Seven Athletes To Watch At Legends Of Alachua

* Montverde Academy's Issam Asinga at The VA Showcase

Photo Credit: Dan Loughlin/MileSplit



The Alachua County Sports & Events Center is quickly earning a reputation as a fast track.

The 200 meter banked oval in Gainesville, Florida has held a series of meets over the last few weeks, inviting some of Florida's fastest athletes. 

This weekend, we're back for another display of high-end action. Programs like Montverde Academy, IMG Academy and Bolles -- seen as some of the best programs in Florida -- will be in attendance. 

Could we see more PRs this weekend?

You can bet on it. 

Below, we dish out seven athletes to watch.

The Flrunners team will have live coverage on the ground in Gainesville starting on Jan. 28. 

7. Daniel De Monte, Bolles (FL)


Events: 400m, 800m

Breakdown: Saturday will mark the indoor debut of De Monte, who ran 1:54.73 and 4:23.05 outdoors in the 800m and 1,600m last year. 

He's seeded 12th in the 400m and No. 1 in the 800m. With a fast track in front of him, De Monte has a great opportunity to put down a very good time. 

6. Clara McDonald, IMG Academy (FL)


Events: Shot put, weight throw

Breakdown: There's no time like the present. And for McDonald, she has an opportunity to improve upon her career best shot put of 42-7, which she achieved in early January. 

That throw placed her firmly at U.S. No. 12 in the country. Better yet, though, it represents a nearly four-foot improvement from her outdoor best, meaning she's made huge improvements since the spring.

She's the top seed in the shot put. 

5. Valentino Rudolph, Lake Minneola (FL)


Events: 60m, 200m, 400m

Breakdown: Rudolph is seeded No. 1 in the 200m at 21.09 and No. 5 in the 400m with a time of 48.7. But he hasn't technically run that 200m time indoors yet. He produced it outdoors. And in the 400m, his seed is faster than his 49.50. 

But sometimes to achieve a mark you have to envision it first. And projecting times is an old-fashioned tradition for track athletes. Maybe that's what Rudolph is setting out here to do. 

4. Chelsi Williams, Lakeland George Jenkins (FL)


Events: 60mH, 200m, LJ, TJ

Breakdown: She'll be the busiest athlete at the meet with four events to content in. But while she enters ranked 10th in the 200m and third in the triple jump, she's the top seed in the 60mH and the LJ. 

In the short hurdles, in fact, she's ranked No. 44 nationally with a best of 8.84 seconds and she's No. 21 in the LJ, with a best of 19-0.25. Don't be surprised if Williams nets big gains this weekend. Her seed times and marks project her out to make some big leaps. 

3. Sophie Haag, East Lake (FL)


Events: 60m, 200m

Breakdown: Haag fits the description of a small school star. A year ago, she finished in the top eight of the FHSAA Class 2A finals in both the 100m and 200m. She clocked times of 11.69w and 24.13 over the season, respectively. 

Fast forward to indoor. The University of Miami signee ranks in the top 50 nationally in both the 60m and 200m. This weekend, she'll face her greatest test yet in Micayah Holland and Adaejah Hodge, the country's top sprint duo. 

This would be the epitome of iron sharpens iron, so expect Haag to find some resolve in a pressurized moment. 

1. Zyaire Nuriddin, Montverde Academy (FL)


Events: 60m, 400m

Breakdown: It would be hard to choose between these Montverde teammates, so we're going to give them both the No. 1 nod. Nuriddin will debut on Saturday at the distance where he broke through historically last year, clocking a U.S. No. 3 all-time performance of 46.04 in the 400m. 

Here, he's set up perfectly. On a banked track and alongside a talented teammate -- the 60m may even be the precursor to his efforts -- Nuriddin will have the tools to go after a quality performance. 

Maybe let's not expect 46.04. But let's also not doubt the man.

He's the best in the country at the distance. 

1. Issam Asinga, Montverde Academy (FL)


Events: 60m, 400m

Breakdown: We're not quite sure what to expect from Asinga. We do know he can run with anyone in the country. And he has the tools to be the nation's best in the short distances. He's currently ranked No. 2 in the country in the 55m (6.26), No. 4 in the 60m (6.73) and No. 5 in the 200m (21.35). 

He's also run the 400m in 49.10. Alongside Nuriddin, expect that time to drop. But in the 60m, perhaps we could see another big moment, too.

It's always better to have a time to shoot for; Asinga is no longer U.S. No. 1 in the 60m. He got surpassed this past weekend by three athletes competing in Texas. Could we something in the 6.6s? That may be the goal here. 

Related Links: 

Legends of Alachua High School Entries

Facility Records At Alachua