Erin Hannon has won a US title, but never the state variety. She chould get at least two. Ryann Krais has a shot
at two US sophomore class records, let alone two or three state titles. Liz Costello is atttempting the Mile-3000
double, with a 4x800 anchor as dessert... and could pull it off. And watch the battle between West Catholic and
West Chester Henderson in the relays. It will be electric, and could decide the day.
Just as with the boys’ 60 Meter Dash, the girls' race is going to be too close to call. There are contenders in each of the prelims, beginning with Tierra Flowers of Coatesville, and including Charelise Davis of Oakland Catholic, Breehana Jacobs of Laurel Highlands, and West Catholic's Simone Carter. But don't count out Channing Richardson of Penn Hills, her teammate Taelor Fowler, Clarenchell Tate of Simon Gratz, Jasmine Russ of Ben Franklin, or Kristina Royster of Lower Merion.
The 60 Meter Hurdles are also like the boys' race. There is a clear favorite. Sophomore Ryann Krais of Methacton has been knocking off all comers all season, and Saturday should be no exception. Her 8.67 seed is fast, and within reach of the 8.52 US Sophomore Class Record. She could also challenge another US Soph Class Record, but more on that in the field preview. Anyway, only one other athlete, Jazmin Hunt of Reading, is under 9 for the event. Others who should make the finals include Center's Lindsay Dolan, Strath Haven's Kerry Kelly, and Bradford senior Erin Hannon.
The 200 Meter Dash has the makings of a classic. The current state leader, Breehana Jacobs of Laurel Highlands, will be coming off the 60 Dash along with 2nd seed Charelise Davis of Oakland Catholic. And 3rd seed Ryann Krais of Methacton will be coming off the 60 Hurdles. West Catholic's Kneshia Sheard will have run the 400... so the only rested athlete will be Mercersburg's Whitney Matthew. This one will come down to the top three seeds, and youth may very well win.
Racing fresh in the 400 Meter Dash, West Catholic's Kneshia Sheard is the top seed by a lot. Krais, who ran sub-56 last weekend in New York, has opted for other events. Sheard's competition will come from Penn Hills' Jasmine Cottle, Council Rock South's Ijeoma Iheoma, and William Tennent's Alli Diepeveen.
The state record in the 800 Meter Run is held by West Catholic senior Latavia Thomas at 2:07.10. She'll have all the competition she needs in Chanelle Price of Easton and Shaniel Chambers of Chester. Price is the fastest so far this season... but this is the race that counts.
Just like the 2003 XC Champ Foot Locker Finalist, and 2004 Millrose Mile Qualifier before her by the name of Frances Koons of Allentown Central Catholic, Conestoga's Liz Costello will attempt the distance double of the Mile Run and 3000 Meter Run. Koons pulled it off, barely hanging on in the 3000 to hand St. Hubert's Amy Kelly her 2nd second of that day. Costello is just as talented, just as focused, and just as capable as Koons. Her 4:56.09 is over nine seconds ahead of the 2nd seed in the Mile, Sarah Morrison of Chambersburg. Only Strath Haven's Lisa Vienneau is in the same area. In the 3000, four girls have been running well enough to challenge Costello should she falter... Sarah Simonetti of Pennridge, Diana Filtz of Penn-Trafford, Kassie Meholick of Cedar Cliff, and Kathleen Davies of Saint Basil. But should they let the race go strategic, then Costello's 400 and 800 speed will make the final portion of the race all her's.
The West Chester Henderson girls are the top seed in two of the three relays, and the 3rd seed in the other. if they race to their talent, they could get a ton of team points in these events. The top seed in the 4x200 Meter Relay is West Catholic. They are almost a second a lap better than second seed Coatesville, and in this short race of fury, that is a lot. Both Henderson and Penn Hills are within a half-a-second of Coatesville. West Catholic is capable of a 1:39 in this race, and that would certainly seal the deal. They are the defending champs in both the sprint relays.
In the 4x400 Meter Relay, Henderson is the only one under 4 minutes this season (3:58.31), a race they pulled off last Saturday in New York. While that makes them the top seed, there are several other teams that will have something to say in the final outcome. Downingtown East is the 2nd seed at 4:00.48, followed within a second-and-a-half by West Catholic, Engineering & Science and Methacton. West Catholic is the one to watch, because this race could be for the team title. And if the first three runners for Methacton can keep it close, anchor Ryann Krais could make the final outcome very interesting. A 55-low would make it interesting.
The 4x800 Meter Relay will feature five teams who have gone under 9:34 this season, led by West Chester Henderson with their 9:23.27. Most significantly, that time was run on the same day last Saturday in New York when they posted the state's best 4x400 time. They say practice makes perfect, and that was a pretty good practice. Watch for Conestoga, anchored by Liz Costello. It'll be her last indoor state meet race, and even though she'll be coming off the Mile - 3000 double, she is still capable of something under 2:18. That'll hunt down a lot of runners… if they're in front. Also in the mix will be North Penn, Cardinal O'Hara, and Archbishop Prendergast.
Erin Hannon, the multi-sport talent who will compete in the Pentathlon at the Nike Indoor Nationals in two weeks, is only the fifth seed (like "only" is a bad thing) in the 60 Meter Hurdles. Well, she's the top seed in one field event, and the 2nd seed in two others. Expect her to have a great meet. Again, it could be a case of senior-itis motivation, or maybe erasing the three 2nd's she took to now-graduated Nicole Smith of McDowell. Either way, watch for her on the infield all day long.
Hannon does not yet own a state championship title, even though she has won a national one (2005 Nike Indoor Nationals High Jump). Her best shot at filling that spot on her resume will be in the High Jump. She is a clear favorite, having cleared 5-08 this season, narrowly missing at 5-10 at a meet in Ohio this season, and owning a PR of 5-10, which got her into a jump-off at the 2005 meet where she took one of her 2nds vs. Smith. Three jumpers are within four inches – Conestoga's Emily Moles, Butler's Kendall Butch, and Henderson's Meghan Horne.
The state record-holder in the Pole Vault, Lindsay Regan of Easton, has been nursing an injury for the past few weeks, but comes into the meet as the top seed at 12-10, just two inches shy of her PR and state record 13-00, set at this meet in 2005. Four competitors are within 13 inches of that mark – which is considered spittin' distance in the Pole Vault – including Whitehall's Brooke Borso at 12-3, Latrobe's Caitlin Hewitt at 12-1, Liberty's Beki Finn at 12-0, and Regan teammate Abbie Schafer at 11-09. Hewitt took 3rd in 2005 after clearing 12-7, the same height cleared by the 2nd place finisher. Also in the field is McDowell's Alexandra Acker, who is seeded at 11-6, but took 4th in 2005, clearing 12-0.
Hannon set a PR of 18-07.50 this season for indoor or outdoor in the Long Jump. Only Hallahan's Shanae Thomas or Upper Darby's Bintou Dibba are over 18 feet... but there is one competitor now over 19, and that is – you guessed it – Ryann Krais of Methacton. At the DVGTCA MOC last Saturday, she went 19-02.50, and was well beyond that in another attempt in which she fouled. Those who know say she is already capable of threatening 20'. The meet record is two decades old at 20-01.25. And the US Sophomore Class Record is 19-11. Watch this event closely. Hannon won't let any event go easily, and the competition could push both to big PRs.
With Smith gone in the Triple Jump as well as the Long Jump, you might expect Hannon to be the top seed. But then up comes another talent by the name of Shanae' Thomas of Hallahan, making the most of her senior year. With her 38-06.50 seed, she has an inch-and-a-half on Hannon… on paper. But Hannon's PR in this event also occurred indoors, at this meet to be exact, when she leapt 39-06 in taking 2nd to Smith. Expect this to be a great competition.
One of the best events of the entire meet will be the girls' Shot Put. For those of you who keep their eyes glued to the track and infield, just glance to the right on occasion. When you see the girls warming up behind the protective net, you may want to start paying more attention. This is a big-time year in PA, with seven girls over 40', and three ranked in the top six in the country... including 2005 outdoor AA champ Allyn Laughlin of Center at 47-06.50, defending indoor and AAA outdoor state champ Karen Shump of Penncrest at 46-05.25, and outdoor AAA runner-up Samantha Fetter of the western PA Hempfield, at 45-02. Just two weeks ago, Laughlin and Shump went head-to-head, and the competition was fierce. This is bigger... so the throws should be bigger.
It doesn't get any better than this... and I'm talking the entire PA state meet. So forget the predictions and enjoy the competition.
Queen will be king. Gratz could sweep the relays.
Can Walker stop Miller @ PTFCA States?
Carrington Queen could set a state record in winning the 60 Meter Hurdles. Simon Gratz
has a shot at sweeping the relays. And can indoor state record holder Jake Walker
hold off the challenge from a renewed Craig Miller in the 3000?
The top returning medalist in the 60 Meter Dash is Malvern Prep's Trey Womack, who was 6th in 2005. 8th place finisher, Cardel Johnson of West Allegheny, has opted for the 200 this year. So that leaves the table wide open for top seed Andre Nelson of Springfield Delco, Javan Sanders of Avon Grove, Calvin Laing of Kutztown, Christopher Muvdi of Holy Name and Kashif Smith of Penn Charter. Nelson is the only one to crack 7 at the distance, but this race could have a surprise or two.
The 60 Meter Hurdles is another story. Carrington Queen of Chichester is the defending state champ. He has gone 7.98, faster than his winning time in 2005. And when pushed at the TFCAGP Meet of Champs, he responded with a meet record to hold off his closest competition, Kamal Marell of Penn Charter.
The returning runner-up in the 200 Meter Dash, Kenneth Talley of Simon Gratz, has the fastest 200 of the season at 22.00. He held off a charge by Queen at last week's MOC, but those times were in the upper 22s. He'll have some fast challengers in Springfield's Nelson, Glen Mills' Tyree Bryant, West Allegheny's Cardel Johnson, and Cumberland Valley's Juan Steward.
The 400 Meter Dash has two guys seeded under 50 seconds, Reggie Carter of Bensalem, last year's runner-up, and Chad Sargeant of Neshaminy. But defending state champ Khaliff Featherstone of Simon Gratz is also in the mix. Rounding out the tops seeds are Ricky Goettel of Council Rock North, Mike Tomasco of Monsignor Bonner, and David Stonfer of Cumberland Valley.
It's virtually a whole new cast of runners in the 800 Meter Run this time around. One of the top returners, Rob McNally of Upper Darby, is the top seed by over a second at 1:55.90. He was 14th last year. In the mix for the win should be Jamar Jones of Engineering & Science, Matt Gordon of Upper Dublin, and Adam Smith of Camp Hill. After two tangled starts at the MOC last week, don't be surprised to see North Penn's Cody Edling way up the standings.
The Mile Run will be eight laps this year. Matlack Gillin of Springfield-Montco was 5th last year, but is seeded 2nd to North Allegheny's Max Brown, both the only two entrants under 4:20. Returning 4th place medalist Josh Hibbs of Hatboro-Horsham is in the race, along with Radnor's Sean Mahoney, West Chester East's Duriel Hardy, Unionville's Paul Springer, and Cardinal O'Hara's Greg Thomas. The race should come down to the top two seeds.
The field in the 3000 Meter Run is one of the deepest and fastest ever. There is the defending state champ and current state record holder Jake Walker of Ellwood City; two Foot Locker finalists in Manheim Township's Craig Miller and Council Rock North's Keith Capecci; plus eight other guys who have broken 9 minutes this season. Miller, coming back from the collapsed lung that cut short his XC season just before the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals, ran alone to an 8:38.65 at last week's Penn State Invitational, within a whisker of the state record. He's been swimming and setting PRs. He has upped his mileage to 60 mpw. So he is more than ready. A fast early pace won't be a problem, because Walker and others will see to that. So expect the state record to be lowered again. Could the high 8:20's be a possibility? Key challengers to Miller, Walker and Capecci will include Northgate's Lucas Zarzeczny with the 2nd fastest seed time, Brian Cullin, East Stroudsburg South, and state 3200 AAA champ Curtis Bixler of Cumberland Valley. As you may notice, three of the top six 3000 runners in the state have opted for the Mile - Paul Springer, Josh Hibbs, and Max Brown.
The relays are the closest this meet gets to organized chaos, as runners scramble to get the baton cleanly and then get to the inside lane. The craziest is usually the 4x200 Meter Relay with the top teams literally on top of each other in the zone. While they're not the top seed in the 4x800, this could be a year where Simon Gratz sweeps. They have the top seeded time in the 4x200 by over two seconds on Glen Mills. In addition to Glen Mills, looking to challenge Gratz in the 4x200 will be North Penn, Penn Charter, Bensalem and Cardinal O'Hara.
And Gratz' seed time in the 4x400 Meter Relay is over three seconds better than 2nd seed Neshaminy. Plus, they're defending champs in both the sprint relays. Leading competitors to Simon Gratz and Neshaminy will be Bensalem, Conestoga, North Penn and Harrisburg.
The 4x800 Meter Relay has six teams within four seconds of each other at the top of the bracket. Cardinal O'Hara and North Penn, the defending champs, are the top two. But should either falter, it could be a big day for Wissahickon, who ran just a second over their season-best last week just three hours after winning the DMR at the MOC at Lehigh. Others in the mix are Simon Gratz, Archbishop Carroll, and West Chester Henderson.
2005 4th place finisher in the High Jump, BJ Wolfgang of Thomas Jefferson, PRed last weekend at the TSTCA Championships with his 6-6 jump that tied him for PA#1 with William Tennent's James Pittenger. But 2-3 inches isn't a big cushion at a state meet, which means PJ Shirdan of Bonner, Zach Barker-Chittick of Southern Lehigh, and Parker White of Punxsutawney could also be in the mix for the win.
North Allegheny's Sean Gil has put some distance between himself and his closest competition in the Pole Vault... nearly a foot, to be exact. His 15-07.25 is the top seed. Gil was 4th in 2005. Seeded above 14-06 are Pine-Richland's Zach Meverden, Archbishop Ryan's Kevin Breen, and Laurel Highland's Jared Jodon.
Last week at the boys' MOC at Lehigh, Academy Park's Aaron Hunter won the Long Jump with a leap of 23-0, a mark that would have won states in 2005 by five inches. The state-winning jump of 22-7 was also matched or exceeded this season by Downingtown West's Alex Tremblay and North Penn's Chris Dollinger. 2005 State runner-up Scott Henkelmann of Strath Haven is seeded at 22-5 along with McCaskey's Caesar Westbrook.
Westbrook is the top seed in the Triple Jump with a mark of 46-2. He'll be challenged by North Penn's Brandon Turner, who will be looking to make amends for last year's no-mark, along with fellow 45-foot-plus jumper Emmanuel Overape of Erie McDowell. At the upper end of the 44's is Baldwin's Bill Nguyen.
Chestnut Hill Academy's Wayne Crawford, who was 11th at states in 2005, looks like a man on a mission this season in the Shot Put. He had been leading the state rankings before Glen Mills' Robert Williams took over. But he came back at the MOC on 2/18 and went 57-11.25 to regain the top spot. In the same zip code with Crawford and Williams is Weston Banks of Hempfield in District 7. Look for Glen Mills to have a crack at a ton of points, because they have two other throwers, Nathan Stewart and Kim Touch, seeded 5th and 6th just behind North Allegheny's Garrett Larkin at 4th.