West Windsor-Plainsboro boys take down national record, New Bern scores 1st of likely several titles

In pursuit of a national record at the Nike Indoor Nationals on Saturday afternoon, the Knights Track Club’s 4x1 mile relay team earned that mark with ease inside the Reggie Lewis Athletic Center.

Despite leadoff runner Ryan Sleeper falling to the surface before the first 200, the quartet of Sleeper, Tyler Corkedale and twin brothers Jim and Joe Rosa, who are all teammates at West Windsor-Plainsboro (N.J.) High North, smashed the old mark by more than four seconds, combining for a time of 17 minutes, 21.58 seconds.

With the aid of a boisterous crowd behind him, Jim Rosa secured the mark with a blazing 4:13 effort for his anchor leg.

“That was awesome,” Rosa said. “I’ve never run with a crowd that loud. It really got my adrenaline going.”

The beginning of the race didn’t start off quite so well for the New Jersey boys when Sleeper went down. But the senior quickly got back on his feet and still managed a 4:27 opening mile. Corkdale gave his teammates the lead for good on his second leg, touring the eight laps in 4:25. The red-haired brothers took care of the rest with Joe Rosa finishing his third leg in 4:16.5 and Jim Rosa’s quick anchor.

The team topped the old record of 17:25.98, set in 2004.

“My teammates took a lot of pressure off me by running so fast,” Jim Rosa said. “I was pretty comfortable. My coach told me I just had to run 4:17.”

Track Eastern Carolina (TEC), a talented 4x200-meter team from New Bern (N.C.) High, also were eyeing a national mark..

One tough exchange and a little nudge along the way prevented that from happening. Nonetheless, the foursome of Faqauwn Greene, Daishawn Styron, Anthony Hendrix and Andrew Hendrix left the track with a new meet record with a combined time of 1:27.91. That clocking smashed the old mark of 1:28.90.

The reason for TEC falling short of its original plans occurred on the very first leg when Greene and Styron had a lapse in their handoff.

Greene, who led off with the fastest split among his teammates at 21.6, also had to contend with a problem on the first turn of his leg when he was bumped by a competitor in the adjacent lane.

TEC entered the meet with the two fastest times in the country, including a season-best of 1:27.02, set at the Arkansas Relays.

“In my mind, I thought we are not going to get this, but I knew I had to just keep going,” said Greene, after the difficult start. “After that first half (lap), I said I got to go.”

“I thought we could still be close to the record. We ran our best and did what we had to do.”

Not surprisingly, Styron was the slowest among the group after the slight mishap in the exchange. He circled the track in 22.6. The Hendrix brothers each registered times of 21.8.

“The second leg is usually our fastest, but we kind of made up for it,” Styron said. “(A time of) 1:27’s good, but we ran 1:26 outdoors. We could have done it.”

The focus now for TEC, which has the nation’s best teams in the 4x400 and sprint medley as well, is the outdoor season and another attempt on etching their names in the record books.

“Last week we ran 1:26 outdoors and it was like 30 degrees outside,” Anthony Hendrix said. “We’re three seconds away from the outdoor record. I figure we’ll be able to get that.”

Later in the day, TEC was back in the record books with Miles Sparks, Greene and the Hendrix brothers taking the 4x400 with a meet mark of 3:27.64.

A pair of other NIN records were set in the second day of the weekend meet. In the triple jump, George Washington (Va.) High’s David Wilson leaped to a nation-leading distance of 51 feet, 5 ¾ inches and Albemarle (Va.) High’s quartet of Luke Noble, Garrett Bradley, Zach Vrhovac and Anthony Kostelac took the distance medley with a U.S. leading time of 10:02.13.

Sheepshead Bay High, a New York-based squad, captured the 4x55 shuttle relay with a strong time of 30.13, No. 3 all-time at NIN. The team of Darryl Bradshaw, Naquan Alexander, Richmond Ahadzi and Lavaughn Harris were coming into the meet just a day after placing second at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in the Bronx.

In that race, which had four hurdles as opposed to five at NIN, Sheepshead lost their bid at a title and a possible national record when one of their runners slipped on a hurdle. Fordham Prep won the event in 29.15, while Sheepshead was the runner-up at 29.18.

“We had run 28 (seconds) in the cafeteria with sneakers. We knew we could go in there and run 27 (seconds),” said head coach John Padula. “They were very disappointed after the meet. We knew we could run really well today. I am very proud of them.”

Smoky Hill (Co.) High senior Chase Copper took home the hardware in the pole vault. Copper cleared a height of 16-feet even. His winning effort ranks No. 2 among the country’s best.

Dustin Wilson of Chestnut Hill Academy in Philadelphia was an easy winner in the freshmen mile with a time of 4:32.61.

The diminutive Wilson held back in the early stages of the race and took control just before 600 meters, cruising to a nearly three-second win over second-place finisher Colby Burke (4:35.24) of Henrietta, N.Y. Wilson hit the half-mile mark in 2:14.5 and finished with a sub-68 for his final 400.

“I was looking to break away in the middle but I got an opportunity  at around 500 meters,” Wilson said. “(After that) I really just wanted to maintain my lead.”

Wilson, who has a mere 105 pounds on his 5-foot-4 frame, was competing at the NIN after recovering from a slight knee injury. It was an injury that put somewhat of a damper on his first high school season on the indoor boards.

Just a few weeks ago, he clocked a time of 9:18 for the 3,000 meters to place 12th overall at the state championships, a time that was far below his personal best of 8:55.

“I was a little nervous (today because of the injury),” he said. “I guess I’m all better now.”

The mile walk was won by Alejandro Chavez of the South Texas Walking Club. Chavez crossed the line in 6:39.79.  Tyler Sorensen was second at 6:52.65.

In other action, Tarvaris Tate of Starkville (Miss.) High ran a U.S. best of 47.85 in a qualifying heat of the 400 and also ran a time of 21.49 in the 200, a clocking that puts him second on the list. Altamonte Springs (Fla.) High senior Neamen Wise accumulated 3,805 points to earn a win in the pentathlon.