By NewsLine Staff

The Creekside track and field team completed an awe-inspiring season at the FHSAA Class 4A State Championship in Gainesville on May 14. 

The Creekside boys’ 4 x 800-meter relay team not only beat the school’s record, but earned its first state title in this event. According to the FHSAA officials, the relay team, which is now ranked No. 1 in the state, is also ranked No. 9 in the nation with a finishing time of 7:46.86 (mm:ss).

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Senior Jesse Benavides blazed the final leg with about a 50-meter lead into the finish line. The event was stacked with Florida’s 18 fastest running teams, some of which had seeded times faster Creekside’s. First time runner and sophomore Tanner Simonds led the first leg, followed by veteran junior McCall Williams who created a large gap from the crowded field, where another veteran junior, Hudson Finocchio, maintained the lead on the third leg.

“It was phenomenal to watch these boys leave everything on the track. It’s been a long time coming from these young men,” said middle-distance coach, Cash Tampa, a graduate and former runner at Creekside.

A couple hours later in the 200-meter race, sophomore Christian Miller ran his personal best to win the State Championship in this event with a time of 20.82 seconds — while breaking the school record which was held since 2017. Prior to this event, Miller finished the 100-meter race with another school-breaking record to finish fifth on the podium with a time of 10.69 seconds.

Long time track head coach, Ricky Fields, said, “What Christian did was very difficult for any athlete, but completely unexpected.”

Along the same line of difficulty with two more medals was Jesse Benavides accomplishing his personal bests in the 800-meter and the 1600-meter races.

The evening came to a perfect conclusion with senior Sydney Campbell winning the most medals in Creekside’s track and field history at a state meet. Campbell placed fourth in the 100-meter, sixth in 200-meter, third in 400-meter, and was the final leg on the 4 x 400 meter relay team with a sixth place team finish.

“The success of Creekside’s track team is part of a philosophy and culture of putting in the time to do the hard work with coaches who give you their all,” said Creekside Coach Bernie Berania. “The past couple years have been nothing but normal, but this year sets a solid foundation for a fast and exciting 2023 for Creekside’s track program.”

Photo courtesy Bernie Berania
Creekside boys’ 4 x 800-meter relay team (Hudson Finocchio, Tanner Simonds, Jesse Benavides, McCall Williams along with Coach Cash Tampa) wins state championship.

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