Commentary

2012 NBNO Girls Preview

400 is hot - Wesley Frazier goes for distance triple

Updated: June 12, 2012, 11:37 AM ET
By Doug Binder | ESPNHS DyeStat

Top 10 Storylines



1. 400 - The 400 meters is shaping up as the marquee event of the meet, with five of the top nine runners in the country vying for the title. Kadecia Baird (N.Y.) ranks US#3 with her 52.62 at the Loucks Games. Also US#5 Deja Parrish (Fla.), US#6 Kendall Ellis (Fla.), US#7 Kyle Plante (N.Y.) and US#9 Marcquita Stalbert are in the mix, plus Wakefield (N.C.) standout Ariah Graham. And freshman Karrington Winters, state champion in Ohio, could also make some noise. (Baird is also US#3 in the 200 and she may be in position to go for a long-sprint double in Greensboro).

2. FRAZIER - Wesley Frazier (N.C.) was a revelation at last year's New Balance meet, winning the mile and the 5,000 and also placing third in the two-mile. The junior has had her ups and downs since then, but is coming into the week fresh off an impressive fifth place showing at the adidas Dream Mile in New York. Frazier is entered in the same three events again. In order to defend her mile crown, Frazier will have to fend off a field that includes Kelsey Margey (N.Y.), Natalie Shields (Utah), Samantha George (N.C.), Carmen Carlos (Ala.) and Sophie Chase (Va.). The 5,000 meters includes Haley Pierce (Del.), Shields, Carlos, Chase, Maria Hauger (Minn.), Sarah Fakler (Ariz.) and Catarina Rocha (Mass.). And the two-mile (won last year by Aisling Cuffe) has an equally tough field populated by the same crew, including indoor national champion Carlos.

3. 800 - The 800 meters has three of the top eight runners in the country, led by US#6 Kimberley Ficenec (Va.), who has run 2:06.84. Emma Keenan (Pa.) and Megan Moye (Va.) rank US#6 and 7, respectively. There are 10 girls in the field who have run faster than 2:10.

4. SHUTTLE HURDLESThe girls from Long Beach Poly (Calif.) are coming to town with one thought: Break the national record in the shuttle hurdles relay. None of the four members of the team are entered individually. The aim will be to run faster than 57.49, which is the current record held by J.W. North (Riverside, Calif.). Poly has run 57.91 this season already, so the record is within reach.

5. 4xMILE - The girls from Tatnall School (Del.) have their sights set on a national record in the 4xMile relay. The Penn Relays DMR champs come in with a seed time of 19:58.48, which is less than a second off the meet record and two seconds shy of Suffern (N.Y.)'s national record. It could be the cap to a fantastic year for the quartet of Reagan Anderson, Julie Williams, Rebecca Salter and Haley Pierce. Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) is the only real threat to Tatnall in the field.

6. 400H - The 400-meter hurdles features an intriguing matchup between US#3 Nichole Candelaria (N.J.), US#4 Kiah Seymour (D.C.), US#6 Jessica Gelibert (N.Y.) and US#9 Helena Leyrer (N.J.). The top three in the field have all broken 60 seconds.

7. 4x400The competition in the 4x400 could be especially fierce, with US#2 American Heritage (Fla.) leading the way with a best of 3:43.15. US#8 Garden City (N.Y.), US#15 Wakefield (N.C.), US#18 Great Oak (Calif.) and US#26 Columbia (N.J.) are all top-flight teams.

8. LJ/TJ - Junior Carla Forbes (Mass.), the New Balance Indoor champion in the triple jump, will try to win an outdoor title. She is entered in both the long jump and triple jump and faces stiff competition in both. Kari Heck (S.D.) has the top mark in the long jump with 20-6.50 and Brittany Bryant (N.Y.) has gone 19-8.25w. Forbes' best is 20-3. In the triple jump, Forbes is the favorite with a best of 41-2. But Shemiah Little (N.C.) and Keturah Orji (N.J.) aren't far behind.

9. THROWS - Avana Story (Ga.), the New Balance Indoor champion in the weight throw, will try to improve upon her nation-leading throw in the hammer and win another title. Story is also one of the leading contenders in the discus as well.

10. POLE VAULT - Kimyanna Rudolph (Ind.) is the top entrant in the pole vault with a best of US#7 13-2.50. She'll have competition from Larissa Debich (Pa.), who has cleared 13-0.25, and Emma King (Md.), who has gone 12-10.

NOTES:

Jess Woodard (N.J.) is the top entrant in the shot put (46-2) and should be one of the favorites in the discus, along with Story. . . . The 100-200 are wide open but sophomore Deanna Hill of Orlando, Fla. may be the one to watch. She leads all entrants in the 100 meters with 11.59w and has the fourth-fastest seed time in the 200 (23.93.). Other top athletes doubling in the 100 and 200 include Jada Martin (Ga.) and Sabria Hadley (Fla.). . . . Maria Jimenez (N.J.) has thrown 160-8 in the javelin and is a heavy favorite.