Godby, Rickards rely on relay excellence in 2A Finals

By David Yon
Rickards' girls and Godby's boys gathered lots of points in the relays to capture second place in the State 2A finals at Percy Beard Stadium in Gainesville, Florida on Thursday. Rickards' girls won the 4x100 (47.90; Whitney Young, LaKendra Cunningham, Lashaunta Arnold and Loreal Smith) and the 4 x 400 (3:54.31; Cinnamon Johnson, LaKendra Cunningham, Simone Clark and Loreal Smith) for 20 of their 58 point total. Pompano Beach captured the state title with a total of 63 points. Godby's boys were third in the 4x100 (43.01; Kevin Carter, Jamaal Brown, Erik Chaires and Donald Frost) and third in the 4 x 400 (3:23.89; Jamaal Brown, Ellis Gaulden, Fred Cromartie, and Erik Chairs). Godby, coached by former sprinter Jessie Forbes, totaled 49.33 points to finish as runner up to Glades Central High who had 57.

Coach Forbes had a little first hand experience to pass on to his relay and sprint troops as he was part of the 1977 FSU relay team that set what is still listed as the school record in the 4x100 (39.24). He was also an All-American sprinter in 1975 (100 yards) and 1978 (100 meters). Godby won the 5A title in 1998, but has not finished nearly so well since. It was Rickards' girls highest finish ever, matched only by the boys' second place finish in 1992 (as best as I can tell anyway).

For Godby the individual star was Ellis Gaulden. Gaulden high jumped 7 feet at the Seminole Invitational earlier this year. He not only took second in the high jump in the state meet at Gainesville (6' 06"; 8 points), but also grabbed the number two spot in the long jump (23' 0.5"0; 8 points), sixth in the triple jump (44' 08.5"; 3 points) and ran the second leg of the 4 x 400. Terrell Lewis tied for second for Godby in the pole vault (14' 06").

On the girls' side, Florida High's Kayla Parker was everywhere finishing fifth in the 100 meter hurdles (15.16; 4 points), tied for fifth in the high jump (5' 02"; 3.5 points), state champ in the long jump (18' 04"; 10 points) and sixth in the in the triple jump (35' 05.75"; 3 points), for a total of 20.5 points. Kellie Morrison was state champ for Florida High in the 200 meter race (25.25), while Cinnamon Johnson, Simone Clark and Loreal Smith each took second for Rickards in the 400 (56.71), 100 meter hurdles (14.49) and 300 meter hurdles (43.44), respectively.