Seniors, You Are Best Prepared
Dear 2020 Seniors,
For years, it has been the motto of the track and field program that the greatest lessons in our sport are the painful ones. You have heard it repeated time and time again, that athletics in general, and track and field specifically, doesn’t teach you how to win, but teaches you how to lose.
In our sport, there are a few certainties. You are certain that on some day, someone will out throw you, or out jump you, or out run you. Another certainty is that in the face of such results – no matter how agonizing they may be – you will find a way to line up again for one more throw, or one more jump, or one more race. Why? It’s what you do. You are athletes, and you live by this creed: the sting of loss is the nutrient of desire. In other words, disappointment feeds motivation.
In the midst of a Covid 19 pandemic, fate was unkind to you. What should have been your last hurrah, your penultimate chance at high school glory, turned into a reasonable but no-less bitter reality. History forever will show that the class of 2020 asked only for a chance, only to be denied that chance.
So, as you move on to the next chapter, heed these important perspectives…
You are entitled to feel sad, or angry, or victimized. Such emotional investments demonstrate that you cared, not a little bit, but a lot. Caring matters. No one wants to do business with someone who doesn’t care. No one wants to work with someone who doesn’t care. No one wants to marry someone who doesn’t care. No one wants to have to depend on someone who doesn’t care. Never apologize for caring.
You are not cursed. In fact, you are blessed. Of all the seniors who have hung up their spikes and put away their implements, you leave Alonso the most prepared for the harshness of adulthood. You have learned - perhaps a bit earlier than most – that there’s an unforgiving cruelty to life. Random things happen. You graduate knowing what it’s like to be denied a chance, to have the rug of deserved opportunity pulled from under your feet, so suddenly, so mercilessly. Trust this, when it happens again, you will be a little less shocked, a little less heart broken, a little more capable of handling it.
Finally, you are shining examples to your younger teammates. Your misfortune will stick with you for a long time, but you need to hope that it sticks with them as well. You have given the underclassmen the best gift you possibly could, the gift of urgency. Thanks to you, they now understand that nothing is guaranteed. Thanks to you, they should be less inclined to procrastinate, and more inclined to put in the work needed to fulfill dreams. Thanks to you, they routinely will be reminded that there is no tomorrow, there is only today.
Please know, yours is a special place in the history of our program. Forever, the class of 2020 will be connected to a time when athletes had to sacrifice for the better good of our state, our country and our world. You are among those honored athletes, and we are deeply proud of you.
Roger Mills/Catherine Sholtez
Ravens Track and Field
Will Walker get his wish?
Senior Sowande Walker's mammoth throw of (51.84 M) 170 ft 1 in at the Steinbrenner Invitational three weeks ago not only smashed his school record, but put him second overall in the state in Class 4A. Walker is now among the top 26 discus throwers in the nation. The 2019 4A silver medalist wants to throw collegiately and is continuing to workout to get a chance at a college opportunity. "The timing of the shut down of athletics events could not be worse for Sowande," said Ravens coach Roger Mills. "But this is a hurdle for all athletes. He just has to keep working out and keep sharpe, mentally. The physicals will return once he gets back into competition."
Virtual Senior Night truly is a Good Friday!
Sponsors step up to be a part of first ever Raven Invitational
Raven Invitational Details/Info
The 1st Annual Raven Invitational will take place on March 21, 2020 at Alonso’s new 8-lane polyurethane rubber track.
Entry fees will be $100 per gender, $175 per school, or $25 per individual.
This meet will be limited to the first 20 teams who submit their checks. Payment must be received in order to get an invitation to register on Direct Athletics.
Make checks payable to: Alonso High School, Attn. Raven Invitational. Payment will not be accepted at the meet.
Address: Alonso High School, 8302 Montague Street, Tampa, Fl, 33635
Contact Info: or call at 813-810-8815 (cell), or
We want to limit the meet to 20 schools. Entrance fee will be $5 per guests, 6 and over. Parking will be $2
Registration will be on Direct Athletics. Timing company will be Warrior Timing. Athletes must use ¼ inch pyramid spikes only.
All running events will be girls, followed by boys.
4 entries per school in all events, one relay team per gender. There will be an unlimited/open 1600, but coaches must register the runners on DA.
3 attempts per field event, no finals (except high jump and pole vault)
Straight finals in running events
Deadline to register is 11:59, March 18, 2020
Awards: Medals for top three, trophies will be given to the Championship teams.
All relevant FHSAA rules will be enforced.
Non-competing athletes WILL NOT be allowed on the infield during field events.
Special Event: The Ravens will be hosting a 4x1600 Relay at the beginning of the meet. The distance relay will be by special invitation only, and teams will be selected based on projected time and distance pedigree. It will not count as one of the scored events.
7:00 am – Gates Open
7:50 am - Coaches Meeting
Meet Schedule (Rolling Schedule)
8:15 am – 4x1600 Relay (Invitational Only; Girls, then Boys)
8:30 am – Field Events (Session 1)
G L Jump, B L Jump
G Discus, B Shot Put
G Pole Vault
G High Jump (Opening Heights 1.27 M/4’2”)
10:45 am – Field Events (Session 2, or immediately after the completion of Session 1)
G Triple, B Triple
G Shot, B Discus
B High Jump (Opening Height 1.57M/5’2”)
B Pole Vault
Morning Running Events
10:45 am – 3200 M (multi-heats up to 24, slow to fast)
11:45 am – 4x800 (finals, slow to fast)
12:30 – Opening National Anthem/Running Finals (rolling schedule)
800M (Multi-heat, 16 per heat, slow to fast)
1600M (Open, unscored, unlimited entries, will be posted on Direct Athletics)
1600M (multi-heat, 24 per heat, slow to fast)
4x400M (slow to fast)
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. 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." Today, we catch up with the most decorated male sprinter in school history - Brandon Holloway.
He holds the distinction of being the fastest athlete to wear an Alonso uniform, and it was that way from his freshman year. Brandon Holloway was a four-year competitor in football and track and field at Alonso. He still holds the school’s record in the 100M (10:54) and 200M (21:28), and is part of the 4x100 (42.20) and 4X400 (3:22) record holding teams. Holloway graduated in 2012 and went on a standout football career at Mississippi State. He was coveted by the MSU track program but was never able to squeeze track duties with his heavy football schedule. He graduated in 2016 with a degree in Human Science with an emphasis in Youth Studies. In 2017, Holloway graduated from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy Academy and began his career in law enforcement. We caught up with Holloway at Alonso just before Christmas.
RR: Why did you choose a career in law enforcement?
BH: I wanted an active job in which I knew I could be out every day and continue using my physical attributes. I began to look at different careers and thought back to how growing up I always enjoyed helping other and have always had individuals in my corner who helped me. This led me to take a shot at being an HCSO Deputy to see what differences I can make.
RR: Law enforcement has faced its share of criticism from certain sectors of the population, so how do you handle dealing with that delicate balance.
BH: Be the person I was raised to be. The misconception is how much bad there is in Law Enforcement but working this career you see just how many individuals put their lives on the line for people they have never met. In order to do this job, you can’t worry about the outside but instead go out and be the best you.
RR: Tell us one thing we don’t know about being a cop?
BH: How demanding the work schedule is in relation to; court, depositions, long shifts, off duty jobs, etc.
RR: When did you realize that you were gifted with special speed? Do you remember a particular moment?
BH: I recognized how fast I was when I began running sock races at Skate World at a very young age. They would make me line up farther behind the other kids my age or they would make me run against the older kids.
RR: Why do you think you were so efficient at running the bend?
BH: I believe making it a personal challenge to catch the individuals on the outside lanes before we got off the curve pushed me to get better and better at running the bend.
RR: What did you learn from the false start in the 200M semi-finals at the State meet in your junior year?
BH: Makes me think of the quote, “tough times don’t last, tough people do.” As an athlete you learn the most in the tough moments and it helps build you into a better person and athlete. I also learned just how much support I had from those around me.
RR: In your private moments, do you ever think about what you could have done at the Olympic level?
BH: It has crossed my mind before, but when I moved on from track and field, I placed most of my focus on football.
RR: If you ran a race right now, what would your time be?
BH: My job requires that I maintain a certain level of physical capabilities. With that being said, I think I could still run a decent time.
RR: As a freshman, you were on a remarkable 4x100 team with three seniors (Ed Williams, Shaun Gayle and Jordon Smith), what was that experience like?
BH: I think it was an honor to be a freshman and have the opportunity to demonstrate my running skills with three senior leaders of the track team.
RR: What piece of advice would you have for upcoming high school sprinters.
BH: Stay humble, stay determined, make goals, and be the hardest worker on the track, no matter where you are.
RR: There’s speed, and then there’s track speed. What’s the difference?
BH: Speed is something that a lot of times is obtained just off genetics. Track speed is having the discipline to work, explore, and perfect the speed that you have.
RR: What if we say there’s an open invitation to train on our new rubber track and prepare for a run at the Olympics – you in?
BH: Although I stay in good shape and track will always be a love of mine, I think I’m a better fan of the sport at this time.
Catching up with Raven Royalty: Quatasia Fantroy, Class of 2013
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!
Rubber track construction in full swing
All eyes now on target of early January completion date. Season starts Jan.20
The relocation of three new jump runways (long, triple and pole vault) was the focus of the latest phase of construction as crews toiled all week at Alonso. In early November, the Ravens began construction of their new eight-lane rubber track, a process that is now expected to be completed by the first week of January, just in time for the Jan. 20th official start of the track and field season. 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, along with the three new jump runways.
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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