Local Sports

Sophomore sensation

Whether she was soaring through the air in the high jump or burning up the track in the 100-meter dash, Lake Placid’s Quiahja Williams was never one to shy away from big moments.

Just a sophomore, Williams was the only Green Dragon to qualify for the Class 2A state track and field meet, and the only female athlete from Highlands County to make the trek to Jacksonville.

“It meant so much to go to state,” Williams said. “I had always dreamed of it, but I never knew I could make it. Getting there was a great feeling.”

The state meet was marred by bad weather, but Williams shrugged off the downpours to finish 13th (4-feet, 10-inches) in the high jump and 16th in the 100 dash (13.33 seconds).

“I was nervous at first because of the rain - I had never competed in it before,” Williams said.

For her efforts and accomplishments, Williams has been selected as the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Williams, who also started for the Dragons varsity basketball team, has high expectations for her junior campaign. Along with wrestling over whether to pursue track and field, or focus solely on basketball, Williams said she hopes to be a mentor for her teammates.

“My goals are to drop my time and jump farther in the high jump,” Williams said. “And I think I can help other athletes learn what they need to learn and continue to grow and maybe get to state.”

The Team

Gabriella Perez, junior, Lake Placid: Perez brought her time down in two events. In the 1600, she went from 7:22 to 6:24. In the 3200, she improved from a 16:30 to a 14:57. A talented runner for both the Dragons cross country and track teams, Lake Placid track coach Morgan has high expectations for Perez next season.

Denise Constant, senior, Sebring: A fixture in the discus and shot put events for the Blue Streaks, Constant was the top female scorer for Sebring.

“She scored 86.5 total points this season,” Streaks coach Renee Crenshaw said. “She also broke the discus record for Sebring with a throw of 102-feet, 6.5 inches.

Shanese Leverson, junior, Avon Park: One of the Red Devils’ most talented athletes, Leverson qualified for regionals in the 100 and 300 hurdles.

“She had a great year,” Devils track and field coach Blake Germaine said. “We’re looking forward to her making it to state next year.”

Sonia Becerra, senior, Lake Placid: A talented pole-vaulter for the Dragons, Becerra improved her height by nearly two feet this season. By year’s end, she had gone from clearing 5-feet, 6-inches to 7-feet with ease.

Lashaday Love, junior, Avon Park: Love is part of a talented nucleus of Avon Park athletes with dreams of making it to state next season. She’s well on her way, as she qualified for districts in three (triple jump, 4X100, 4x400) events.

“Lashaday is very deserving of first team,” Germaine said. “We have high hopes she’ll make it to state next season.”

Rosa Ramirez, junior, Lake Placid: One of the Dragons’ best runners in the sprinting events, Ramirez brought her time down in the 100 from 14.74 to 14.33.

Sabrina Sarasola, sophomore, Lake Placid: A sensational underclassman with tons of potential, Sarasola improved her distance in the shot put event from 20-feet, 6 inches to 26-feet, 8 inches.

Allison Kinchen, sophomore, Lake Placid: Kinchen sizzled on the track this season, bring nearly nine seconds off her time in the 100 hurdles.

Imani Tate, junior, Avon Park: A multi-sport athlete, Tate was a strong force in the Devils success on the volleyball court and track meets this season. She qualified for regionals in the discus event with a throw of 89-feet, 4-inches, and came just three inches of shy of qualifying for regionals in the shot put.

”Imani was one of our most consistent athletes on the team this year,” Germaine said. “She consistently finished in the top three at all of our track meets.”

Kathryn LeBlanc, freshman, Lake Placid: LeBlanc had a memorable season in her first year of high school track. She made a tremendous improvement in the pole vault event, clearing a height of 7-feet by season’s after starting at 5-feet, 6-inches.

Honorable Mention

Brisia Fonseca, junior, Lake Placid: Fonseca improved her time in the 3200, dropping from 19:09 to 18:03.

“There’s never an excuse from this girl,” Morgan said.

Keya’neesha Fullard, sophomore, Avon Park: Fullard help two Devils relay teams qualify for regionals.

“She came up big on the 4x100 and 4x400 teams,” Germaine said. “We’re looking for her to be in the mix again next year.”

Elizabeth Gloria, junior, Lake Placid: Gloria dropped more than one minute off her time in the 1600, improving from 7:40 to 6:36.

Toryana Jones, junior, Avon Park: A terror on the basketball court, Jones came on late in the year for the Devils track and field team.

“If we can get her out to track sooner next year, she’ll be a force,” Germaine said.

Keren Porres, sophomore, Lake Placid: A sophomore with a strong arm, Porres drastically improved her distance in the discus event, going from 44-feet, 10 inches to 49-feet, 3 inches.

Brittany Egan, senior, Avon Park: One of the Devils’ few seniors, Egan anchored the team’s relay teams.

“She was a great leader and helped the 4x100 and 4x400 teams qualify for regionals,” Germaine said.

Gabriel Yungbluth, freshman, Lake Placid: Another freshman phenom, Yungbluth lifted the bar in the pole vault this year, improving from vaults of five feet to 7-feet, 6 inches.

Genesis Moro, junior, Avon Park: Moro qualified for regionals in the discus event with a third-place toss of 79-feet, 10-inches.

“She just kept getting better and better at each tournament,” Germaine said.

Coach of the Year

For guiding his team to another banner season, Lake Placid’s Scott Morgan has been selected as the Highlands Today 2014 All-Highlands Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year.