Holy Trinity teams ready to compete with state’s track elite


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Holy Trinity seniors Tay Griffin, left, and Giana Gayles have high hopes for this year's state track meet, which will take place May 5 and 6 at the IMG Academy in Bradenton.

photo by Carl Kotala

After getting off to a bit of a rocky start because of early-season injuries, the Holy Trinity girls track team is steamrolling toward what the Tigers hope will be a top-three finish at the Class 1A state meet this month.

The Holy Trinity boys, meanwhile, are continuing to improve as they make their march back toward the state’s elite.

“The boys team is young, and I think this year is pretty much like a proving ground,” Tigers coach Marcus Bailey said. “The next two years, you’re going to see the boys program make a big leap forward. I mean, I’m talking about back to where we were in 2012 and 2013 when we won state titles.

“I’m not saying we’re going to win state titles, but we’ve got about six quality kids and we’ve got some kids coming in as freshmen that are going to be immediate contributors. I see the boys team, in the next two years, making a strong resurgence back to the top.

“The girls have a shot this year, if all goes well, to be in the top three at state.”

A trio of talented seniors — Giana Gayles, Lizzie Bacon and Samantha Folio — are a big reason for that.

Gayles won the long jump and 100-meter hurdles at last year’s state meet and teamed with Bacon on Holy Trinity’s 400-meter relay team that won its fifth consecutive state championship.

This year’s lineup features Gayles, Bacon and newcomers Lauryn Gayles (Giana’s younger sister) and Adriana Menendez.

Rather than feeling pressure to win a sixth consecutive state relay title, Giana Gayles referred to it more as a motivation. Three of the four — both Gayles sisters and Bacon — were dealing with minor injuries earlier this season, but have been coming on as of late.

“It’s an exciting thing,” she said. “We’ve had a new team almost every year now, so every year we have to figure it out. This year, our two new legs are faster than the last two, so we have more potential once we get comfortable with it.”

Folio, meanwhile, figures to be one of the state’s top distance runners. Bacon also will compete in both hurdle events and Menendez should challenge in the 200 and 400.

On the boys side, freshman Honor’ee Pound has been a standout in the 400, Sully Altman has gotten better each race in the 100 and senior Tay Griffin has been strong in the 100.

Griffin is hopeful the 400 relay team of himself, Altman, Avi Sharma and Brandon Lawrence can come up big in the postseason.

“Hopefully, we can get (our time) down to a 43 so we can get out of regionals and get back to state,” Griffin said.