Georgia, Ohio stars rule at UK Invite

Felicia Brown looks at the scoreboard in disbelief as she realizes she ran a US#1 53.88 400. Mike Weaver/ESPNHS


There is not a single indoor track in the state of Georgia. And Kendell Williams made a point regarding how cold and rainy it’s been there for outdoor training in recent weeks, a sentiment no doubt shared by many of her compatriots. But no matter. It was, as Jim Kaiser put it, a “Peachtree Invasion” Saturday during the 19th Annual University of Kentucky High School Invitational in Lexington – and who could argue with him?

It wasn’t just Williams – the Kell (Marietta, Ga.) junior (The Heat TC) who defended her titles in the 60 hurdles, long jump and high jump, the latter with a US#1 5-11 – who sparked Georgia’s dominance. It was also Martin Luther King (Decatur, Ga.) senior Felicia Brown (Sprint Athletics), who shocked herself and her coach with a US#1 meet record 53.88 400.

“You did that! You did that!” shouted Sprint Athletics mentor Eric Merriweather, over and over, to an equally overjoyed Brown as she tried to recover enough for an interview. “I hoped she could run as low in the 54s as she could, maybe break the meet record (54.07),” he added, turning to reporters. “But we didn’t expect this.’

It was also Union Grove (McDonogh, Ga.) senior Jordan Moore, who blasted to a US#1 7.80 60H. And it was certainly Sprayberry (Marietta, Ga.) senior Michael Newton and Brown’s MLK and Sprint Athletics teammate Jada Martin, who each came up with outstanding sprint doubles. Newton ripped a US#2 47.58 400, then came back with a #4 21.56 triumph in the 200. Meanwhile, Brown started with a US#8 7.55 60 dash victory, then added the 200 as well, with a US#3 24.00.

In all, Georgians came up with the meet’s three new national leaders and three other US top-four marks.

“It was hard with the events so close together,” said Williams of her triple, still looking a little drained at the end of the day, even though she passed on the 200 where she had also been entered. “I thought I remembered there being a few little breaks between.”

When it came to distance running, on the other hand, it was Ohio’s turn to dominate. Reynoldsburg (Reynoldsburg, Ohio) senior Tsehaye Hiluf outkicked Oakland (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) junior Brock Baker in a great 2-mile, hitting US#2 9:10.31. Earlier, 4:06 outdoor miler and Lancaster (Lancaster, Ohio) senior Brandon Kidder won as he pleased in his specialty, with US#3 4:13.57, while MacAuley (Cincinnati, Ohio) senior Danielle Pfeiffer easily defended her 800 title with US#3 2:11.78. Medina (Medina, Ohio) senior Anna Boyert also took the girls mile in 5:01.75.

Along with the aforementioned US#1s, there were 20 other US-top 10 marks in the meet, the annual fixture on the University of Kentucky’s 290-meter oval that this year attracted entries from 15 states, plus Canada and Antigua.