Avon Park senior Dylan Branch bolted ahead of the competition making him a standout on the track this season. Branch won the 800 meters at regionals and placed second in the 1600 meters to qualify for the Class 2A State Track Meet in Jacksonville.

At the Class 2A State Track Meet, Branch capped an outstanding high school career by finishing fifth in the 800 meters in a school-record time of 1:53.40. He came in fourth in the 1600 with a personal-best time of 5:21.67. The Red Devil runner earned a place on the podium and a medal in both events.

Branch, who has signed a cross country and track scholarship with Montreat College in North Carolina, had set the school record in the 800 by more than 3 seconds at the regional meet in finishing first in 1:54.07.

Branch, who was the Highlands News-Sun 2018 All-Highlands Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year, had a memorable high school career.

“Dylan is the best distance runner I’ve ever coached,” said Avon Park assistant track coach Chet Brojek. “He’s a hard worker and loves to run.”

For his ability, accomplishments and endurance, Branch has been selected as the Highlands News-Sun 2019 All-Highlands Boys Track Athlete of the Year.

“It means a lot to win this award,” Branch said. “I’ve worked hard to get here and it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I’ve enjoyed my high school career and I’m looking forward to running in college.”

The Team

Shareal Taylor, senior, Sebring – Taylor qualified for the Class 3A State Track Meet as part of the 4x400 relay team for the Blue Streaks.

Will Schendel, senior, Lake Placid – Schendel competed in the pole vault competition for the Green Dragons.

Jaheim Sanders, junior, Sebring – Sanders qualified as part of Sebring’s 4x400 relay team for the state competition.

Chase Doty, junior, Sebring — Doty was part of the 4x400 relay team. Doty also competed in the high jump competition.

Nick Piccione, junior, Sebring – Piccione claimed fifth in the regional pole vault competition for the Blue Streaks.

James Neal, sophomore, Avon Park – Neal made it to regionals for the Red Devils in the discus this season.

Jabari Knighten, junior, Sebring – Knighten was part of the 4x400 relay team for the Blue Streaks that qualified for the state championships this season.

Norris Taylor, senior, Sebring – Taylor’s speed was evident when he ran in the 4x100 relay, the 100 meter and 200 meters this season for the Blue Streaks.

Gabe Swenson, freshman, Lake Placid – Swenson stood out in the pole vault competition his first year for the Green Dragons.

Jordan Rose, senior, Sebring – Rose competed in the discus and shot put this season for the Blue Streaks.

Keegan White, junior, Sebring – White was a key part of the 4x800 relay for the Blue Streaks.

Chris Manus, freshman, Lake Placid – Manus was part of the 4x400 relay team for the Green Dragons this season.

Ian Velez, sophomore, Sebring – Velez participated in the 4x800 relay, 800 meters and the 1600 meters this season for the Blue Streaks.

Kyle Yates, junior, Lake Placid – Yates was solid in the 110-meter hurdles and the high jump this season for the Green Dragons.

Billy Carol, sophomore, Sebring – Carol was a standout in the 800 and 1600 this season.

Jalen Turner, senior, Avon Park – Turner participated in the 4x400 relay, the 100 meters and 200 meters this season for the Red Devils.

Hector Perez, freshman, Sebring – Perez ran in the 800 and 1600 his first year as a Blue Streak.

Jeston Mason, senior, Avon Park — Mason was a distance runner for the Red Devils.

Will Cochlin, sophomore, Sebring — Cochlin was a distance runner and competed in the pole vault for the Blue Streaks.

Trace Goins, senior, Lake Placid — Goins was a distance runner for the Green Dragons.

Devin Jackson, senior, Lake Placid — Jackson was a sprinter and high jumper and team captain for the Green Dragons.

Tahj Williams, senior, Lake Placid — Williams was an outstanding sprinter for the Green Dragons.

Coach Of The Year

For guiding their athletes to the state track meet, Avon Park’s Ross Richards and Sebring’s Renee Crenshaw have been selected as the Highlands News-Sun 2019 All-Highlands Boys Track Coach of the Year.

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