Cardillo conquers Florida State championships

JON KILB PHOTO | Cardillo finishes the anchor leg in the 4x800 relay, helping his team to win the state championship.

Shelter Island summer resident Tyler Cardillo officially became Florida’s fastest high school miler  on May 6, when he took the gold at the Florida High School Athletic Association championships at Showalter Field in Winter Park, Florida. He broke the tape with a time of 4:11.27, his personal best.

He also ran the anchor leg for his 4×800 meter relay team to help win the state championship in that event for the second year in a row.

Cardillo’s relay teammates are Anthony Borrego, Bryan Hilgar and Ryan Schnulle. The boys finished in 7:40.44, about 3 seconds shy of the state record, 7:37.76. Cardillo also ran an individual 800 meter race, in which he finished in 8th place with a time of 1:56.05.

His performances helped his school win the boys overall team title, awarded to the team with the most points. Cardillo is a senior at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, Florida, and plans to continue his running career at the University of Florida, which he’ll be attending in the fall.

He said the mile victory was a more satisfying accomplishment than the relay victory, because his defending champion relay team had been heavily favored to win again. He said that in the relay, “We won by 16 seconds — that’s over 100 meters. I love running with the team, but winning the individual title was what I’ve been trying to do all four years, and I finally got it.”

Cardillo has been training with Islander Cliff Clark, a family friend, since 8th grade. Clark is a running enthusiast who has helped train other champion Island runners including Janelle Kraus and Alexis Hamblet. Cardillo is currently gearing up for the New Balance Outdoor National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 18.

He placed third in the New Balance Indoor National Championships at the New York Armory in Manhattan on March 13 with his 4:13.48 mile performance.