Five seperate states host state meets this weekend as Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Oklahoma all crown individual and team champions. While Florida should produce some of the best and deepest results of the weekend, every state meet has at least a few national caliber individuals worth watching. Along with the state championships, the BYU Invitational and Anchorage Invitational should provide some fantastic marks as well.
Weekend Preview (5/02 - 5/04)
Florida 3A-4A State T&F Championships (FL)
While last weekend's Florida 1A-2A State Track and Field Championships produced many of the best results of the weekend, this weekend's Florida 3A-4A State Track and Field Championships should be even better. With such superstar athletes as distance star Ashley Brasovan (Wellington, FL), sprinter Jeff Demps (South Lake, FL) and sprinter Brandon O'Connor (Miami Southridge, FL) leading the way, expect some fantastic results. Also, one of the unique areas of this meet is the addition of the middle school state championships included in the Saturday session. A glimpse of the future is a little clearer when this is done.
For a great preview article on the top athletes, events and teams to look out for this weekend in Florida, read Jason Byrne's (FLRunners.com) "Top Ten Things to Look Forward to This Weekend!" article. Click Here
AL, GA, LA & OK State Championships
With hot, hot temperatures on their way to the southern half of the United States, many of the region's states are hosting their state championships this weekend and next. Along with Florida, the states of Alabama and Louisiana host their last competitions of the season, with the Georgia girls and Oklahoma 1A-4A concluding their seasons as well.
At the Georgia Girls State T&F Championship, sprint stars Brittany Long (Therrell, GA) and Chalonda Goodman (Newnan, GA) aren't in the same races together, each being in a seperate classification, but both are running the 100m dash and 200m dash. You can bet both athletes will be eyeing each other's performances all weekend long, both wanting to prove they are tops in the state.
In Louisiana, the sprints, relays and jumps highlight the show as usual, with some very strong match-ups taking place. However, the place to be all weekend long on the campus of LSU is the pole vault runway. Rachel Laurent (Vanderbilt, LA) looks to close out her Louisiana high school career on a high note. With rival Shade Weygandt (Mansfield, TX) clearing 13-10 last weekend, one can bet Laurent looks to push the 14-foot barrier once again this season, maybe even taking a stab at the outdoor national record of 14-01.25 and overall national record of 14-02.50 (set indoors).
In Alabama and Oklahoma competition will be fierce, with competition fields held in each championship. One squad to watch in Alabama are the young women of Mountain Brook High School (AL). All school year the distance runners from this squad have impressed nationally, and with one more meet to go they will be looking to do something special. Front runner Madeline Morgan leads the way for the team, as she looks to win the 3200m run and 1600m run.
BYU Invitational (UT)
BYU Invitational: Meet Page
If there was ever a meet in a state that set up nearly an exact preview of what the state meet would look like it would probably be the BYU Invitational in Utah. This year's edition of the meet hosts nearly all of the big names in the state both individually and team. Leading the way this year is Luke Puskedra (Judge Memorial, UT), who's been tearing through competition this season. Puskedra will be preparing himself for a busy state meet weekend in a few weeks time, this time around running the 3200m run and 1600m run.
While Puskedra is the favorite in both events, he should receive a challenge from fellow Foot Locker finalist Stephen Clark (Skyline, UT). Clark is entered in the 800m dash, coming back later in the day to go head-to-head with Puskedra. The times in the 1600m should be incredibly fast if both athletes push the pace.
In the boys field events, Bryce Hall (Davis, UT) is the one to watch. Hall ranks as one of the nation's best in the shot put, an event he'll be competing in Saturday. Hall also plans to try and improve on his discus throw, which he enters as the top seed.
In the sprints, Natalie Stewart (Spanish Fork, UT) and her twin sister Nachelle Stewart (Spanish Fork, UT) are entered as the top two seeds in the 200m dash and 400m dash. Natalie has a slight lead over Nachelle in seed times, but both athletes will be looking to maximize points for their team. Natalie is also the top seed in the 100m dash, while Nachelle looks to come up big in the 800m dash, ranked as the top seed in the event.
The girls 3200m run should be a barn burner as well, with five athlete capable of breaking eleven minutes. Natalie Haws (Davis, UT) leads the way as the top seed in the event, while teammate Candace Eddy should come up to challenge her as well. The two Davis distance stars could push each other near 10:30, and considering that the race will be held at altitude the time would be a great accomplishment.
The BYU Invitational runs Friday and Saturday, with the large school divisions being covered in the Saturday portion of the competition.
Anchorage Invitational (AK)
It's been less than a month since the first outdoor meets started taking place in Alaska. The cold, harsh winter finally released its grasp on the region and the top tracksters in Alaska couldn't be happier. This weekend many of the best teams travel to the state capital of Anchorage to compete in the Anchorage Invitational at Barlett High School.
Competing on his home track is Jordan Clarke (Barlett, AK). Clarke has shown over the past two years that he is one of the best throwers in the country, proving he still had his throwing magic three weeks ago when he threw a U.S. #1 shot put mark. That mark has since been upped, so Clarke looks to regain the national lead in the event. The Arizona State-bound senior also hopes to improve upon his discus mark, which may actually be his best event.
Junior distance runner Trevor Dunbar (Kodiak, AK) also looks to make a statement, entered and looking to prove he is in better shape than the last time he had a chance to run really fast. As the sun comes out and heats up the track, times are expected to be pretty fast this weekend at Anchorage.