Crestwood Track Team Honored For 2023 County Championship

The Crestwood Middle School track & field team in their new letterman jackets. (Front row) Blake Girard, Jayden Espino, Alphonzo Carter, Jaleel Stitt, Daniel Civil and Caleb Fulbright; and (back row) Rajon Fleurima, Jamarian Kelly, Mateo Hubbard, Christopher Jones, David Alexis, Joshua Destefano, Ja’Quan Johnson, Xavier Police, Treven Tipton, Michael Chambers, Brandon Pendergrass II and coach Marque Drummond. Not shown: Nazier Watkins and K’Mari Dixon.

Back in May, the team from Royal Palm Beach’s Crestwood Middle School won the Palm Beach County Middle School Boys Track & Field Championship. It was the sixth Palm Beach County title in school history, all under the direction of track & field head coach Marque Drummond. It was a memorable day for Drummond and his squad of 19 runners, jumpers, throwers and sprinters.

While the Crestwood squad won its county championship title on May 22, the official celebration of the victory didn’t take place until Saturday, Sept. 9 in the Crestwood Middle School media center. On that day, Drummond, Principal Dr. Stephanie Nance, and 17 out of the 19 members of the championship team assembled for a formal celebration featuring remarks from Nance and Drummond, plus food, beverages, cake and a championship letterman’s jacket for each member of the team.

Seeing his track & field team back together rekindled a great memory of his team’s championship performance at Park Vista High School. The county championship track & field meet started in a perfect way for Drummond’s squad.

“That day, Alphonzo Carter and Nazier Watkins finished first and second in the 110-meter hurdles, which was the opening race of the meet,” Drummond recalled. “We picked up 18 points, which set the tone for the meet and excited the entire team. For the rest of the meet, we kept putting points in the bucket, eventually finishing first.”

At the end of the meet, Crestwood had earned 65 points to top Howell Watkins Middle School from Palm Beach Gardens, which finished second with 58 points.

One of the younger members of last spring’s team was sixth-grader Brandon Pendergrass II. He’s now in the seventh grade, and he’s committed to leading by example next spring. He feels that his school has a chance to successfully defend its title during the upcoming spring 2024 track season.

“I am dedicating my time to the track team and to working harder than last year,” Pendergrass said.

Last spring, Pendergrass ran two individual events at the county championship meet, and he was a member of two relays. His individual races were the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes. The two relays were the 4×100-meter relay and the 800-meter medley relay. Both relays picked up big points for Crestwood’s team total. Crestwood’s 4×100-meter relay team finished in fourth place, while the 800-meter medley relay team came in first.

As he reflects back, Drummond had a gut feeling that his team would fare well last spring at the county meet. And his gut instincts were correct.

“I knew that we would be competitive, but we only had 13 scoring opportunities in the meet, whereas some schools had as many as 19 or 20 scoring chances,” said Drummond, who has completed his 23rd season as the track & field coach at Crestwood Middle School.

Crestwood’s 2023 championship track & field roster included the following student-athletes: David Alexis, Alphonzo Carter, Michael Chambers, Daniel Civil, Joshua Destefano, K’Mari Dixon, Jayden Espino, Rajon Fleurima, Caleb Fulbright, Blake Girard, Mateo Hubbard, Ja’Quan Johnson, Christopher Jones, Jamarian Kelly, Brandon Pendergrass II, Xavier Police, Jaleel Stitt, Treven Tipton and Nazier Watkins.