Area tracksters flex college muscle


JACKSONVILLE – Three Fleming Island High School graduates and a Middleburg High high jumper stood out with their performances at the UNF Spring Break college track invitational held Friday in Jacksonville.

Middle distance runners Spencer Shaw and Cameron Dill; both athletes for Fleming Island in the 400 and 800, respectively, as well as distance teammate Evan Fuller all toed the track on a cool Friday night in college action at UNF.

In the high jump, it was Middleburg High graduate Kaley Petrosky, a freshman now at UNF, competing and scoring team points for the Lady Ospreys.

Petrosky, third in Class 3A last year for Middleburg with a 1.62 meters jump, finished tied with seven jumps with the third best jump on Friday, also at 1.62 meters, or 5 feet, 4 inches. Petrosky jump 5’-5” to win the region 1-3A title as a Middleburg senior.

“The coaches here are great and we’ve changed my approach a bit to the bar,” said Petrosky. “Because we can wear spikes and the high jump pit is rubber, I can bend in more with more speed as I approach the bar.”

In February, Petrosky nabbed a fourth place finish with a 5’-5” leap at the ASUN Indoor Championships held in Virginia.

“It was her college PR and a strong finish in the field of 16,” said UNF track coach Jeff Pigg. She really adjusted well to this big college field and stepped up when it counted. She is gonna be a good one.”

Shaw, a sophomore at UNF, is already in the record books for the Ospreys with a recent school record relay in the distance medley that took second at the ASUN Indoor Championships with Shaw the 400 meter leg. Shaw ran 49.50 to place seventh in the 400.

“We were four points out of third headed into the final event and the relay team came through with a great performance,” said Pigg. “Spencer Shaw ran a strong lead off followed by George Escobar putting the team in second place.”

At the UNF meet, Shaw competed in the 400, the 800 and also leadoff leg for the 4 x 400 relay.

In the 400, won in 46.86 by Maryland freshman Dashawn Morris, Shaw finished 26th with 49.67 split. An hour or so later, Shaw competed in the 800 with a 2:01.13 time for 32nd place with the winner at 1:52.08; UNF junior George Escobar, Jr., also a distance medley team member.

In the 4 x 400, Shaw lead off again as UNF finished sixth in 3:17.18.

In the 800, Dill, a state meet athlete for the Golden Eagles in the 800 though beset by a fall in the Class 4A championship final, made a sterling return to the track with a 1:56.77 time to win the fifth heat of the event. Dill placed 13th overall with Escobar’s winning time of 1:52.08 from the first heat.

Dill, who ran 1:55.82 in 2017 as a senior at Fleming Island High School to take second in region 1-4A, is returning to track after some legal problems that got him removed from a scholarship at Embry-Riddle University. Dill’s return to the track is after he has put his life back in order to try and regain a college track scholarship.

“My focus has been returning to the track,” said Dill. “I made my mistakes, but today I think I showed something that may get me back on a college team.”

Dill opened his fifth heat race with a 57 second first lap than powered through a strong headwind on the back stretch to hold a 10 yard lead on Central Arkansas Hunter Henderson who attempted a challenge but fell off to finish in 1:58.19.

“I think if I was in one of the early heats and had someone on my shoulder, I would have gone faster,” said Dill. “I have done 1:55 in recent time trials.”

In the final college track event on Friday, the 5,000 meters, Flagler College freshman Evan Fuller ran a 15.20.06 split to take 16th overall with winner Kyle Brackman, a junior at the University of Connecticut, who won in 14:40.51.

“I was running comfortable at the 75 seconds per lap mark, but want to get down to feeling comfortable at 70-72 seconds,” said Fuller, who was 10th in the 3200 in 2017 as a junior for Fleming Island High School, but fell ill for his senior campaign. “

In another state college track meet, the Bulls Invite at the University of South Florida, Kirby Powers, a standout high jumper for St. Johns Country Day School now a senior at USF, took fourth with a 5’5” leap and state champion triple jumper Melvin Briley, from Oakleaf High, now a freshman at USF, placed sixth in the long jump at 23’-1.25” and fourth in the triple jump with a 47’-7.75” leap.

At the MEAC Conference Indoor championships, former Ridgeview High triple jumper Joel Sampson, a senior at Bethune Cookman, took third with a 48’-11.5” leap and finished fifth in the long jump at 23’-7.15”.

Also at Bethune Cookman, Clay High graduate Asia Joe, also a senior, finished eighth in the 800 in 2:17.52 at the UCF Knights Invite on March 23 in Orlando. Joe also ran a leg of the fifth place 4 x 400 relay. Joe won the 400 in January in 57.23 at the JDL College Meet Madness.


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