Dylan Ferris (NC) stars at the KTC Track Classic (TN) this weekend
(Photo by John Herzog)
Elite level sprint, hurdle and distance races highlight this weekend's calendar of events. A handful of meets bring together some of the top competition nationally to square off head-to-head. See which meets will rule the weekend in our weekend preview.
KTC High School Indoor Track Classic (TN)
Some Big Names for the KTC Indoor Meet (TennesseeRunner.com)
While most other top tier meets showcase a variety of distance running and relay talent, the KTC High School Indoor Track Classic brings together many of the top sprint stars in the sport this weekend. Two girls sprint races in particular capture the spotlight with their entriguing match-ups.
The girls' 60m hurdles pits U.S. #1 (in the 55m hurdles) Jacquelyn Coward (TN) against '07 top frosh hurdler Jasmin Stowers (SC). It is a rare day that Coward receives a challenge from a high school competitor in the hurdles, but Stowers should provide just that. The boys' 60m hurdles favorite, William Wynne (GA), looks to bounce back after a disappointing disqualification at the Louisiana State University Invitational last weekend. Wynne is also entered in the 200m and 400m dashes.
The girls' 200m dash is another event fans will have heavy interest in. Sprint sensations Chalonde Goodman (GA), LaKeisha Williams (AL), Nyosha Bryant (NC), along with Jacquelyn Coward (TN) comprise the deepest star-studded event of the day. Any of these athletes could earn the victory, and the depth of the field may push one of them to a new U.S. #1 ranking.
Dylan Ferris (NC) and Madeline Morgan (AL) are the top distance runners in the meet. Ferris is scheduled to run in the elite mile race, while Morgan will test her talents in the 3k. Both athletes have the talent to do something truly amazing. Lauren Chambers (GA) tops the field event list entering the meet as one of the top national returnees in the girl's shot put this season.
The New Balance Games (NY)
New Balance Start Lists: Boys & Girls Mile
The powerhouse battle between 400m hurdle star Dalilah Muhammad (NY) and 800m star Chanelle Price (PA) finally ensues, as the two young women battle to see who the best 500m runner in the country is. For the past few weeks fans of the sport have been getting excited about this clash, many wondering if Muhammad's speed or Price's strength will win. At stake perhaps is the 500m national record, which is 1:11.44. Price contested the event earlier in the season and missed the record by less than two seconds (1:13.22), while Muhammad is the national leader in the 400m and 600m dashes. It's strongly believed the winner of this race will be the new national record holder.
If the 500m race is the top event of the weekend, then the boys and girls elite mile races are 1b. Each field has stacked talent which should produce some amazing times. The girl's race is led by sub-4:50 miler Jillian Smith (NJ), Foot Locker finalist Chelsea Ley (NJ), New Jersey star Melanie Thompson and New York speedsters Maddie Adams and Brianna Welch. With so much speed in the field, this race could very well go below 4:52, which would be a strong U.S. #1 ranking.
The boy's mile field is equally as strong. U.S. #1 in the mile Kyle Merber (NY) is the early favorite after racking up some big wins and fast times so far this year. Behind Merber Foot Locker finalist Brian Leung (NJ) tries to test his leg speed in the race, while junior sensation Doug Smith (NJ) runs in his first big race since a disappointing end to his cross country season. Willie Ahearn (CT) and Brad Ackerman (NY) are two other pre-race favorites.
Yale Track Classic (CT)
The Yale Track Classic consistently gets top end talent year in and year out and this year is no exception. Held at Yale University, the highlight fields are the boys and girls 3k and the distance medlay relays. The girls' 3k is the best race of the day, pitting New York rivals Hannah Davidson, Sam Roecker, Caitlin Lane, Mary Kate Champagne, Meaghan Gregory and Cassie Goutos. All of these girls should feel they have a chance to win the race, and because of this the race should turn out to be mighty fast.
The boys' 3k field isn't as deep as the girl's, but there are front runners to make the pace honest. Foot Locker finalist Andrew Bordeur (NJ) and Connecticut stars Matt Kane and Matt Terry lead the way. This race should produce a new U.S. #1 in the event. Terry also will be apart of his squads Distance Medlay Relay. Terry's Danbury squad is a co-favorite in the race, along with Half Hollow Hills West (NY), Shenendehowa (NY) and Westerly (RI). Like the 3k race, this gathering of top talent may produce a new U.S. #1 time.
In the girls' DMR, U.S. #1 Burnt-Hills (NY) and U.S. #2 Saratoga Springs (NY) face-off once again. These two squads battled each other all cross country season, both earning a top five finish at Nike Team Nationals. Now the two teams get to see who the best squad on the track is, with a slight edge going to Burnt-Hills, who beat Saratoga Springs by less than two seconds at the Brown Invitational in late December. Tatnall (DE), Bay Shore (NY) and Academy of Holy Names (NY) are three other squads challenging for a top three finish.
Asics Invitational (VA)
While the eyes of the nation may be focused on New York or Tennessee this weekend, the Asics Invitational at Liberty University has incredible talent assembled in their respective fields that may actually produce more U.S. top ten marks than any other of the invitationals. Led by a strong group of North Carolina sprint stars and some of Virginia's best athletes, this meet promises to be a great one.
Wayne Davis (NC) and the sprint clash of Bethel (VA) v. New Bern (NC) are the headlining stories. Davis enters the meet as the top hurdler in the nation after winning Nike Outdoor Nationals in 2007 and currently ranks #1 in the U.S. in the 55m hurdles. He is hands down the favorite to win the hurdle competition at Asics.
The Bethel v. Bern match-up promises to be a great one in nearly every sprint event. Bethel follows the lead of Javell Bullard (VA), currently ranked U.S. #1 in the 300m dash, whlie New Bern's leader Fuquawn Green (NC) is U.S. #1 in the 200m dash. While athletes from both schools litter the top spots in the pre-race heat sheets, the main battle comes in the 4x200m relay, where the two schools should produce a new U.S. #1 ranking.
The distance events for both boys and girls should be very competitive as well. Peter Dorrell (VA) is the prohibitive favorite in both the 1600m and 3200m races, but will be challenged in both events by deep fields. Perhaps his strongest competition comes from Foot Locker finalist Thomas Porter (VA) in the 1600. The girl's top distance race comes in the 1600m run, where Virginia stars Laura Rapp and Tasia Potasinski show their speed, as the two could push each other towards the fantastic five-minute barrier.
The best all-around performance on either side of the track may come from North Carolina sprint star Kelsey McCorkle. McCorkle is entered in the 55m, 300m and 500m dashes, and although she will have competition in each event, the races are spread out enough to where she will have ample time to recover. A triple-win would be one of the top performances of the weekend rather easily.
The girl's pole vault is another event to get excited about. With so many great female pole vaulters nationally this year, the Asics Invitational showcases three of the better ones. Emma Dejarnette (VA), Rachael Hawks (VA) and Kate Collins (VA) all have broken the eleven foot barrier, with Dejarnette breaking the twelve foot barrier. All three girls have show significant improvement this season, which could set the pole vault up to be the best field event show of the day.
Carl Lewis High School Indoor Invitational (TX)
The Carl Lewis High School Indoor Invitational is generally one of the seasonal kick-off meets in Texas each winter. While most schools have yet to start their competitive season, the Carl Lewis Invitational allows athletes to travel to the University of Houston to showcase their talents and for Texas to show a bit of its always impressive depth.
Two athletes that highlight the meets talent are shot put star Alex Adams (TX) and long jump star LaRoya Johnson (TX). Adams has put up some impressive marks thus far in 2008, while Johnson returns as one of the top long jumpers in the nation. Both athletes will be favored in their event.