Big Races, Top Athletes And Cinematic Moments Ahead For VA

* Adaejah Hodge reacts after breaking the 200m indoor national record at NB Nationals Indoor last March

Photo Credit: Cara Mooney/MileSplit

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The VA Showcase has become one of the very best indoor meets on the calendar every season. 

This year's installment promises to deliver the same drama, with over 3,200 athletes and 300 teams from all over the United States, including the country's top Class of 2024 recruit from Oregon, the top boys and girls recruit from the Class of 2026, the returning female Athlete of the Year from Florida and many more state champions and absolute studs. 

If you're in the mood for some electric indoor track and field action, you won't do better than the VA Showcase in January. 

MileSplit is the place to be. We'll have the stream and all the content you could ream of, from thousands of photos to handfuls of interviews, daily recaps, features and podcasts. 

Check back often to see just what went down in Virginia Beach. But in the meantime, read about the top girls events and athletes to watch this weekend. 


Begins Airing On Jan. 12 at 11:30 a.m. EST

The USATF Invitational events begin on Friday at 4:30 p.m. EST

Top Race Of The Weekend


Event: 60m

Schedule: Saturday, 12:10 p.m. EST

The reigning MileSplit50 Athlete of the Year, Adaejah Hodge, leads the pack in this field, while returning two-time 60m national champion Brianna Selby is also in the mix. We can't forget about MileSplit50 Class of 2024 No. 1 recruit Mia Brahe-Pedersen, nor can we leave off Maryland's top sprinter, Elise Cooper; or Florida's top up-and-comer Skyler Franklin; or the likes of Sariah Doresca, Anyeh Bronson, Futoria Harris or Kindal Smith

The reality is, though, that only one female can win. 

And on Friday and Saturday, this field will be epic. It's the best race this weekend, hands down. We have a handful of top dogs in this race, from all corners of the U.S. What's more, we should see Adaejah vs. Mia for the first time over their careers. But then again, Brianna Selby, the reigning New Balance and adidas Indoor champ, is technically one of two girls to beat. Mia is the other, having won the 60m Nike Indoor Nationals.

The competitive juices will be at insane levels over the preliminaries, so you can only imagine how crucial the final will be. 

In the past, this race has been won with patience. While that might seem antithetical to the race itself, it won't be over until the final hundredths of a second over that line.  

Race That Has Highest-Cinematic Potential


Event: 200m

Schedule: Friday, 6:53 p.m. EST

If the girls 60m is the top race, the girls 200m will have the most cinematic-potential. All the evidence points back to last season. 

Mia Brahe-Pedersen became the first high schooler since Bianca Knight to break 23 seconds in the 200m, clocking a time of 22.89 in February at the Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, against collegians. 

But Pedersen has become a very different athlete since then. She won two state titles in Oregon. She ran one of the five-fastest 200 meters in history at Nike Outdoor Nationals. She reached the finals of the Outdoor Championships in the 100m. And she finished her year with two individual titles in the 100m and 200m at the NACAC U20 Championships. 

Brahe-Pedersen also signed an NIL deal with Nike, becoming the first track and field athlete in the U.S. to achieve that feat. 

So ... she's on another level to start her indoor campaign.

While the expectation shouldn't be on breaking 23 seconds, the beauty is in the anticipation. Brahe-Pedersen will have Florida's top up-and-comer, Skylar Franklin, along with her future USC teammate, Brianna Selby, right there with her. 

That being said, no race is ever a guarantee. Brahe-Pedersen she still has to go out there and win. 

The Top Field Event On The Docket: 


Event: Long Jump

Schedule: Saturday, 3:00 p.m.

Eleven girls enter with seed marks over 19 feet, giving this competition a dynamic blend of talent and opportunity. 

It's still early in the season, though, and only 11 girls have eclipsed the 19-foot threshold. So what's that mean for the weekend? There's no better time then Saturday's showcase.

Juliana Balon, a University of Miami signee from Padua Academy in Delaware, cleared 20 feet, 3.5 inches in the long jump at New Balance Nationals Outdoor in June, which marks her as the event's favorite. 

Then there's Athena Stith, a high school senior from Archbishop Spalding (MD), who currently is U.S. No. 3 in the event with her 19-9.5 from the Marine Corps Holiday Classic. Tatnall (DE) sophomore Arianna Montgomery -- the second high-profile Delawaran -- has gone 19-8.5 while Lilly Ver Beek might just be the hometown favorite, arriving from James River (VA) and sporting a PR of 19-5.25.

Athletes You Need To Know About: 


SprintsAdaejah Hodge, Monterverde Academy -- 60m, 300m; Mia Brahe-Pedersen, Lake Oswego (OR) -- 60m, 200m, 4x200; McKenzie Travis, Evangelical Christian School (FL) -- 60m, 200m; Tyler Lowe, IMG Academy (FL) -- 300m; Catalina Sanchious, South County -- 60m, 200m; Sydney Sutton, Bullis School (MD) -- 300m; Sophie Rambo, Grassfield (VA) -- 300m, 500m.

DistanceJustine Preisano, Cuthbertson (NC) -- 1K; Alli DeLisi, Penn Charter (PA) -- 1K; Charlotte Bell, Cuthbertson (NC) -- 1,600m; Logan St. John Kletter, Mount Lebanon (PA) -- 1,600m, 3,200m; Abby Downin, Tatnall (DE) -- 1,600m; Mary Bonner Dalton, Myers Park (NC) -- 3,200m; Alyssa Sauro, Williamstown (WV) -- 3,200m; Emma Zawatski, Freehold Township (NJ) -- 3,200m.

Hurdles: Joslyn Hamilton, Rolesville (NC) -- 55mH; Aleesa Samuel, Somerset Academy (FL); Shakayla Lavender, Oscar Smith (VA). 

Throws: Alexandria Jefferson, Rocky River (NC) -- shot put; 

JumpsOlivia Pace, Westerville Central (OH) -- 60m, 200m, LJ; Destini Gatling, Deep Creek -- HJ; Corintia Griffith, Webster Schroeder (NY) -- TJ; Kaitlyn Cook, LC Bird (VA) -- TJ; Juliana Balon, Padua Academy (DE) -- LJ; Lilly Ver Beek, James River (VA) -- LJ; Kylie Eismann, Lower Dauphin (PA) -- PJ.

* A Blast From The Past: Bullis School breaks the national record in the 4x200 in 2018 at The VA Showcase


National Records Possibly On Alert: 


Event: 4x200 

Schedule: Saturday, 1:20 p.m. EST

In order to break a national relay record, you need a legendary moment ...and a legendary lineup. Back in 2018, Bullis School had Sierra Leonard, Masai Russell, Shaniya Hall and Leah Phillips. All four went on to Power 5 NCAA programs. 

That group set a new national record of 1:35.40 at The VA Showcase, and then later broke it again at New Balance Nationals Indoor, going 1:34.75. 

Russell, a multiple-time All-American for Kentucky looking for her first national title in 2024, continues to be among the country's very best hurdlers. 

On Saturday, we'll get a national record attempt in this race. 

Back for another go will be Bullis School (MD), who enters with a 1:37 seed time. Montverde Academy -- who might have the best shot at breaking that old mark -- jumps in with a time of 1:38.04. 

Archbishop Carroll (1:38.71) and Lake Oswego (OR) -- with Mia Brahe-Pedersen and Josie Donelson -- are also in the mix. 

Montverde Academy might present the strongest contender, though, and here's why.

The Florida power program has real depth that includes Skyler Franklin (the top freshman in Florida), Dasia Reed (she should be the top freshman this year), Nakira Hudson (she's gone 24.80) and Jizelle Holland, the sister of Micayah who has run 41.11 for 300m. 

The Name You're Going To Be Talking About That You're Not Talking About Now: 


Dasia Reed, Montverde Academy (FL)

Events: 55m, 200m

There is a very strong possibility that Reed, a high-potential freshman with Montverde Academy, steps up to the plate this weekend and makes her name known in Virginia Beach. 

Montverde coach Gerald Phiri is high on the young sprinter, who finished her eighth-grade outdoor season with middle school championships in the 100m (11.81) and 200m (24.03), but those moments were only glimpses into her future. 

Those FAT performances also put her No. 3 and No. 2 in her class, behind the likes of Aria Pearce and Somto Igwilo, two more promising sprinters from Kansas and Georgia. 

But in 2024, it could be Reed's time to shine. 

Under the tutelage of Phiri, who led the most distinguished program in the country last year at Montverde Academy, the ceiling couldn't be higher. Reed might not walk away with a win on Friday and Saturday, but chances are she'll raise an eyebrow or two. 

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