With a boys’ state championship to its credit, Saint Stephen’s has been on the fast track to success in recent years. The 2017 Falcons captured their first-ever district and regional titles, then followed those performances up with a heart-stopping effort at the state meet that earned them a co-championship with Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy.

The Falcons went into the final event of the two-day meet at IMG Academy – the 1,600-meter relay – needing to finish no worse than second to earn the Class 1A state title, and they delivered. SSES earned enough points to win the team championship despite not taking the top spot in any event.

Over the past seven seasons, Saint Stephen’s track and field has set a new standard for excellence, qualifying 64 student-athletes for the FHSAA state championships – including 12 in 2023 to equal the most in school history in a single season (tying the 2017 team). Freshman Keymani Dillingham then made more SSES history by registering top-five finishes in three events: shot put (2nd), 400-meter hurdles (4th) and 100-meter hurdles (5th). She was joined in the top 10 by discus thrower Caleb Johnson (6th), long jumper Braden Mohr (8th) and javelin thrower Evan Brown (9th).

The Falcons’ current run of state success got its start in 2015. Then-sophomore sprinter Jordon Murrell and senior distance runner Andrew Zandemenego were the first two SSES boys to qualify for the state meet in an individual event in more than a decade. Murrell (200 meters) and junior Andrew Csubak (800 meters) kept that run alive in 2016, finishing seventh and sixth, respectively. Both went on to represent the building legacy of SSES track and field at the collegiate level – Csubak at the University of Tampa and Murrell at Webber International University. The 2022 girls relay team of Nikole Cosentino, Brooke Cosentino, Piper Pullen, and Scout Erby also reached the podium at the state meet with an eighth-place finish.

The Falcons are coached by A.J. Brown, a former star hurdler and sprinter at Sarasota Riverview High who played football and ran track at Carson-Newman University in Tennessee. He also serves as Saint Stephen’s head football coach.