High-SchoolTrack-and-XC: pennsylvania

2012 IAAF World Junior Championships Preview: Men's Track Events

July, 7, 2012
Tyler SorensenJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSTyler Sorensen broke the American Junior record for the 10k walk at last summer's World Youth Champs and hopes to shine again in Spain. He is also the only member of Team USA who competed in the 2010 World Juniors.


Event-by-event capsule previews of the men's track events, noting Team USA hopes and leading global contenders for the 2012 IAAF World Junior Championships:

Men’s 100 Meters
WJR: 10.01, Darrell Brown, 2003
AJR: 10.01 Jeff Demps FL, 2008

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Dexter Lee, JAM, 10.21 (2-Charles Silmon, 4-Michael Granger)
2008: Dexter Lee, JAM, 10.40 (3-Terrell Wilks, DQ-SF2-Antonio Sales)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 10.28 / 10.71
2008: 10.45 / 10.59

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Adam Gemili, GBR, 10.08 (+0.8w)
2. Aaron Ernest, USA/LSU, 10.17 (+1.2w)
3. Abraham Hall, USA/S. Grand Prairie TX sr, 10.19 (+1.3w)
3. Tyreek Hill, USA/Coffee Co. GA sr, 10.19 (+1.7w)
3. Julian Forte, JAM, 10.19 (+0.1w)

Analysis: With two-time champ Dexter Lee JAM finally having moved on, the meet will have its first new winner since 2006. Team USA fortunes have gradually improved each of the past two WJCs and maybe this will be the first gold since 2004. The top contenders are pretty light on international experience, with none “lighter” than Tyreek Hill – who was unknown beyond Georgia before his breakout marks at Golden South in late May. Hill and LSU frosh Aaron Ernest should each be medal contenders, along with Adam Gemili and Julian Forte. Also watch out for 2011 World Youth silver winner Oseto Kazuma JPN, who’s improved to 10.23 this year. It’s a shame that 2011 Pan Am Jr champ Marvin Bracy – the Florida prep who ran 10.06w this year before injury – won’t be here, too. Team USA has won gold three times here, the first two meets in 1986 and 1988, then in 2004 with Ivory Williams.

Men’s 200 Meters
WJR: 19.93, Usain Bolt, JAM, 2004
AJR: 20.13, Roy Martin TX, 1985

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Shota Iizuka, JPN, 20.67 (3-SF1-Oliver Bradwell, 5-SF3-Eric Harris)
2008: Christophe Lemaitre, FRA, 20.83 (4-Curtis Mitchell, 6-Antonio Sales)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 21.00 / 21.12
2008: 20.96 / 21.02

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Tyreek Hill, Coffee County GA sr, 20.14 (+1.8w)
2. Julian Forte, JAM, 20.38 (+1.0w)
3. Delano Williams, TKS, 20.53 (+2.0w)
4. Aaron Ernest, LSU, 20.54 (+0.5w)
4. Zhenye Xie, CHN, 20.54 (+0.5w)

Analysis: The cast will be similar to the 100, with Tyreek Hill, Julian Forte (who may or may not double), Aaron Ernest and Adam Gemili (20.61) all contending for medals. But the US storyline is dramatically different. First, this is the event where Hill really made jaws drop at Golden South in May with his 20.14, just .01 off the WJR. He wasn’t as fast at US Juniors, but his 20.57 win was still very impressive. Like in the 100, if this newbie to the big time can maintain fitness and composure, a medal – possibly gold – could be his. The other thing is that this was a rough event for Team USA two years ago with no finalists. In fact, Team USA athletes won gold here in 1986, 1988, and 1994, but have had a dismal medal drought since Wes Felix's bronze in 2002. That drought could well end in Barcelona.

Men’s 400 Meters
WJR, AJR: 43.87, Steve Lewis, USA, 1988

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Kirani James, GRN, 45.89 (3-Errol Nolan, 5-Josh Mance)
2008: Marcus Boyd, USA, 45.53 (3-O’Neal Wilder)

Recent marks to medal / make final

2010: 46.36 / 47.02
2008: 45.76 / 47.13

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Luquelin Santos, DOM, 44.45
2. Aldrich Bailey, Mansfield Timberview TX sr, 45.19
3. Bafetoleng Mogami, BOT, 45.46
4. Steven Solomon, AUS, 45.54
6. Arman Hall, St. Thomas Aquinas FL sr, 45.59

Analysis: Goodbye, Kirani James; hello, Luquelin Santos. The 2011 World (Senior) champ James had four straight years of winning silvers, then golds in IAAF World Youth and World Junior meets, finally ending with his 2010 WJC gold, before moving on to the elite. But Santos, who was sixth at the 2010 WJC, exploded to 44.71 late last fall, then has hit 44.45 this summer (plus three more times at 45.29 or better) to become the #3 junior ever. So that’s what US prep Aldrich Bailey TX, the WJ#2, is up against in Spain. He’ll likely have to achieve his sub-45 dreams to earn gold. 2011 World Youth Champ Arman Hall is certainly a medal contender as well, part of a group of several between 45.4 and 45.7. Americans have won three of the last five WJC 400s, with the last being Marcus Boyd’s 2008 victory.

Men’s 800 Meters
WJR: 1:42.69, Abubaker Kaki, SUD, 2008
AJR: 1:44.9h, Jim Ryun, U. of Kansas, 1966

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: David Mutinda Mutua, KEN, 1:46.41 (2-Cas Loxsom, 3-Robby Andrews)
2008: Abubaker Kaki, SUD, 1:45.60 (6-SF3-Elijah Greer, 8-H2-Donte Holmes)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 1:47.00 / 1:48.38
2008: 1:47.57 / 1:49.25

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 10)
1. Nijel Amos, BOT, 1:43.11
2. Mohammed Aman, ETH, 1:43.51
3. Leonard Kirwa Kosencha, KEN, 1:43.60
-- Tanner Sork, Camas Union WA, 1:48.74
-- Shaquille Walker, BYU, 1:49.41

Analysis: 2010 was an amazing year for Team USA in this event as collegiate frosh Cas Loxsom and Robby Andrews earned silver and bronze to end a 16-year-span of no Americans even making the final. The U.S. talent isn’t at the same level this time, but don’t underestimate WA prep Tanner Sork, one of the biggest surprises late this spring in any event in the country. He made a giant one-meet leap, from 1:52 to 1:48.74 in early June, and has backed it up with two more sub-1:50s. He has a solid chance to be the fifth American ever to make the final. Meanwhile, two of the three medalists from last summer’s insane World Youth final (three under 1:45) should be here. The winner of that race, Leonard Kosencha KEN, is now down to 1:43.60 but is competing at the senior level. But #1 on the WJ list is Nijel Amos BOT – fifth in Lille last summer in 1:47.28, but with a dramatic improvement now to 1:43.11 - #2 all-time on the WJ list. This WJ field will likely be much, much better than it was in 2010.

Men’s 1500 Meters
WJR: 3:36.1h, Jim Ryun, U. of Kansas, 1966
AJR: 3:30.24, Cornelius Chirchir, KEN, 2002

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Caleb M. Ndiku, KEN, 3:37.30 (12-SF2-Elias Gedyon, 6-SF3-Peter Callahan)
2008: Imad Touil, ALG, 3:47.40 (8-Evan Jager, 5-H2-Duncan Phillips)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 3:38.91 / 3:44.05
2008: 3:47.65 / 3:47.71

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Geoffrey Barusei, KEN, 3:33.69
2. Hamza Driouch, QAT, 3:33.69
3. Teshome Dirirsa, ETH, 3:34.55
19. Austin Mudd, U of Wisconsin, 3:40.87
-- Izaic Yorks, Lakes WA, 3:46.67

Analysis: Since the East Africans took over, this (and the other distances) have been tough for the U.S. to crack. The best-ever finishes by Team USA were fifths by Jason Pyrah (1988) and Gabe Jennings (1998) and just making the final is seen as an accomplishment. Collegiate frosh Austin Mudd, though, has a good chance of advancing and finishing in the top half, especially if it’s a kicker’s race. WA prep Izaic Yorks will be hard-pressed to make the final, but don’t count out this super talent. World #1 Geoffrey Barusei KEN did not try out for his team, but #3 Teshome Dirirsa ETH was the World Youth champ in 2011 and #2 Hamza Driouch QAT has made WJ and WY 800 finals the past two years, and was second in the Youth Olympic 1k in 2010.

Men’s 3000 Meter Steeplechase
WJR: 7:58.66, Saif Saaeed Shaheen, KEN, 2001
AJR: 8:33.8h, John Gregorek, Georgetown, 1979

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Jonathan M. Ndiku, KEN, 8:23.48 (10-Jared Berman, 15-H1-Dakota Peachee)
2008: Jonathan M. Ndiku, KEN, 8:17.28 (9-Dylan Knight, 10-Curtis Carr)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 8:37.02 / 8:55.77
2008: 8:25.14 / 8:55.28

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Conseslus Kipruto, KEN, 8:08.92
2. Gilbert Kiplangat Kirui, KEN, 8:11.27
3. Jaouad Chemlal, MAR, 8:25.98
-- Edward Owens, Princeton, 8:53.55
-- Darren Fahy, La Costa Canyon CA, 9:03.15

Analysis: In no event has one country been as dominant as Kenya has been in the steeple, with victories in all 13 WJCs. Like in the 100, a 2-time champ has moved on in Ndiku, but one of his countrymen will surely fill the spot. World #1-2 Conseslus Kipruto and Gilbert Kirui were last year’s 1-2 finishers in the World Youth 2k steeple and they have 14 seconds on the rest of the world list. The best U.S. finish ever was fifth by Chris Dugan in 1998 and it’s unlikely that will be bettered this year. CA prep Darren Fahy is unlucky that his WJC year comes when he’s a HS senior instead of a collegiate frosh; it will likely take an improvement of several seconds for him to make the final. Collegian Eddie Owens, who lost to Fahy in the US Junior race but has a PR 10 seconds faster, should make it if he’s fit and on top of his game.

Men’s 5000 Meters
WJR: 12:52.61, Eliud Kipchoge, KEN, 2002
AJR: 13:25.46, German Fernandez, Okla. State, 2009

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: David K. Bett, KEN, 13:23.76 (11-Trevor Dunbar)
2008: Abreham Cherkos, ETH, 13:08.57 (11-Matt Centrowitz, 16-Ryan Collins)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 13:28.92 / (straight final)
2008: 13:11.97 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Hagos Gebrhiwet, ETH, 12:47.53
2. Isiah Kiplangat Koech, KEN, 12:57.63
3. Yigrem Demelash, ETH, 13:03.30
-- Kirubel Erassa, Okla. State, 13:47.26
-- Kyle King, U. of Virginia, 13:55.80

Analysis: A new world junior record in the event was set just Friday (July 6), but don’t expect the Ethiopian Gebrihiwet (or the World #2 and #3) to be in Barcelona, but rather the Olympic Games or Diamond League circuit. That doesn’t mean the race will be much easier. Kenya’s team will be led by 2011 World Youth 3k champ William Sitonik, who won the Kenyan Trials 5k. Team USA, which has never had an athlete finish higher than ninth in this event (most recently Galen Rupp in 2004), will counter with collegians Kirubel Erassa and Kyle King.

Men’s 10000 Meters
WJR: 26:41.75, Samuel Wanjiru KEN, 2005
AJR: 28:15.82, Galen Rupp OR, 2005

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Dennis C. Masai, KEN, 27:53.88 (6-Parker Stinson, 16-Graham Bazell)
2008: Josphat Bett Kipkoech, KEN, 27:30.85 (17-Donn Cabral, 19-Dan Dunbar)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 28:14.55 / (straight final)
2008: 28:07.98 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Geoffrey Kirui, KEN, 27:08.44
2. Charles Ndirango, KEN, 27:58.02
3. Enoch Omwamba, KEN, 28:18.93
-- Ryan Pickering, U. of Oregon, 30:56.77
-- Jacob Kildoo, Notre Dame, 31:04.61

Analysis: He may have finished “just” sixth and been lapped by the winner, but TX prep Parker Stinson’s 29:32.23 (#6 all-time HS) at the 2010 WJC was a spectacular PR and an effort that resounded in the prep distance community. This year’s US entries, collegians Ryan Pickering and Jacob Kildoo, are unlikely to top that – but then no one thought Stinson would run 29:32 two years ago, either. Meanwhile, in this event the world’s top junior distance runner IS expected to run this meet instead of the next level, so Geoffrey Kirui KEN – whose PR came at the Pre Classic (Kenyan Olympic Trials) last month – is the heavy favorite.

Men’s 10000 Meter Racewalk
WJR: 38:46.4h, Viktor Burayev, RUS, 2000
AJR: 41:23.14, Tyler Sorenson CA, 2011

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Valery Filipchuk, RUS, 40:43.17 (7-Trevor Barron, 15-Tyler Sorensen)
2008: Stanislav Emelyanov, RUS, 39:35.01 (No USA)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 40:50.37 / (straight final)
2008: 40:29.57 / (straight final)

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (Track) (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Benjamin Thorne, CAN, 40:26.0h
2. Takumi Saito, JPN, 40:32.74
3. Pavel Parshin, RUS, 41.14.73
-- Tyler Sorensen, Torrey Pines CA sr, 44:11.35

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (Road)
1. Takumi Saito, JPN, 40:14
2. Ihor Lyashchenko, UKR, 40:35
3. Alexander Ivanov, RUS, 40:48

Analysis: 2010 was the best year ever for US walkers at this meet as Trevor Barron and Tyler Sorensen were seventh and 15th, with Barron setting the American Junior Record. Sorensen reset that mark last year at World Youths, where he was fifth, and has a chance to return here and improve his position. The only problem is that he was injured this winter and has only been training healthily for a few months. If he can match his 41:23.14 PR, he has a good chance to be in the top five or better. The favorites include Benjamin Thorne CAN, Takumi Saito JPN, and 2011 WY Champ Pavel Parshin RUS.

Men’s 110 Meter Hurdles
WJR: 13.12, Liu Xaing, CHN, 2002
AJR: 13.08, Wayne Davis NC, 2009

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, FRA, 13.52 (5-Caleb Cross, 4-SF2-Jonathan Cabral)
2008: Konstantin Shabanov, RUS, 13.27 (2-Booker Nunley, 4-SF2-Ron Brookins)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 13.59 / 13.77
2008: 13.51 / 13.62

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Yordan L. O’Farrill, CUB, 13.27 (0.0w)
2. James Gladman, GBR, 13.30 (1.2w)
3. Artie Burns, Miami N’Western FL jr, 13.35 (-1.4w)
7. Dondre Echols, Potomac MD sr, 13.56 (-1.8w)
9. Joshua Thompson, Pitt, 13.59 (-1.8w)

Analysis: It’s too bad injuries cut short Artie Burns’ campaign as the Florida prep would have been a gold medal contender had he stayed healthy and made it to Spain. But don’t sell Dondre Echols MD or collegian Joshua Thompson short. Both could make the final and be in the medal mix. Echols has progressed sharply in the past few months after a fine indoor season. Thompson, of course, is readjusting to the lower hurdle height after his collegiate season. The World #1-2 are relatively inexperienced at this level, but World #4 Nicholas Hough AUS won the Youth Olympic title in 2010 over the shorter hurdles.

Men’s 400 Meter Hurdles
WJR, AJR: 48.02, Danny Harris, Team USA, 1984

Recent Champs (plus/other top U.S. finishers)
2010: Jehue Gordon, TRI, 49.30 (7-SF2-Sheroid Evans, 4-H5-Steven White)
2008: Jeshua Anderson, USA, 48.68 (2-Johnny Dutch)

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 50.22 / 51.22
2008: 49.56 / 51.48

2012 IAAF World Top 3 (plus Team USA, in bold, with rank if top 20)
1. Felix Franz, GER, 50.48
2. Shota Madokoro, JPN, 50.62
3. Egor Kuznetsov, RUS, 50.62
4. Eric Futch, Penn Wood PA sr, 50.73
11. Gregory Coleman, Texas A&M, 51.01

Analysis: After enjoying global domination in 2006 and 2008 – with gold/silver sweeps – Team USA was shut out of the 400H final in 2010. PA prep Eric Futch hopes to lead the way back on to the medal stand after his PR at US Juniors rocketed him up to World #4. So little time separates the top dozen, that the medals are really up for grabs. World #3 Egor Kuznetsov RUS was the World Youth champ in 2011 over the shorter barriers.

Men’s 4x100 Meter Relay
WJR, AJR: 38.66, Team USA, 2004

Recent Champs
2010: USA, 38.93
2008: USA, 38.98

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 39.72 / 40.07
2008: 39.70 / 40.40

2012 IAAF World Top 3
1. Japan, 39.16
2. US All-Stars (Great Southwest), 39.93
3. Jamaica, 39.39

Analysis: Team USA has grabbed four of the last five titles and three in a row. They certainly have the speed for another sub-39 with Tyreek Hill, Aaron Ernest and relay pool picks Arthur Delaney (Oregon frosh) and Cameron Burrell (Texas prep). Could the 38.66 World Junior record by Team USA from 2004 be threatened? Meanwhile, the world list means little with most national squads not having marks yet, but Japan (second in 2011 WY medley relay) is a serious threat now and Jamaica is always dangerous (DNS in 2011 WY medley).

Men’s 4x400 Meter Relay
WJR, AJR: 3:01.09, Team USA, 2004

Recent Champs
2010: USA, 3:04.76
2008: USA, 3:03.86

Recent marks to medal / make final
2010: 3:06.49 / 3:08.32
2008: 3:06.47 / 3:09.23

2012 IAAF World Top 3
1. Trinidad and Tobago, 3:05.95
2. Poland, 3:08.81
3. Bahamas, 3:09.23

Analysis: Team USA is nearly as dominant here as the Kenyans are in the steeple, with the last five titles in a row and 11 of 13 overall. Preps Aldrich Bailey TX and Arman Hall FL not only have World Youth relay experience, but also two of the world’s top five times. So victory not only seems really likely, but Team USA’s World Junior record of 3:01.09 from 2004 could be under siege. Collegians Chidi Okezie and Quincy Downing, both 46.10-20 performers, are the relay pool members. The toughest competition could come from Trinidad and Tobago, which has run 3:05.95 this year.

It's another easy call.

Billy Stanley's huge javelin mark of 246-9 is a record for high school-only competition and trails only Sam Crouser's 2010 national record 255-4 on the all-time list. Stanley edged ahead of Sean Keller of Vancouver, Wash. (244-1) for the new U.S. lead.

Stanley, of South Park (Pa.), hit his big throw at the Pennsylvania Class AAA championships in Shippensburg, Pa. on Saturday. At 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, Stanley is compact, powerful and quick.

And a throw like the one he had Saturday -- breaking the Class AAA record by more than 22 feet -- could also land him in the Olympic Trials, alongside Keller.

See the video on Youtube here.
Press Release

NEW YORK CITY (May 16, 2012)—Josh Lampron and Ben Malone, who own the two fastest 1500-meter times in the nation so far this season, are among 16 top high school athletes added to the fields for the adidas Dream 100 and adidas Dream Mile at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9, organizers have announced.

Also headlining the roster are Ajee Wilson, the 2011 World Youth Champion at 800 meters, and freshman sensation Alexa Efraimson, the first freshman ever invited to a Dream event.

The Dream 100 and Dream Mile are again destined to be among the most hotly contested events at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9. In its eighth year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix, at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, will feature dozens of Olympic medalists and World Champions, including Yohan Blake, the reigning 100-meter World Champion, and David Rudisha, the 800-meter World Record-holder, who will be making his U.S. debut. The event will again be the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit and is part of the Visa Championships Series. Tickets are now available at adidasgrandprix.com or by calling 1-877-849-8722.

Lampron, a senior from Mansfield, Mass., last weekend ran 3:45.74 for 1500 meters at a meet in Boston, among the top-20 high school times in U.S. history and the fastest in the nation since 2009. The 2011 national champion in the mile, Lampron is a three-time state champion and will attend Villanova University in the fall.

Malone, a junior from Hillsdale, N.J., is the 2012 National Indoor Champion at 800 meters and holds U.S. high school indoor records for a junior at 800 meters (1:49.94) and 1000 meters (2:23.56). On Monday, he ran the #2 time in the U.S. at 1500 meters, 3:49.84.

A senior from Neptune, N.J., Wilson is one of the top high school athletes in New Jersey history. Currently ranked #2 in the nation at 800 meters, she finished the 2012 indoor season ranked #1 at both 600 and 800 meters. A qualifier for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, Wilson will attend Florida State University.

Efraimson, of Camas, Wash., has run 4:23.41 for 1500 meters already this season to rank #4 on the U.S. list, and her time of 2:08.92 for 800 meters is #7. She finished 14th at cross country nationals last fall.

Also accepting invitations to the Boys’ Dream Mile are Jacob Burcham, a junior from Ona, W. Va.; who finished seventh at 1500 meters in the 2011 World Youth Championships in 3:46.55, the fastest time by a U.S. prep last year; Brannon Kidder, a senior from Lancaster, Ohio, a four-time state track champion ranked #4 in the U.S. at 1600 meters who is headed to Penn State University; Craig Nowak, a senior from Cypress, Tex., who is a five-time 5A state champion, ranks #2 at 1600 meters and #3 at 3200 meters, and will attend Oklahoma State University; and Craig Engels, a senior from Pfafftown, N.C., ranked in the top 10 at the mile (#3), 1500 meters (#4), and 3200 meters (#10). Engels was the 2012 Penn Relays Mile Champion in front of Burcham, the runner-up, and Malone, who placed third. He will attend North Carolina State University.

Joining Wilson and Efraimson in the Girls’ Dream Mile will be Haley Pierce, a senior from Wilmington, Del., the 15-time State Champion ranked #3 at 3200 meters and #4 at 1600 meters who will attend Georgetown University; Angel Piccirillo, a senior from Homer Center, Penn., who is a two-time state Gatorade Cross-Country Athlete of the Year, a seven-time State Champion, ranks #2 in the mile and will attend Villanova University; Amy-Eloise Neale, a junior from Snohomish, Wash., six-time Washington 3A State Champion ranked #4 in the mile and #6 at 1500 meters; and Paige Rice, a sophomore from St. Mary’s Academy in Portland, Ore., the 6A Oregon Cross Country State Champion ranked #4 in the U.S. at 1500 meters.

Burcham, Wilson, Pierce, Piccirillo and Neale are all making return Dream Mile appearances.

Joining the field of the adidas Boys’ Dream 100 are Raymond Bozmans of Fort Collins, Colo., a senior ranked #3 in the U.S. at 100 meters and #5 at 200 meters who is the 2012 Arcadia Invite Champion and will attend Texas Christian University on a football scholarship; and Khalfani Muhammad of Sherman Oaks, Calif., a junior who is the 2012 Mt. SAC champion at both 100 and 200 meters and 2011 state runner-up in both distances.

Added to the adidas Girls’ Dream 100 are Kali Davis-White of Lauderdale Lake, Fla., a junior ranked #4 in the U.S. and 2012 Florida State 4A runner-up at both 100 and 200 meters to the previously announced Shayla Sanders; and Destinee Gause of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, a senior who is the 2012 National Indoor Champion at 200 meters and is ranked #5 at 100 meters. The 2011 Ohio State Champion at 100 and 200 meters, she will attend the University of Florida.

Fields for the Dream Mile and Dream 100 are being drawn from the winners of three qualifying meets in the adidas Golden Stripes series, as well as from at-large bids. The first meet, the adidas Meet of Champions, was held on March 24, followed by the Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan., April 19-21. Next up is the Golden South Classic in Orlando, Fla., on May 26. In addition to the opportunity to compete in a world-class international track event, athletes in the Dream Mile and Dream 100 will also have the chance to receive coaching from mile legend Jim Ryun.

All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the event can be found at adidasgrandprix.com, the event’s pages on Facebook at facebook.com/adidasGrandPrix and on Twitter at twitter.com/adidasGrandPrix. When tweeting, use #agpny. For even more coverage on the Dream Mile and Dream 100, visit adidasgoldenstripes.com.


Sara Hunninghake, Global Athletics & Marketing

Westfield makes all the right moves in 4x800

April, 29, 2012
Westfield 4x800 Penn RelaysJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSTyrone Walker tucks away the baton after taking it from Westfield (Va.) teammate Nathan Kiley during the 4x800 championship at Penn Relays.

PHILADELPHIA – When Tyrone Walker decided to go for broke in the Championship of America 4x800 with 300 meters left there may have been 49,000 people at Franklin Field who thought the move came too early.

The people that mattered most -- Walker’s three Westfield teammates and his coach – all trusted that he was doing the right thing.

“I wasn’t worried,” Westfield coach Kelly Deegan said. “I have confidence in him. If he thinks that’s the time to go then that’s OK.”

Westfield (Chantilly, Va.) ran US#1 7:39.73 and more importantly won the race on Saturday during the primetime session of the Penn Relays. Max Chambers (1:57.6), Jeff Edmondson (1:56.4), Nathan Kiley (1:51.3) and Walker (1:54.4) couldn’t afford one bad step against Kingston College of Jamaica, which finished second in 7:40.52.

Westfield ran the top time in qualifying on Friday but ran nine seconds better in the final.

The first big moment came in the final 200 of the third leg, when Kiley flew by two Jamaican runners to give Westfield its first lead. Kiley’s 1:51.3 split was the fastest in the race.

He turned the baton over to Walker but Kingston’s Sanj Powell quickly moved the front. Walker tucked in behind and waited for his cue.

“That’s my plan every time I run,” Walker said. “Always take it at 300. I try to keep a constant pace for the first 400 so I can have enough for the kick. There was nothing that told me (to go), it just where I knew I wanted to kick.”

The new question became: Who had more to give, Walker or Powell? As Walker drove for home, Powell drew even and tried to go around him. The two kept moving at the same speed and Walker wasn’t about to give up his precious lead.

“I was sort of praying in my head ‘Please don’t let him catch me,’” Walker said. “I would have dove across the finish line if it’s what I had to do to keep the lead.”

It was a six-second improvement for Westfield, which placed fifth at New Balance Nationals Indoor in March.

The team is already looking ahead to New Balance Outdoors with the idea of contending for the national title in June.

“I don’t think we ever had it close in our dreams to win this honestly,” Kiley said. “With the crowd here, a lot of them were rooting for Jamaica and a lot were cheering for the U.S. There was not only race competition, it (felt) like representing our country.”

The Jamaican crowd still had lots to cheer about, even though the U.S. professionals won all six of their matchups with Jamaica.

In the boys 4x400 Championship of America, Carribean schools swept the top six places, led by Munro College of Jamaica (3:11.91). Lodge of Barbados was third, the only non-Jamaican team. U.S. entrants Gardena Serra (Calif.) and Trenton Central (N.J.) were both disqualified.

Earlier, in the 4x100, Wolmer’s Boys (Jamaica) went 40.34 and led a 1-2-3 sweep for the island nation. The huge Jamaican presence in the stadium included prime minister Portia Simpson Miller, who sat in the grandstand and also took part in a ceremony on the Franklin Field infield.

Jamaica’s high school excellence extended to the field events, too. Clive Pullen of Jamaica College won the long jump with 24-3, edging Anthony Averett of Woodbury (N.J.), who went 24-0.25. Christoff Bryan of Wolmer’s won the high jump with a clearance at 6-11.50.

The U.S. got victories from Michael Jensen of Appoquinimink (Middletown, Del.), who went 16-4.75 and PR’d by more than a foot.

And in the triple jump, Anaquan Peterson of Lakeland (Suffolk, Va.) took the title with a wind-aided mark of 50 feet even.

Eric Futch, one of Pennsylvania's top high school athletes, also had a big day. In the morning, he won the 400 hurdles in a US#1 time of 51.77. And later, he split 48.5 to help Penn Wood win the Philadelphia Area boys 4x400 title.

Aldrich Bailey 'picks it up,' rips 45.19 in 400

April, 28, 2012
Aldrich BaileyBert Richardson/ESPNHSAldrich Bailey, shown here at the Texas Relays, ran a US#1 45.19 400 meters and could test himself against the nation's best at the Olympic Trials in June in Eugene, Ore.

Texas 5A Region 1 Results

Aldrich Bailey of Timberview (Arlington, Texas) ran the fastest 400 by a U.S. prep in 17 years on Saturday at the Texas 5A Region 1 meet in Lubbock, Texas.

Bailey ran 45.19 seconds to better the National Federation (high school-only competition) record of 45.25 set by Calvin Harrison in 1993. However, his time ranks No. 6 all-time among preps, according to Jack Shepard's High School Track, trailing Darrell Robinson's 1982 record of 44.69, Jerome Young's 45.01 (1995), Henry Thomas' 45.09 (1985), Obea Moore's 45.14 (1995) and William Reed's 45.17 (1987).

Bailey also broke the Texas state record.

"I was expecting (to run fast)," Bailey told Dyestat after the race. "I surprised myself a little bit, but not all the way. My goal is to run 44 this year."

In contrast to other races this year, Bailey decided to get out fast and not let himself rest.

"In other races I've been relaxing too much," he said. "You can't slow down much in the 400. It's a sprint. I got out good, picked it up on the curve and stayed strong."

Bailey thought he might dip under 45 seconds but said he slowed just a little before the finish line.

Bailey also split a reported 44.8 anchor leg on Timberview's 4x400 relay, which ran 3:12.71. And the school's 4x100 relay ran 40.46. Both of those relay performances are new US#1s.

"My team had a good day," Bailey said.

Washington delivers for Poly in 4x100

April, 28, 2012
Ariana Washington Penn RelaysJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSAriana Washington reacts to her come-from-behind victory on the anchor leg of the 4x100 relay in the Championship of America race at Penn Relays.

PHILADELPHIA – There isn’t another high school in the U.S. that travels 2,400 miles for a “home” meet, but then again, there isn’t another Long Beach Poly.

At the Penn Relays, Poly doesn’t just represent a school on the Pacific Coast. It stands up for the entire country, plays the role of America’s last best hope against the otherworldly fast Jamaicans.

For the second year in a row, the Long Beach Poly girls rose up and beat the best of Jamaica in the 4x100 relay, this time coming from behind on sophomore Ariana Washington’s stirring anchor leg.

“I did what I was trained to do,” said Washington, who took the baton in third or fourth and then flew beneath a roaring wall of noise down the home straightaway to victory in 46.35. “I’m trained to get the baton and go and that’s what I did. I had no thoughts. I knew there was a lot of pressure and I couldn’t let my team down.”

It takes a meet with the enduring stature of Penn Relays to provide the intersection for Long Beach Poly and the Jamaican teams like Vere Tech, which has won here 15 times, or St. Jago, which has won four, or Holmwood Tech (3) or Edwin Allen (2).

Incidentally, Kingston is closer to Philadelphia than Long Beach – by about 900 miles. In a meet that loves to bill its “USA vs. The World” program, it often starts informally with the Jamaicans vs. Poly and the appreciative crowd has come to expect great moments to arise from the competition.

“The feeling you get when people respect you like that, it’s awesome. You can’t put it into words,” said longtime coach Don Norford, architect of the Long Beach Poly dynasty.

Carrying the burden of trying to defend the title, with three newcomers to the lineup, Poly ran the fastest time in qualifying on Thursday. And then in the final, the quartet quickly fell behind on the lead-off. There was a risk of getting buried at that point.

“I was really scared,” said Traci Hicks, making her third appearance in the 4x100 championship. “Diamond (Thomas) and I had a bad hand-off (between legs 2 and 3). I was really worried. But when Ariana got, I felt confident. She doesn’t like to lose.”

Washington erased any mistakes with a scorching anchor.

“It was probably the fastest 100 of my whole life,” she said.

Washington was an alternate for Poly last year. Next year, she will try to help her school win it again. The anticipation of 2013 began before Friday’s celebration died down.

“Just like this year, next year’s team is already ready,” Norford said. “It’s the way we coach them. We know what to do here, what to tell them, and what not to tell them, so they’re physically and spiritually prepared.”

Cheserek too much for CBA

In the highly anticipated distance medley showdown between St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) and Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, N.J.), there was a changing of the guard.

CBA , the reigning champ, built a 10-second gap on St. Benedict’s entering the 1,600-meter anchor legs. But senior George Kelly played the first lap too conservatively and Edward Cheserek caught up with a fast 57.

Then Cheserek settled on Kelly’s shoulder for two laps and patiently waited for the 300-to-go mark, where he flew into the lead and began to sprint for home. Kelly had saved something, but not enough to respond to the Foot Locker champion and 4:02 miler.

Cheserek split 4:06.2 to Kelly’s 4:17.6.

“I was thinking stay with the leader all the way,” he said. “I wanted to take off with 300 meter to go.”

Cheserek anticipated that he might need to make up as much as eight seconds after he got the stick.

“When the announced said (my first lap was) 57, I knew that’s too fast for me,” he said. “I slowed down.”

St. Benedict’s plan was to keep CBA within eyesight on the first three legs.

Penn Relays boys mile 2012
John Nepolitan/ESPNHSCraig Engels (lef) and Jacob Burcham battle over the final 100 meters of the mile at Penn Relays. Engels rallied to win by .07 seconds.
CBA’s Tim Gorman gained a three-second lead on Darien Edwards (3:06.2 to 3:09.2), the 400s were essentially a tie (48.7 for StB, 49.0 for CBA), and CBA padded seven more seconds onto the lead with Clark Mangini’s 1:56.2 for the 800 leg.

Against Cheserek, 10 seconds wasn’t enough cushion.

In the boys mile, Jacob Burcham of Cabell Midland (Ona, W.V.) appeared to be coasting toward victory with 400 meters to go but his 15-meter lead wasn’t safe. Craig Engels of Ronald Reagan (Pfafftown, N.C.) closed the gap on Burcham and then pulled out a narrow victory in 4:09.42 to 4:09.49.

Both Burcham and Engels had participated in their schools’ 4x800 relays eight hours earlier.

To kill some of the time, Engels went to a hotel near Franklin Field that he wasn’t staying at and took a nap in its lobby.

Not only did Engels take down the pre-race favorite, he also outkicked most of the kickers in a race that included 800-meter standouts Ben Malone of Pascack Valley (N.J.), Drew Magaha of Upper Moreland (Pa.) and Zevon Watkins of Liverpool (N.Y.), plus Ahmed Bile of Annandale (Va).

“With 400 to go I was working on cutting down (Burcham’s) lead,” Engels said. “I knew I had some speed and I tried to give everything I had in the last 100. It’s the biggest deal race I’ve ever won. Those guys are better than me. I just got lucky. Burcham would probably win any other day.”

In the 3,000 meters, Thomas Madden of Skyline (Front Royal, Va.) demonstrated his fitness with a fine time of 8:25.54, winning by almost five seconds. In a race supposedly lacking a big-gun talent, 12 runners broke 8:40. Madden, a junior, was 18th in last year’s race.

In the girls 4x800, Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.) fell off the hot pace of Edwin Allen (Clarendon, Jamaica) and was seven seconds back half way through.

Edwin Allen cruised to the title in 8:52.97, anchored by Marleena Eubanks’ 2:09.3. F-M, which won the DMR last year, was second in 9:04.22, roughly the same time it ran in qualifying. Holmwood Tech of Jamaica was eight seconds further back, taking third.

F-M anchor Katie Brislin split 2:12.7.

“I was looking up and looking at (Eubanks) trying to catch up the best I could,” Brislin said. “We wanted to go faster than we did in qualifiers, but we did the best we could.”

Heather Martin led off in 2:18.5, Katie Sischo ran 2:15.8 and Jillian Fanning ran 2:17.2.

“Last year our relay won the DMR and if we’d done that we could have been one of the top contenders,” Brislin said. “We wanted to challenge ourselves in the 4x8 and even though we didn’t win it was a good experience.”

Jamaican schools went 1-2-3 in the girls 4x400 relay, led by winner Edwin Allen (3:42.06). Junipero Serra (Calif.) was fourth in 3:46.43 and Wakefield (N.C.) finished fifth in 3:51.88.

US#1 for Mattis in discus

Breezy conditions may have had something to do with slowing runners down a bit, but it didn’t seem to have an adverse effect at the throwing venue near Franklin Field.

Sam Mattis of East Brunswick (N.J.) hurled a PR 211-11 for his first Penn Relays crown and a new US#1 for 2012.

“I don’t think the wind really helped anyone today,” he said. “It wasn’t particularly wind on that (big) throw.”

Mattis had finished second in the discus in 2010 and 2011.

“Winning here is incredible,” he said. “I don’t know how to describe it.”

Billy Stanley of South Park, Pa. unleashed a meet record throw of 223-3 to win the javelin competition by 22 feet. (The meet record was for the “new” javelin implement that went into use in 2002). It was also a huge personal best for Stanley, who threw 208-8 as a sophomore.

Braheme Days of Bridgetown (N.J.) won the shot put with a mark of 68-8.50, building on what was already a five-year win streak for New Jersey in the event (including the last four by Nick Vena).

Record setters Tatnall, Cain share limelight

April, 27, 2012
Mary Cain Mile Penn 2012John Nepolitan/ESPNHSMary Cain raises her arms to celebrate victory in the girls mile on Thursday at the Penn Relays.

PHILADELPHIA – Haley Pierce and Mary Cain continued to cement their status as legends at the historic Penn Relays on Thursday at Franklin Field.

During an electric evening of racing for some of the country’s premier girls distance runners, Pierce and her Tatnall School (Wilmington, Del.) teammates smashed the Penn Relays record in the distance medley relay by more than five seconds, clocking 11 minutes, 28.86. That’s No. 3 all-time, trailing only the times Harvard-Westake (Calif.) and Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.) posted at last year’s New Balance Nationals.

Pierce, who anchored the victory with a 4:42.8 split, had made the difficult decision to push her chips in with her teammates rather than try to duplicate her stunning 3,000-meter victory over Aisling Cuffe last year.

She had no regrets.

“It was kind of a hard choice at first,” Pierce said. “I thought I could really go after the 3,000, but the more I thought about it, the relay had such strong competition this year and we had three or four girls in position to run that (and win). It wasn’t that hard to decide once I thought about it. I’m really happy.”

North Shore (N.Y.) threw down the gantlet early, with Brianna Nerud gapping the field quickly and turning a scintillating opening leg of 3:26.7 for the 1,200 – and Penn Relays record split. Only four women in the college DMR championship race ran faster than Nerud did on the lead-off leg.

Tatnall Penn Relays
John Nepolitan/ESPNHSTatnall teammates Haley Pierce, Reagan Anderson, Julie Williams and Lindsey Voltz hold prized Penn Relays trophy after winning the DMR.
When she handed off the baton, Nerud had her team up by nine seconds.

But Tatnall’s Reagan Anderson ran a solid 3:35.7, and then Lindsey Voltz made up four seconds with a 57.8 split on the 400. Then, on the 800-meter leg, Julie Williams stalked North Shore’s Elizabeth Caldwell and ran 2:12.5, a whopping five seconds faster than her PR.

Williams put the baton in Pierce’s hand a half step behind North Shore’s Samantha Nadel. It was a perfect spot to be. North Shore’s lead and confidence were evaporated. Pierce remained tucked comfortably behind Nadel for a lap and then couldn’t resist going around her and pulling away.

“It was a perfect setup,” Pierce said. “At first I wanted to stay relaxed and just kick (at the end), but I felt good and I didn’t want to regret staying behind just because.”

North Shore finished second in 10:39.29.

A kick to ‘mess with’

As Tatnall celebrated its victory, Cain, the sensational sophomore from Bronxville, N.Y. dropped a devastating last-lap 62.5 to tear away from all contenders in a loaded girls mile. She finished in 4:39.28, breaking the meet record and moving to No. 7 on the all-time list. It is the fastest full mile ever for a sophomore, although Jordan Hasay ran a 1,600 that converts to 4:39.13 in 2007.

Cain bolted off the starting line and led the first lap but then two-time defending champ Angel Piccirillo of Homer Center (Homer City, Pa.) refused to yield and surged to the lead.

“Angel was amazing,” Cain said. “She was an angel to me. I wanted to go out and lead it, but she was going with me that whole time. She took the lead on the second lap and had it in the third. But with 600 (left) I was like ‘No, I want this so bad.’”

Cain ramped up her speed and sailed away from Piccirillo and everyone else.

“I got a kick to mess with,” Cain said. “That last 400, (I thought) just kill it.”

Piccirillo was second in 4:47.49 – running faster than she did in her wins in 2010 and 2011. Samantha George of Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.) was third in 4:48.11 and Ajee Wilson of Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) was fourth in 4:52.89.

Lake Braddock 1-3 in 3K

Right after Cain’s heroics, Sophie Chase of Lake Braddock (Burke, Pa.) ran a lifetime best 9:37.86 to win the 3,000 meters. And perhaps more surprising was that her sophomore teammate, Hannah Christen, was right behind her, finishing third in 9:42.97.

It was a seven-second PR for Chase, a junior, and a breakthrough 17-second PR for Christen.

“I’m so proud of her,” Chase said of Christen. “It was great experience for us to be able to do it together.”

Tori Gerlach of Pennridge (Perkasie, Pa.) nosed ahead of Christen for second, with 9:42.92.

LB Poly, Wakefield vs. Jamaicans

The bulk of the day’s action on the track was devoted to 4x100s and 4x400s, events that Jamaican schools have used to stamp their collective identity on the Penn Relays.

But a couple of U.S. sprints powers also were formidable during Thursday’s qualifying action. Long Beach Poly, the 2011 Penn champion, turned the fastest 4x100 relay of the day, clocking 46.39 seconds. Edwin Allen (Jamaica) ran 46.45 and Wakefield (N.C.) was third-fastest with 47.17.

Of the eight teams qualifying for the championship final, five hail from Jamaica, three from the U.S.
In the 4x400, Wakefield got a 54.7 anchor split from Ariah Graham and put together a US#6 time of 3:46.64. That was the second-fastest time of the day, trailing Jamaica power Holmwood Tech’s 3:45.58. The championship final will feature four U.S. teams and four Jamaican teams.

The split of the day belonged to Shaunae Miller of St. Augustine’s (Bahamas), who ran a blistering second leg of 51.7 for her team.

In the 4x800 relay, Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.) clocked a US#1 9:04.21 to set up a championship showdown with Jamaica’s Edwin Allen, which led qualifying by winning its heat in 8:58.51.

In the 400-meter hurdles, Alexis Franklin of Old Mill (Millersville, Md.) won the first high school championship of the day by running US#1 59.05 seconds.

In the field events, there seemed to be a Pennsylvania vs. Jamaica theme. The home state collected three victories and Jamaicans four.

Rachel Fatherly of Williamsport, Pa. won the shot put with 47-5, Christine Streisel of Tamaqua, Pa. won the javelin with 154-11 and Larisa Debich of Hempfield Area, Pa. won the pole vault by clearing 12-5.50.

Meanwhile, Chanice Porter of Manchester won the long jump at 19-5.50, Shardia Lawrence of Vere Tech won the triple jump with 40-8.25, Danniel Thomas of Edwin Allen led a 1-5 Jamaican sweep in the discus with 167-4 and Kimberly Williamson of Edwin Allen leapt 6-0 to win the high jump.

Top 10 storylines for the 118th Penn Relays

April, 25, 2012
Penn girls mileJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSThe intensity should be sky-high when two-time Penn girls' mile champ Angel Piccirillo tries to defend against superstars Ajee' Wilson and Mary Cain.


Everything about the Penn Relays is huge – from the crowd, the numbers of athletes, to the tradition. The 118th Penn Relays features 33 hours of competition and an average of one race every five minutes.

Here is a closer look at 10 of the top high school storylines this week at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field.

  1. The Boys Distance Medley Relay: This has the makings of a classic, with two sensational New Jersey teams going at it. Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, N.J.), the consummate team (2011 NXN champion), led by senior George Kelly, is trying to become the first U.S. repeat champion since Bishop Loughlin’s four-year run from 1949-52. Meanwhile, St. Benedict’s has Foot Locker champion Edward Cheserek on the anchor leg, a prospect that throws CBA’s title defense into serious doubt. St. Benedict’s won the New Balance National Indoor title, with Cheserek going 4:07.4 on the anchor. A third New Jersey team, Piscataway, could be a factor with Tim Ball on the anchor leg.
  2. The Girls Mile: On the face of it, Olympic Trials hopefuls Ajee Wilson of Nepture, N.J. and Mary Cain of Bronxvile, N.Y., are the headliners. They faced one another in the 800 meters at New Balance Nationals Indoor, with Wilson taking the title. Wilson ran 2:05.28 for 800 meters last week at Princeton. Cain is the sophomore class record holder in the indoor 1,500 and is coming in off a 2:05.90 800 meters at the New York Relays. But the homestate girl, Angel Piccirillo of Homer Center, cannot be overlooked. She is a two-time defending champion in this event and will do all she can to defend her turf. This fast lineup also includes Kelsey Margey of Friends Academy (N.Y.), a future teammate of Piccirillo’s.
  3. The Boys Mile: This one could be a blockbuster, too. Cabell Midland (Ona, W.V.) standout Jacob Burcham is the top returnee after placing third last year as a sophomore. But this race could have everything to do with closing speed, and Ben Malone of Pascack Valley (Hillsdale, N.J.) and Drew Magaha of Upper Moreland (Willow Grove, Pa.) have shown raw speed. Malone ran 1:49.94 to win the NB Nationals Indoor title. Magaha is the hottest runner in the country right now, coming in off a 1:48.82 last week. How sweet would a win at Penn be for him? Magaha is a University of Pennsylvania recruit and Franklin Field is about to become home. Also, Millrose and U.S. Open champ Zavon Watkins (Liverpool, N.Y.) could be in the mix when the big push begins.
  4. Boys 4x800 relay: Can Chariho (Wood River Junction, R.I.) or Boys and Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) win another big championship? One of the biggest surprises of New Balance Nationals Indoor was Chariho, which won the 4xMile. B&G, meanwhile, won the 4x800 national indoor title. Challenges will come from Cabell Midland (W.V.), Pennridge (Perkasie, Pa.) and Jamaica’s Holmwood Tech.
  5. Girls Distance Medley Relay: Two of the top distance programs in the U.S. go head-to-head with lineups chocked full of Division I talent. The Tatnall School (Wilmington, Del.) boasts Haley Pierce, the reigning Penn Relays 3,000 champ, and talented junior Reagan Anderson. North Shore counters with the one-two punch of Samantha Nadel, coming back from an injury, and Brianna Nerud.
  6. Girls 4x100 relay: Defending champion Long Beach Poly (Calif.) is the only U.S. school to break the Jamaican hold on this event going back to 1982. Poly also won in 1995 and 2003. If there is another U.S. contender, it may be Wakefield (N.C.), which has senior anchor Ariah Graham and owns the US#1 4x200 (1:35.98).
  7. Girls 4x800 relay: The reigning DMR champions, Fayetteville-Manlius is pushing its chips into the event it won at New Balance Nationals Indoor. The quartet of Katie Sischo, Jillian Fanning, Heather Martin, and Katie Breslin ran 8:58.18 at the Armory in March.
  8. The 4x400s: There are hour upon hour of 4x4s, a spectacle unto itself. The girls from Vere Tech in Jamaica have won the event 10 times but could be pressed by U.S. teams from Wakefield, N.C. and Long Beach Poly (Calif). The boys event could be dominated by Jamaica yet again. Munro College has run 3:12.32 this season already. Calabar won the Jamaican championships with 3:10.19. Boys and Girls (N.Y.) and St. Peter’s (N.J.), featuring Najee Glass, are the top U.S. contenders.
  9. Boys 3,000: This event doesn’t have a lot of marquee names, but there is an opportunity here for someone to seize a big moment. Adam Visokay of Albemarle, Va. has run 9:00.06 indoors for two miles and will face competition from Connor Rog (Ct.), Sam Parsons (Del.), Tom Awad (N.Y.) and Eric Holt (N.Y.).
  10. Boys Shot Put: For four years in a row, Nick Vena won the boys shot put for New Jersey’s Morristown High School. This year, Vena will vie for his first college title at Penn (against the likes of Ryan Crouser), opening the door to a new high school champ. Braheme Days of Bridgetown, N.J. threw 70-8 indoors, won the national indoor title, and looks like the heir apparent to the Penn title.
2012 Penn Relays McTaggartJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSStarter Tom McTaggart is one of the many officials who bring experience and expertise to the Penn Relays.
When Tom McTaggart was invited to his own induction into the Rockland County, N.Y., Sports Hall of Fame last year, he had to inform the event’s organizers that he couldn’t make it. The date conflicted with the Penn Relays.

This year, the banquet has been moved to Sunday.

McTaggart and three other starters will engage in the weekend’s longest relay at Philadelphia’s Franklin Field (a fifth starter will handle the multi events and Thursday night’s races). There are more than 640 races this weekend at the Penn Relays and each one of them will begin with start commands and the pop of a starter’s pistol.

McTaggart has served as the starter at the Olympic Games (1996), numerous Olympic Trials, and almost every significant domestic track and field event. He works throughout the winter indoor season and then allows himself just two weekends off each spring. He will be the coordinator of the timing crew at the 2012 Olympic Trials in June. Even the handle of his email address is "MrStarter."

He began at Penn Relays – an event he calls “a well-oiled chainsaw” – in 1989.

At Penn Relays, the starters are like traffic cops. When the gun sounds, it’s time to go.

And with McTaggart, and the other veteran members of the starters’ crew, athletes at the Penn Relays are in expert hands.

McTaggart will enter the above-mentioned hall of fame not only for his status as a starter, but also for a long career at Suffern High School, where he taught and coached for 36 years (retiring in 2009). He started his first race in 1970, on a day when the regular starter failed to show up. He became one of the best in the business under the wing of Frank Bailey, the official starter of the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

What makes a great starter?

“Patience, confidence, and knowing what you’re doing,” McTaggart said. “An understanding of what athletes are going through, and an ultimate sense of fairness.”

McTaggart says each races begins with “the palpable moment of stillness,” a poetic description of the 1.5 to two seconds between “Set!” and the shot.

Last year, the starter’s crew kept track of the number of shells that were fired, including recalls: 659. Each starter does five races in a row (keeping one extra shell in case a re-start is required) and then rotates out to join the recall crew and reload.

For the 4x200s, with the enormous stagger, starters crack a .38 caliber gun (shooting blanks) for a louder sound that every competitor can hear above the din of the crowd. For the rest of the events, it’s a .32 caliber starter’s pistol.

The Penn Relays has remarkably few false starts. In 2011, McTaggart said there were only six.

“If a kid wiggles, we stand them up,” he said.

What advice does McTaggart have for this week’s newcomers to Penn? He ponders the question and the coach in him comes back to the surface.

  • “On the 4x1s, hopefully you run a good turn, because you are almost running into the next one, so get used to handing off on a turn,” he said.
  • “In any other race, run with your elbows wide. If you think you’re out and about to go down, fall before you get to the clock (for a re-start). I used to have my team practice a tuck-and-roll.”
  • “The big thing is, don’t be afraid. It’s just another meet. Kids get nervous because of the crowd. Treat it like it’s just another meet.”
CBA DMRJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSCBA's distance medley crew, with anchor George Kelly shown here in a US#1 effort indoors, will have their hands full with indoor and outdoor national champ St. Bene's.

The high school 4x800 and distance medley relay acceptances for the 2012 Penn Relays were announced Sunday and fans will notice that one 2011 Penn champ is returning while another is going for a “wheel” in another event.

Both DMR races should be great showdowns. 2011 Penn champs Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, N.J.) will face St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.) in the boys' race. CBA’s distance crew followed up last fall with a Nike Cross Nationals title, and ran US#1 regular-season times in the DMR and 4x800. They came into New Balance Nationals Indoor looking for 4x1 Mile and DMR titles, but after a poor showing in the 4x1M, they scratched the DMR.

St. Benedict’s, on the other hand, won the NBNI DMR with a US#2 time (and also the 1,600 SMR) and they are also defending New Balance Nationals Outdoor champs. They were fifth at Penn last year, but with megastar Edward Cheserek anchoring and he and his crew running better than ever, they will give the defending champs all they can handle.

The girls DMR should come down to 2011 runner-up North Shore (Glen Head, N.Y.), with returning anchor Samantha Nadel reportedly on the mend from a late winter injury and leadoff Brianna Nadel running well, and Tatnall (Wilmington, Del.) – US#3 this past winter. Tatnall put their forces, led by Haley Pierce, into the 4x1 Mile at NBNI – winning in history’s #2 mark – and won this event at Penn back in 2009 when Juliet Bottorff was the anchor. Pierce will not defend her 3,000 meters title, of course.

Meanwhile, the Fayetteville-Manlius (Manlius, N.Y.) will not defend their girls DMR crown, but rather go for the 4x800 – the event which they won at NBNI. It will be much tougher for them to win there, however, with Jamaican powers like Edwin Allen and Holmwood Tech possibly gunning for the 8:40 barrier.

With most of their stars graduating, Long Beach Poly’s boys will not defend their 2011 4x800 title, but this past winter’s US#1 and NBNI champion Boys and Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) will likely be the favorite.

Boys DMR
ID School
A Christian Brothers (NJ) – Defending champs, 2012 indoor US#1
B St. Benedict's Prep (NJ) – 2012 NBNI, 2011 NBNO champs

C Piscataway (NJ) - 2012 indoor US#3
D Stuyvesant (NY) - 2012 indoor US#5
E Arlington (NY) - 2012 indoor US#7
F Monsignor Farrell (NY) - 2012 indoor US#8
G Colonial Forge (VA) - 2012 indoor US#9

H North Penn (PA)
I Atlee (VA)
J Gilman School (MD)
K Port Jefferson (NY)
L Cardinal O'Hara (PA)
M Union Catholic (NJ)
N St. Anthony's (NY)
O Great Valley (PA)
P Ridgewood (NJ) – 3rd in 2011
Q La Salle College (PA)

Girls DMR
ID School
A North Shore (NY) – 2nd in 2011, 2012 indoor US#2
B Tatnall (DE) - 2012 indoor US#3 (won 4x1 Mile at NBNI)
C Saratoga Springs (NY) - 2012 indoor US#7
D Red Bank Catholic (NJ) – 5th in 2011, 2012 indoor US#8
E Lenape (NJ) - 2012 indoor US#9

F Mount St. Dominic (NJ)
G Sachem East (NY)
H West Morris Mendham (NJ)
I Ridgewood (NJ)
J Bernards (NJ)
K North Hills (PA)
L Pearl River (NY)
M Southern Regional (NJ)
N Warwick Valley (NY)
O Notre Dame (NY)
P Oakton (VA)
** Note: Defending champ Fayetteville-Manlius is running in 4x800

Boys 4x800
ID School
AA Holmwood Tech (JAM)
AB Pearl River (NY)
AC St. Jago (JAM)
AD Souhegan (NH)
AE Churchland High School (VA)
AF Bellefield (JAM)
AG Tatnall (DE)
AH Good Counsel (MD)
AI Lawrenceville School (NJ)
AJ Metuchen (NJ)
AK New Providence (NJ)
AL Georgetown Prep (MD)
AM Penn Hills (PA)
AN Pingry (NJ)
AO Morris Hills (NJ)
AP North Raleigh Christian (NC)
AQ Cranford (NJ)
AR Thomas Jefferson (NY)
AS Holmdel (NJ)
BA Pope John XXIII (NJ) - 2012 indoor US#5
BB Collegiate (NY)
BC Strath Haven (PA)
BD Penncrest (PA)
BE Columbus Academy (OH)
BF Henderson (PA)
BG Red Bank Catholic (NJ)
BH Bronxville (NY)
BI Northern Valley Regional (NJ)
BJ Munro College (JAM)
BK Ramsey (NJ)
BL Germantown Friends (PA)
BM Lafayette (VA)
BN Haddon Township (NJ)
BO Lower Moreland (PA)
BP Wantagh (NY)
BQ Monroe (WI)
BR Largo (MD)
BS Milford (DE)
BT Somers (NY)
CA Boys & Girls (NY) – 2012 indoor US#1, NBNI champs
CB Westfield (VA) – 2012 indoor US#6
CC Pennridge (PA) – 2012 indoor US#7

CD Cabell Midland (WV)
CE St. John the Baptist (NY)
CF Colonie Central (NY)
CG Monroe-Woodbury (NY)
CH Bellport (NY)
CI Cumberland Valley (PA)
CJ Randolph (NJ)
CK Altoona Area (PA)
CL Don Bosco Prep (NJ)
CM North Rockland (NY)
CN Spring-Ford (PA)
CO Chambersburg (PA)
CP Bensalem (PA)
CQ Thomas Edison (VA)
DA Cherokee (NJ) – 2012 indoor US#3
DB Kingston College (JAM)
DC Warwick Valley (NY) – 2012 indoor US#8
DD Chariho (RI) – 2012 indoor US#10 (NBNI 4x1 mile champs)

DE Oakton (VA)
DF Cornwall College (JAM)
DG Mount Tabor (NC)
DH Westfield (NJ)
DI Central Bucks West (PA)
DJ Ronald Reagan (NC)
DK Pleasantville (NJ)
DL State College (PA)
DM Syosset (NY)
DN Bronx Science (NY)
DO Downingtown West (PA)
DP Voorhees (NJ)
DQ Franklin Township (NJ)
DR North Babylon (NY)

Girls 4x800
ID School
AA Holmwood Tech (JAM) – 3rd in 2011
AB Bronxville (NY)
AC Notre Dame Academy (PA)
AD Suffern (NY)
AE Archbishop Spalding (MD)
AF Voorhees (NJ)
AG St. Catherine’s (VA)
AH St. John Villa Academy (NY)
AI Metuchen (NJ)
AJ Germantown Friends (PA)
AK Western Tech (MD)
AL Haddonfield Memorial (NJ)
AM Great Valley (PA)
AN Rumson-Fair Haven (NJ )
AO St. Dominic Academy (NJ)
AP Pottsville Area (PA)
AQ Villa Maria Academy (PA)
BA Strath Haven (PA) – 4th in 2011
BB Holy Names (NY)
BC Spalding (JAM)
BD Henderson (PA)
BE Nanuet (NY)
BF Northern Highlands (NJ)
BG Benjamin Banneker (NY)
BH Morris Hills (NJ)
BI Pope John XXIII (NJ)
BJ Westwood (MA)
BK Friends Academy (NY)
BL Cornwall (NY)
BM Summit (NJ)
BN St. Basil Academy (PA)
BO Ursuline School (NY)
BP T.C. Roberson (NC)
BQ Thomas Stone (MD)
BR Eastport South Manor (NY)
CA Edwin Allen (JAM) – Defending champs
CB Port Richmond (NY)
CC Green Hope (NC)
CD West Springfield (VA)
CE Downingtown East (PA)
CF Garnet Valley (PA)
CG Pennsbury (PA)
CH Central Bucks South (PA)
CI Northwest (MD)
CJ Bethesda-Chevy Chase (MD)
CK Colonie Central (NY)
CL Council Rock North (PA)
CM Colonial Forge (VA)
CN North Penn (PA)
CO Cardinal O'Hara (PA)
CP Shenendehowa (NY)
CQ Hunterdon Central (NJ)
DA Fayetteville-Manlius (NY) – 2012 indoor US#1, NBNI champs
DB Cosby (VA)
DC West Potomac (VA)
DD Columbia (NJ)
DE Lake Braddock (VA)
DF Pennridge (PA)
DG Methacton (PA)
DH St. Anthony's (NY)
DI W.W. Plainsboro North (NJ)
DJ Northport (NY)
DK Massapequa (NY)
DL Washington-Lee (VA)
DM Westwood (NJ)
DN Hereford (MD)
DO Ridge (NJ)
DP Cherokee (NJ)
DQ Monroe-Woodbury (NY)
DR Padua Academy (DE)

Penn entries released, mile fields competitive

April, 10, 2012
Angel PiccirilloJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSAngel Piccirillo of Homer Center (Pa.) celebrates her victory in the mile at the Penn Relays last year. She is back to defend her title but faces competition from Ajee Wilson (N.J.) and Mary Cain (N.Y.).
The Penn Relays has released its high school entry lists for this month's meet in Philadelphia (April 26-28), and the girls mile field is shaping up as a good one.

Joining defending champion Angel Piccirillo of Homer Center (Pa.) are the top two finishers from the New Balance Nationals Indoor 800: Ajee Wilson of Neptune (N.J.) and Mary Cain of Bronxville (N.Y.).

The boys mile field also is a good one, with Jacob Burcham of Cabell Midland (W.V.) going up against Craig Engels of Ronald Reagan (N.C.), Ben Malone of Pascack Valley (N.J.), Zavon Watkins of Liverpool (N.Y.) and Ahmed Bile of Annandale (Va.).

A total of 1,047 schools have entries for this year's meet, including 985 from the U.S. The remaining 62 schools come from a variety of locales but it is the strong Jamaican contingent that has made a major impact in recent years at Penn Relays.

HSB Mile Run

ID Athlete School
1 Jacob Burcham Cabell Midland (WV)
2 Craig Engels Ronald Reagan (NC)
3 Ben Malone Pascack Valley (NJ)
4 Sean McGorty Chantilly (VA)
5 Zavon Watkins Liverpool (NY)
6 Ahmed Bile Annandale (VA)
7 Christian Delago Shaker (NY)
8 Everett Price New Providence (NJ)
9 Jack Huemmler Strath Haven (PA)
10 Logan Miller Chantilly (VA)
11 Adam McIe Brewster (NY)
12 Brendan Robertson Westborough (MA)
13 Michael McNamee Oakton (VA)
14 Steven Flynn Edison (NJ)
15 Drew Magaha Upper Moreland (PA)
16 Brent Coulter Landstown (VA)

HSB 3000m

ID Athlete School
1 Adam Visokay Albemarle (VA)
2 Orane Wint Bellefield (JAM)
3 Sam Parsons Tatnall (DE)
4 Thomas Awad Chaminade (NY)
5 Eric Holt Carmel (NY)
6 Kris Moran North Babylon (NY)
7 Connor Rog Fairfield Prep (CT)
8 Kevin Bishop Monta Vista (CA)
9 Matthew Schwartzer Princess Anne (VA)
10 Marc Violone Byram Hills (NY)
11 Mitchell Kun Sheepshead Bay (NY)
12 Dustin Wilson Chestnut Hill (PA)
13 Matthew Nelson Barnegat (NJ)
14 Nick Tuck Lake Braddock (VA)
15 Harry Warnick Fairfield Warde (CT)
16 Austin Lane Greenwich Central (NY)
17 Thomas Madden Skyline (VA)
18 Jonathon Harper Phillipsburg (NJ)
19 Paul Gates W.T. Woodson (VA)
20 Mike Libruk Shaker (NY)
21 Ronnie Calkins Douglas Freeman (VA)
22 Christian Costello Don Bosco Prep (NJ)
23 Sam Hibbs Hatboro-Horsham (PA)
24 Michael Wegner Loyola Blakefield (MD)
25 Billy Bragg Christian Brothers (NJ) (NJ)

HSB 400m Hurdles

ID Athlete School
1 Javarn Gallimore Jamaica College (JAM)
2 Tsegofatso Mathopa Uitsig (RSA)
3 Eric Futch Penn Wood (PA)
4 Ronald Levy St. Elizabeth Technical (JAM)
5 Jermaine Collier Trenton Central (NJ)
6 Brandon Benjamin St. Augustine (TRI)
7 George Flaviano Digital Harbor (MD)
8 Divontte Dennis Kingston College (JAM)
9 Kyle Robinson Jamaica College (JAM)
10 Kadesh Roberts Bay Shore (NY)
11 Jeremiah Obeng-Agyapong DeWitt Clinton (NY)
12 Orwell Maylor Wolmer's Boys (JAM)
13 Jermaine Smith Queens College (BAH)
14 Brandon Gregory North’n Valley Old Tappan (NJ)
15 Fabian McCausland Kingston College (JAM)
16 Brandon Hill Trenton Central (NJ)
17 Dondre Echols Potomac (MD)
18 Edward Wagner Xavier (NY)
19 Stefan Fennell Kingston College (JAM)
20 Evan Johnson Ewing (NJ)
21 Max Hairston Wissahickon (PA)
22 Aaron Willett Coatesville (PA)
23 Todd Townsend West Catholic (PA)
24 Chris Guerrero Governor Livingston (NJ)
25 Dario Scantlebury Queen’s College (BAR)
26 Andre Hewitt Transit Tech (NY)
27 Marcus Williams Delsea Regional (NJ)

HSB High Jump

ID Athlete School
1 Christoff Bryan Wolmer's Boys (JAM)
2 Rashaan Jones South Lakes (VA)
3 Damar Robinson Calabar (JAM)
4 Ashani Wright Jamaica College (JAM)
5 David Hall Kingston College (JAM)
6 Nick Simmons J.R. Tucker (VA)
7 Errin Baynes Wheeling Park (WV)
8 Xaiver Mc Allister Newburgh Free (NY)
9 Jason Lewis Wolmer's Boys (JAM)
10 Ibn Short Milton Hershey (PA)
11 Robert Cardina Conestoga Valley (PA)
12 Hakiem Horton Trenton Central (NJ)
13 Kenyon Wright St. Benedict's Prep (NJ)
14 Xavier McIntosh Columbia (NJ)
15 derek dawson, Jr. Ridley (PA)
16 AJ Vance Egg Harbor Township (NJ)
17 Brandon Roberts Nansemond River (VA)
18 James Overby Phoebus (VA)
19 Brian Russell St. Joseph by the Sea (NY)
20 Dashawn Putman St. Peter's Prep (NJ)
21 Isaac Williams Willingboro (NJ)
22 Jalen Ramsey Norristown (PA)
23 Antwan Dickerson Pennsauken (NJ)
24 Mark Jackson Longwood (NY)
25 Andrew Brandt Marple Newtown (PA)
26 Jordan Carr Howard (MD)
27 Julian Coiner Linganore (MD)

HSB Pole Vault

ID Athlete School
1 Patrick Anderson Kane (PA)
2 Ryan Steinbugl Altoona Area (PA)
3 Chris Williams Strath Haven (PA)
4 Greg Gallagher Iona Prep (NY)
5 Tim Murphy New Fairfield (CT)
6 Austin Vegas East Forsyth (NC)
7 Jared Allison Dallastown (PA)
8 Michael Brunoforte St. Anthony's (NY)
9 Michael Jensen Appoquinimink (DE)
10 Alexandru Barker Conrad Weiser (PA)
11 Craig Hunter Robbinsville (NJ)
12 Xavier Boland Kingston College (JAM)
13 Dylan Parmly Fluvanna County (VA )
14 Mike Cyphers Lebanon (NH)
15 Brandon teribery Bradford (PA)
16 Corey Smith Central Bucks West (PA)
17 Sean Daugherty Lake Braddock (VA)
18 Eric Geider Northern Valley Regional (NJ)
19 Robert Mercer Crossland (MD)
20 Skylar Johnson Point Pleasant (NJ)
21 Logan Besougloff Langley (VA)
22 Austin Miller Herndon (VA)
23 Matt Urbano Iona Prep (NY)

HSB Long Jump

ID Athlete School
1 Clive Pullen Kingston College (JAM)
2 Tatenda Tsumba Eaglesvale (ZIM)
3 Keneil Grant Kingston College (JAM)
4 Alec Peabody Abington Friends (PA)
5 Cody Minnig Neshaminy (PA)
6 Anthony Averett Woodbury (NJ)
7 Gavin Gibson Jamaica College (JAM)
8 Tyrek Edwards Archbishop Ryan (PA)
9 Adoree Jackson Junipero Serra (CA)
10 Nicholas Phynn Jamaica College (JAM)
11 Christopher Crawford Western Branch (VA)
12 Jamal Williams Teaneck (NJ)
13 Richard Gatewood Roman Catholic (PA)
14 Adam Cummings Wolmer's Boys (JAM)
15 Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye Munro College (JAM)
16 Derrick Ingram Uniondale (NY)
17 Ian Miles Mount St. Joseph (MD)
18 Michael Francis, Jr Digital Harbor (MD)
19 Chris Armour Uniondale (NY)
20 Liam Vogt St. Joseph by the Sea (NY)
21 Charlie Kerr Lawrenceville School (NJ)
22 Khiry Twyman Girard College (PA)
23 Jabari Gray Queen’s College (BAR)

HSB Triple Jump

ID Athlete School
1 Dume Dube Christian Brothers (ZIM)
2 Tawanda Washaya St. Johns (ZIM)
3 Imani Brown Reading (PA)
4 Fitzroy Dunkley Jamaica College (JAM)
5 Thomas Johnson White Plains (NY)
6 Jarred Posey William Penn (PA)
7 Wellington Zaza Strath Haven (PA)
8 Carlington Benjamin Kingston College (JAM)
9 George Freiberger Westchester CDS (NC)
10 John Landis Father Judge (PA)
11 Anaquan Peterson Lakeland (VA)
12 Justin LIttle Westfield (VA)
13 Owen Smith Calabar (JAM)
14 Raphael Jordan Queen’s College (BAR)
15 Chris Rogers Manchester (VA)
16 Cody Israel Chaminade (NY)
17 Aaron Worrell Woodside (VA)
18 Ryan North Southern Regional (NJ)
19 Demetrius Hazly-Ward Westlake (MD)
20 Mark Cohen Cardinal Hayes (NY)
21 Racheed Davis Ocean Lakes (VA)
22 Jonathan Pitt South Brunswick (NJ)

HSB Shot Put

ID Athlete School
1 Braheme Days Jr. Bridgeton (NJ)
2 Ashinia Miller Calabar (JAM)
3 Christopher Staton Franklin Township (NJ)
4 Kyle Felpel Cocalico (PA)
5 Emmanuel Onyia Munro College (JAM)
6 Praduman Singh Upper Darby (PA)
7 Dontaye Rivera Pleasantville (NJ)
8 Kofi Yamoah Egg Harbor Township (NJ)
9 Chadrick Dacosta Kingston College (JAM)
10 Tevin Kirby Hatboro-Horsham (PA)
11 Mark Ramsey John F. Kennedy (NJ)
12 Will Pope Iona Prep (NY)
13 John Lowery Boonsboro (MD)
14 Travis Gallardo Bayonne (NJ)
15 Ian McGinnis Father Judge (PA)
16 Chris Cook Lawrenceville School (NJ)
17 Shaquelle Lewis Jamaica College (JAM)
18 Curtis Fitzpatrick Egg Harbor Township (NJ)
19 Matt Koh River Dell Regional (NJ)
20 Nadim Elhage Winston Churchill (MD)

HSB Discus Throw

ID Athlete School
1 Sam Mattis East Brunswick (NJ)
2 Kyle Long Hempfield (PA)
3 Fedrick Dacres Calabar (JAM)
4 Rudy Winkler Averill Park (NY)
5 Dominik Kosar St. Joseph Collegiate (NY)
6 Chaz Wilks Cardinal O'Hara (PA)
7 A.J.Wolf Hackley School (NY)
8 Ryan Hart Downingtown East (PA)
9 Jevaughn Shaw Munro College (JAM)
10 James Plummer Egg Harbor Township (NJ)
11 Bryan Pearson Bangor (PA)
12 Julian Pinnix-Odrick Montclair (NJ)
13 Josh Awotunde Delsea Regional (NJ)
14 Sam Cherney Ithaca (NY)
15 Noah White Jericho (NY)
16 Andrew Trumbetti Northern Valley Regional (NJ)
17 Cole Stout Atlee (VA)
18 Evan Arnott Schuylkill Valley (PA)
19 Jong Min Youn North’n Valley Old Tappan (NJ)
20 Andrew Romeo Bangor (PA)

HSB Javelin Throw

ID Athlete School
1 Billy Stanley South Park (PA)
2 Michael S. Shuey Johnsonburg (PA)
3 Stephen Burk Parsippany (NJ)
4 David Reinhardt Bradford (PA)
5 Jonathan Strauss Lehighton Area (PA)
6 Rajae Gayle Munro College (JAM)
7 Blake Rankin Bloomsburg (PA)
8 Chris Mirabelli Holy Cross (NJ)
9 Bobby Smutsky Northern (PA)
10 Perry Hopkins Unionville (PA)
11 Cole Proffitt Manheim Central (PA)
12 Anthony Seidel Hasbrouck Heights (NJ)
13 Rolando Reid Munro College (JAM)
14 Tommy Myers Coventry (CT)
15 Brandon McCleese Cherokee (NJ)
16 Madison Miller Wilson (PA)
17 Harry Sullivan Ramapo (NJ)
18 Chris Connors Hasbrouck Heights (NJ)
19 Andrew Scanlan Spring-Ford (PA)
20 Curtis Thompson Florence Township (NJ)
21 John Olson Upper Perkiomen (PA)

HSG Mile Run

ID Athlete School
1 Angel Piccirillo Homer Center (PA)
2 Mary Cain Bronxville (NY)
3 Alexis Panisse Benjamin Cardozo (NY)
4 Ajee' Wilson Neptune (NJ)
5 Kelsey Margey Friends Academy (NY)
6 Katie Fortner Cave Spring (VA)
7 Carolyn Bethel Hidden Valley (VA)
8 Maria Seykora Notre Dame Academy (PA)
9 Samantha George Millbrook (NC)
10 Kennedy Weisner Elk County (PA)
11 Kimberley Ficenec Mountain View (VA)
12 Audrey Batzel Ocean Lakes (VA)
13 Jackie Choucair Hockaday School (TX)
14 Sarah Gillespie Northwest Catholic (CT)
15 Caroline Alcorta West Springfield (VA)
16 Sara Sargent Pennsbury (PA)
17 Cayla Del Piano South Brunswick (NJ)

HSG 3000m

ID Athlete School
1 Sophie Chase Lake Braddock (VA)
2 Megan Lacy Cherokee (NJ)
3 Hannah Christen Lake Braddock (VA)
4 Colette Richter Mountain Lakes (NJ)
5 Jaimie Phelan St. Mary’s (ONT)
6 Caroline Kellner W.W. Plainsboro South (NJ)
7 Amanda Rickert Wilmington Charter (DE)
8 Meghan McGovern North Penn (PA)
9 Tori Gerlach Pennridge (PA)
10 Dina Iacone Washington Township (NJ)
11 Margaret Drazba St. Marys (WV)
12 Gianna Frontera Newburgh Free (NY)
13 Caitlin Bungo Sewickley (PA)
14 Allie Klimkiewicz Oakton (VA)
15 Catherine Maloy Holy Names (NY)
16 Hannah Oneda Winters Mill (MD)
17 Elizabeth Caldwell North Shore (NY)
18 Jessica Donohue North Shore (NY)
19 Eliza Dekker Durham (NC)
20 Holly Biscof Bishop Eustace Prep (NJ)
21 Isabel Amend Washington-Lee (VA)
22 Amy Darlington Liberty (PA)
23 Kate Zendell Suffern (NY)
24 Katie Treichel Saratoga Springs (NY)
25 Nicole Park Ocean Lakes (VA)
26 Regan Rome Dallas (PA)

HSG 400m Hurdles

ID Athlete School
1 Adriana Brown St. Elizabeth Technical (JAM)
2 Alexis Franklin Old Mill (MD)
3 Autumn Franklin McDonogh School (MD)
4 Jessica Gelibert Bay Shore (NY)
5 Vamonie Boddie Phoebus (VA)
6 Kiah Seymour Archbishop John Carroll (DC)
7 Kernesha Spann St. Francois Girls (TRI)
8 Jennifer Esposito Mansfield (MA)
9 Racquel Moses Milford Mill (MD)
10 Tanaya Yarde Mount Vernon (NY)
11 Brittney Adams DeWitt Clinton (NY)
12 Christina Zelenoy Monroe-Woodbury (NY)
13 Gwen Shaw Wootton (MD)
14 Stey'ce McNeil Winslow (NJ)
15 Chistine London Howard (MD)
16 Taylor McDonald Nordonia (OH)
17 Alexis Murry Lackey (MD)
18 Ashley Woodards Delsea Regional (NJ)
19 Helena Leyrer Buena Regional (NJ)
19 Alvonna Blakney West Mecklenburg (NC)
21 Sylvia Deppen Wootton (MD)
22 Latazah Coleman Appoquinimink (DE)
23 Kayla Coley Cheltenham (PA)
24 Chantel Ray Hampton (VA)
25 Marilyn Allen W.W. Plainsboro North (NJ)
26 Heather Smith Great Bridge (VA)
27 Tichina Rhodes Swenson Arts & Tech (PA)

HSG High Jump

ID Athlete School
1 Kimberly Williamson Edwin Allen (JAM)
2 Shanice Hall Wolmer's Girls (JAM)
3 Maddie Morrow Hoover (OH)
4 Krista-Gay Taylor Alpha Academy (JAM)
5 Megan McCloskey Germantown Academy (PA)
6 Hannah Stone Catoctin (MD)
7 Brianna Hayes Matoaca (VA)
8 Kyaira Wright Harmon Franklin Township (NJ)
9 Noel Jancewicz Robbinsville (NJ)
10 Nakita Gray Friendly (MD)
11 Taylor Morgan Upper Dublin (PA)
12 Brionna Singleton Essex County VoTech (NJ)
13 Megan Kirschling West Deptford (NJ)
14 Hansen Sashane Herbert Morrison (JAM)
15 Emily Godwin Buckhannon-Upshur (WV)
16 Erika Hurd Manchester Valley (MD)
17 Kelly Clifford Douglas MacArthur (NY)
18 Cyre Virgo Fleetwood (PA)
19 Christina Solomon Bishop McNamara (MD)
20 Elly Wardle Toms River South (NJ)

HSG Pole Vault

ID Athlete School
1 Larisa Debich Hempfield Area (PA)
2 Chelsea Vaughan Southern Regional (NJ)
3 Kristen Lee Wakefield (NC)
4 Hannah Meador Fluvanna County (VA )
5 Emma King Oakdale (MD)
6 Virginia LaMacchia Central Columbia (PA)
7 Kara Snyder Colonie Central (NY)
8 Felecia Majors South County (VA)
9 Malena Sabatino Hillsborough (NJ)
10 Amanda Benninghoff Council Rock South (PA)
11 Emily Shipley Hillsborough (NJ)
12 Maddesen Weekes Shenendehowa (NY)
13 Kennedy Shank Northern (PA)
14 Rayna Yvars Green Hope (NC)
15 Grace Giampietro Villa Maria Academy (PA)
16 Lauren O'Connell Newtown (CT)
17 Lexi Masterson Hempfield Area (PA)
18 Maggie Rampolla Maryvale Prep (MD)
19 Olivia Loy Cedar Cliff (PA)
20 Lexie Schachne Staples (CT)
21 Erin Knabe Voorhees (NJ)

HSG Long Jump

ID Athlete School
1 Sha'Keela Saunders Nansemond River (VA)
2 Chanice Porter Manchester (JAM)
3 Danielle Gibson St. Augustine’s (BAH)
4 Dennisha Frazier Dunbar (DC)
5 Alexis Faulknor Junipero Serra (CA)
6 Shamia Lassiter Western Branch (VA)
7 Traci Hicks Long Beach Poly (CA)
8 Keturah Orji Mount Olive (NJ)
9 Opal James St. Elizabeth Technical (JAM)
10 Jordan Matthews Abington (PA)
11 Octivia Booker Hodgson Vo-Tech (DE)
12 Janel Francis O’Connell Copiague (NY)
13 mobolaji Adeokun DuVal (MD)
14 Cidae'a Woods Winslow (NJ)
15 Jessicca Noble The Queen’s School (JAM)
16 Tatiana Wolfe Alpha Academy (JAM)
17 Ariana Washington Long Beach Poly (CA)
18 Danielle Hale South Lakes (VA)
19 Sara Ronde Northport (NY)
20 Amani Newsmith Swenson Arts & Tech (PA)
21 Kimberly Golding Alpha Academy (JAM)

HSG Triple Jump

ID Athlete School
1 Shardia Lawrence Vere Technical (JAM)
2 Bryanna Grant Cranford (NJ)
3 Melodee Riley Riverhead (NY)
4 Molly Shapiro Emma Willard (NY)
5 Carina Peter Herndon (VA)
6 Adefunke Sonaike Montgomery Township (NJ)
7 Antonique Butler St. Augustine’s (BAH)
8 Anna Williams Thomas Edison (VA)
9 Mollie Gribbin South Burlington (VT)
10 Jessica Caldwell McDonogh School (MD)
11 Tiffany Ellick Western Branch (VA)
12 Brielyn Rogers Bishop McNamara (MD)
13 Shenelle Mckay Alpha Academy (JAM)
14 Iana Amsterdam Essex County VoTech (NJ)
15 Diamond Hodge Girls' (PA)
16 Shaya Wilkerson Lenape (NJ)
17 Shedya Khodeai Hayfield (VA)
18 Paige Lumley Richland (PA)
19 Olivia Jebb Cornwall (NY)
20 Cidni Ford Wakefield (NC)
21 Sydney Hausman Brearley (NY)

HSG Shot Put

ID Athlete School
1 Theresa Picciallo Immaculate Heart (NJ)
2 Antonella Taylor Bowie (MD)
3 Alexus Scott Eleanor Roosevelt (MD)
4 Rachel Fatherly Williamsport (PA)
5 Chioma Onyekwere Robinson (VA)
6 Adaora Nwodili Longwood (NY)
7 Briyah Brown New Rochelle (NY)
8 Andrea McKenna St. John Vianney (NJ)
9 Isabella Stuopis Souhegan (NH)
10 Urina Harrell Junipero Serra (CA)
11 Alexis Kennedy Millville (NJ)
12 Julie Kerber Lakewood (NJ)
13 Lisbeth Lopez Randolph (NJ)
14 Carrie Wasdyke Jefferson Township (NJ)
15 Mariame Fadiga W.W. Plainsboro South (NJ)
16 Kadijah Doughty Cape Henlopen (DE)
17 Zakiya Rashid Nansemond River (VA)
18 Tara Belinsky Manhasset (NY)
19 Allison Wethey Bayard Rustin (PA)
20 Taylor Martin Hackensack (NJ)
21 Sarah Talmadge Mount St. Dominic (NJ)

HSG Discus Throw

ID Athlete School
1 Tara-Sue Barnett Edwin Allen (JAM)
2 Danniel Thomas Edwin Allen (JAM)
3 Sasha-Gaye Marston Edwin Allen (JAM)
4 Fayon Gonzales St. Jago (JAM)
5 Devene Brown St. Hugh's (JAM)
6 Jess Woodard Cherokee (NJ)
7 Gleneve grange Holmwood Tech (JAM)
8 Tamara Ovejera Gov. Johnson (MD)
9 Mackenzie Leigh Buckhannon-Upshur (WV)
10 Venique Harris St. Andrew Girls (JAM)
11 Ashli Weems Millville (NJ)
12 Ashleigh Stallings Maryvale Prep (MD)
13 Jordan Collins Bayport-Blue Point (NY)
14 Jennifer Slagus North Pocono (PA)
15 Kylie Siemanowicz Manchester Township (NJ)
16 Sarah Fairbanks Elizabethtown Area (PA)
17 Mary Newell Villa Joseph Marie (PA)
18 Taylor Hojnacki Central Bucks South (PA)
19 Carter Green North Schuylkill (PA)
20 Kimberly Alfaro Toms River South (NJ)

HSG Javelin Throw

ID Athlete School
1 Christine Streisel Tamaqua (PA)
2 Megan Glasmann Park City (UT)
3 Shaunteriah Douglas Garfield (NJ)
4 Olivia Hassler Parkland (PA)
5 Maria Jimmenez Vineland (NJ)
6 Kelsey Carlsen Northeast Bradford (PA)
7 Katie Johnston Haddonfield Memorial (NJ)
8 Sarah Firestone Mercersburg Academy (PA)
9 Chrissy Rickert Hempfield (PA)
10 Alejandra Willequer Cumberland Valley (PA)
11 Jeanne Berry Delsea Regional (NJ)
12 Ellie Gravitte Ridgefield (CT)
13 Kelsey Hay Palmerton (PA)
14 Valarie Orth Arthur P. Schalick (NJ)
15 Lisa Sesink-Clee Holy Angels (NJ)
16 Solveig Loeken Randolph (NJ)
17 Adriana Vukmanic Bishop McDevitt (PA)
18 Bridget Coffey North Penn (PA)
19 Kelly Yanucil Bordentown (NJ)
20 Jessica Helmstetter Raritan (NJ)
Dior HallJohn Dye/ESPNHSDior Hall crosses the line seemingly calm and composed after her stunning upset of Trinity Wilson in the 60H.

NBNI Index

NEW YORK – Dior Hall had run a slew of fast times and even won some big races. But during Sunday’s finals in the 60-meter hurdles, the sophomore from Denver, Colo. took it to the next level.

Hall blitzed U.S. Junior and World Youth champ Trinity Wilson and the rest of the New Balance Nationals Indoor field, running 8.19 seconds for No. 2 all-time and another new sophomore class record. It was arguably the most impressive performance of the final session of the three-day affair at The Armory.

Three weekends earlier, in Pocatello, Idaho, Dior ran 8.30 in the prelims of the Simplot Games and then hit the last hurdle the next day as Wilson sped off with the victory and a then-US#1 8.23. Then, on Feb. 26 in Seattle, Wash., Hall lowered her time to 8.28 and bettered Wilson’s class record and won the race. But Wilson was elsewhere.

It all came together in New York. First she ran 8.25, fastest overall in the semifinal round. In the final, Hall got a huge advantage on Wilson at the start and the Californian – who last lost to a prep in 2010 – could never catch up. After the championship race, Hall found her mom – Yolanda Johnson, a former all-time hurdling great – and shared an emotional moment with her.

“I was excited,” Hall said. “I was crying with my mom. I feel like I’m on the right track and (now) it’s on to the outdoor season.”

Before the curtain closed on the indoor season, many of the country’s top athletes took a final stab at leaving their mark on it before moving on to outdoors.

In the boys 400, the highly anticipated showdown with trio Aldrich Bailey (Texas), Najee Glass (N.J.) and Arman Hall (Fla.) lost some of its sizzle when Hall didn’t run fast enough in the prelims to make the fastest section of the finals. So the big show turned into a rematch of the Brooks PR meet – with a nearly identical result.

Bailey got into the lead by the end of the stagger, but Glass was right behind him. Bailey left a seam open on the inside and Glass pressed through it to take the lead. Bailey went wide on the final straightaway to try and win – and was a little short. It was Glass clocking 46.57 and Bailey right there in 46.59.

“I forced myself in,” Glass said. “It was not a big gap. I had to be aggressive.”

Bailey certainly wasn’t expecting the pass on the inside and wasn’t even sure it was legal. “When Najee passed on the inside, I was like ‘What’s going on?’” he said. “I lost my form when he did that.”

Bailey recovered in time to win the 200 meters in a meet record 21.07 seconds, but it didn’t quite make up for the second straight loss to Glass (the difference in Seattle was .01 seconds).

For Edward Cheserek, the final day of NBNI provided an opportunity to pursue individual titles after anchoring two relays wins for St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.).

It started with the two-mile, but Cheserek ran even splits on the way to 8:50.53 – a great time by anyone else’s standards, but seven seconds slower than he’d already run in this winter.

It was about 75 minutes that Cheserek took to the track again for the mile, but the race did not turn into the four-event coronation that he may have imagined. At the front, Jacob Burcham (Ona, W.V.) went after Cheserek, trying to surge his way to the lead. Each time, Cheserek responded and rebuffed him.

Laying in the weeds, right behind them, Brad Nye of Kaysville, Utah was watching and waiting. “With 400 to go, I was still in the race,” he said. “I said ‘I’m right here. This is perfect.’”

Nye moved off the final curve, ran past Burcham and Cheserek and took it through the tape in 4:08.67. The Foot Locker champ and 5,000-meter U.S. record-holder was next in 4:09.07 and Burcham was third in 4:10.82. Nye also had a performance at Simplot that set the stage for nationals, except in his case it was a 1,600 victory so dominant – an easy-looking 4:12.39 at high altitude – that many believed he could improve significantly.

Nye was almost stunned by his achievement and quick to be humble. He had watched each of Cheserek’s previous three races and noticed that he was being pushed – or pushing himself – in all of them.

“Wow, he is such a stud,” Nye said. “His whole attitude, his ability, I have nothing but respect for the guy. It was a great opportunity to run with him.”

Two of the other big matchups came in the 800-meter races.

Ben Malone of Pascack Valley, N.J. kicked late and ran a junior class national record and No. 2 all-time 1:49.94 to beat a field that included Zavon Watkins (N.Y.) and Ned Willig (Pa.), who were second and third, respectively. It concluded an amazing undercover campaign for Malone, who is also US#1 at 1,000 meters and has shown great range from 600 to cross-country.

Ajee Wilson and Mary Cain had a rare chance to go head-to-head, and get to know one another. The senior from Neptune, N.J. and the sophomore from Bronxville, N.Y. don’t live far apart, but they really didn’t know each other. Cain approached Wilson in the bathroom and asked if she’d like to warm-up together.

“She’s run 2:02 (for 800), so I just wanted to go out and do my best,” Cain said. “I tried to go after her that last 150. Why not? But that last 100 it was hard to find that other gear.”

Wilson had her eye on Cain all along and was wary of getting into a kicking contest with her. “I wasn’t asleep on (Cain),” she said. “I knew I needed to save something for the last 150.”

Leading off the field events, it was hard to top Avana Story of Woodward Academy (Georgia), already the national leader in the girls weight throw. She hit a two-foot personal best 63-1.5 to move to No. 2 all-time behind her former Throw1Deep Club teammate Shelby Ashe.

“After my third throw of 60 (feet), it was time to go all-out,” Story said. “I’ve been waiting for that 19 meters to come up all season.”

Ashe, who took the year off from entering college in order to train for the Olympics, continues to work out with Story and her teammates. “She’s like my big sister,” Story said of Ashe. “She told me I could do it.”

In the boys weight throw, Rudy Winkler of Averill Park, N.Y. had the four longest throws of the competition – all of them over 24 meters (78-8) – and hit the first 80-foot throw of the year for the winner, 80-11.75 (#8 all-time).

Carla Forbes of Newtonville, Mass. won a horizontal jump title for the third year in a row. The junior won the triple in 2010 and the long jump last year. On Saturday, she was fifth in the long jump with a respectable 19-7.

In the triple jump, Forbes improved to 42-5.25 for a 19-inch season’s best. It was good for No. 10 all-time. “I was kind of angry,” she said of her morning after the long jump. “I said ‘You know what, I’m going to win something this weekend.’ I had to focus on a new day.”

Ariah Graham of Wakefield, N.C. went 3-for-3 in her events. She anchored Wakefield (N.C.) to victories in the 4x200 and 4x400, and also won the individual title in the 400 with 53.95, fourth-fastest in the nation this season.

Wakefield’s 4x200 relay turned in a meet record 1:36.35, also #2 all-time. The 4x400 ran a US#1 3:43.01, good for #8 all-time.

Robert Rhodes anchored the boys of Boys and Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to a relay win for the second straight day. After an emotionally draining 4x800 win on Saturday, Rhodes recovered in time to help his team take the 4x400 decisively, in 3:16.78.

2012 NBNI: Friday Preview and Predictions

March, 9, 2012

NBNI Index

Girls High Jump (Friday, 6 p.m.)
This should be a great battle between a trio of jumpers who have cleared 5-10 or better, led by 2011 runner-up and top returnee Madeline Morrow OH. Morrow was known last year for a big handful of great duels with fellow Ohioan Taylor Burke (2011 NBNI champ), who has now moved on to college. But she’ll hardly have the stage to herself. Multi-event star Kendell Williams GA, always a national championship threat in any one of several indoor or outdoor events, is entered here – though she recently said she might just focus on the 60H and pentathlon. The HJ has perhaps been Williams’ best event (and favorite) this year, so it would be surprising if she skipped it. If she’s here, she’ll likely battle Morrow to the final jump. A later add to the field is fast-rising Rhode Island star Dakota Dailey-Harris, coming off her New Englands title a week ago. Finally, the deep field includes 13 jumpers at 5-8 or better, so if the stars falter at the higher elevations, it could be anyone’s gold.
Top Three Picks: 1. Williams, 2. Morrow, 3. Dailey-Harris.
Winning Height: 5-11.25

Girls Distance Medley Relay (Friday, 6:10 p.m.)
The last time a powerhouse girls distance program from Michigan was a threat for a national relay title was back in the early 2000s when Rockford was fielding some of the nation’s best. Now enter the girls of Grosse Pointe South, which won the Michigan D1 state XC title (MI teams aren’t allowed to run NXN) and feature the Meier twins – both sub-4:50 milers (See Baker’s Dozen story about their record chances). There are a handful of other teams that could run in the mid-11:40s to 12:00, including LaSalle RI (US#3 11:53.36), Ocean Lakes VA, and meet-record holder Saratoga Springs (US#4 11:55.14), but it’s hard to imagine anyone beating the Michigan squad. Defending champ Fayetteville-Manlius is only running the 4x800.
Top Three Picks: 1. Grosse Pointe, 2. LaSalle, 3. Kinetic (Saratoga).
Winning Time: 11:34.50, USR

Boys Distance Medley Relay (Friday, 6:40 p.m.)
CBA NJ assistant coach Chris Bennett said Friday that their US#1 squad was pulling out of this event, better to focus on Saturday’s 4x1 Mile relay – the assault on a record taking precedence over scoring a potential sweep of the three longest relays. That leaves the door wide open for US#2 St. Benedict’s NJ to take the win, with star Ed Cheserek’s path to a potential DMR/SMR/2M/1M quadruple growing a bit easier. That’s not to say there are no other contenders. Marshfield MA with its distance duo of Kevin Thomas and Joel Hubbard, Piscataway NJ with Tim Ball, and Pembroke MA with Wesley Gallagher all have a chance to run 10:10 or better. Still, if Cheserek gets the stick within 6-8 seconds of the lead, it’s lights out.
Top Three Picks: 1. St. Benedict’s, 2. Marshfield, 3. Piscataway
Winning Time: 10:06.40, USR

Girls 5,000 (Friday, 7:10 p.m.)
The rematch of Erin Finn MI, Haley Pierce DE, and Wesley Frazier NC is the story here (see Doug Binder Story, SteveU’s Baker’s Dozen) and, as has been mentioned, Brianna Nerud NY is also highly capable of winning. If Pierce is on form, she should win, but the fact that she has been prone to an occasional collapse or major mid-race fade opens the door for anyone else. Whoever is most on their game definitely has a national record shot.
Top Three Picks: 1. Pierce, 2. Finn, 3. Nerud
Winning Time: 16:31.20, USR

Boys 5,000 (Friday, 7:55 p.m.)
There aren’t going to be any record chases this year, but the 5k should still be a very good competitive race with national class talent. Dallin Farnsworth ID and Dustin Wilson PA are both familiar with the 5k on the track; Farnsworth was 4th in this race last year and Wilson was 5th in the NBON 5k last June. On top of that, they were 11th and 13th, respectively, at Foot Locker Finals last fall. Farnsworth is really on a roll, though, coming off his meet record Simplot 3,200 win. Also, New Yorkers Thomas Awad and Dan Lennon should be solidly in the mix, especially Awad, whose marks have been strong nearly all winter.
Top Three Picks: 1. Farnsworth, 2. Awad, 3. Wilson.
Winning Time: 14:33.70

Boys 800John Nepolitan/ESPNHSThe last time (from left) Ned Willig, Zavon Watkins, and Ben Malone were on the track together, great drama ensued at the NB Collegiate 1k. What will happen in the 800 Sunday?

NBNI Index

There’s so much to love at the New Balance Nationals Indoor, the second straight year of a single national championship meet indoors for preps to settle who’s the best in the U.S. Here’s a primer to Baker’s Dozen best of the best over the three-day stretch (boys followed by girls, but in no pecking order).

Boys 800: Talent and drama to burn
The boys 4-lapper at NBNI isn’t getting the buzz of, say, the 400 or pole vault, but there’s no doubt that there will be high drama, especially with the following four protagonists:
Liverpool (Liverpool, N.Y.) senior Zavon Watkins: Defending champ and the only sub-1:50 (outdoors) in the field, Watkins had a great run of mile victories, but at shorter distances (600, 800, 1k) he’s dealt with a few defeats and a DQ. He still has something to prove.
Columbus (Bronx, N.Y.) senior Strymar Livingston: USRs at 500 and 600, but definitely has something to prove at 800 (2nd at Simplot), which will be his main outdoor event.
Great Valley (Malvern, Pa.) senior Ned Willig: Still US#1 at 800 this winter at 1:51.25, he “won” the 1k where he and Watkins were DQ’d and might still be burning a little from his 10th at Millrose (mile).
Pascack Valley (Hillsdale, N.J.) junior Ben Malone might be the most talented of all. He was the official winner of the NB Collegiate 1k (2:23.56) when the DQs came in, and has a US#1 4:11.66 1600, a 1:51 800 relay leg, and even a 1:21 600 to his credit. A dark horse who could take it all for sure, but he’s also entered in the mile.
Don’t be surprised if Robby Andrews' USR comes under attack and more than one runner goes under 1:50.

Boys PV: Best indoor trio ever
There have never been three pole vaulters at 17-6 or better in a single year, indoors. And, suffice it to say then that there has never been an undercover competition with three guys doing battle at such high altitude. It’s not completely shocking that Spring (Spring, Texas) senior Reese Watson and Lincoln (Gahanna, Ohio) senior Jacob Blankenship have reached that level, given their creds from 2011. But Kingwood Park (Houston) senior Shawn Barber was “only” a 16-6 vaulter when the season began. With his 17-8 outdoors last weekend, he actually leads the trio now. Interestingly, Texans Watson and Barber have not met this year, with Watson winning previous meetings between them before Barber’s big improvement. Blankenship has never vaulted against either of them, but his creds certainly match up: He was the surprise New Balance Nationals Outdoor (NBNO) champ last June and then earned a bronze at the World Youth Champs. These are three of the top six indoor vaulters in history, enjoy them.

Boys 400: From teammates back to rivals
While the above-mentioned vaulters have relatively little competitive history between them, the top guns in this epic 2-lap battle could hardly be more familiar with each other (See Doug Binder story). Still, the drama could hardly be higher. St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) senior Arman Hall was the man almost all of last year – winning NBNO and World Youth titles – except when he was beaten by Timberview (Arlington, Texas) senior Aldrich Bailey at the World Youth Trials. That surely gave Bailey confidence, despite being second fiddle again at the World Youth Champs, and he came out sizzling this winter with 47.05 and 20.99 marks in January. But then St. Peters Prep (Jersey City, N.J.) Najee Glass – a runner-up in the biggest races last year – finally got his, too, when he beat Bailey by .01 at Brooks Feb. 26. Their 46.06 and 46.07 times are #2 and #3 all-time (all tracks). Hall has done little indoors, but is down to 46.41 outdoors now (his 46.01 PR is the best of the three). And that’s what has transpired to create a matchup that, despite the rivals’ familiarity with each other, will be as dramatic as any race in the meet. And don’t forget, Bailey and Hall are racing the 200, too.

Boys 60H: Can Robertson confirm?
The boys short hurdle scene (55, 60) coming into 2012 was characterized by a big handful of guys with similar PRs, but no one having quite broken through to the super-elite level yet. And by the Brooks PR meet, the story was the same, with Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.) senior Dondre Echols (7.17 55H) and Berea (Berea, Ohio) senior Donovan Robertson (7.87 60H) having pushed closes to all-time great territory. But then, shockingly, Robertson became that super elite performer Feb. 26 at the Brooks PR meet, hitting 7.77 in his prelim and then an eye-popping 7.57 in the final – cutting .03 off Wayne Davis’ 2099 standard. On Sunday, Robertson gets a chance to back it up. There will be eight other hurdlers in the deep field who have run 7.27 or better for 55H, or 7.89 or better for 60H. Robertson will have a big target on his back and it will be fun to watch if he can “get to the first hurdle first” (his words) and do it again, or if a challenger will rise up and take him down. One more thing worth remembering: In Robertson’s last national meet, NBNO last June, he led 110H qualifying (13.74, -0.1w), but finished last in the final. Think he won’t be motivated by that?

Ed Cheserek: Doing the “Verzbicas”
The races and circumstances may be a little different, but for all intents and purposes, Ed Cheserek looks to be trying to pull a “Verzbicas” this weekend at NBNI. No, he won’t be running the 5,000 and going for a record there – he’s already done that this winter. But he is expected to anchor St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) US#2 DMR (Friday) and US#1 SMR (Saturday), both with a solid chance to win. And he is entered in both the 2-mile and mile on Sunday. If he (and his team in the relays) wins all four, would it be as big a deal as what Verzbicas did last year? In comparing the Friday-Saturday part, Verzbicas pushed fairly hard to break his own 5k mark Friday before resting Saturday. With his respective 1600 and 800 relay legs, Cheserek would probably have to run PR-level marks to carry St. Bene’s to victories. On Sunday, Verzbicas had to beat Cheserek himself in the deuce, whereas Ches will not have nearly as tough a foe. And in the mile, Verzbicas faced a more experienced field for sure, but not necessarily more talented than what Cheserek will encounter. By Sunday night, we’ll see how the two historical efforts compared.

Boys Distance Relays: Can the Brothers beat ‘em all?
Whether or not a top cross-country program carries it through all year long to be a top indoor and outdoor distance power, in individual events and relays, is more hit and miss than people think. Some harrier outfits aren’t as well suited for the mile on down at the national level. So what the Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, N.J.) has done already this winter – US#1s in the 4x800 (#2 all-time) and DMR – and are poised to do this weekend is pretty special. Besides the favorite’s role in the above-mentioned events, you certainly have to give them the nod in the 4x1 Mile, where they are defending champions. Could they win all three, something no boys’ school has ever done? Certainly; they look to have a good margin on the fields in the 4x1 Mile and 4x800, while Ed Cheserek and St. Benedict’s (2011 outdoor champ) may offer the toughest challenge in the DMR. As for national records, CBA might not have quite the top-end power to take down the very tough 4x800 or DMR marks, but WWPN’s 17:21.58 4x1 Mile from two years ago could go down.

Girls 800: Cain chases Ajee chases the clock
One can hope for more competitive drama, but in all likelihood, the girls 800 will turn into three races:
1. Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) senior Ajee Wilson chasing the clock, trying to strengthen her hold on #2 all-time or even, perhaps, making a decent run at Mary Decker Slaney’s 38-year-old USR.
2. Bronxville (Bronxville, N.Y.) soph Mary Cain running in no-man’s land for a fast time, somewhere in the 2:05-2:08 range.
3. The rest of the pack having a good race for third place.
Can Cain challenge Wilson? Maybe, on a really good day. And remember, Wilson is a racer – not someone who’s often tried to push alone in a race where she’s the clear favorite. But for Wilson, who has run all of her fast races this winter against elites in the U.S. Open, Millrose Games, and New Balance Boston Indoor GP, what other motivation would there be to run here? She won last year in 2:06.17 and to come to The Armory Sunday just to run to win seems pointless. Been there, done that. Thus, if she really lays it on the line, maybe we’ll see something as special as we presumed two years ago when she authored that epic relay leg at NBON. Stay tuned.

Girls distance relays: New girls on the block
If you assess the girls distance relays starting with the 4x800 and 4x1 Mile, you’ll notice some typically good fields with a handful of teams that could go low 9s or just under 9:00 in the former, and another potential challenger (Haley Pierce and Tatnall, Del.) to Saratoga’s 2005 USR in the latter. But then you check out the girls DMR – now THAT could be interesting. Grosse Pointe South, Michigan and the amazing Meier twins have never entered a national meet relay since they burst on the scene two years ago. Now, just off 4:43.24 (Hannah Meier) and 4:48.10 (Haley Meier) indoor mile PRs at the Brooks PR meet, they will see if their combined talents can attack the 11:35.43 USR by Mountain View, Utah from 2004. Remember, they also have Kelsie Schwartz who has run 4:59 for 1600 and Ersula Farrow, who has run 5:05. One wonders why they didn’t go for the 4x1 mile, but running the Friday night DMR allows the Meiers a day of rest before tacking Sunday’s mile (Hannah his defending champ). If Schwartz and Farrow can combine for a 60-62 400 and a 2:18-20 800, the twins ought to be able to do the rest.

Girls 5K: Rematch for elite trio
While Tatnall (Wilmington, Del.) senior Haley Pierce, Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) junior Wesley Frazier and West Bloomfield (West Bloomfield, Mich.) junior Erin Finn may have a broader perspective on Friday’s 5,000 than how it compares to their NBNO 5,000 last June – the comparison is certainly interesting to fans (see Doug Binder’s story). Pierce’s creds coming in last spring had made her an exciting favorite, but when she faded mid-race, Frazier and Finn put on quite a show in finishing 1-2. Since then, Pierce and Finn both had national runner-up finishes in XC (NXN and Foot Locker, respectively), while Frazier was off form. But as evidenced by their 2-3-4 finishes in the Brooks 2M, quite a battle should be ahead. In grave danger may be the 16:35.15 USR set just last year by Waverly Neer. And don’t forget about North Shore (Glen Head, N.Y.) senior Brianna Nerud, who could beat all three with a really good day.

Girls 60H: Hall gets another shot at unseating the queen
St. Mary’s (Berkeley, Calif.) senior Trinity Wilson has been one of the nation’s elite hurdlers since before her high school years and she has absolutely owned the 60H and 100H for the last year-plus. But if there’s anyone that could deliver the upset, it’s George Washington (Denver, Colo.) super soph Dior Hall. As the track world saw at Simplot, Hall pressured Wilson to be at the absolute top of her game at Simplot, only to stumble herself at the end and finish sixth. Atonement was sweet at Brooks, as Hall lowered her 60H PR to 8.28. Now she gets a rematch with the World Youth 100H champion, with both having to face a very good field. Can the young gun top the senior veteran? Or might Wilson be better than ever and take down Jackie Coward’s 2008 USR of 8.16? Watch and see.

Girls LJ: Battle of the 20-footers
Given that the national record in the girls indoor long jump is 21-7.5 (Carol Lewis, 1981), a 20-foot jump isn’t necessarily something to get really excited about. But five of them in the same years is pretty good, and having four of those five competing together for a national title is special indeed. The key players really haven’t crossed each other’s path much and don’t have a lot in common. Newton North (Newtonville, Mass.) junior Carla Forbes (20-1.25) is defending champ (and 2010 Nike Indoor TJ champ), so this meet is familiar to her. Fayetteville (Fayetteville, Ark.) senior Sydney Conley (20-1.5) has Olympic genes (her father is 1992 TJ Gold Medalist Michael), but is a relatively late bloomer and this is her first NSSF championship, in or out. And in Virginians Javanique Burress (junior AA champ from Louisa County at 20-1) and Shakeela Saunders (senior AAA runner-up from Nansemond River at 20-0.5), you have another national newcomer who’s made a big leap up this winter (Burress) and a veteran all-arounder (hurdles, TJ, long sprints) who has starred since her frosh year but popped that huge one way back in December (Saunders). These four girls have PRs within an inch of each other.

Multis: Familiar names
If it seems like Kendell Williams has been around forever, you may be surprised to realize that the Kell (Marietta, Ga.) junior is … still just a junior. Williams is everywhere, whether it’s in the number of events she competes in at a meet, or the number of meets she competes in during a given year. One of her many successes last year was winning NBNI with 3,792 points (#3 all-time) and while she must missed Shana Woods’ soph USR, she can get the junior class mark with just a 36-point improvement. Oh, and she’s also entered in the high jump (current US#1 5-10.75) and 60H (US#4 8.39). Meanwhile, on the boys side, the last name of the leading light should be familiar (Lazas), even if the first name (Jake) isn’t. Jake’s older brother Kevin battled Gunnar Nixon in 2010 in becoming one of history’s great multi-eventers in and out and is now a star at Arkansas (as is Nixon). But Jake, now a Brentwood (Tenn.) senior, has struggled with injuries somewhat. There’s no question, however, that he has tremendous physical talent and attributes and with a healthy senior year could challenge or surpass some of his brother’s marks. So don’t be surprised if you see a coming out party.

Girls sprint relays: Open the door for new powers
When you think of schools that have been all-around sprint and sprint relay powers at the nationals in the past several years, you think of Long Beach Poly, Eleanor Roosevelt, Benjamin Cardozo and Medgar Evers. But it may be time in 2012 to open the door to some new names, like Wakefield (N.C.) and Martin Luther King (Ga.). Wakefield isn’t new on the scene, but they’ve never run like they have this year, led by senior Ariah Graham and with US#1 marks of 1:38.35 4x200 and 3:45.64 4x400. Meanwhile, MLK – with athletes trained by Sprint Athletics – has developed stars like Felicia Brown (US#2 53.53 400) and Jada Martin (US#3 24.00 200). Perhaps the sprint relay race of the meet for either gender will be the 4x200, where both schools, plus Poly, will lock up.
Edward CheserekJohn Nepolitan/ESPNHSRecord-breaking trio: Edward Cheserek, who broke Lukas Verzbicas' 5k HSR is surrounded by collegiate and American record-setters in the same race: Lawi Lalang and Bernard Lagat.

Meet Index

In a venue that high school tracksters own for so many days and nights over the long winter, it was only fitting that the The Armory’s first-ever hosting of the Milrose Games should have been a special one for preps. Yes, for the previous years of the meet in Madison Square Garden, there were many special boys and girls miles, plenty of good relays, and some occasional forays by preps into elite races. But in 2012 with the promise of the 200-meter track encouraging fast times, meet organizers brought in three of the nation’s very best – St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) junior Edward Cheserek, Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) senior Ajee Wilson, and Christopher Columbus (Bronx, N.Y.) senior Strymar Livingston – to battle the pros and chase records and added a few relays as well. It all added up to a very heady brew in the sold-out historic structure.

Ed Cheserek
John Nepolitan/ESPNHSEd Cheserek crosses the line in triumph, setting the 5k USR with 13:57.04.

And guess what? The meet lived up to the hype – especially when the preps mixed it up with the elites. In the men’s 5,000, Cheserek started fast, shook off the lack of consistent pacing, and finished strong to nail his first USR: a 13:57.04 that took more than nine seconds off of Lukas Verzbicas’ 2011 mark (14:06.78). Fellow Kenyan-born stars Bernard Lagat and Lawi Lalang (U. of Arizona), who gave Cheserek a little boost when they lapped him, set American and collegiate records ahead of him and the trio celebrated together afterward.

The women’s 800, on the other end of the spectrum, could hardly have been more tightly packed, and that Wilson was right in the thick of that pack was a tribute to what she’s learned in her third race in three weeks against the elites. It wasn’t strategically perfect – she was pinned on the curb mid-race and swung extremely wide in the last 100 – but it was aggressive and that’s what counted most. Wilson’s reward was a US#1 2:04.13 that’s #2 all-time and netted her 4th in a field of eight.

Only Livingston wasn’t elevated on this day by racing the elites. After two spectacular records in three weeks, he couldn’t get in the rhythm in a slow-starting field and wound up 6th out of six in 1:03.39.

Meanwhile, the prep miles were typically strong and deep, with good storylines, even if they weren’t world-beaters on the clock. US#1 North Shore (Glen Head, N.Y.) senior Samantha Nadel was the overwhelming favorite to win and take down the Millrose record – and didn’t have to PR to do so. With somewhat tired legs, she settled for a 4:46.19 victory.

Liverpool (Liverpool, N.Y.) senior Zavon Watkins was the boys favorite (though not as overwhelmingly as Nadel), but in the third quarter of the race he had drifted into next-to-last place. No problem; Watkins woke up before the final lap and delivered a sledgehammer of a kick (28.5), finally stomping across the line with a triumphant growl.

The prep relays, overall, didn’t quite live up to pre-meet hopes; for example, the nation-leading Christian Brother Academy (Lincroft, N.J.) boys 4x800 and Boys & Girls (Brooklyn, N.Y.) boys 4x400 squads didn’t field their ‘A’ teams for various reasons. B&G’s boys did, however, sweep the PSAL 4x400 and Metropolitan 4x800 titles, while CBA got an impressive Suburban 4x400 victory. Another sweep came in the newest relay events, the sprint medleys for boys and girls, as St. Anthony’s (Melville, N.Y.) claimed both races. The most impressive stickwork, however, came in the girls Metropolitan 4x800, as Garden City (Garden City, N.Y.) ripped a US#1 9:00.92, #10 all-time.

New meet records were established in the girls mile and weight throw, and nearly all of the prep relays.

Cheserek and his fast friends

The aftermath said it all: First, Edward Cheserek on the track celebrating as part of a trio of Kenyan-born record-breakers. Then, Edward Cheserek delivering softly, quickly spoken short answers and sentence fragments in the interview room, leaving as quickly as he politely could. Finally, Edward Cheserek back on the track, getting into his warmups while happily chatting with the middle man of the aforementioned trio, Lawi Lalang.

Except for the rare occasion, the St. Benedict’s junior prefers to do his talking with his feet. And breaking records is a lot more fun when you have comrades from home to share it with.

Though Cheserek had run very fast times in the Stanner 2-mile and the New Balance Games mile (the elite race), until now he had never entered a race set up for a record attempt with all of the inherent hype. There was reportedly supposed to be two pace-setters for Cheserek, but the way things unfolded, he only truly had pace help for a few laps. At the beginning, there really wasn’t any need as Ches hung on the back end of the lead pack and went through 1,600 in a too-fast 4:16. That put him more than 14 seconds up on record pace. Shortly thereafter, he fell off the back. He got a few laps pace help from Ben Bruce, but then Bruce dropped out and Ches was back on his own, starting to lose ground, but still passing 3,200 in 8:48 with a dozen seconds to spare.

As his 200s started slipping above 35 seconds, Cheserek got a boost when Bernard Lagat and the other leaders lapped him. “When someone passes me, I usually slow down,” he would say later with a wry smile, “but not tonight.” He managed a 67-second in the middle of that final mile and while he then slipped back to 35 second laps and a couple slower, he was now closing in on the finish and the energy of the crowd and announcer carried him the final two circuits.

So, in the final 50-seconds of the 5,000, three records were broken: First, Lagat sprinted home in 13:07.15 for the American record, just holding off the 13:08.28 collegiate record effort of Lalang. Then, finishing 8th out of nine in the remarkable field was Cheserek, receiving a champion’s reception and raising his arms as he crossed in 13:57.04, taking away Lukas Verzbicas’ only indoor record less than a year after he set it.

Cheserek admitted the experience of running so far back yet breaking a record was kind of “crazy, but it was okay, though.” He added that “it was important to break the record” and he liked having someone pace him (for the few laps that it happened). Not surprisingly, he said, “I was very happy with my time.”

Then Cheserek left the interview room and while he was changing and chatting with Lalang, his coach Marty Hannon finally made his way down to congratulate his star pupil. “We knew up front it would be very fast and Edward would have to try and hold back. This was the best 5k field ever, here,” he said moments later. “To break the record by nine seconds, and to do it with the guys he looks up to, was awesome.”

Wilson proved she belonged

Unlike Cheserek’s presence in the 5,000, or even Livingston’s in the 300, there was little hype as Ajee Wilson lined up with America’s finest half-milers. Perhaps that was partly because it’s become commonplace for the Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) senior to line up with the elites. First, in the US Open, she had finished 2nd of four – not a particularly good field overall – with a 2:09. Then in the New Balance meet in Boston, she ran a faster 2:07.37 against a better field, but fell off the back and was not competitive. Would she be able to change the game here against the best field of the season?

Ajee Wilson
John Nepolitan/ESPNHSAjee Wilson mixes it up with the nation's best pros in the women's 800.

After a stumble necessitated a recall, the field was off again, with Wilson getting inside and staying there. One athlete immediately fell back, so it was basically a 7-woman race. This time, Wilson never lost contact with the lead group, smartly holding her position, running steady 31-second laps, and setting herself up for a big improvement.

Then in the final 120 meters, Wilson really impressed by gathering herself and sprinting around the outside for a final kick. She ran very wide, but was able to sustain it all the way to the finish, passing three women for 4th – including sub-2:00 pros Maggie Vessey and LaTavia Thomas. When the times came up, the magnitude of what Wilson had done became further apparent: 2:04.13, a 2-second improvement on her indoor PR. With that mighty kick, she had zoomed past legends like Joetta Clark, Tameka Grizzle and Chanelle Price on the all-time list. Only Mary Decker, with her otherworldly 2:01.8 from 1974, is ahead of Wilson now.

Wilson is rarely one to jump around and celebrate, but she was definitely smiling and had a look that said, ‘So that’s what it feels like.’ Then she revealed what made the difference this week: “I know this sounds strange, but I didn’t care as much. I didn’t put so much pressure on myself.

“This week I just ran my own race and stayed close. After I got through the second lap, I felt good, so I said ‘stick in there for one more.’ On the last lap, I heard my coach say, ‘Get to the outside,’ and I made my move. I enjoyed it more this week.

Watkins: Call him “Hulk”

What was up with that, Armorytrack.com asked Liverpool (Liverpool, N.Y.) senior Zavon Watkins after he stomped across the finish line after his boys HS mile victory, letting out a roar and throwing the finish tape to the track in a mostly beastly manner?

“The Incredible Hulk,” he said. “I was really excited.”

Zavon Watkins
John Nepolitan/ESPNHSZavon "The Hulk" Watson wins the boys mile.

Whether Watkins will dye his skin green next time to better resemble the Marvel Comics superhero or this was a one-time deal remains to be seen, but he certainly was emotional about a victory that came in a most improbable fashion.

For the first six laps, Watkins looked lost, like someone who’d just squeaked into the field instead of the favorite. With three laps to go, he had drifted to dead last. But after a 63-2:06.5 start, the leaders were hardly hammering the third quarter anyway and Watkins woke up and passed a few runners to get within striking distance. Still, he hardly looked like the winner with a quarter to go (3:12.5).

Chariho (Wood River Junction, R.I.) senior Mike Marsella had led since taking it from New Providence (New Providence, N.J.) senior Everett Price at 600 and, with his 4:09 mile PR from outdoors last year, was certainly a worthy potential champion. He had pushed the pace, then let up before three quarters as if to make sure he had enough for a kick. With 300 to go, there were still nine in contention – with a surprise off the back end being Great Valley (Malvern, Pa.) senior Ned Willig, with a 4:15 mile best this winter as well as that great NB Collegiate 1k and a US#1 1:51.25 800 to his credit. He would finish 10th.

Coming down the home straight for the bell, however, Watkins suddenly exploded and passed seven runners into the lead in a matter of about 40 meters. By the backstretch, the race was over, with Marsella giving earnest chase but just not having the same wheels. The “Hulk” crossed in 4:13.83, with a 28.5 last lap, followed by the Rhode Island star in 4:14.68 and the rest of the group at 4:17 or slower.

Watkins admitted emotions got him at the finish, that he was just so excited to win. “This was something I really wanted,” he said, “ever since Millrose last year when I got tripped up. I was really upset about that.”

He added that he wasn’t sure why he drifted all the way to the back so late in the race, but “I never count myself out. I really have a lot of confidence in my kick.”

Watkins plans to go back to his cornerstone event at New Balance Nationals, however. “I definitely want to run the 800 and go under 1:50,” he said.

Nadel: Winning was the most important thing

When you race the way Samantha Nadel has this winter, so successfully and with steady frequency, there will be times when you can’t quite achieve everything you want. So you settle for the most important thing.

Samantha Nadel
John Nepolitan/ESPNHSSamantha Nadel defends her girls HS mile title.

For Nadel in the girls HS mile Saturday night, that was winning – and defending her title. Chances are pretty good that if someday Nadel has grandchildren she wants to entertain with tales of her running prowess, one thing she’ll be able to claim is being the only girl to win a Millrose at both Madison Square Garden and The Armory. But the record she aspired to, Emily Lipari’s New York state mark of 4:42.04, would have to wait for another race.

In the past, Nadel has fallen victim to starting too fast, but this winter she has overcome that and Saturday she relaxed through the first quarter to see what everyone else might do. The pace was fast enough, 71.9, but when the inevitable slowdown happened for the others, Nadel took command. Victory was never in doubt at that point and she won as she pleased in 4:46.19, easily crushing the Games record and just .08 off her PR and track record of 4:46.11.

After that, the battle was for second, which was something Nadel’s teammate Brianna Nerud badly wanted. When it came to the final kick, Cosby (Midlothian, Va.) senior Megan Moye had more and edged Nerud at the finish, 4:49.95 to 4:50.12.

“Winning was the first priority,” Nadel admitted. “And it feels really great to win this meet again. The atmosphere here tonight was great.”

There was a good reason, though, that she didn’t have PR form. It turns out Nadel had tripled in a mid-week Section 8, Class B County meet. But she had no regrets – there are big races like Millrose strewn throughout the year, but she and Nerud also had business to accomplish for their team, and their performances helped North Shore win an 18th straight title there. “My legs were feeling it tonight,” she said.

Relays: Garden City shines brightest

Compared to the other fireworks in the individual events, the relays were a tad underwhelming, especially without the aforementioned CBA 4x800 boys and Boys & Girls 4x400 boys not at full strength. B&G star Robert Rhodes ran the Metropolitan 4x800 as the school took that title in 7:51.83, but having battled the flu during the week, the coaches gave him a break in the PSAL 4x400, figuring they still had enough to win in style – which they did, in 3:18.83.

Meanwhile, CBA was without top guns George Kelly, who had battled the flu most of the week, as well, and Tom Gorman – who was going to run the mile anyway, but didn’t do that either because of the same illness. The school still took 6th in the race with 7:58.87 and refocused on putting out a great 4x400. Mission accomplished, as CBA took the Suburban 8-lap affair in a US#3 3:19.61. “We were a sprint school today,” said CBA assistant Chris Bennett. “Our 4x4 stole the show. And three of these four guys will be coming back next year, including our anchor (Theo Foster), who we had in 48.8 today.”

The top relay performance of the meet went to a fresher group, the Garden City (Garden City, N.Y.) girls. In the Metropolitan 4x800, they ripped a US#1 9:00.92. They came into the meet having qualified for both this race and the Long Island 4x400 and, given their US#2 3:50.03 status in the 4x4, they had their choice of where to make their mark.

“We’re really happy with the time,” said freshman Emily O’Neill, whose older sister Katie is also part of the quartet. “We wanted to run that fast, but I’m not sure we really thought we could.”

Added fellow frosh Emma Gallagher, “This is only the second time we’ve run this relay this year. We wanted to win and hopefully run a US#1 time.”

Senior Taylor Hennig admitted as a sprinter, she preferred the 4x400, but was thrilled nonetheless and said that even though she’s older than her teammates, “they’ve taught me at least as much as I’ve taught them. It’s an honor to run with them.”

Also racking up the victories were the sprint medley foursomes from St. Anthony’s (Melville, N.Y.). The relays were just added this year and the school lived up to favorites’ status in both. The girls improved their own US#1 from 4:06.08 to 4:02.62. Senior Olicia Williams anchored in 2:12 and said that Chynna-Monica Chung’s third leg got them in position where they could get a seasonal best. “She put us ahead and I took it from there. We wanted to get a good time to get ready for nationals.”

The boys followed late in the meet with a 3:34.76 triumph.

Dunn, others shine individually

In the Women’s USATF Championship 1-Mile Racewalk, the field was boosted by the presence of several top preps from New York and the Northeast. The best of them turned out to be Edward Little (Auburn, Maine) senior Abby Dunn, who strode to a 7:28.36 in 3rd place, which she said was “just about” a PR. Like the other preps who were able to mix with elites, she enjoyed the experience tremendously. “I got to come last year and I was really excited to do it again, to have the chance to compete against women like Lauren Forgues (winner from N.Y.A.C. at 6:48.62),” she said. “I love this track.” Dunn also won the NBIN mile walk here last year and hopes to repeat in March.

Two more new events were the 55 dashes, with the star entry being Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.) senior Myasia Jacobs – the defending NBIN champ in the 60 and the silver medalist from last summer’s World Youth 100. Jacobs indeed dominated, rolling to a 6.91, just .04 off her current US#2 best. For the boys, it was Sweet Home (Amhearst, N.Y.) senior Wayne Gordon hitting 6.46 to get the win.

The weight throws, contested Friday, were to feature two of the nation’s best: US#2 Averill Park (Averill Park, N.Y.) junior Rudy Winker for the boys and US#1 Woodward Academy (Atlanta, Ga.) senior Avana Story for the girls. Winkler scratched, leaving the win to St. Anthony’s senior Bryan Rhodes with 63-9.5, while Story just missed her national leader with 57-8.5.