Chapus regains winning touch in New York City
By Rich Gonzalez
(JUNE 9, 2012) -- Harvard-Westlake senior Cami Chapus resurrected her big-race reputation on Saturday with a clutch performance in successfully defending her Dream Mile title at the adidas Grand Prix track and field meet at Icahn Stadium in New York City.
Chapus, who suffered rare defeat in placing a distant fifth at last weekend's CIF-State Championships meet, rebounded to top a 14-person field in winning in a lifetime-best 4:39.64 for the full mile, a time which translates to 4:38.02 for 1600 meters. The converted mark moves Chapus from ninth up to third on the all-time California list, trailing only Polly Plumer (4:33.65, converted) and Christine Babcock (4:33.82 1600 meters).
Chapus helped contribute to a great finish in the girls race, just edging Pennsylvanian Angel Piccirillo (4:39.94) and Kansas' Alli Cash (4:39.98). Nikki Hiltz of Aptos High, the only other Californian in the race, finished 14th in 5:00.72 after winning last weekend's state 1600m title in 4:42.45.
The remaining half of Harvard-Westlake's vaunted mid-distance duo shined as well. While competing in the open division against mostly professional and world-class stars, senior Amy Weissenbach battled her way to a seasonal-best time of 2:04.03 for 800 meters to place eighth among a loaded 10-person field.
Next up for Weissenbach could be a foray into the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., in less than two weeks. She has already satisfied the provisional qualifying standard for the 800-meter run and falls safely within the estimated 32-runner qualifying field for the meet with one week to go before the qualifying window closes.
Chapus, however, has yet to satisfy the USOT provisional qualifying standard for the 1500-meter run (4:17.00). While her 4:17.12 at last summer's World Youth Championships leaves her awfully close to preliminary entry consideration, the abundance of women who have automatically qualified or have performed faster than her on the provisional list makes her acceptance unlikely. She'll likely pursue a roster spot for the World Junior Championships in Spain later this summer. The qualifying meet for that competition is next weekend's USATF Junior Nationals meet in Indiana.
In the other featured girls event at the adidas Grand Prix meet, Floridian Shayla Sanders stormed to victory in the 100-meter dash in a lifetime-best 11.34 seconds, with 2011 and 2012 Arcadia champion Aliyah Brown of Illinois placing second in 11.44. Long Beach Poly's Ariana Washington, the lone Californian in the field, placed fourth in 11.59. Washington won last weekend's California state meet 100m final in 11.47.
On the boy side, California state 100m/200m sprint champion Khalfani Muhammad of Notre Dame HS (Sherman Oaks) tasted rare defeat in placing fifth in the featured 100-meter dash. Muhammad, whose lone outdoor losses this year came against national-class competition at Arcadia, was timed in 10.72. The sprinters were hindered by a -0.9 meters-per-second headwind.
In the boys mile race, Stockdale of Bakersfield sophomore Blake Haney, who placed third at last weekend's California state championships, enjoyed a lifetime-best performance by clocking 4:09.43 while placing 13th in the 15-runner field. The time was not far off of Elias Gedyon's sophomore state record 4:08.69 set at the 2009 Arcadia meet.
California state champion Darren Fahy of La Costa Canyon, who held five head-on victories this year over runners in the assembled field, was the only California state champion not invited from the four events that were contested.