The final day of New Balance National Outdoors was a hub for new nation bests and meet records.
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By Denise Spann - MileSplit Correspondent
Before this weekend, Panther Creek's Morgan Smalls had done enough over 2019 to claim one of the best calendar years in the high jump all-time.
This winter, the high school junior from North Carolina went No. 2 all-time indoors and had followed in March to start the outdoor season with a US No. 2 clearance of 6 feet, 0.75 inches at the Adidas Raleigh Relays in March.
On Sunday, she added one more record-setting notch in the high jump, claiming a new meet record and No. 4 all-time clearance of 6-2.25 to win the girls championship.
Smalls started off her competition pretty early, coming in at 5-5. As she continued, it took some time to get her rhythm, but she eventually found it, officially winning the competition with her clearance of 6-1.25.
Then came her success at 6-2.25, and then three more misses at 6-3.5 as she hoped to match her clearance at indoor nationals. Sunday's victory wasn't the only one for Smalls.
She was also sixth-place in the triple jump with a mark of 41-5 on Saturday, thereby earning two All-American performances across New Balance Nationals Outdoor.
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Kayla Davis sets New Meet Record in Championship 400m
The seeded sections of the girls championship 400m was stacked.
The fastest heat included six of the nation's fastest girls at the distance: US No. 1 Jan'Taijah Ford, US No. 3 Kayla Davis, US No. 4 Aaliyah Butler, US No. 5 Athing Mu, US No. 8 Alysia Johnson and US. No. 9 Dynasty McClennon.
A win could have come from anyone in the field.
In the final moments, it was a freshman, Run U Xpress' Kayla Davis, who came away with the victory. She went a new meet record and US No. 1 time of 51.17 seconds.
With so many talented girls in one heat, it then became about who was the best in that moment.
Mu and Davis went out fast, breaking stagger on the rest of the group. Coming off the final turn, Mu had a slight edge over Davis, but that's where the fight on the home stretch began.
It was in the last 40 meters when Davis pulled away. Mu followed in second, recording a new US No. 2 mark of 51.98 seconds and Ford was third, crossing the line in 52.46.
The North Carolina freshman was also crowned Female Athlete of the Meet for her record-breaking performance.
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Yariel Soto sets New Meet Record, No. 5 All-Time and Boys Field Athlete of the Meet
Soto had the performance of a lifetime to secure his first New Balance National Outdoor decathlon title on Sunday.
The Centerville High School senior had eight new personal bests throughout the competition. To boot:
- 10.89 100m
- 48.53 400m
- 24-3.5 long jump
- 40-4.25 shot put
- 15.50 110mH
- 139-3 discus
- 15-11 pole vault
- 148-3 javelin
In his first decathlon of the year, Soto broke the meet record with a total of 7,509 points.
This new personal best takes the Tennessee commit from No. 15 all-time to No. 5.
Soto is still chasing Gunnar Nixon's national record of 8,035 points, which was set back in 2011. Also, Soto was not only named an All-American but boys Field Athlete of the Meet.
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Joseph Fahnbulleh Accomplishes Double
The University of Florida commit had a busier championships this year.
Fahnbulleh earned four All-American places at New Balance throughout his four days in Greensboro, helping his team to a second-place finish in the championship 4x100m, to fourth-place in the championship 4x200m, and he earned individual wins in the 100m and 200m.
In the championship final of the 100m, Fahnbulleh inched away from Prince George high school's Javonte Harding to run a US No. 7 time of 10.35.
In the 200m, he faced off against Ashton Allen of Bullis to take home the title, running a wind-aided 20.67. His two performances in the 200m were his first sub-21 outings of 2019.
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Marlee Starliper runs US No. 3 in Mile
Northern's Starliper has had an incredible 2019, and the year has put her on a path toward becoming an all-time great. On Sunday, she recorded a national championship in the mile, going 4:41.18 for a new US No. 3 time and No. 26 all-time.
On Sunday, Starliper waited on no one and she made her move once the gun went off. She came through the first lap in 1:07.63 and kept her foot on the gas. The chase pack tried to close the gap that had developed, but once Starliper hit 1,000 meters, she had 30 meters on second place.
The junior crossed the finish line if 4:41.18 for a new US No. 3 and No. 26 all-time. She will continue her season at the USA Junior Championships.
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Jaden Price-Whitehead takes One Jump to Win Emerging-Elite Long Jump
In one of the first field events of the day, Jaden Price-Whitehead started off the boys Emerging Elite long jump championship with a big leap.
The sophomore jumped 24-0.75 to immediately take the lead. After fouling his following two jumps, he headed into the finals still in first. Price-Whitehead then made the decision to pass all of his jumps in the final to win and set a new meet record in the first round.
The Upper Dublin (PA) jumper's new PR would give his national ranking a big boost. He was previously ranked No. 44 with a jump of 23-0.5. Now he's US No. 16.
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Tailwinds Hinder Chances at Meet Records and Nation's Top Marks
Uncontrollable winds were a theme throughout this weekend's New Balance National Outdoor meet with strong headwinds and tailwinds altering performances. However, it cost several athletes the chance at breaking the meet record and running the nation's top times
LSU signee Thelma Davies would have run a new personal best in the girls championship 200m, but unfortunately, she had +2.6 wind pushing her down the back stretch. Davies ran 22.95 seconds for the win-- if wind legal, it would have been the second fastest time in the nation this year and US No. 13 all-time.
In the girls Emerging Elite long jump, five athletes jumped over the meet record of 18-10. The tailwind was so strong that most of the girls who made it to the final had less than two wind legal jumps.
Tionna Tobias of Winslow Township TC (NJ) placed fourth, but is the new record holder with a wind legal jump of 19-1.5 in the fifth round. Chelsea High School's, Stephanie Simon won the event on her first jump of 19-3.25, but with a tailwind of +3.5.
Yariel Soto, Centerville (OH)
Soto set a new meet record in his first decathlon of the year, scoring 7,509 points. His decathlon effort ranks him at No. 5 all-time in the event and NBNO's Field Athlete of the Meet.
Kayla Davis, Run U Xpress (NC)
Davis won the girls championship 400m against five of the top-10 fastest girls in the country. She ran a new personal best of 51.17 to be named Female Athlete of the Meet, set a new meet record, ran a new US No. 1 and No.3 all-time.
Jaden Price-Whitehead, Upper Dublin (PA)
He won the emerging elite boys long jump on his first attempt of the competition setting a new meet record of 24-0.75.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"It was actually because indoor I came in third with like 20-5, and from there I knew I could do something. I knew I could be a champion if I worked hard enough and I got it." - Jada Seaman, the girls long jump championship winner