Nick Benton won two gold medals March 28 to lead Navarre High School to a second-place finish at the Panhandle Track and Field Championships.
Benton was one of just three athletes to win two events at the competition formerly known as the EscaRosa Championships. The Raiders’ senior bounded 45 feet in the triple jump and 21 feet, 8 inches in the long jump. Gulf Breeze throwing specialist Austin Droogsma, who has committed to compete for the Florida State University track and field squad next year, easily won the shot put (57 feet, 1 inch) and discus (172-5) gold medals. Johnta’ Whitaker of Pine Forest finished first in the 400-meter dash in 58 seconds and the 100-meter hurdles in 13.94.
Powerhouse Pine Forest easily won both the boys’ and girls’ team titles. Benton’s wins and top-five performances from runners Miguel Villanueva, James Mullin, Trent Beck, Jonah Griego, Alex Wattley and Tanner Wilcox and long-jumper Johnny Robinson-Pettus helped the Raiders nip West Florida for second place overall. Navarre earned 101 team points to the Jaguars’ 98. Pine Forest’s Eagles had 130 points.
The Lady Eagles garnered 184 team points, 81.5 more than second-place Niceville. Pace finished a distant third with 68 points; Navarre was seventh with 38. Elle Crouse and Hannah Gullickson provided bright spots for the Lady Raiders. Crouse finished second in the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, 33.85 seconds, and Gullickson finished fourth and fifth in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, respectively.
The Raiders are scheduled to compete at the Andrews Invitational, sponsored by the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Gulf Breeze, at 9 a.m. today, Thursday, April 4.
For winners and Navarre results, see the April 4 issue of Navarre Press or subscribe online.