When the doors of the new school opened in the fall of 2001, excellence in and out of the classroom became the standard for all members of the Alonso family. That philosophy was extended to the competition surfaces of the Ravens Track and Field program.
Now, entering our 13th season of competition, the Ravens track and field program stands firmly on the foundation of fun, fair and equal opportunity, diversity of ideals, hard work, and a committment to the school's mission.
In 2008, then girls head coach Blair Ewin teamed up with newly appointed boys coach Roger Mills to chart a new course for the Ravens. It began a renewal of recruiting the hallways, finding talented coaches who can teach the sport, maintaining proud academic standards and improving the repuation of track and fIeld at Alonso. It's been a whilrwind of success ever since.
We cannot forget the pioneer efforts of Matt Broderick, Asia Evans, Alec Vidmar, Dion Price, Jordon Smith and Devanier Williams. Nor can we overlook the performances of Iesha Campbell and Demonte McAllister, who became the first Ravens to make it to the state meet. Without their foundation, Ravens track and field would still be in its infancy stages.
Now, records are perpetually falling and the Ravens are major players in Hillsborough County and state track standings. Over the past six years, Alonso has broken over 74 records, sent 36 athletes to the state meet, introduced a new team logo and won numerous district and regional individual titles.
In 2011, sprinter Brandon Holloway was not only among the most heralded athletes of the season, he became the first Raven to qualify for the state meet in three events. At the end of the 2011 campaign, 400M runner Franklin Mosely and high jumper Gigi Petion, became the first two Ravens to sign letters of intent out of high school, accepting partial scholarships to the University of South Florida.
The following year, sprinter/jumper Quatasia Fantroy became the first Raven to qualify for the state meet in four events, the maximum number of events in which an athlete can compete. That season, the Ravens placed four jumpers in the state final, believed to be the most in the state that season.
In 2013, the Ravens made history. Fantroy capped her incredible legacy at Alonso by claiming the school's first track and field state championship, taking home gold in the triple jump. That season, 11 Ravens qualified for the state finals, also the highest tally in school history. At the end of the season, Fantroy and William Taylor-Haynes signed with Jackson State and North Carolina State respectively, bringing to five the number of ravens expected to compete in the NCAA in 2013/2014.
In the fall of 2013, the Cross Country program officially merged with the Track and Field program. Under the direction of Mills and Kailyn Morman, both of whom took on the role of interim-coaches, Ravens cross country records were made an official part of the programs history. By the end of fall, the Ravens had 37 athletes on the cross country team, the most in school history.
The following spring, Alonso's Track and Field team kept breaking new gruond, claiming the school's first track relay titles, with the girls winning the Nash Higgins and Manuel Griffin Relays. That year, the girls smashed the 4x800 record setting a time of 9:41 and set the 4X400 mark at 3:59.20, considered a state wide elite mark. Isaiah Carrero and Makayla Byrd followed that by leading a rejuventated 2014 Cross Country campaign. The Ravens win at the WD Johnson Invitational at East Bay was the first cross country invite in school history. Byrd and Carrero made it all the way to the Regional meet.
The 2015 track and field season was one of great team effort. The Ravens ended the year by placing 13 athletes in the state finals, breaking six records and producing a 4x800 team that was the class of the county, district and region. The foursome of Isaiah Cameron, Conner Halden, Emanuel Fuller and Jawaun Stuckey finished the season with a smashing school record of 8:04.62, to finish sixth in the state. Byrd and Halden set new mile marks with times of 5:25.53 and 4:38.27 respectively. Jasmine Jackson took control of both hurdle records with times of 16.15 in the 100H and 48.35 in the 300H. And freshman Alyssa Jones announced her arrival on campus with a shot put mark of 38ft 8in, almost two feet further than the mark entering the season.
The records will show that the 2017 season will go down as the year of "Girl Power," thanks to the exploits of Letrice Hall and the arrival of a freshman named Shaniya Benjamin. Hall continued her growth as a thrower by setting a new school mark in the shot put (39ft, 2 in) and making it to the podium for a seventh place finish at the State meet. It may have been enough for a team MVP award, had it not been for the particular exploits of Benjamin. The super sprinter qualified for all four of her events at the state series, set new records in the 200M and 400M, and anchored the 4x100 and 4x400 team to state final appearances, and two more school records.
A History of Success!
The tale of the Ravens state series performance is something to be proud of. Since the rebirth of the Ravens track and field program in 2008, Alonso has made strides at the District level. After Tuesday's 4A-6 meet at Wharton (on April 17, 2018), Alonso has captured 68 individual district winners, 17 regional titles and one state title.
And while there has been ample distribution around the multi-events, it is clear that Alonso has a pedigree in the field events, and a particular stranglehold on the horizontal jumps. During the 11-season span, the Ravens have won 17 long/triple jump district titles, and the one State title is in Triple Jump. It is significantly more than any of the other events.
"When you think about it, 17 titles is pretty significant," said Coach Roger Mills. "We have had a tremendous number of talented athletes come through our hallways, like Quatasia (Fantroy), Brandon (Robinson), Lynette (Robertson) and Jordan Davis, and recently Shaniya (Benjamin). But the one constant has been (jump) Coach (Janelle) MacLean. She has coached every single one of them. Her expertise in the technical aspects of long and triple jump, and her ability to get the best out of her jumpers is unmatched."
How impressive have the jumpers been over the years? On multiple occasions Alonso has captured two or three top five spots in one of the jumps, and in 2012 the Ravens finished first, second and third in the women's triple jump. In 2018, Coach Mac and the jumpers were at it again, taking first and second place in the girls long, first in the boys long jump, and first and second in the boys triple jump.
"When you think about it, being able to get rookie jumpers Xavier Monclova and Terrionce Blalock, in their first season in track and field, to come first and second is no small feat," Mills said.
The Ravens also have 13 throwing titles (shot put and discus) and eight high jump district first place finishes. There have been five 200M wins, four titles in each of the 100M, 100/110 hurdles and 400M, three wins in the 4x100M, two each in the 4x400, 800M and 300H, and one 4x800 district win.