Crestwood Middle School Boys Repeat As County Track Champs

The Crestwood Middle School boys track and field team celebrate winning the 2024 county championship. Photo courtesy Marque Drummond

The Crestwood Middle School boys track and field team has won its second straight Palm Beach County Middle School Track and Field Championship. On Wednesday, May 22, the Eagles completed the two-day event at Dr. Joaquín García High School in first place with 90.5 points.

Crestwood was 24.5 points clear of Wellington’s Emerald Cove Middle School, which finished in second place with 66 points. Woodlands Middle School finished in third place with 45 points. In all, nearly 50 middle school teams competed in the meet, but only 21 scored points.

According to Marque Drummond, Crestwood’s track and field coach, his athletes performed well throughout the two-day competition, which started on Tuesday, May 21 and concluded the following day.

“They were extremely competitive,” Drummond said. “They were focused and knew the task that they had at hand, and they were determined to do their best.”

Crestwood was able to capture first place despite the fact that both the 4×100-meter relay team and the 4×400-meter relay team were disqualified. Fortunately, Crestwood’s 800-meter medley relay team — Rajon Fleurima, Benjamin Drummer, Jayden Espino and Michael Saget — completed the two-lap race in sixth place with a time of 1:51.13.

The top two performers for Crestwood were a pair of eighth graders — Ahmari Ryner and Alphonzo Carter. Ryner won two races, while Carter had a first, second and fourth-place finish.

Ryner won the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 4 inches, and in the high jump, he cleared the cross bar at 5 feet, 6 inches. Carter’s win in the 110-meter hurdles (15.66) represented a successful defense of the race he won last year. He also finished second in the long jump (18 feet, 3 inches) and fourth in the 800-meter run (2:15.00), which was slightly slower than his school-record time of 2:12.26.

Drummond wasn’t surprised by the strong, first-place performances by Ryner and Carter.

“Ahmari showed early interest in joining the team, but then decided that track was not his sport,” Drummond said. “However, his younger sister is a part of the girls team, and through being around her and further prodding, he decided to reconsider and join the team. He has raw, natural talent and is extremely coachable. He stepped in and filled a big gap for our team. Whichever high school he ends up attending will inherit a gem. Alphonzo is the type of athlete who comes around once every 20 years. I was lucky to have coached him for two years. He is the leader of the team, and he is the type of athlete who can do any of the 12 disciplines that we compete in for track and field. His work ethic is unquestionable.”

Another member of Crestwood’s team who had a first-place finish was Aiden Castillo. He won the 400-meter run in 54.31 seconds.

“Aiden’s first place was not a shock,” Drummond said. “He is a soccer player, and I initially saw him running at practice. I saw his speed and endurance. He had never run track before, but I knew there was something special about him. He went undefeated this year. I was not surprised because he works really hard in practice. I knew what he was capable of doing.”

Other strong, points-producing performances by the Crestwood squad included Michael Sagat’s second-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles (17.00); Brandon Pendergrass’s third-place showing in the 200-meter dash (23.68); Ashton Fountain’s fourth-place result in the shot put (39 feet, 7 inches); Jayden Espino’s fifth-place performance in the 400-meter run (56.17); Brandon Pendergrass’s sixth-place finish (11.77) in the 100-meter dash; Aiden Castillo’s leap in the long jump left him in seventh place; Michal Baker was ninth in the 800-meter run (2:21.00); and there were a pair of 10th-place finishes for the Eagles — Rayan Moutaouakkil in the shot put (33 feet, 7 inches) and Ashton Davis in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches).