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Attendance guidelines, practice schedules and other information!

The 2020 track and field season gets underway on Mon. Jan. 20. From that point on, practices are not voluntary, but mandatory. What that means is that EVERY athlete who is a part of our program is expected to attend practices, ALL PRACTICES.


That is what team commitment means. It is your responsibility to fix your schedule to make practices. If you can’t make a commitment to the team, and to practice with the team because of personal reasons, academic reasons, job schedules, etc, we completely understand. Then perhaps you need to rethink being a student athlete.


No other sports at Alonso, or anywhere else for that matter, tolerate chronic absences, and neither will we. The attendance at pre-season workouts has been spotty, at best. On an average, we have had three workout opportunities per week for the past two months, there are some of you who showed up every single time, got stronger and better conditioned. Awesome. Others attended sparingly, others rarely. Last week, a few members of our team expected to play a key role did not attend one session.


Beginning on Jan.20, that will not be accepted. For instance, Saturday mornings are part of track and field commitment. Meets are on Saturday mornings and the attendance tends to be 100%. At practices, the attendance is not even close to that percentage.


If you can’t attend practices, starting Jan.20, you will be dismissed from the team.


MORNING PRACTICES: To facilitate the heavy crowding that occurs on our game and practice field, the track program will be practicing in the mornings BEFORE school on a tentative twice a week schedule. It means that on Mondays and Wednesdays, we practice at 6:15 am. Yes, 6:15 am! The cross-country team has done this for the past two years without a problem. Adjust your alarm clocks, and you will be fine. We will practice from 6:15 to 7:35 am, and then you will be done for the day. Tues, Thurs and Fridays will be regular 3:55 – 5:30 pm practice time.  


PAPERWORK ISSUES: A few key members of our program still do not have their paperwork done. It is your responsibility to get it done. We cannot do it for you. Currently, we have 59 athletes signed up (25 girls, 34 boys). If they can get it done, the others can too. It simply is a matter of getting it done.


OTHER SPORTS: Most of the athletes are multi-sport athletes, which is strongly promoted by our school and our Athletic Director. So, we share athletes. If you are in an active sport - like soccer, wrestling or basketball - you are excused. That sport is in season and is your priority. Win the state title, and then join us. If not, you are expected to be at our workouts. Our season begins on Feb. 6.


RUBBER TRACK UPDATE: Many of you are curious about what is happening with the rubber track and it’s a fair question. There was a delay during the Winter break and it put us behind a bit. That is being resolved and likely the laying of the rubber will start by the end of the week, or over the weekend. It does mean that the first week, and parts of the second week of the season, we will not be practicing on our track while the rubber cures. As a result, we will likely be training at another venue. Be prepared to adjust. Complaining will not solve a thing.


Ravens 2020 Schedule 

Feb. 6 - Kincaid Classic @ Alonso 6 pm

Feb.10 - @ Leto/with Sickles 6 pm

Feb. 22 - @ Steinbrenner Invite 7:30 am

Feb. 28/29 - @ Wharton Invite 7:30 am

Mar. 2 - Gaither/Sickles @ Alonso (TBA)

Mar. 7 - @ Nash Higgins @ Leto 7:30 am

Mar. 11 - @ Steinbrenner 6 pm

Mar. 14 - @ Kowboy Invite 7:30 am

Mar. 21 - Raven Invite @ Alonso 7:30 am

Mar. 25 - Divisionals @ Gaither 12 noon

Mar. 28 - Manuel Griffin Relays @ Leto 8 am

Mar. 27/28 - @ FSU Relays (TBA)

Mar. 31 - County Champ @ Wharton 12 noon

Apr. 2/3/4 - UF Relays (TBA)

Apr. 10 -  Sickles @ Alonso (Senior Night)

April 20 - Districts @ Steinbrenner (noon)

April 30 - Regionals @ Port Charlotte HS (TBA)

May 15/16 - State Finals @ UF (TBA)

New Video: Benjamin soars to 18ft 11.75 inch jump earlier this year

At the Kowboy Invitational at Osecola High School earlier this year, junior Shaniya Benjamin recorded a long jump of 18 ft 11.75 inches, to break the school record and move herself into elite company in the state. Here is the video of the historic jump. Benjamin enters the 2020 season, holding the school record in the 100 (12.09), 200M (24.06), 400M (55.69),  long jump 18ft 11.75 inches and triple jump 39ft 6 inches..

Bucs honor Diaz with $5,000 scholarship

Recent graduate sprinter/football player Alfonso Diaz was an honored guests of the Tampa Bay Bucs in early August. Diaz received a $5,000 scholarship from the team for hisuty and deication to his family. Since late Jan 2019, his final semester at Alonso, Diaz has been the primary adult in the family. His mother - Sgt Dianne Matos - is currently deployed in Kuwait. Diaz is in charge of his two sisters, Rose (14) and Xena (8), until his mother returns home. He graduated on time, never missed a football game or a track meet, and had perfect attendance as a senior.

Track district realigns, three new schools added

The FHSAA has announced new school re-alignments and the Class 4A district is going to look somewhat differently for the upcoming 2020 track season. For the past few years, Alonso has competed in 4A District 6 with Wharton, Steinbrenner, Sickles, Wiregrass, and Plant. The new structure of the district will feature those same six schools, but three more schools have been added - Leto, East Lake, and Palm Harbor University. The three new editions create a few new dimensions to the next track season. "It's already documented how powerful the district is, but the addition of East Lake (moving up from 3A), one of the stronger teams in our area, is going to make competition even more accelerated," Ravens coach Roger Mills said. "It will also affect our scheduling as we likely will need to travel to at least one of those venues for a mid-season meet." With Leto moving up to 4A, the Ravens may not have the opportunity to train on the Leto track during preparations for the state series. Finally, the new district realignment could affect the district meet. Held at Wharton the last four years, East Lake and Leto also have rubber tracks and could be eventual hosts. Of the nine teams in 4A-6, six of them have rubber tracks.   

Emotional night as Ravens celebrate team awards 

Shaniya Benjamin continues her incredible run for the Ravens

JACKSONVILLE – For Shaniya Benjamin, the idea of complacency just does not comprehend. For the third season in a row, the Ravens dynamic track and field star proved she belongs among the state’s elite performers.


Three long days in Jacksonville. Three individual events. Three medal trips to the podium.


Yup, good things come in threes.


“The one thing that is so obvious about Shaniya is her natural ability, but the hidden secret is her dedication to her craft, her desire to be elite,” Ravens sprint coach Roger Mills said. “Shaniya will stay in the blazing sun all day, and will “will” herself to the podium. She is a fierce competitor.”


At the 2019 FHSAA state championships at UNF, Benjamin was at it again, making finals in all three of her events. Despite multiple frustrating rain delays, she battled for a third-place spot in the triple jump, was fifth in the 400M with a new school record of 55.69, and seventh in the 200M.


Benjamin, who is being recruited by a number of Division 1 powers as a sprinter/jumper, has now carried the Ravens track and field flag for each of her three seasons at Alonso. Her medal count keeps rising and she has one more season to go.


“That is the thing that makes her career so memorable,” Mills said. “Shaniya wont rest until it’s all done. And she’s not done yet.”


Another measure of Benjamin’s impact is the standard she has set for the rest of the program. In this year’s state meet, the Ravens exploded for their largest medal haul ever. Junior Sowande Walker was second in discus with a throw of 164ft 1in, junior Yonas Sauers was fourth in the 3200M with a time of 9:26, and senior Mia Raffaele capped a remarkable season with a vault of 10ft 4in for an eighth place finish. Each performance was a new school record.

In pursuit of the next level! Ravens target marks that will open doors to college opportunities.


Shaniya Benjamin - Junior

100M - 11.96 (SR)

200 M - 24.06 (SR)

400M - 55.67 (SR)

LJ - 18ft, 11.5 in (SR)

TJ - 39 ft, 3 in (SR)

SAT - 1020

Yonas Sauers - Junior

1600M - 4:31 (SR)

3200 M - 9:26 (SR)

SAT - 1170

Sowande Walker - Junior

Disc - 164 ft 3 in (SR)

Shot - 39ft, 3in

SAT - 1000

For first time, Raven Girls are County Champs! 

TAMPA - There's no question that junior Shaniya Benjamin is an elite track and field performer and the flag-bearer of the Ravens track and field program. But the performance of a key number of teammates last Tuesday, helped Benjamin and the Ravens garner 86 points to finish first in the County Championships. It was the first time in school history the Ravens took home the prestigious award.

Benjamin, who captured first placed points in the triple jump, 200 M, and was part of the first place 4x400, did her part with a tally of 27.25 points on her own. But that means the rest of the Ravens contributed 48.75 points.

Seniors Maya Ashley (high jump, 4x100), Alliyah Torres (high jump, 400M), Rachel Johnson (3200M), and Mia Raffaele (pole vault, triple jump, 100H), along with junior Stephanie Sandborn (high jump, 400M) and sophomore Tabitha Suggs (1600) made massive contributions to the point tally, and took pressure of their teammate.

"Clearly, Shaniya is an elite track athlete and a major source of points for the team," said coach Roger Mills. "But the results from Tuesday make it clear that without other stellar performances, in other words, points from teammates, team championships are impossible."


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