From Christine Babcock's (CA) monster 1600m run, to Joseph Franklin's (FL) dominating 800m dash, to the great dual between Donn Cabral (CT) and Willie Ahearn (CT) at two-miles, this last weekend in May completely shocked the high school track and field world. Few weekend's over the past few years can match the top performances that came out of the distance events this past weekend. Read about the best highlights in our weekly News & Notes section.
News & Notes (5/27)
Christine Babcock (CA) Simply Outstanding
It's rare for a high school aged girl to run in the 4:30's, it's even more rare that they run 4:36.57. Well, that's exactly what Christine Babcock (Sr., Woodbridge, CA) did this past weekend at her Southern Section-Masters competition (the meet which qualifies an athlete to state). Leading right from the gun, Babcock shot out of the pack like a cannon.
Babcock's mark earned her the "National Federation" record in the event, meaning that she ran the fastest time ever in a high school only event. After taking national champion Jordan Hasay (Jr., Mission Prep, CA) to the line in the Arcadia Invitational 3200m run earlier in the year, it will be interesting to see just how low the Washington-bound senior can go. Few have ever given Babcock a shot to really push Hasay in the mile, however, after this past weekend, it seems that Babcock may be the best female distance runner in the country on the track.
German Fernandez (CA) U.S. #1 for 3200m
While Babcock and numerous others were stealing headlines around the country this weekend, one of the best performances came from German Fernandez (Sr., Riverbank, CA) out in California at his Section-Masters meet. After running 4:05 for 1600m last weekend, Fernandez took to the track Saturday in hopes of running a great 3200m time. Well, the Oklahoma State signee did just that, cruising to a new U.S. #1 mark in the event with his 8:45.08 performance.
Fernandez came back later in the meet to run a 4:07.62 1600m effort, showing just how strong he is. With so many fantastic results to his name over the past few weeks it remains to be seen just how fast he can go if only running one event on the day. After finishing a disappointing third at Foot Locker Nationals this past fall, Fernandez seems to have taken his frustrations out in his training. Can the California star break 8:40 and can he make a push at the magical four minute barrier?
Chanelle Price (PA) Goes 2:02.90 for 800m
She just keeps on getting better. Chanelle Price (Sr., Easton, PA) continued her progress towards the Olympic Trials this past weekend with her monster performance of 2:02.90 in winning the Pennsylvania State T&F 800m dash. While this time was only a few tenths off of Price's personal best set last year at the U.S. T&F Championships, this performance broke the Pennsylvania state record and set a National Federation record.
While many speculated which post-season competitions Price would take part in, it was announced Tuesday that she'll skip both Nike Outdoor Nationals and USATF Junior Nationals and instead compete in the incredibly prestigious Prefontaine Classic out in Eugene, Oregon. There she'll go head-to-head with some of the world's best in hopes to not only prepare for the Trials but also lower her personal best. Story Here
Cabral (CT) & Ahearn (CT) Break Nine for Two-Miles
With one of the deepest distance classes in some time coming towards the conclusion of their high school careers, the class of '08 has yet to have the same numbers some of the other classes earlier this decade have had when it comes to the 3200m and two-mile run. However, two more sub-9 two-mile efforts were added to the list this past weekend at the Danbury Dream Invitational (CT).
Donn Cabral (Sr., Glastonbury, CT) has been a national force all year, earning all-American status at Foot Locker Nationals and running some phenominal marks at various distance events on the track. Meanwhile, Willie Ahearn (Sr., Danbury, CT) has become one of the anchors on his hyper-talented Danbury squad and has run numerous top flight mile and 800m races. However, neither has really had a challenge in the two-mile and this meet offered that shot.
Both athletes took advantage of near perfect conditions, as Cabral pulled away over the final 400m to beat Ahearn 8:56.35-8:57.92 for the full two-mile. When converted down to the 3200m run both athletes rank in the U.S. top ten.
Joe Franklin (FL) Keeps On Blazing
After running an amazing 1:48.97 800m dash effort last weekend, Joe Franklin (Sr., Godby, FL) (pictured left in blue jersey #87, photo from FLRunners.com) took to the track once again, this time trying to earn a berth to the Olympic Trials at the Atlanta International Classic (GA). Franklin's primary goal was to qualify for the Trials, meaning he needed to run 1:48.50 in order to reach the B standard.
Franklin got off to a nice start and pushed hard through 600 meters, but started to feel the pace with 200 meters to go. Despite having some incredible competition, he came up short. The Tennessee-bound senior won the race in 1:50.41, fending off runner-up Dylan Ferris (Sr., East Forsyth, NC) who ran a seasonal best time of 1:50.81. The next step in this amazing season for Franklin takes him to the Great South Invitational, where reports have him trying to break the four minute mile.
Mat Smoody (IL) Keeps on Winning
It's never a good thing to get boxed in during a race, especially when that race happens to be your state championship and you're running the 800m dash. Defending his state title on Saturday, getting boxed in is exactly what happened to Mat Smoody (Sr., Palatine, IL). The Wisconsin-bound senior found himself surrounded on all sides and slowly falling out of contention at the 500m mark.
"I kept waiting, looking for a spot to go. 400 meters passed and nothing, 500m passed and nothing, but at 600m it opened up and I just went," Smoody said afterward.
With Sean Wiggan (Sr., Waubonsie Valley, IL) moving from Smoody's right shoulder up towards the leader Jeff Stapleton (Sr., Willowbrook, IL), Smoody jumped right behind Wiggan and rode his shoulder until 150 meters to go. At that point Smoody moved up to Stapleton's shoulder and then hit the 100m mark moving in full stride, surgining towards the finish line, and a repeat state championship of 1:50.71.
Smoody's time ranks him U.S. #5 currently in the event, but the more outstanding mark may be that he hasn't lost in the event in two years. With strong fields at the Midwest Distance Gala and Nike Outdoor Nationals being lined up in his signature event, Smoody will have more than enough competition to keep him busy the rest of the prep track and field season.
Charles White (CO) East Coast Success
Boston High Performance Series #2: Results
Earlier this year Charles White (Sr., Cherry Creek, CO) told MileSplit that one of his main goals this season was to break the Colorado state record for 1600m. While White has yet to accomplish this goal, he seems to be inching towards it. This past weekend White traveled to take part in the Boston High Performance Series, racing against some of the top prep, collegiate and professional athletes from the New England area.
White, who's a native of New York, showed why he's one of the best in the country, beating the field on a strong 100m finish, taking the top spot in 3:49.62 for the 1500m race. The University of Texas signee still wants a national title in the mile, which he'll compete in at Nike Outdoor Nationals. White's 1500m mark ranks him U.S. #1 in the event.