Boys Track Wins 2021 State Championship
The Highlander Boys Track and Field Team has captured their first state title since 2006. It was, said Head Coach Cindy Scannella, a true team effort, with individual athletes consistently making choices for the good of the team rather than for personal glory.
“Of all the teams I have coached in college and high school, this team achieved through grit and perseverance more than any team I have ever coached," Scannella said. "There is truly no 'I' in this team, and these boys love one another and stepped up to perform extra events to help the team. It's a testament to their brotherhood and their goal and took a total team effort."
Despite strong performances throughout the season, the Highlanders were not favored to win the state title. Going into the meet, Heathwood was seeded second to Porter-Gaud by 15 points in the Virtual meet and 20 points ahead of Ben Lippen. "We knew it would take heroic efforts by the Highlanders and hoped some things would fall our way," said Coach Scannella. "And that’s exactly what happened."
The Highlanders received a great jump start when Ronnie Porter, Rondarius Porter, and Dylan Lesesne placed first, third, and sixth in the Discus. Next, JD Gardner jumped a PR in the High Jump and placed third, well ahead of our projections. The tone for the rest of the meet was set and the Highlanders showed impressive depth by finishing in the top four of all events. Three Individual State Champions were secured when Ronnie Porter won the Shot Put and Discus and Myles Roberts won the 400H. Eleven athletes set PR’s or Personal Records.
"There are multiple examples of athletes stepping up and competing in multiple events, and without their sacrifice, this outcome would not have been possible," Coach Scannella said.
Myles Roberts competed in the TJ, finishing with a PR, third in the 100H with a PR, won the 400H, and anchored the 4x4 with a new school record. Ronnie Porter won the SP and Discus, competed in the LJ, and anchored the 4x100 relay that placed 3rd team. Senior and Captain Christian Pearson placed second in the two-mile, mile, and 800, a tough triple, and then ran the third leg of the School Record 4 x 4 team. Junior and Captain Robert Golden paced all runners in a strong headwind in the 1600 and 800 and placed third in those events, and was second leg on the 4 x 4 that secured the team title and even volunteered to run the two-mile. Senior and Captain Kalvin Tobias placed second in the 100 and 200 and was third leg on the 4x100, and was ready to run the 4 x 4 if needed. Senior and Captain Elijah Rhooms ran the 100H and 400H and led off the SR 4 x 400 relay, which shattered the former 4x4 record by more than five seconds in a dramatic lead leg to help the Highlanders win the State Title.
“I can't say enough about how every athlete contributed to this team title. Everyone stepped up against an extraordinarily talented and well-coached Porter-Gaud team," Coach Scannella said. "I can honestly say just about everyone's performances at the state meet were their personal best for the season, and that is what you hope happens. In every meet this season, many athletes improved personal bests and set school records from meet to meet, so as coaches, we felt good about them peaking at the right time."
With the Boys Cross Country Team also capturing this year's state championship, 2021 marks the first time the Highlanders have completed a sweep of the Cross Country and Track titles in Boys Program history.