Future Stars: These Freshmen Made Strong Outdoor Debuts

* Zamarii Sanders (center) clocked the second-fastest 100m time in freshmen class history in his outdoor opener at the Louie Bing Invitational.

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Outdoor season has already kicked off in a handful of states across the country.

That means we've started to see freshmen make their high school debuts on the track and in the field, and many have opened up in big ways.

We look at which of the nation's top athletes in the class of 2026 could be well on their way to becoming the next stars of high school track and field.

Continue below to see which four freshmen have already made noise in the opening weeks of the 2023 outdoor season.

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Zamarii Sanders, American Heritage (FL)

Sanders took the country by storm a couple weeks ago as video of his high school track and field debut spread across social media.

At the Louie Bing Invitational, the ninth-grader sprinted to a jaw-dropping 10.40 (1.7) 100m effort for the event win. Fellow American Heritage freshman Brandon Bennett finished right behind him in 10.43.

Only Tyrese Cooper has clocked a faster wind-legal time in the outdoor 100m in freshman class history.

It also ranks Sanders as the top 100m athlete in the country across all classes as programs begin their outdoor schedules.

It's scary to think what Sanders could have in store for the remainder of the competition season, especially since that 10.40 mark came in February. Sanders -- and Bennett, too -- have already burst onto the scene and have the attention in Florida and beyond.

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J'Nia Simpson, Tampa Catholic (FL)

Simpson could very well be the next up-and-coming throws talent in Florida.

In her outdoor debut at the Calvary Christian Warrior Invitational, the Tampa Catholic freshman won the discus and shot put with marks of 126-3 and 41-4, as well as took second in the javelin.

That puts her at US No. 2 and US No. 3 so far for the 2026 class.

It's a great outdoor opener for Simpson, who entering coming off a shot put title win at the inaugural Florida Indoor Championships where she registered a best of 42-11.25. That mark led the state during 2023 indoors and currently ranks 19th in the country among all classes.

But Simpson isn't new to winning. She's starred on the middle school and AAU circuits for many years, and won coveted AAU Junior Olympic age group titles in the shot put and discus last August.

Expect Simpson to continue her winning ways as Florida continues to kick off its outdoor season.

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Micah Dickran, Newbury Park (CA)

Could we be seeing the next distance star of Newbury Park on the rise?

Dickran competed in seven cross country races last fall, clocking a 3-mile best of 15:47.40 at the Temecula Twilight meet in October.

But he's already making waves on the outdoor track behind a 4:26.87 1,600m performance at the Thousand Oaks Invitational on Feb. 25.

He finished just three seconds behind Dev Doshi, one of Newbury Park's top seven runners during their quest for a Team Nationals title.

Dickran ranks third in the country for freshman boys in the 1,600m currently and will be one to watch as one of the newer faces a part of the Newbury Park distance program.

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Maya Woolforde, JSerra Catholic (CA)

In the opening weeks of the California outdoor season, JSerra Catholic has already found it's newest sprint star.

Woolforde began her outdoor campaign on a high note, clocking PRs of 25.10 in the 200m and 56.16 for the 400m at the Eagle Invitational on Feb. 18, sweeping both events.

Two weeks prior, the freshman also won the 300m at the CA Winter Championships on Feb. 4, also registering a new personal best of 39.19.

Woolforde's 400m performance particularly stands out as it comes in at US No. 3 on the class of 2026 leaderboards for the outdoor season.

Don't be surprised to see her continue to improve on that 400m performance over the next few months, too. She's already shaved over a second off her previous personal best of 57.30 set last year as an eighth-grader, and with more competitions down the line, experience could propel her to even greater progression.