BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Mainland High School School has built up its track-and-field program in recent years.
The Buccaneers boys’ team has won back-to-back district titles. Last season they won a regional title for the first time in school history and finished fifth in the state in Class 3A.
Mainland’s girls squad finished as district runner-up last season.
“We are definitely a team on the rise. Traditionally, Flagler Palm Coast and Spruce Creek have been the most dominant programs locally. We’re trying to get our program to that level and better,” said Head Coach Terry Anthony.
Anthony, who is also an assistant football coach and former girls head basketball coach. is now in his 10th year heading the track program.
Largest track team
Several factors have contributed to the program’s success in recent years.
Anthony explained, “We have grown because kids are coming out and having fun. We work hard. I have three simple rules. They are: Work hard, get better and have fun. We’ve been able to do that over the years and it has shown on the track. Also the boys team has gotten more football players to participate in recent years.”
Success has led to a growth in participation.
“This is the largest team in our history. We have over 140 kids combined on both our boys and girls teams. Both teams are strong in sprinting and jumping events,” Anthony noted.
The boys program lost Adrian Killins, who won state titles in the 200-meter dash the past two years.
“You don’t replace him. He put the program back on the map over the past four years. The hope is that we have five guys who can step in. We lost 30 to 40 points per meet with the loss of Adrian.
That covers the 100 and 200 as well as the 4×100 and 4×200 relays,” stated Anthony.
Mainland still has a ton of talent on the boys side in track beginning with junior D’ Marcus Adams, who medaled in the long jump at state last year. Adams is also a threat in the 110-meter hurdles and 4×400 relay.
“We have the best long jumper in the state with Adams right now. He already has posted the best jump in the state this year at over 24 feet. We also have five guys that have jump 22 feet or better in long jump,” said Anthony.
Other jumpers, sprinters
The Buccaneers also have junior Elijah White (mid-distance); junior Steffan Mallory (sprints/jumper); junior Jhii Taylor jumper/hurdles/sprints); sophomore Lindon Cooper (jumper/hurdles); junior Juwan Wright (sprints), senior C.J. Wilson (jumper/sprints); junior Brian Jenkins (sprints/mid-distance); sophomore Shawn Daffin (sprinter) and senior Deryl Bush (sprints/jumper) and senior Roman Mack (sprints/throws).
Anthony believes in this squad.
“Of course we want a state title, but our first goal is to repeat as district champs and go from there.
That is where it all starts. We lost a lot from last year, but we have a lot of guys coming in that are capable,” he related. “We have a lot of football players coming in that will help us. We are looking for a strong showing.”
Young girls team
On the girls side, the Buccaneers feature sophomore Shaniya Wilder (sprints); senior Kayla Littlefield (sprints/hurdles); senior Josilin Mobley (sprints); senior Shannon Ruane (sprint/jumper); senior Danielle Hernandez (sprints); sophomore Lawren Berry (sprints); junior D’Najah Smith (sprints); junior Leann Kent (jumper); sophomore Asia Hubbert (sprints); sophomore Alexis Headen (distance); sophomore Genesis Bivens (distance); senior Jasmine Hadley (throws) and senior Samoya Calvin (jumper).
“We are looking for the girls to turn the corner and get that district championship. It’s going to be a battle, but they’re capable. We have such a young team on the girls side. They’ll eventually get better,” added Anthony.
Anthony likes the work being put in by Mobley.
He said, “Josilin is working her butt off. She wants to be a dominant runner. She is getting there.”
Sustaining success in a sport like track is no easy task.
Anthony explained, “Every year somebody gets better. Last year I was blessed to have Malcolm Reed transfer in and run the 400. That can happen each year. Transfers coming in or out can make or break your program.
“Track is an individual sport. Other than the relays, it’s all on you. It’s hard to maintain. We’ve been blessed lately. Florida is built on speed. We have some good sprinters. We just have to continue to work and get better to get where we want to be.”