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Niceville High School boys track team secures fourth consecutive state title

The Niceville High School boys and girls track and field teams showcased their talent and determination at the 2024 FHSAA Class 4A & Para-Athlete State Championships held at the University […]

Niceville HS Boys Track and Field Team (NHS)

The Niceville High School boys and girls track and field teams showcased their talent and determination at the 2024 FHSAA Class 4A & Para-Athlete State Championships held at the University of North Florida Hodges Stadium on May 18, 2024. 

  • The boys team emerged as co-champions, tying with Columbus High School with an impressive 70 points, while the girls team secured a commendable third-place finish with 42 points.

Going into the meet, Head Coach Todd Brigman said the focus for the boys team was on placement, particularly in events where both Niceville and Columbus had athletes competing. 

  • “It was Columbus that we needed to beat,” said Coach Zee White, adding that the main objective was to always have a Niceville athlete finish ahead of a Columbus competitor.

The Eagles’ success was driven by standout performances across various events. In the javelin throw, Aidan Broussard defended his state title with a mark of 59.07m (193′ 9″), while Landon Isbell made a remarkable comeback from eighth place to secure second with a throw of 57.03m (187′ 1″). 

Coach Zee emphasized the pivotal nature of Isbell’s performance, stating, “If he stayed in eighth, we obviously wouldn’t have won.”

The boys 4×100 relay team, consisting of Buelow, Isbell, Jones and Stith, broke their own school record and secured third place with a time of 41.73 seconds. Coach White noted that the team had been striving for a sub-42-second performance for nearly a decade.

Dawson Isbell’s grit and determination shone through in the 800-meter run, where he claimed second place after a no-so-stellar 4×800 relay. Coach Zee praised Isbell’s performance, stating, “Every event that Dawson ran that day, he ran with true heart and grit.”

The boys 4×400 relay team’s success (Buelow, Reuther, Stith and Isbell) was attributed to the outstanding performances of Robert Stith and Dawson Isbell. Stith, a sophomore running the third leg for the first time, followed Coach Brigman’s guidance to “go get Gracie and don’t get caught,” referring to the team’s training strategy of chasing a “hare” while avoiding being caught by a “hound.” 

  • Isbell’s anchor leg sealed the team’s second-place finish, holding off the Columbus competitor.

In the pole vault, Van Carter lived up to expectations, capturing the gold medal. Caleb Hurtado’s seventh-place finish also contributed valuable points to the team’s overall score.

On the girls’ side, Niceville’s third-place finish exceeded expectations, considering the team’s smaller squad compared to their competitors. Elena Perkins made history by breaking the school record in the javelin throw with a mark of 44.57m (146′ 2″). Her teammate, Shelby Plasier, also secured a podium finish in the event, contributing to the team’s success.

Yaremi Figueroa delivered impressive performances in multiple events, showcasing her versatility and talent. She played a crucial role in the girls 4×400 relay team’s fourth-place finish, running alongside Kerle, Fayard, and Dennison.

  • Figueroa also demonstrated her prowess in the 400-meter hurdles, where she claimed fourth place with a time of 1:02.33.

Coach Zee reflected on the team’s achievements, stating, “It’s surreal right now. I still feel like, gosh, did we really do that?” She emphasized the dedication and trust in the process exhibited by the athletes, many of whom sacrificed their spring break to train and compete.

When asked what it feels like to win four boys state titles in a row, Coach Brigman said “relief.”

  • “We are to the point where our community looks for it and expects it and we are able to deliver,” he said. “The boys team has evolved to be able to attack the point system with both track and field. This win was equal to winning the Super Bowl by a field goal. Those boys fought with grit and toughness.”

With the boys team securing their fourth consecutive state title and the girls team delivering a strong performance, the Eagles have solidified their position as a force to be reckoned with in Florida high school track and field.

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