Honoring our Royal Ravens!
Catching up with Raven Royalty
As the Ravens track and field program gets prepared to launch our new rubber track era, it is only fitting that we look back and pay tribute to the great athletes who helped put Alonso on the map of relevancy in our sport. They may have trained on asphalt, but they were the cornerstones of who we are today. In series of intermittent interviews, the TnF program will re-connect with some of its stars from back in the day. We call the where are they now series we call "Raven Royalty." No better person to start with than with the 2013 State Champion Triple Jumper Quatasia Fantroy. Now living in Texas, Fantroy is the first recipient of our Raven Royalty shirt and the first subject of of catching up series.
Quatasia Fantroy, Class of 2013, graduated from Alonso as one of the most decorated athletic resumes of all time. A varsity basketball and track and field standout, Fantroy at one point held every sprint and jump school record, and remains the only Raven to claim a State title in track and field. She captured the FHSAA 4A Triple Jump title with her last jump in her high school career. Fantroy went on to sign a scholarship with Jackson State University, and graduated in 2017 with her degree in Healthcare Administration. She currently lives in Richmond, Texas and works at an Autism Clinic, working with children with autism. We caught up with Fantroy at her Texas home.
RR: What are your fondest memories of your high school track and field experience?
QF: My fondest memory was capturing a state title and being the first Raven to do it! It makes me feel like I accomplished something great! Even though I got injured I still was able to pull through. All the support around me made it feel that much better!
RR: How did those experiences help you in your young adult life?
QF: You have to work for what you want. It won’t be handed to you. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
RR: Describe for us what it was like to win the state championship? What feelings went through you?
QF: I was in disbelief. Going into the competition seeded really low discouraged me. When I pulled out a jump to land me in the finals, I knew I would medal but I didn’t think I would win. When it was time for my last jump of my high school career, I just I knew I had to give it my all. Even though I didn’t get to stand on the podium, I was filled with joy when the official told me that I won. Amazing feeling getting handed a gold medal at my last state championship!
RR: You trained on an asphalt track, can you imagine what you could have done had you had a rubber surface?
QF: If I would have trained on a rubber track and spikes it would have saved a lot of injuries. Shin splits and sore ankles from sprinting and jumping. Either way, I was still getting work in and still performed well at the track meets.
RR: What piece of advice do you have for all the young Ravens track and field athletes?
QF: You have to work and know your body! Going from high school to college track is a big difference. If you don’t work in practice it’s going to show at the track meets. If you want to be fast and see progress at the meets, it starts at practice! You also have to take care of your body and speak up! I suffered a lot of injuries. I wasn’t letting them heal all the way and it hurt me in the long run. You guys got it, it’s 90% mental 10% physical! Most importantly Have fun, it’s a great sport!
The usual excitement surrounding the start of a new track and field season has been amplified at Alonso. In early Novermber, the Ravens began construction of their new eight-lane rubber track, a process that is expected to be completed by the end December. The Ravens have scheduled the Kincaid Classic, a preseason mini-meet for February 6, and the inaugural Raven Invitational for March 21. Details of those two events are being ironed out and will be announced later. The new competition surface will feature an 8-lane 400-meter state level track, new shot put area, and three new jump runways.
Ravens get set for new rubber track era
Medal Madness at State Championships!
Juniors Sowande Walker, Shaniya Benjamin and Yonas Sauers, and senior Mia Raffaele, combined for a record haul of six medals at the state track and field championships last weekend at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Walker's monster discus throw of 50.01 M (164 ft) propelled him to the silver medal and smashed the 10-year record held by Demonte McAllister. Walker's second place finish was the highest for a Raven since Quatasia Fantroy's triple jump state title in 2013. Sauers, who had to endure multiple llightning delays and an extra days wait, pulled off a late night run of 9:26 in the 3200M to claim fourth place and smash his mark of 9:35 set earlier in the season. Benjamin, whose medal draw is running out of room, competing in three individual events and was on the podium for all three - third in triple jump, fifth in 400M and seventh in the 200M. Her mark of 55.?? in the 400M was also a new school record. Raffaele capped a remarkable two-year track campaign by raising the school record pole vault mark to 10-4 and finishing 8th overall. For more information see the the track page. New photos on photo page.
Yup, Alonso girls are County Champions!
The Alonso Ravens girls team took a giant leap for the track and field program Tuesday by claiming the school's first ever Hillsborough County Track and Field Championship. The Ravens finished with 86 points, just ahead of perennial powers Newsome and Steinbrenner to become only the fifth school in County history to win the title. The Ravens will now turn their attention to the 4A District 6 meet at Wharton High School on April 15th. The meet, the opening qualifier for the state series, was originally scheduled for April 9th, but has been moved due to a clash with a County-wide SAT exa, scheduled for the same day. See track page for more details on the County Championships and District meet. See photo page for new photos.
Another huge donation! Targets track maintenance
Another anonymous entity has made a massive donation to the Ravens Rubber Track initiative, and the donation will be used to establish a maintenance fund for the new surface. The Ravens received a $6,000 check Sunday night from a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous. As part of the fund raising process which began five years ago, the newly acquired funds will be designated for repairs and and repainting of the projected rubber track whenever its warranty expires. Most tracks come with a five-year warranty.
Two weeks ago, the Ravens track and field program received a $15,000 donation from the Kincaid family to arrive at the $80,000 target. The figure was the amount needed in order to approach the county for help with placing a new rubber surface on the current asphalt track. Alonso's primary competitors in Class 4A, District 6 (Wharton, Plant and Steinbrenner) each have rubber tracks.
As a precautionary measure, the Ravens have began to raise maintenance funds in advance to prevent some of the problems seen in the county with tracks that are not maintained. The new Track Maintenance Fund now stands at about $7,000. The program also has a pledge for another $3,600 which will move the fund to around $10,000.
"We cannot express enough our deepest gratitude to this new donor," Ravens coach Roger Mills said. "To receive this kind of financial support from someone who does not have children at Alonso, is a reminder of the generosity of our community. Obviously, it is not enough to just put down the surface, but it is critical to be able to upkeep it as well. We have seen across the state what happens when tracks are not maintained. This new donation moves us one step closer."
Raffaele, Benjamin take down two more records at Wharton meet
Mia Raffaele and Shaniya Benjamin were at it again. In pole vault and triple jump respectively, the duo set new school records for the second straight meet. Raffaele's jump of 9ft 6.5 inches, broke the previous mark of 9ft .25 inches she set a few days before. Benjamin added her name to the school's record board for the seventh time, when she recorded a triple jump of 39ft 6 in. That jump eclipsed the previous mark of 38ft 7in set by 2013 state champion Quatasia Fantroy. Benjamin now holds Alonso's records in the long jump, triple jump, 100M, 200M, 400M, and is part of the record breaking teams of the 4x100 and 4x400 relays. For more info see Track News page. Also, new photos have been posted on the Photo page. Up next for the Ravens will be the FSU Relays in Tallahassee on March 22/23.
Huge private donation pushes fund to $81,000
The Ravens quest to replace the asphalt track with a new rubber surface took a giant leap last Monday with a monster donation from the Kincaid family, from Cocoa Beach, FL. Standing at $66,000 and aware of the hard work the Ravens have put in the past four years to get to the $80,000 mark, the Kincaids delivered a check for $15,000 to the Ravens Rubber Track Fund. At $81,000, the Ravens are ready to take the funds to the county and prepare for the next step. "No words can truly express the gratitude we have to the Kincaid Family," coach Roger Mills said. "This has been a long and strenuous process, but it seems like we are close to the finish line." The Kincaids, along with another donor who gave the Ravens $20,000, helped propel a fund raising venture that began four years ago and entailed car washes, parking spot painting, banner sales, business donations, Wall of Fame plaque sales, and other smaller fund raising projects. "It's a testimony to our students, parents and community, that in these tight times, folks are willing to make this type of investment in the future," Mills said. "It's very humbling."
Ravens rubber track fund gets huge donation.. see rubber track page for details.
Do you want to be honored on the new Raven Nation Wall of Fame? Do you want a plaque denoting your contribution to athletics at Alonso High School to be a permanent part of our athletic history and facility? Then, get in line. Order forms for the new Raven Nation Monument plaques are now available (PDF form above). Spots will be distributed on a first come first serve basis. Order forms are available at the athletic office, through Booster Club members and from all Alonso head coaches. The plaques cost $150 and is a way of giving back to the Raven Nation. One of the primary goals of the venture fund is to raise funds for a new rubber track.
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