The Marathon High track and field boys had no idea at the beginning of the season they’d be District 16 champions — they just wanted to be part of the school’s first track team.
The boys fared best at the Class 1A-District 16 meet Thursday at Southridge Park in Miami, finishing first in eight of 17 events against six other schools.
“We knew we were going to be able to compete but to come home with a district championship in the boys’ division and having 14 kids going to regionals was a bonus and a big surprise for us,” said Teresa Konrath, Marathon High athletic director.
In addition, 10 athletes from the girls’ track team, which finished in fourth place Thursday, advanced to the Region 4 meet set for April 28.
“I don’t think all the other teams were expecting us to do so well since it’s our first track team,” said senior Chandler Elliott, who is on two relay teams and advanced to the regional meet. “The boys did really well and Takara McKnight did really well for the girls.”
McKnight finished third in the 100-meter dash and second in the 200-meter dash and also advanced.
Highlights for the boys included Keygan Jeffries’ first-place finishes in the 400-meter dash, the 800-meter run and the 100-meter dash.
Joel Zaila, who came in third in the Seven Mile Bridge Run earlier this month, finished first in the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run while Rodrigo Avena finished first in the triple jump. John Qualls finished first in the long jump with a distance of 19 feet.
In the field, Jordy Mejia finished second place in the shot put with a throwing distance of 34 feet, 9 inches, followed by Victor Coleman.
“For this being the first year for this program, it was a fun experience,” Mejia said.
Roberto Garces, who finished third in the 200-meter dash and second in the 100-meter dash behind Jeffries, said he could have done better Thursday and will strive to do better at the Region 4 meet.
“This was just preparing us for next year, too. I feel like we’ll do a lot better next year,” he said.
“That was a nice way to start the first year and introduce ourselves to the district,” said coach James Murphy.
Coach Paul Davis said he thought the boys worked well together.
“It was an awesome team effort and I think Thursday was just a catalyst for us to go even further,” he said.
Westminster Christian School will host the Region 4 meet in Palmetto Bay starting at 11 a.m.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219