a series of photos of men in different sports uniforms

This season, Keys teams fared well on the track, but it was in the field events where the stars of Monroe County were the brightest. Coral Shores produced one district champion and finished sixth overall in FHSAA 2A District 16 competition. Key West, also in the 2A division, produced four district champions and claimed the FHSAA District 16 title for the second year in a row. The Conchs qualified five athletes for the state championships, securing two medals for the southernmost school. 1A Marathon was the runner-up in their district, claiming three district gold medals and sending two athletes to states. One Fins medaled at states this season, making it three state medals for Monroe County’s boys competing at the highest level of competition in the state of Florida.

Photos by Barry Gaukel, Mark Hedden and Doug Finger

a man in a tank top holding a baseball bat

Athlete of the Year
Suharevskis Niks-Davis
Senior, Key West
Pole Vault

As talented as he is hard-working, Key West’s Suharevskis Niks-Davis vaulted his way into Key West’s record books this season. Niks-Davis brought home gold medals from both districts and regionals in the pole vault this season, and won bronze at the FHSAA 2A State Championships. He also holds the school record in the 400 hurdles and is third in 110 high hurdles.

Jay Marshall
Junior, Marathon

Mikail “Jay” Marshall is indisputably the fastest athlete in the Keys this year and set school records in both the 100- and 200-meter events. Marshall claimed a pair of gold medals at districts and sprinted fast enough at regionals to qualify for the state meet in both events. He also boasts a blazing 400 and ran a leg of Marathon’s regional-qualifying 4×400 relay.

a man wearing red shorts and a white tank top

Jeff Dejean
Junior, Key West

Junior Jeff Dejean brought home a pair of silver medals from districts in long and triple jump, and went on to place in the top 10 in both events at regionals. The athletic junior appears in the top five in Key West’s record books for three events, including a third-place spot in long jump, fifth in triple jump and fourth on the 4×100 relay team. Most importantly, Dejean’s jumps got better as the season progressed, setting the stage for a stellar senior campaign.

a man in red shorts and a white tank top

Clerf Alexandre
Senior, Key West

Conch jumper Clerf Alexandre won the FHSAA 2A District 16 Championship in triple jump, then placed fifth at regionals. He now holds the fourth-best triple jump in school history. Alexandre qualified for regionals in the 100-meter race with a fourth-place finish at districts and ran a leg of Key West’s regional-qualifying 4×100 relay as well. He appears in Key West’s top-five records in both of those events, standing in fourth place in the 4×100 and fifth in the 100-meter race.

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Shane Lavallee
Junior, Key West

Key West’s Shane Lavallee claimed the No. 2 spot in the Conchs’ record books with a mid-season javelin toss. He went on to earn a fourth-place medal at districts, improved to a bronze at regionals and eventually earned a sixth-place medal at the state championships. Lavallee ran a leg of Key West’s regional-qualifying 4×100 relay, and his individual 100 time was good enough for bronze at districts and a lane at the regional race, paving the way for a stellar senior season in 2025.

a man in red shorts and a white shirt

Jean Louis
Senior, Key West

Senior strongman Jean Louis made the school record book this season. Louis took first place at districts and brought home bronze at regionals in the shot put, where he claimed the school record and qualified for the state meet, as well. He won the silver medal at districts in discus, qualifying for regionals in that event, too.

a man holding a red frisbee in his right hand

Noah Mercer
Sophomore, Key West

Just a sophomore, Noah Mercer threw the shot put and discus better than most upperclassmen this season, winning the district championship in discus and a fourth-place medal in shot, qualifying him for regionals in both events. Mercer went on to take fourth place at regionals in discus, earning him a spot at the state meet in that event. He is top five in both events in the school record books and as the season progressed, so did his distances, making for an exciting 2025 season.

a man in red shorts and a white tank top

Ian Newton
Junior, Key West
Pole Vault

With one more year to develop his skills, Ian Newton is set to continue Key West’s domination in the pole vault. Newton placed second at districts behind his own teammate, then took third at regionals, clearing a height good enough to earn an at-large bid to the state championships. There, the culmination of his work this season paid off in a personal best and 10th-place finish, indicating that the best is yet to come for Newton.

Mason Buxton
Senior, Marathon

For three years, Marathon’s Mason Buxton has been a contributing member of the Dolphins’ distance domination squad. His cross country training naturally made him good at distance and middle distance events, but the savvy senior is a quick study and hard worker, making it unsurprising that he has been able to find success in a variety of events with the Fins. This season, Buxton brought home a bronze medal at districts in javelin, then did the same at regionals with a toss that qualified for the state championships, where he placed eighth. In addition to his state medal, he now owns the school record in the event. Buxton has multiple top-five places in Marathon’s all-time record book, including his first in javelin, a four-way tie for first in pole vault, second in discus and fifth in the 800.

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Ethan Marguet
Senior, Coral Shores
Middle Distance

Most of the athletes who prevail in distance events on the track spend their fall seasons running cross country, but not Marguet. Marguet was the ’Canes’ kicker for the football team, making him an unlikely candidate for taking the No. 23 spot on Coral Shores’ all-time track and field records in the 800, a testament to his work ethic and dedication. Marguet won silver at districts this season and finished eighth at regionals. He also ran a leg of the Hurricanes’ 4×400 relay this season, setting the school record in the event.

a young man standing in front of a blue wall

Alaric Rodriguez
Sophomore, Coral Shores
Middle Distance

Coral Shores’ distance and middle-distance specialist Alaric Rodriguez has been steadily climbing the ’Canes’ record charts, and with two seasons to go, the sky’s the limit for the dedicated athlete. Rodriguez finished fourth at districts in the 1600 meter event, a race for which he now owns the school record. He claimed record number two with the Hurricane 4×400 relay team, and he shows promise in the 800 and 3200 as well.

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Xavier Johnson
Sophomore, Coral Shores

Hurricane hurdler Xavier Johnson sailed over the 110 high hurdles, claiming a district gold medal this season and an automatic bid to regionals, where he finished ninth. The speedy sophomore’s time broke the school record, which had stood for a dozen years prior to Johnson’s exceptional season.

Tracy McDonald
Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.