Future Stars: These Freshmen Lead The Way In Multiple Events

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Analyzing some of the future stars in the sport that have emerged over the course of the indoor season, some have set the bar quite high.

Not only have a handful of freshman athletes posted nation-leading marks among their grade in one event, but they've done so in multiple events -- in more than two events, in some cases.

Continue reading to see which futures high school stars hold US freshman No. 1 marks currently during the 2023 indoor track and field season.

* Note that this list does not include athletes with two nation-leading times clocked at different distances in the same race (ex. 1,500m time en route to mile time).

D'Anna Cotton, Hugh M. Cummings (NC)

Events: Girls High Jump and Long Jump

Cotton not only leads the freshmen in the nation in the high jump and the long jump, but she also ranks among the best in the country among all classes. Her 5-8 high jump best from the COROS Invitational in December ranks her at NC No. 1 and US No. 8 on the season, and her long jump PR of 38-10 from 1A/2A Mid-Carolina Polar Bear Championships puts her among the top 35 triple jumpers in the nation and in the top three in North Carolina.

With that combined talent in both the horizontal and vertical jumps, Cotton could be one to watch in every single jumps event throughout the remainder of her first high school indoor season and as her career continues.

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Cole Boone, Pulaski County (VA)

Events: Boys 1,000m and 1,600m

As an eighth grader during the 2022 indoor season, Boone finished second and third in the middle school 800m and 400m races at adidas Track Nationals, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that the Pulaski County underclassman is already making noise on a national level as a freshman.

Boone clocked his first freshman lead time at the Walter Bass High School Invitational in mid-January with a 4:26.30 PR and later ran a leading time of 2:34.39 in the 1,000m to finish fifth overall at the Bulldog Invitational on Jan. 28.

Don't count Boone out in the 500m, either. His best of 1:06.76 from the Liberty Premier Invitational is second among all freshmen boys this season -- only behind new ninth-grade event record holder Quincy Wilson -- and also puts him in the top 40 nationally among all classes.

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Skyler Franklin, Somerset Academy Central Miramar (FL)

Events: Girls 60m and 200m

Even in the competitive Florida sprint scene, Franklin has already made a name for herself.

The freshman from Hollywood, Fla. clocked both of her US freshmen No. 1 times of 7.56 in the 60m and 24.01 in the 200m at the RADD Sunshine Showcase, placing only behind nationally-ranked talent Micayah Holland in the 200m and other top state sprinters in Sophia Haag and Aleesa Samuel in the 60m.

Franklin could certainly be among the favorites on the national stage come time for championship season. She ranks ninth in the country for all grades with her 24.01 200m mark and ranks 31st in the 60m and 18th in the 400m with her 55.72 mark from the Jimmy Carnes Invitational. 

Georgios Stergiopoulos, Chaminade (NY)

Events: Boys Shot Put and Weight Throw

Stergiopoulos began his season on quite the high note in mid-December.

The Chaminade freshman took to the Bishop Loughlin Games and threw a US No. 1 50-2.5 among ninth graders in just his second high school indoor competition. That also gave him the win in the freshman division at the Bishop Loughlin Games.

Since then, Stergiopoulos has throw, the best freshman mark in the weight throw of 55-10 and has notched three wins in the event. 

With his season bests marks, Stergiopoulos ranks among the top 15 in New York in both the shot put and weight throw in 2023.

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Addison Vellekoop, Guilderland (NY)

Events: Girls 600m and 1,000m

Vellekoop has been on a tear in the middle distances, beginning back in December at the Bishop Loughlin Games.

The ninth-grader from Guilderland clocked a stellar 2:55.70 1,000m best to win the event in her indoor season debut, and that time has held through January as the top freshman time at the discipline. 

Almost a month later, Vellekoop dropped down in distance to take the 600m ninth-grade national lead at the Jack Reed High School Showcase, finishing second overall in 1:36.07.

Vellekoop has garnered three wins apiece so far this season in the 600m and 1,000m and sits in the top 15 in the country on both event all-class leaderboards.

Jaden Merrick (IA)

Events: Boys Mile and Two-Mile

At his lone meet of the season thus far --the CYUP Misfits Invitational -- Merrick made the most of his moment by clocking not one, but two freshmen national leads.

First came the US No. 1 time for the freshman mile as Merrick ran his way to 4:25.06 indoor debut at the distance for 13th place overall. Hours later, he ran yet another nation-leading time among ninth graders, this time in the two-mile with a 9:32.08 for sixth place in field loaded with all-time distance runners and upperclassmen.

Merrick was the only freshman in each of the two race fields to place among the top 20 overall finishers.

It's an impressive indoor debut for the freshman, who is coming off his high school debut cross country season where he placed 18th at the Iowa Class 4A state championships and clocked a 5k season best of 15:41.00.

Sianni Wynn, Pennsauken (NJ)

Events: Girls 55m and 300m

The Pennsauken freshman has already found great success competing at The Armory facility in New York.

Both of Wynn's ninth grade US No. 1 times -- 7.06 in the 55m and 39.17 in the 300m -- came at The Armory, with the 55m performance coming at The Armory Hispanic Games in early January and the 300m lead clocked at The Armory HS Holiday Classic during the final weekend of December.

But Wynn isn't just a star freshman in the sprints -- she's currently the best in all of New Jersey. She leads the state in the 55m, 300m and 200m and ranks second in the 400m only behind Brooke'Lyn Drakeford.

She's also on a winning streak, too. Wynn has won her past four races in the 55m -- prelims included -- and is undefeated in both the 300m and 400m in 2023.

Kelvin Kirkland, Aquinas Institute (NY)

Events: Boys High Jump and Triple Jump

In his first indoor season, Kirkland has shown consistency in both the high jump and triple jump.

He currently leads all freshman boys in the high jump with a clearance of 6-2, but he's hit that height three times already this season. In six high jump contests this season, Kirkland has cleared 6-0 or higher five times.

Look to the triple jump to find similar success from the Aquinas Institute freshman. Kirkland leads the nation's ninth graders with a 43-0.5 mark but has jumped over 41-4 in his other three competitions in the event.

Currently, Kirkland ranks among the top 20 athletes in New York in both the high jump and triple jump.

Owen Clemons, Cleveland (TN)

Events: Boys 800m and 1,500m

He was one of the top cross country freshmen in the country this past fall, and it's been nothing but the norm for star distance talent Clemons in his first high school indoor season.

Clemons may have been a strong 5k runner for Cleveland during cross country, but he can drop down the shorter, speed-driven distances, too. That was evident in his 1:58.79 freshman lead in the 800m clocked last weekend at The Bama Showcase.

At the same meet, Clemons clocked a 3:59.44 1,500m to win the event ahead of a slew of upperclassmen talents.

But we haven't even seen Clemson hit full speed just yet. As an eighth grader, he ran 1:56.84 in the outdoor 800m and could be approaching that time territory indoors as the season continues.

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Quincy Wilson, Bullis School (MD)

Events: 60m, 500m and 600m

    Truth be told, Wilson is already a star.

    Not only does Wilson have two freshman class records to his name -- 34.11 for 300m and 1:02.63 for 500m, both clocked at the U.S. Army Officials Hall of Fame Invitational -- but he leads the entire country in the 500m and comes in at US No. 7 on the 300m leaderboard.

    The list of accolades doesn't end there.

    Wilson leads ninth graders in the 60m thanks to a 6.98 performance at the F.I.A. Holiday Indoor Classic (his 55m split of 6.49 from that race puts him at No. 1 in the 55m, too), as well as in the 600m behind his 1:25.28 effort at the Coach Saint Invitational in mid-December.

    Simply put, Wilson may be putting together one of the best freshman boy indoor campaigns in history.