What a day it was Friday in Greensboro at Nike Outdoor Nationals. So many memorable performances were made across the board. Leading the way was the boys two-mile, set up with numerous national class individuals and the results couldn't have been much better. California's German Fernandez won in a new national record time of 8:34.40. Elsewhere, Mason Finley (CO) dominated the boys discus in 206-11, while Chalonda Goodman (GA) won the girls 100m dash in 11.51.
Nike Outdoor Nationals Coverage - Friday
Event by Event Highlights & Results
- Boys Two-Mile: The race of the year turned out near perfection, as German Fernandez (Riverbank, CA) (pictured left by Don Rich) captured the national title in 8:34.40, a new national record. For over a month now fans of the sport have speculated as to whether or not Fernandez could break the record, and with near perfect conditions, one of the deepest fields ever assembled and a great crowd cheering him on, Fernandez ran with the special talent and courage only a few athletes every generation posses. Race Video
With fellow front runners Luke Puskedra (Judge Memorial, UT) and Colby Lowe (Southlake Carroll, TX) joining him, Fernandez kept on pace early. The trio shared leading duties until the 2000m mark, where Fernandez pulled ahead and never looked back. All three passed through the mile in 4:19.4, but coming through the half way point a little slow was not ok with Fernandez, dropping the next lap to a 63.9.
With the entire crowd behind him, Fernandez pushed forward, running a 64.7 and 63.3 before the final lap. As the gun went off the crowd noise was piercing, everyone cheering their loudest, hoping it could lift him towards the record. In the final 100m Fernandez started to tie up but kept on pushing, showing how much he wanted the record. Crossing the finish line Fernandez let out a huge smile, followed by a look of utter relief. He accomplished his goal, he is now the best prep two miler in history. MileSplit Interview w/ German Fernandez
- Girls Two-Mile: A slow start meant a blistering finish in the girls two-mile run. With Saturday's competition winding down, the crowd was anxious for a great race, and while not record setting, this race was one of the best and most tactical of the day. From the gun all the athletes bunched together, with Emily Lipari (Rosary, NY) leading the way for the first two laps.
As the pace lagged at 2:40 for the first 800m, Lindsay Flanagan (Lake Park, IL) and Jessica Tonn (Xavier Prep, AZ) shot to the lead, pushing the pace for about 100m before settling back in at 5:20/mile pace. Coming through the half way point, a giant grouping of athletes (a dozen or so) were still in prime standing to take the lead and push the pace.
Once again this did not happen, meaning the last few laps were going to be very quick. On the sixth lap Emily Jones (Bromfield, MA) stepped out and moved up to take the lead and start pushing the pace. The pace dropped significantly and the speedsters in the group really started show their stuff. With 600m to go Neely Spence (Shippensburg, PA), Georgia Griffin (Hanover, NH), Kathleen McCafferty (Oak Knoll, NJ) and Jones remained out front. With a lap to go McCafferty, Spence (pictured right by Don Rich) and Jones pushed, with Spence finally breaking free with 100 meters to go, winning the race in 10:20.77.
- Boys Discus Throw: Mason Finley (Buena Vista, CO) entered Saturday's discus competition as the clear favorite and at the end showed why he is the class of the event this season. The junior threw 200-09 during the prelims, heading into the final with the top mark. After everyone competed and Finley was on his last throw, Finley knew he had won the competition, so he just let it fly on the last throw. Finley launched a 206-11 on a day less than perfect for throwing, finishing off his season with his first national title.
- Boys & Girls 100m Dash: It wasn't so obvious when Chalonda Goodman (Newnan, GA) won the girls 100m dash Friday. What made it so special however was the ease in which the junior sprint starlet did it. Goodman cruised to a 11.51, easily beating her competition and saving enough for tomorrow's 200m dash without question.
On the boys side Hunter Furr (Lewisville, NC) pulled off a massive upset, perhaps the biggest of the day, winning the boys 100m dash. Furr, who had reamined an relative unknown, especially since he's shadowed by so many great North Carolina sprinters and hurdlers, won the event in 10.56. The juniors results show that sometimes being a home-state favorite has it's advantages.
- Girls Pole Vault: Challenges from other athletes is something nearly all competitors come in contact at one point or another during the season. However, leading up to Friday's girls pole vault, South Dakota's Leslie Brost (Watertown, SD) (pictured left by Don Rich) had yet to really feel a challenge in her staple event. While a dozen competitors remained in the mid-12 foot range and nearly that same amount still stood strong after 12-06, it was time for some of the vaulters to step it up one more notch.
Brost led the way, clearing 12-11 and they clearing 13-03. While athletes like super freshman Morgann LeLeux (Catholic NI, LA) and Abby Schaffer (Easton, PA) cleared 12-11, Brost was ready to step it up once more and clear the 13-03 barrier. Her mark keeps her ranked in the U.S. #6 position.
- Boys & Girls 100m & 110m Hurdles: The ones that proved their success time and again this season wound up taking home the national championships in the 100m hurdles and 110m hurdles Friday afternoon. Jasmin Stowers (Pendleton, SC) and Spencer Adams (Butler, NC) had shown all season long just how dominating they could be and this time around they were indeed.
Stowers easily beat the competition, running a solid time of 14.05 and proving she'll be a national title contender for her last two years in high school. Meanwhile, Adams beat a great field including Brandon Tucker (Lewisville, TX) and Chance Casey (Crosby, TX), winning in 13.75, while Tucker finished third in 13.86 and Casey third in 14.02.
- Girls Shot Put: It wasn't hard to pick out from the first toss who exactly would be the favorite in the girls shot put field. U.S. #1 Becky O'Brien (Greely, ME) looked strong and ready for this competition, prepared for the big weekend ahead of her. O'Brien started off with a pretty poor throw for her standards, but her second and third throws of the day were 50-09.50 and 51-07 respectively.
Having a massive sized lead heading into the finals, O'Brien had nothing to lose and on one of her last three throws she really put one out there, earning a new personal best and further her U.S. #1 mark to 52-01.50. From here through Sunday it will be interesting to see what O'Brien does. She is scheduled at USATF Junior Nationals but is also entered in the NON discus throw.
- Boys Javelin Throw: Justin Shirk might be the top javelin thrower in the state of Pennsylvania, but on this day Neal Huynh (Altoona, PA) (pictured right by Don Rich) was the best at Nike Outdoor Nationals. The senior broke 200 feet for the first time this season, launching the device 204-06, good enough for a nice victory. Huynh outdistanced Ben Latham (Mystic, CT) by just over three feet, who finished in the runner-up position of 200-11.
- Side Note: The stands are starting to fill up and people are starting to talk about the two-mile races this evening. Some great match-ups are going to take place!
- 100m Dash Prelims: With near perfect weather for the sprint events, Chalonda Goodman (Newnan, GA) ran a U.S. #4 mark in the girls 100m dash with a great 11.39 effort. Not only was Goodman's mark the top one of the day, but it also tied the meet record.
- Race Walk Finals: Fast last half of the races meant big wins for Taylor Sorensen (Lafayette, CA) and Molly Josephs (Garden City, NY) in the race walk events. Sorensen used a very strong final 800 meters to finish in 7:05.51, while Josephs pulled away from the field over the final three laps to cruise in at a nice 7:46.07 effort.
- Boys 4x200m Relay: The race for first was close until the final two legs, when Trotwood-Madison (OH) closed out the rest of the competition by dominating each turn. T-M closed hard with their anchor leg Mike Shaw, pulling away from the runner-up squad South Lakes, running a new U.S. #2 time of 1:25.18. South Lakes finished second in 1:26.42. T-M had been running without Shaw the past few weeks of their season due to a conflict with the state assocation.
- Girls 4x200m Relay: The powerhouse Eleanor Roosevent (MD) team dominated the first final event of the day Friday by winning the girls 4x200m relay with a new U.S. #2 mark of 1:36.95. Eleanor Roosevelt has an amazing history of coming to Nike Outdoor Nationals and winning time and time again. The squad ran well right from the gun, grabbing the lead from the start and never relenting. Dallas Skyline (TX) ran very well over their final two legs, including a scorching anchor leg, scoring a second place finish with a U.S. #3 mark of 1:37.05.