Weekend Highlights (6/13 - 6/15)
Midwest Meet of Champions (MI)
Highlights - Speed was the name of the game at the Midwest Meet of Champions Saturday in Michigan. Seniors from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan gathered in the attempts to earn regional bragging rights. While many events put up great results, none showed more talent than the 400m dash. On the girls side Meshawn Graham (Bowsher, OH) broke 54 seconds yet again, this time winning her best event with a 53.56 performance. On the guys side John Guagenti (Bluffton, OH) improved his personal best time by over half a second, winning the race in 46.95.
Candyce McGrone (Warren Central, IN) and Darryl White (Romulus, MI) put up big times in the 100m dash. McGrone won both the girls 100m and 200m dash events, running 11.78 and 23.65 respectively. White on the other hand beat a solid field of competitors, beating second and third place by one-hundredth of a second, winning in 10.67.
In the hurdles Michigan's Leslie Arriguzo won the girls 100m hurdles in 14.38, tuning up nicely for nationals. On the boys side Terrance Somerville (Buchtel, OH) won the 110m hurdles in 14.00, with Roscoe Payne (Carman-Ainsworth, MI) and D'Juan Richardson (Warren Central, IN) finished 2-3. Payne then came back in the 300m hurdles to win in 36.86, good enough for a U.S. top ten mark.
While the track performances were plentiful, some of the top results of the day came in the field events. Ryan Fleck (Napoleon, OH) jumped a U.S. #2 mark in the boys high jump, winning the event rather easily while clearing 7-02. Kevin Schipper (Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger, IN) also earned a U.S. top fifteen performance by clearing 16-09 in the pole vault, while Brandon Pounds (Lawrence North, IN) earned a victory over a very strong boys shopt put field, winning the event with his best toss of 61-07.50.
Back on the track in the distance events, Alex Banfich (Culver Academies, IN), Emily Infeld (Beaumont, OH) and Walter Luttrell (Dayton Christian, OH) all produced exceptional marks. Banfich won the girls 1600m run with a time of 4:52.17, while Infeld won the girls 800m dash in 2:10.00. Both athletes used their respective races to tune up for next weekend's national championships. On the boys side Luttrell won a competitive 3200m run, leading five athletes under 9:07 with his winning mark of 8:59.81.
New England Outdoor T&F Championships (ME)
Weekend Highlights - The last major competition nationally before the two national championships this coming weekend ended with a rush of fine results up and down the final scoreboard. The top performance of the weekend came from thrower Becky O'Brien (Greely, ME), who threw a new U.S. #1 mark in the shot put. O'Brien tossed the shot 51-06.50 to regain the number one ranking, something she hasn't held all outdoor season after holding it for much of the indoor season. The Maine senior also won the discus throw with a meet record toss of 161-11.
Another top field event mark came from David Slovenski (Brunswick, ME) in the boys pole vault. Slovenski improved upon his personal best by clearing 16-09, moving into the U.S. top fifteen. Slovenski clearly dominated the field and showed he is in peak form heading into nationals next weekend. Another top boys highlight and meet record came in the boys 400m dash, which saw Daundre Barnaby (Weaver, CT) run a fine performance of 47.31.
Barnaby's fellow Connecticut sprinter, Dominic Smith (Bloomfield, CT) continued his dominance at 200m by winning the boys event in 21.91. Other top Connecticut results came in the boys 800m and 1600m events. Danbury (CT) teammates Parker Bourdeau and Willie Ahearn both the two events, with Bourdeau taking the two lap event in 1:54.12 and Ahearn beating a very strong 1600m field with a 4:12.96 finish.
Perhaps the best all-around performance of the weekend came from Jesse Labreck (Massalonskee, ME). Labreck earned gold in the girls 100m hurdles with a time of 14.74, first in the 300m hurdles with a time of 43.94, second in the triple jump in 38-08.50 and sixth in the high jump with a 5-05 effort. Another top boys performance came in the field events, which saw Ben Latham (Fitch, CT) win the javelin in 206-07.
Other top female performances came in a variety of events. Shannon Conway (North Reading, MA) won the 400m dash in 55.92, while Rachel Schneider (St. Thomas, NH) won the girls 1600m run with an exceptional mark of 4:51.61. In the girls 3200m run Heather Stephens (Ridgefield, CT) outdid in-state rival Anna Shields to win the event in 10:43.31, while shields finished six seconds back.
In the relays, Danbury (CT) proved their strength by winning the girls events of the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. The squad won the 4x1 in a new meet record time of 47.36, while taking the crown in the longer relay with a 3:54.30. On the boys side the top performance came from Merrimack (NH) in the 4x800m relay. The squad broke 7:50, besting the field with a 7:49.19 time.
Caribbean Scholastic Invitational (PR)
Highlights - Heading into Saturday's Caribbean Scholastic Invitational, in Puerto Rico, it was fairly apparent that the U.S. was going to show some great marks against the regions best. However, the results were even more impressive than expected, with wins across the board, numerous athletes setting seasonal bests and meet records. One of the best performers of the day was Marquise Goodwin (Rowlett, TX), who led the U.S. boys to a 1-3 sweep in the 100m dash with his winning time of 10.56. Goodwin also came back later in the day to win the long jump with a mark of 24-05.
Elsewhere on the boys side, Chance Casey (Crosby, TX) placed second behind Wayne Davis (SE Raleigh, NC) 13.76-13.90. Casey came back later in the meet to win the 400m hurdles with a fine effort of 51.59, which was a new meet record. Another Texan, Omar Craddock (Killeen, TX), dominated as well by winning the boys triple jump in 50-01.50, another time leaping over the fifty foot barrier. Faqauwn Greene (New Bern, NC) had an exceptional day as well for team USA, placing second behind Goodwin in the 100m dash in 10.62, while setting a new PR to win the 200m dash in 21.17.
On the girls side, Marlena Wesh (Landstown, VA) showed her sprint skills, winning both the 100m and 200m dash events. Wesh placed first in the shorter sprint in a time of 12.06, while taking home gold in the 200m dash with her time of 24.55. Briana Nelson (J.L. Mann, SC) won the girls 400m dash with one of the top times in the country this season with her 53.94 performance, while fellow South Carolina star Jasmin Stowers (Pendleton, SC) won the 100m hurdles in 14.09, good enough to tie the meet record in the event.
A'Lexus Brannon (Ozen, TX) had a great day as well. The Texas starlet placed second behind Stowers in the 100m hurdles with a 14.23 effort, while winning the long jump in 19-03 and the triple jump in 39-04.50.
New York State T&F Championships (NY)
Saturday Highlights (by Christopher Hunt) - Suffern junior Shelby Greany has always been married to her watch. She needed to know her splits. She needed to be conscious of her pace. She needed to plan, react and then plan again.
Suffern assistant coach Lou Hall sometimes tries to swipe her watch in practice. Greany wants to have a panic attack just thinking about it. She’s the same in races – always eyeing the clocks, keeping an ear out for splits.
Not this time though.
“I just ran,” she said.
For the first she submitted to free running and won her first state championship. Greany won the 2,000-meter steeplechase federation title at the New York State championships in 6:43.03, the fastest time in the country this season and Greany’s best. Full Girls Recap / Full Boys Recap
Friday Highlights - The New York State T&F Championships saw many great performances Friday evening, led by a new U.S. #1 performance in the girls 400m hurdles. It was a clash of the titans in the long hurdle event, as Dalilah Muhammad (Benjamin Cardoza, NY) and Elizabeth Mott (New Rochelle, NY) squared off, U.S. #1 and U.S. #3 on the MileSplit national leaderboards.
The race between Muhammad and Mott got out fast as expected, both running stride for stride much of the way. Into the final turn the two athletes came with Muhammad beating Mott over the last hurdle and sprinting to victory in a new U.S. #1 time of 57.81. Mott finished a close second in a U.S. #2 time of 58.01.
In the distance events both Emily Lipari (Roslyn, NY) and Pat DuPont (Fairport, NY) came up big in the girls 3k and boys 3200m races. Lipari beat one of the strongest distance fields found anywhere this year, winning the race in a U.S. #3 time of 9:37.53. DuPont used a strong finish to outdistance himself from the field, winning the race in a fine effort of 9:07.56.
The field events were equally as exciting, as Albert Johnson (Corning, NY) won double gold with his victories in the boys long jump and triple jump. Johnson lept well all day long, leaping a 48-07.50 winning mark in the triple jump and 23-02.75 mark in the long jump. Equally as successful was Brian McGovern (Mt. St. Michael's, NY) in the boys pole vault, which saw the senior barely miss the state record, while earning victory with his 16-00 performance. On the girls side, Jen Clayton (Suffern, NY) won the girls long jump with the best girls field event performance of the day with her 19-01.50.
Clayton also came up big in the girls 4x100m relay, which saw her Suffern (NY) squad nip Boys & Girls (NY) at the line, 47.78-47.79. Clayton was able to hold off sprint star Nadonnia Rodrigues (Boys & Girls, NY) to the line. In other boys action, Will Cole (Hamburg, NY) ran the fastest time of the day in the 400m hurdles, winning the event with a 53.43 time. Cole's time improves his PR on the season by two-tenths of a second and he maintains his spot in the U.S. top ten rankings.
Midwest Distance Gala (IL)
Highlights - Distance runners from over 15 states congregated at Benedictine University Saturday evening in Lisle, Illinois to take part in the fourth annual Midwest Distance Gala. Each year this event has grown leaps and bounds and this year was no exception. With a new facility, and a new Olympic-level track for athletes to compete on, this year's edition was set up to be truly outstanding.
The best performance of the evening came in the last event of the night, the boys mile. Coming into Saturday's competition, Minnesota's Rob Finnerty (Burnsville, MN) (pictured left by Tom Rizzo) was looking to break the state mile record in Minnesota of 4:05. With a rabbit set up to take Finnerty through half way on pace to run 4:04, Finnerty could relax a bit more after leading every race he'd run all season long.
"I was really hoping to relax and let someone else do the work," Finnerty said, "I've done all the work all year and I thought if someone could help for at least a part of the race I could really make a charge at the record."
From the gun Finnerty jumped right on pace, following the rabbit through the first 400m (plus 9 meters) in 61.65, then coming through the half in 2:02.51. With the rabbit dropping out, Finnerty and in-state rival Jordan Carlson (Rosemount, MN) pulled away from the field and continued to push the pace. Coming down the homestretch Finnerty pulled away from Carlson by about a second, running a 60.03.
Into the gun lap Finnerty went, driving his arms but still looking smooth. With 300 meters to go the crowd all jumped to their feet, knowing full well that what Finnerty was doing was something truly special. Into the final 200 meters he came, driving as hard as he could, keeping his eyes focused. At the 100 meter to go mark Finnerty glanced up at the scoreboard.
"I knew from 400m to go that I had the state record, but with 100m to go I looked up and saw that I had a shot to run under four minutes," said the Wisconsin-bound senior, "the crowd was cheering so loud that it really helped me in the final 100."
As Finnerty came towards the finish the crowd noise was deafening, hoping that their cheers could push him that little extra bit towards breaking four minutes in the mile. With the final lean Finnerty crossed in an exceptional time of 4:01.09, becoming the seventh fastest prep miler ever. "Coming into the meet breaking four minutes was an afterthought. This is definitely exciting," Finnerty said while doing a victory lap.
While Finnerty's race stole the show, numerous other performances stood out as well. Perhaps the most surprising victory of the night came from junior Tommy Brinn (Otsego, MI) in the boys 800m dash. With such notable veteran two-lappers as Andrew Perkins (Watertown, WI) and Mat Smoody (Palatine, IL), Brinn was overlooked by nearly everyone. However, after a conservative first lap, Brinn moved to the outside in perfect position and shifted into the lead with 100m to go, racing like a veteran, despite being his first major challenge this season.
Brinn (pictured right by Tom Rizzo) crossed the line first in a new personal best of 1:51.07, while Smoody finished second after getting boxed in early in 1:51.73 and Perkins finished third in 1:52.14. "I wanted to see what I could do against these guys and I was hoping I could get my time down to get the best seed possible for Nike Nationals next weekend," said Brinn.
Juniors dominated the boys two-mile as well, which saw Foot Locker finalist Bobby Nicolls (Regis, CO) take home the title with a 2:09.85 last 200m, finishing in a meet record time of 9:03.04. From the gun Nicolls, Bobby Aprill (Dexter, MI) and junior Graham Bazell (Atholoton, MD) led the field, looking strong through the half way mark of 4:34.
Moving from there, Aprill started to push the pace until Nicolls jumped to the lead with 700m to go. Nicolls really made his strong move and never looked back, showing the strength he has earned all season long at altitude. While Nicolls crossed the line first, Bazell kicked nicely down the home-stretch to beat out Aprill for second 9:04.55-9:07.36. Nicolls time ranks him as the top junior two-miler in the country this season, while Bazell's mark ranks him as the U.S. #3 junior.
On the girls side, Emily Sisson (Millard North, NE) and Ashley Verplank (Bloomington, IL) dominated their respective races. Sisson cruised to victory, leading the entire way in the girls two-mile, taking home the victory in 10:38.68. Verplank raced in similar fashion, cruising in for a comfortable win of 4:57.30 in the girls mile. The best female performance of the night however came in the 800m dash, where Jami Hill (Onalaska, WI) dominated a deep field with a new personal best mark of 2:09.14, also breaking the meet record set by Verplank last year. Hill's final 400m was a strong 63.39.
USATF-NJ Open/Masters Outdoor Championships (NJ)
USATF-NJ Outdoor Championships: Meet Page / Results
Write-Up Courtesy of Pat Montferrat (NJRunners.com)
Brett Johnson (Ocean City) broke the NJ High School Junior Class Record tonight as he blasted a 4:08.51 for the full mile distance in a special High School Invitational Mile. Staged as part of the USATF-NJ Open/Masters Outdoor Championships, the race featured a strong field that was led through the half-mile by freshman Kevin Byrne (Red Bank Catholic). in 2:06. At that point Johnson took command of the race and brought it home in 2::02.xx for the win. The mark broke the former class record, held by John Carlotti (Bernards), of 4:09.8 set in 1982.
National Training Center Sprint & Hurldes All-Comers (FL)
The National Training Center is no stranger to elite athletes and this meet was organized largely as a tune up for the Olympic Trials for the host of elite athletes who have been living and training around Orlando, Florida. Convinient for Jeff Demps (South Lake, FL) since he lives just miles from the NTC Track in Clermont.
Following his 10.19 last week at the Pre Classic, today he destroyed his prelim heat of elite athletes to clock an FAT time of 10.03 that was .04 better than the national high school record. A slight tailwind of 2.2 m/s will put an asterik by that time, but one thing is clear Demps has done it again and taken his game up another level. He cramped up in the finals and finished with a time of 10.51.
Going into the Trials that national record is certainly in jeopardy if there is legal wind and amazingly one has to wonder now if Jeff could just become the first ever high school runner to go under 10-flat. It's amazing we're even comtemplating that since no one (until now) has ever come close, but Demps continues to break out of any box you try to draw around him.