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American Heritage shatters own state relay mark en route to Class 3A boys title

As soon as Xavier Lucas saw the 4×100 relay time on the scoreboard, he broke out into a full sprint across the infield to celebrate with his American Heritage teammates at the FHSAA boys Class 3A track and field championships boys state championship at UNF-Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville.

Lucas, the lone senior on the relay composed of sophomores Zamarii Sanders and brothers Braylen Bennett and Brandon Bennett shattered its own state record for the event as they clocked a 39.39, the first team from Florida to break the 40-second barrier.

It helped the Patriots win its third state title, edging Miami Northwestern, 76-68 for the boys’ team title.

The previous state record was set in 2018 by Patrick Surtain Jr., Tyson Campbell, Jaden McBurrows, and Anthony Schwartz. It was just shy of the national record of 38.92 in April by Houston Texas’ Humble Atascocita, the first U.S. high school boys 4x100m team to ever dip under 39 seconds.

“We’ve been trying to break it for a while and we couldn’t,” Lucas said by phone. “God works in mysterious ways. I thought we had run a 39.80 or a 39.90, but when I saw a 39.39, I ran across the field. It was a great feeling.

“This is my first year at Heritage,” said Lucas, a Wisconsin football signee, who transferred from Western High School and played football for the Patriots. “I had never won a state championship before. It is just an amazing feeling for me and the team.”

“Man, all I can say is those kids worked really hard to run that,” said Patriots coach Greg Barnes. “The kids wanted it. I wanted it and I have never seen them perform like that. I think out of all the states I’ve won; this is the best.”

He said they hadn’t expected Lucas to also finish second in the long jump. The Patriots also picked up 13 points from sophomore Christien Moreau, who finished second in the shot put and fourth in the discus. Brandon Bennett finished second in the 100-meter dash followed by teammates Lucas and Braylen Bennett. Sanders also won the 200, while the Bennett twins finished third and fourth.

“It’s a blessing,” said Brandon Bennett. “To be the first Florida team to break 40 is just incredible.”

Other locals who stood out at state included Pembroke Pines Charter junior Alejandro de Bastos (second in the 800), McArthur senior Trey Young (fourth in javelin), Atlantic senior Kenyon Wells (fifth in the 400 hurdles) and Boyd Anderson’s 4×400 relay, who was third.

St. Thomas Aquinas freshman Prince Jr. wins gold at Class 4A state meet

St. Thomas Aquinas freshman Lee Prince Jr. made a successful debut at the Class 4A state track championships as he won the 100-meter dash, and took second in the 200-meter dash.

“I have very high expectations of myself, and so does my family. I worked really hard during the offseason, and I trusted the Lord because I know he has my back, ” Prince Jr. said by phone.

“It felt amazing when I saw my name up there in the first place,” he continued. “It felt like a dream come true. I am still thankful. I didn’t get a chance to compete at state last year because I had an injury. I got hurt in the 200 at regionals (running as an eighth grader at University School.”

Miramar senior Elijah Smith finished second in both the pole vault and the long jump. He tied for first in the pole vault but finished second due to more misses.

“It was hard because I was running back and forth for my events because of the rain,” Smith said. “I was pretty tired.”

His pole vault height has gone from 14-3 to 14-11 in just one year. He was fifth at the state meet last year.

“I think this year I really wanted,” Smith said by phone. “I trained really hard  and was able to stay healthy.”

Flanagan tied for seventh with 22 points, while St. Thomas Aquinas ended up 10th with 18 points.

Flanagan junior Jonathan Carter finished second in the 400-meter hurdles, while Flanagan senior Shamar Henry third in the 1,600 and eighth in the 800.

Other top finishers in Broward and Palm Beach counties included Jupiter senior William Owens, who was third in the 100 and fourth in the 200, Piper senior Shaquille Young (third in the shot and seventh in discus) and Wellington senior Mark Fyffe (third in the long jump). Spanish River was fourth in the 4×800 relay, and Western was fourth in the 4×400 relay.


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