A first-year program makes the state championship

The Marathon track and field team celebrates a district title in April.
The Marathon track and field team celebrates a district title in April.

The Marathon High School track and field team didn’t exist at this time last year. The school has long had a cross-country team but that team doesn’t compete in events that aren’t 5Ks (3.1miles).

So the expectations weren’t so high when the Dolphins inaugural track and field team started competing earlier this year against programs where track and field are as ingrained as baseball and football and hoops.

Guess what? The team, with no actual track and field facilities at its campus, has been an early resounding success. Last month, the boys won the Class 1A-District 16 meet, topping six other schools as they placed first in eight of 17 events.

And the girls? Ten athletes from the girls’ track team, which finished fourth in the Class 1A-District 16, advanced to the Region 4 meet that ended April 28.

Now, six Dolphins head to the state meet in Bradenton Friday and Saturday. What an accomplishment for the student athletes and coach James Murphy and assistant coaches Paul Davis and Teresa Konrath. The athletes competing in various events are Keygan Jeffries, Joel Zaila, Aydan Child, Jonathan Pitchford, Noah Pitchford and Takara McKnight.

To go from nothing to state title hopefuls is nothing short of miraculous.

“The idea was to introduce everyone to track and getting kids to states this year was awesome,” Murphy told us. “No one has been to IMG Academy [where the state meet is being held] before, which is one of the top athletic complexes in the United States.”

Let us not forget the other Florida Keys athletes competing at the state meet this weekend: Key West High runners Nicole Matysik, Robert Pedroza and Owen Allen and pole vaulter Lily Costa from Coral Shores High in Tavernier.

We know that athletics build character among our youths and helps keep them from getting in trouble. But it’s also great to know they have committed themselves to excellence, and we congratulate all on their success so far.