Weekend Preview: Penn Relays, Florida 1A-2A State Champs. Lead the Competition

While the Penn Relays may grab most of this weekend's headlines, many top level competitions take place from coast to coast this weekend that should provide some excitement. The FHSAA 1A-2A State Championships (Florida) kick off this season's state championships as the regular season slowly comes to a close in many states. See what meets highlight this weekend's schedule and make sure to keep checking back this weekend for the top performances.

Weekend Preview Highlights
- MileSplit On-Site: 11 meets and counting.
- Penn Relays, Drake Relays are huge.
- Florida 1A-2A State Champs. first of season.
- Midwest meets star distance talent.
- Dogwood Track Classic showcases VA athletes.

Weekend Preview (4/25 - 4/27)

MileSplit On-Site Coverage

MileSplit National Calendar

MileSplit is on-site at eight seperate

AL - 6A-Section 2 Meet
CO - St. Vrain Invitational
FL - FHSAA 1A / 2A State Track and Field Championship
MS - Region 3-4A
OH - Edwin C. Moses Dayton Relays
PA - Penn Relays
TX - Region IV-5A, Region IV-4A, Region II-5A, Region III-5A
VA - Dogwood Track Classic

Penn Relays (PA)

Penn Relays: Official Website / Meet Page & Results / Coverage Log

Let the games begin. The 113th Annual Penn Relays kick off their three days of action Thursday with the top high school girls along the east coast competing in some incredible events. Freshman distance runner Chelsey Sveinsson (TX) leads the way in the distance events, while Ryann Krais (PA) leads the sprint/hurdle fields. In the field events, Karen Shump (PA) looks to break the fifty foot barrier again in the shot put and the relays are stacked as always with strong teams from NY, NJ, MD, PA, VA and the speedsters of Jamaica. MileSplit will be on-site all weekend long providing the best coverage around.

Outside of the relays, the best event on the track this weekend is the boys mile. With seven athletes in the field capable of running 4:10 or faster and winning the race, this should be quite the draw. Kyle Merber (Half Hollow Hills West, NY) and Charles White (Cherry Creek, CO) lead the way as pre-race favorites. Merber tore up the indoor season, winning nearly all his races, including a first at Nike Indoor Nationals. White is equally as strong, with a NSIC win and a big win two weeks ago out at the Arcadia Invitational (CA). This race will be a fast one since White will be looking to break the Colorado state record in the event and will need to dip under 4:10 in order to do so. Click Here to Read Full Article

FHSAA 1A / 2A State Track and Field Championship (FL)

FHSAA 1A / 2A State Championship: Meet Page

The first state championships are held this weekend and the Florida 1A-2A State T&F Championship is the prime-time competition.  Leading the charge are national stars Jeff Demps (South Lake, FL), Joe Franklin (Godby, FL) and Kayla Hale (Holy Trinity, FL).  Each of these athletes are at the top of their game currently, so the results of each should be encouraging.  Demps will be looking to win both the 100m dash and 200m dash, improving upon his U.S. #1 mark in the 100m dash earned earlier this season.

In the longer events, Franklin will run the 800m dash and 1600m run.  This multi-time state champion has a lot left to prove this season and it will be interesting to see how he approaches each race.  Hale will be entered in the longer distance events of the 1600m run and 3200m run.  Like Franklin there is much time left in Hale's season, so seeing how she runs each race is something to watch.

The Florida sprints are always fast, so the relays should be fun to watch.  MileSplit will be on-site this week and next for all Florida state meet competition, so keep checking back for more highlights and results.

Dogwood Track Classic (VA)

Dogwood Track Classic: Meet Page / Official Website

It's rare that field events steal away much of the attention from the track, but the Dogwood Track Classic will showcase some stars in the jumps and throws.  The top events of the day are the girls jumps and boys shot put.  Brittni Finch (Lentreville, VA) leads the way in the girls long jump with her seed mark of 19-08.5, while Jasia Richardson (J.R. Tucker, VA) is the top girls triple jumper with her seed of 39-05.5.  In the boys shot put two athletes, Frede Spellman (Oscar Smith, VA) and Justin Smith (Turner Ashby), both athletes have marks near sixty feet and will be looking to put the shot over the magical sixty foot mark.

In the boys distance events, Western Albemarle (VA) has the top seeds in the 1600m run and the 3200m run.  Kyle Satterwhite (Western Albemarle) is the top seed in the 3200m run by quite a bit and should be looking to challenge 9:20, while Tyler Stutzman (Western Albemarle) is the top seed in the 1600m run and has plenty of tough competition behind him.

The relays look strong on paper, especially the 4x800m relay with Midlothian (VA) leading the charge.  Yvonne Amegashie (Potomac, VA) leads the way in the girls 100m dash and 200m dash with seed times far ahead of the rest of the fields.  On the boys side Ulrick Smith (Douglas Freeman, VA) is the top seed in the 400m dash and should receive plenty of competition with two other athletes under the 49 second barrier entered.  Damien Thigpen (Jackson, VA) is another one to watch as he ranks #1 in the 300m hurdles with a seed time of 37.5 and the 200m dash.

Drake Relays (IA)

Drake Relays: Official Website / Meet Page

Every year the Drake Relays assemble some of the top competition in the United States to take part in the historic event. While the professional and collegiate races have athletes from coast to coast, the high school events only host Iowa athletes. This rule means less competitive fields when compared to rival meet the Penn Relays, but there is some competition that will produce some good results.

The girls distance events are the top races of the day. Foot Locker finalist Katie Flood (Dowling Catholic, IA) is entered in the 800m, 1500m, 3000m and should be on her team's 4x800m relay. While Flood may not run all four events, she'll have competition in each. In the 800m dash she'll face Brooke Dinsdale (North Tama, IA) and Blaire Dinsdale (North Tama, IA). The Dinsdale twins have been national class for years and the Nebraska-bound seniors are ready to prove one more time they are the top mid-distance runners in the state.

In the girls 3,000m run, Flood faces her teammate Ashlie Decker (Dowling Catholic, IA), who may not be at the same level as Flood just yet but proved numerous times to be the second best runner in the state. Along with the Dowling Catholic athletes, Stephanie Mundt (Urbandale, IA) has one last chance to crack the armor of Flood in the event. Mundt is one of the Midwest's finest, so she should challenge.

The girls throwing events are equally as impressive with three nationally ranked athletes involved. In the shot put Taylor Freeman (Iowa City West, IA), her teammate Micaela Haight and Brooke Gitters (Pella, IA) all have a shot to throw well into the mid-to-upper forties. Generally that type of talent combined in one event produces some great marks. Freeman then takes her talents to the discus where she returns as one of the top discus throwers in the country from 2007.

Megan Glisar (Sergeant Bluff-Luton, IA) stars in the girls high jump with a personal best of 5-08, while the men of Pleasant Valley (IA) top the boys distance events with four athletes in the 1600m run. Devin Allbaugh and Blake Irwin lead Pleasant Valley, as Irwin is the favorite in the 1600m and Allbaugh is the favorite in the 3200m.

Hamline Elite Meet (MN)

Hamline Elite Meet: Meet Page / Official Website

Each year the Hamline Elite Meet tends to bring together many of the top athletes in Minnesota to compete in one of the first great outdoor track and field competitions of the season. Standing at the top of the start lists this year are a handful of distance stars, including Rob Finnerty (Burnsville, MN), Andy Richardson (Irondale, MN) and Zach Mellon (Buffalo, MN). Mellon takes his talents to his signature event of the 800 meters. Mellon ran 1:51 last year as a sophomore. Meanwhile, Richardson and Finnerty meet in the 1600m, where the two of them could run some incredible times. Both athletes were ranked in the top twenty last year, Richardson for 800m and Finnerty for the 1600m and 3200m. This is a match-up no one in the state wants to look over.

Highlighting the girls side is a high jump match-up that pits Katie Loberg (Princeton, MN) against Elizabeth Wilson (Armstrong, MN). Both athletes have personal bests of 5-07 and should be looking to clear greater heights...perhaps even 5-10. The other top field event competitor is Brian Leonhardt (Spring Lake Park, MN) in the boys shot put. Leonhardt enters with a seed mark of 57-03 and will be shooting to break the sixty foot barrier for the first time ever.

Prospect Invitational / Palatine Relays (IL)

Prospect Invitational Meet Page / Palatine Relays Meet Page

Perhaps the best distance match-up on the boys side this weekend take place at the Prospect Invitational in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. This event annually attracts the top distance talent in the state, including one or two out of state athletes each year. This year's field includes Foot Locker finalists Kevin Havel (Hersey, IL), Bobby Nicolls (Regis, CO) and Griff Graves (Abingdon, VA). Between these three and York distance men Tom Achtein and Steve Sulkin, this race has the potential to produce a few sub-9 minute efforts. Havel has stated that he wants the 3200m to have a fast pace, so do not expect any sit and kick tactics.

Prospect is Friday evening, but on Saturday both Nicolls and Graves take their talents a town over to compete in the Palatine Relays boys 1600m run. Once there, both athletes will have a chance to compete against Mat Smoody (Palatine, IL), who is one of the top middle-distance runners in the nation. Smoody will also be competing Friday at Prospect in the 1600m and plans to run the 800m dash at the Palatine Relays before the 1600m. This three athlete battle could produce a sub-4:10 or two.