it out for himself. Once he started beating kids he wasn't beating the previous year, he realized he was pretty good. That gave him the confidence he needed. … He's another one that always thought he could do better. Every meet he strived to be better and I think it showed in his running."

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

Abraham Paulding

Long jump

Springstead – Junior

COMMENTS: Posted a county-best 20-8 in the long jump at the Charles Johnson Invitational Feb. 25 at Tampa-King High. … A pulled hamstring hampered him down the stretch of the season.

QUOTES: "He's explosive, he brings the speed, and in jumping events that's what you need. … He was jumping on one leg at county and in districts. … I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a run at regions and maybe beyond that (next season)."

- Springstead head coach Brandon Wright

Cleve Pope

300-meter hurdles

Hernando – Senior

COMMENTS: County champion in 300 hurdles with a county-best 42.15 run … District champion in 110-meter hurdles thanks to a time of 16.73 … Also in 110 hurdles, ran 12th-place time of 17.69 at 2A-II Meet.

QUOTES: "Cleve was a game-day track athlete. He showed up to produce. He can run the hurdles. He did a good job. He brought the hurdler in him when it counted. … He was primarily a football player. But he had the technique down. He could power himself through the event."

- Hernando head coach Rodney Byrd

Thomas Watson

400 meter/110-meter hurdles/Triple jump

Springstead – Senior

COMMENTS: A three-time All-County selection, including Athlete of the Year nod in 2011 when he qualified for states in the 400 … Season was highlighted by a spectacular county meet in which he won the 400 (county-best 50.94), the 110 hurdles (15.67) and the triple jump (county-best 42-3 1/2), and was part of the first-place 4x400 … Ran the county's fastest time in the 110 hurdles during prelims of the 3A-6 Meet, a 15.40 … At districts, finished second in the 400 (52.83) and fourth in the 110 hurdles (15.76) … In 3A-II Meet, came in seventh in 110 hurdles (15.45) and ninth in the 400 (51.72).

QUOTES: "The only reason he didn't go back to states was because we got put in a hell of a region. … I can't say enough about the kid. He was a hard-worker, he was dedicated, talented; everything you ask for as a coach. It was a pleasure to coach him. … He's a natural athlete. It's easy to make a coach look good when you have a guy that's naturally talented like that. I just had to find the event in which he was most successful. … It comes down to his character. He wants to do well."

- Springstead head coach Brandon Wright

Relays

4x800 meter

Kevin Ciccone, Harkless, Wyatt Hessler, Moore

Nature Coast

COMMENTS: Combined for the county's best time while taking third place in rugged 2A-II Meet, 8:16.87 … Placed 13th at states with an 8:17.46.

QUOTES: "The true definition of a team. They don't have individual goals, but when it came to the 4x8, they would look forward to it. They always had a strategy and were always about the team. … I think they met expectations. The classification we were in was very difficult."

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

4x100 meter

Jacquez Kincade, Frank Villaizan, Dominique Rawlins, Matt Breida

Nature Coast

COMMENTS: Teamed for a 42.85, the fastest time in the county, en route to a county title … Won a district championship with a time of 44.15 … Earned a state medal thanks to an eighth-place showing at states, 42.90.

QUOTES: "I think the goal at the beginning of the year was to medal and they did that. … It was stressful because we had a lot of injuries. I don't think we ever had a legit 4x1 team that was consistent. But in the end they were still able to achieve their goal, and that's all that matters."

- Nature Coast head coach Ryan Wilson

4x400 meter

Watson, Bernard Ndedi, Ricky Toth, Zackary Romblad

Springstead

COMMENTS: School-record time of 3:28.07 captured first place at county meet and represented finest showing in the county all season … District champions with a 3:32.19 in 3A-6 Meet … Seventh in 3A-II (3:28.79).

QUOTES: "The biggest thing they wanted for themselves was that school record. I almost shed a tear for them when they got that because they worked so hard for that. … I think more than anything, last year's team was pretty damned good, too. But these guys managed to put it all together at the same time."

- Springstead head coach Brandon Wright

Athlete of the Year

Bobby Harris

High jump

Springstead – Sophomore

COMMENTS: Incredible breakthrough season concluded with him tying for second in the high jump at the Class 3A FHSAA Finals, clearing the bar at 6-4 … Sebring senior Donavon White won with a 6-6, a height Harris achieved twice during the regular season (Charles Johnson Invitational, George M. Steinbrenner Invitational) … That height tied a school record and was the highest in the county … Won at the county meet with a 6-4 showing … Second in 3A-6 (6-3) and 3A-II (6-2) … Personal best as a freshman was 5-10.

QUOTES: "To start with, he's a good character kid and he's going to work and it goes with having natural ability. He has springs in his feet, and bam – he was a state runner-up. … He's a kid who wants to be out there, who wants to work hard. … He's got a great support system from his family, too. … I would be surprised if he doesn't hit 7-foot. He's still not done growing. He's still working hard in the weight room. He will be a state champion without a doubt in my mind. I think he's got the potential to turn that into a scholarship."

- Springstead head coach Brandon Wright

Coach of the Year

Ryan Wilson

Nature Coast – 6th year

COMMENTS: Also Coach of the Year from 2008-10 … Led Sharks to third district championship in five seasons, outscoring second-place Hernando 200.5-114 in 2A-6 Meet … Nature Coast also claimed its fifth consecutive county crown … In nine regular-season meets, the Sharks finished first six times and second twice ... At the 2A-II Meet, they came in seventh (40) … They tied for 51st at states with one team point.

QUOTES: "As a coach, you've got to stay humble. You understand it has a lot to do with the athletes you have and not what you do as a coach. I appreciate it. … Last year was definitely a disappointing season. This year with young kids, they were hungry and it was great to see them get back on top."

- Wilson


cbernhardt@hernandotoday.com (352) 544-5288

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