One of the area’s trailblazers in a new high school athletics event saw his state title dreams thrown in the air with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pace senior Kye Sessions was among the state’s top javelin athletes upon the season’s postponement in March due to the pandemic. Sessions’ personal-best mark of 46.48 meters was No. 1 in Class 3A and No. 7 overall in Florida.
While the FHSAA has yet to announce the formal cancellation of spring high school athletics, its return remains perilous at best as mandatory school closures extend through April and the scope of the coronavirus pandemic continues to grow.
If it’s a high school finale for Sessions, it would be a heartbreaking one for a multi-sport athlete who worked back from two shoulder surgeries in 2019 to reach peak form in 2020.
“This is really what I’m best at so you just hate to see this happen,” Sessions said. “…(Winning state) was my whole goal this year. It sucks to see it cut short.
“Last year during track season I had my first shoulder surgery – separated labrums from playing football – and I just picked up a javelin when my left arm was still in a sling.
“I just picked up the javelin and I was the best in the area. I was even No. 1 in the state for a little until I had to have my shoulder replaced.”
Javelin made its return to Florida high school track and field last year, but only in exhibition form, meaning teams could not score points in the event and athletes couldn’t win state titles. 2020 was poised to be the first year the FHSAA crowned a javelin state champion since 1950.
Fueled by Sessions’ success, the sport has enjoyed a fresh start at Pace, where fellow Patriots Andrew White and Blake Bullock had posted some of the region’s top marks in 2020.
One could credit the success to Pace’s significant baseball culture, but Sessions said throwing the javelin is a challenge all on its own.
“It doesn’t act like anything else when you throw it,” Sessions said. “It’s just about learning the balance of the javelin and throwing through the tip.
“It’s like when an outfielder is throwing to home. You have to include all the muscles in your body into it. The more flexible you are, the more power you have and the farther it goes.”
Sessions said the state-championship dream was intended to be his track and field finale before moving onto trade school after high school.
However, the premature ending has made Sessions reconsider his athletic future as he continues discussions with South Alabama and North Florida about potentially throwing in college.
“I haven’t really made up my mind,” Sessions said. “I’ve talked to the coaches at South and I like being close to home and their campus. Their coach is a really cool guy and he’s always treated me well.”
Eric J. Wallace can be reached at email@example.com or 850-525-5087.