JACKSONVILLE — St. John Neumann’s Bobby Davis barely squeaked into Friday’s Class 1A FHSAA Track and Field Championships. But on his first triple jump attempt, he removed all doubt that he should be there.
Davis’ first jump of the meet was good enough for the silver medal at Wolfson High School. The Celtics sophomore led nine-medal haul for Collier County athletes.
Two Collier County runners picked up bronze medals, as St. John Neumann’s Ali Gardino finished third in the 800-meter run and Community School’s Kyle Carufe finished third in the 3,200-meter run. Community School’s Frank DeSalvo placed fourth in the triple jump and eighth in the high jump.
The Neumann 4x800-meter relay team of Ainsley Bremerman, Kathryn Brock, Victoria McCaffrey and Ali Gardino finished fifth, while Community School’s Chandler Burfield finished seventh in the 300-meter hurdles. Community School’s Aimee Kent finished eighth in the discus, while Rachel Bowden won the first medal in Seacrest Country Day’s one-year track history, placing eighth in the 300-meter hurdles.
Holy Trinity won the girls team title, while P.K. Yonge won the boys team title. Normally strong on his first jump, Davis did it again with a jump of 43 feet, 4¼ inches, clearing his previous personal best by nearly an inch. That former personal record came at last season’s state meet.
“I thought I went far, but I didn’t think it was that far,” Davis said. “I turned to (DeSalvo) and said ‘Frank, did I jump that?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, I think you did.’¤”
Davis started this season with a strong distance, 42 feet, 8 inches, but struggled to regain that form throughout the season. His 40-foot, 7-inch regional jump got him into the state meet by an inch, so he knew he had to work for it. Davis spent his time between regionals and states furiously working on his form.
“He knows and we know that it’s in there for sure,” Neumann coach Mike Olayos said. “He’s got it in his wheels.”
Gardino also had it in her wheels to knock three seconds of her personal best time in the 800. She kept a fierce focus on her game plan – stick with the top two runners and surge at the end.
“The reason I’m so into it is that I’ve done too much work not to do well,” Gardino said. “There’s no way I’m not going to do well if I put so much effort into it.”
Carufe pulled out of the 1,600-meter run to focus on the 3,200, a strategy that worked beautifully. He stayed in the top five, then hit overdrive in the final laps, challenging for second place before settling in third.
“I put in a lot of speed work toward the end of the season,” Carufe said. “I knew I had it in me to run that fast, but I didn’t have the competition to do it until now. It was the perfect conditions for a fast time.”
Bowden, the eighth-grade daughter of tennis commentator and Naples resident Mary Carillo, was beaming after etching her name in school history. She thanked her coaches for preparing her for her big night.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d be able to get here at all. I never ran track before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but it definitely is awesome.”
Class 1A State Track and Field Championships At Wolfson High, Jacksonville
Individual results — High jump: 1. Obregon (DC) 6-4, 8. DeSalvo (CS) 6-0; Triple jump: 1. Bowie (HAW) 44-61/2, 2. Davis (SJN) 43-41/4, 5. DeSalvo (CS) 43-0; Shot put: 1. Broeseker (NFC) 56-71/4, 14. Bowe (SJN) 39-2; Discus: 1. Norris (PSJ) 157-6, 12. Bowe (SJN) 124-6; 4x800-meter relay: ; 110-meter hurdles: 1. Dady (JC) 14.94; 100-meter dash: 1. Scott (AF) 10.86; 1,600-meter run: 1. Harris (OH) 4:23.40, Carufe (CS) DNF; 4x100-meter relay: 1. Jefferson County 43.20; 400-meter dash: 1. Miller (JAY) 50.66; 300-meter hurdles: 1. McKenzie (DC) 39.30; 800-meter run: 1. Betancourt (DC) 1:57.50, 14. Nichols (SJN) 2:10.63; 200-meter dash: 1. Merrel (URC) 22.50; 3,200-meter run: 1. M. Anderson (PKY) 9:47.91, 3. Carufe (CS) 9:55.28, 13. Barrett (SJN) 10:46.85
Individual results — High jump: 1. Bowne (CSC) 5-6; Long jump: 1. Powell 17-43/4, 14. Bowden (SEAC) 14-11; Shot put: 1. Jennings (WC) 36-4, 12. Kent (CS) 30-5; Discus: 1. Williams (DC) 56-71/4, 8. Kent (CS) 96-10, 10. Landry (SJN) 91-10; 4x800-meter relay: 1. Kings Academy 9:36.77, 5. St. John Neumann (Bremerman, Brock, McCaffrey, Gardino) 10:15.95; 100-meter hurdles: 1. Flournoy (PKY) 14.29, 9. Cohen (CS) 17.15, 13. Farrar (SJN) 17.76, 14. C. Burfield (CS) 17.83; 100-meter dash: 1. Matorana (SJCD) 12.45; 1,600-meter run: 1. Neal (KAC) 5:03.87; 4x100-meter relay: 1. Trinity Prep 49.89, Community School DNF; 400-meter dash: 1. Knight (MSA) 57.98; 300-meter hurdles: 1. Bowne (CSC) 45.53, 7. C. Burfield (CS) 49.04, 8. Bowden (SEAC) 49.61; 800-meter run: 1. Bradley (KAC) 2:15.19, 3. Gardino (SJN) 2:18.95, 9. T. Burfield (CS) 2:27.78; 200-meter dash: ; 3,200-meter run: 1. Hale (HT) 11:00.32; 4x400-meter relay: 1. Maclay 9:08.51, 9. Community School (C. Burfield, T. Burfield, Warner, Cohen) 4:17.01, 16. St. John Neumann (Tripp, McCaffrey, Wickham, Gardino) 4:28.36