Champions Elite excels in competition
On an unseasonably cool spring day the Champions Elite Track Club heated up the track with some outstanding performances in Clermont on April 20. With more than 500 competitors and thousands of spectators attending the Star Athletics Invitational, Champions Elite runners racked up 35 medals by finishing in the top three in their respective events. 2012 Junior Olympic Medalist Jabari Knighten (11), veteran teammate Warren Buckner (14), and newcomer Chandler Gowan (14), led the way for the Champions Elite boys’ team. Knighten finished first in his specialty event which is the 800-meter run with a blazing time of 2:26.56 and placed second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 1:03.71.Knighten completed his 3-for-3 in medaling as the team of Dylan Davis, Jalen Turner, Knighten, and Terrance Butler finished first in the 4x100 meter relay with a time of 55.36 in maybe the most exciting race of the day. Turner had an outstanding day as well as he finished third overall in the 400-meter run with a time of 1:05.67. Warren Buckner, who was as impressive as Knighten, won the 800-meter run in a time of 2:15.89, finished second in the 400-meter dash in 56.85, and was the anchor leg on the 4x100 relay team consisting of Chandler Gowan, Chris Botello, Isaiah Golden, and Buckner who won with a time of 51.01. Gowan had a superb day as well as he claimed first in both the 1,500-meter run in 5:39.59 and the 3,000 meter run in 11:31.06. Andre Wilson, Dylan Branch, Jalen Knighten and Montrae Braswell each finished with two medals apiece. Wilson (10) was first in both the 800 meter and 1,500-meter runs in times of 2:47.16 in the 800 and 6:17.78 in the 1,500. Branch (12) won gold in the 1,500 meter run finishing in 5:43.07 and also won the 3,000-meter run in 11:31.06. Jalen Knighten (9) placed second in the 400-meter dash in 1:11.52 and second in the 800 meter run in 2:54.18. Braswell (15) finished third in both the 400 meters (57.65) and 800 meters (2:23.75). Other medalist who performed well include for the boys include J.J. Wortinger (6) winning the silver medal in the long jump with a leap of 7-feet, 8 inches, and Dah’Quan Braswell finishing second in the 1,500 meter race walk in a time of 10:48. Notable performances by first year runners include William Barben, Roger Todd, Tariq Williams, Curtis Ludden, and Harley Tomlin who all had personal records they set at the meet in Clermont. In the girls competition, the success continued as Zoe Wortinger, Imani Tate, Savannah Oldfield, Johneisha Rowe, and Isabel Todd all medaled for Champions Elite. Wortinger (9) had another exceptional performance as she won the 1,500 meters in 7:20.35 despite a major stomach cramp and third in the 800 meters with an outstanding time of 3:01.13. Tate continued her dominance in her throwing events as she won the gold in discus with a tremendous mark of 87-feet, 5 inches, and she was second in the shot put with a throw of 24-feet, 3 inches. Johneisha Rowe (13), finished third in both the 100 and 200 meter hurdles in her first-ever attempt. Rowe was timed at a 21.54 in the meter hurdles and finished the 200 meter hurdles in 40.71 despite a tough fall on the last hurdle and getting back up quickly to finish. Todd (11) like Rowe in her first-ever hurdling event, finished third in the 80 meter hurdles with a time of 21.54. Notable performances by the girls include Dashawna Jenkins, Shaquondra Turner, and Shamari Holdman who just like the boys, set personal records at the Star Athletics Invitational. All three of these girls will become household names as they continue to improve, learn, and compete for Champions Elite Track Club. Champions Elite will be back in action on action on May 18 in Tampa at Spoto High School. This meet will be a tune up for the quickly approaching BAYTAF Classic; which is the largest track meet in Florida May 25-26 at the University of South Florida.