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National Records for Robby Andrews and New Bern. 
Jillian Smith runs #4 in US History and #3 ever for Roosevelt
By John Nepolitan

One week ago, Robby Andrews (Manalapan, NJ) and the relay quartet from New Bern (NC) were making news on odd size tracks.  Andrews had kicked away from a field that included some of the best milers in the nation to win the Millrose Games.  New Bern had used the comfort of  East Tennessee State’s 283 meter track to run the #2 4 x 400 time in US history.  The two would come to New York’s New Balance Collegiate Invitational and leave with national records, Andrews removing Alan Webb’s mark from 2001 and New Bern replacing Muir (CA) at the top of the 4 x 400 list.  These were not the only all – time list changes as Jillian Smith (Southern Regional, NJ) would become the #4 1000 meter runner in history and Eleanor Roosevelt (MD) would become the #3 team in US history in the 4 x 400,

Junior Girls 1000 meters - As the meet rolled along into the evening it would become over an hour behind schedule, disrupting the preparation of the high school runners who had been hoping to make a major splash on this big stage.  Jillian Smith (photo right  by John Nepolitan) and her competitors in the 1000 meters had already warmed up and done their pre-race drills and then had to sit and wait.  The wait did not seem to effect Smith.  Following Clauia Francis (Cardozo , NY) through the opening two laps in 32 and 1:06.7 Smith would jump to the front 50 meters later and slowly move away from the pack.  Pushing the pace alone Smith would pass through splits of 1:39 for 600 and 2:13.5 for 800 before kicking hard and running herself into history with the 4th fastest time ever run by a high school runner with a 2:44.06.  Behind Smith Francis would continue to move along in 2nd and slowly Smith’s team mate Chelsea Cox would move through the field and almost catch Francis at the line as the two crossed in 2:50.43 and 2:50.69.  Smith’ performance made many wonder what could have been.  Originally entered in the field was Charlene Lipsey (Hempstead, NY) who has run 2:09.47 (the US #2 time in 2009) and has a reputation of going out fast, but a league scheduling conflict forced Lipsey to switch to the 600.  If Smith had Lipsey to chase would she have gotten closer to the national record?  That question will go unanswered, but what is known is that Jillian Smith is one of the greatest middle distance runners in high school history  Smith’s time did replace the one time national record 2:47.44 from 1985 of Margaret Scutro (Ridgewood) as the New Jersey state record.

Jillian Smith – “I felt good, we were done with the warm up at 5:15 and it seems that we have too much time or not enough time.  We went back outside and jogged for like 3 minutes and then came back in and did drills…I thought it was going to go out faster than it did, I didn’t expect it to go out in 67, so at that point I just wanted to keep it honest and I was not sure who was going to come with me…I couldn’t go to Boston this year (due to a state meet qualifying conflict), so coming to a meet like this is fun….A 1000 is between a mile and an 800 and I have never really raced a 1000, I think the last time I did was my first race when I fell off the track near the long jump pit….If it had gone out faster I don’t know what the race would have been like.”

High School Girls 4 x 400 - Two weeks ago at Virginia Tech the Roosevelt team (photo left by John Nepolitan) had run the #1 time in the nation in the 4 x 200, but a dropped stick cost them the top spot in the 4 x 400, so coming to New York the team had some unfinished business.   There was no bobbling of the stick as the foursome of Jenea McCammon (55.7), Aurieyall Scott (54.9), Doris Anyanwu (55.5) and Afia Charles (55.5) would jump to the lead on the opening lap of the 4 x 400 and keep pulling away to the #3 time ever run in US history, and the fastest time run by a team east of the Mississippi, with a 3:41.75 clocking over New York’s Cardozo 3:45.36.      

Doris Anyanwu – “We did not care what order we went, we knew we were going to run fast either way…we just wanted to average 55 or better and we accomplished that…We thought we were going to run faster than the US #1, we knew we could do better than that…Once the gun goes off you kind of forget who is in your heat and do what you have to do…We have a saying that tradition never dies, we just want to keep the tradition going.”

Assistant Coach Turner– After we dropped the stick at V Tech it was a humbling experience, they just wanted to throw down a time.  That is all that they have talked about and we had some great workouts this week…We just have a new head coach all the assistants are the same.  Our head coach was the coach of the boys for 2 years.  His philosophy are right in line with what we have done in the past.”

Junior Boys 1000 metersRobby Andrews (Manalapan, NJ) and Sadiki White (Allentown, NJ) each have taken different paths in their high school career.  Andrews (photo right by John Nepolitan) has taken the more traditional roll of running for his high school and has become one of the hottest runners on the scene with a killer kick that last week carried him to the Millrose Games crown.  White has been running for a club and posting fast times against open competition including the top time in the nation in the 800.  This would be the first time the two had met on the track – a great match up the flat out sped of White vs the speed/strength mix of Andrews over a distance that neither has run too many times.  At the gun the White would jump to the lead, but the pace would lag as the field passed through 200 meters in 29.4.  By 400 meters (1:00.1) Andrews had worked his way to the front and each lap cross the line with a fast look at the clock and each lap up the pace just a bit more.  Passing through 600 meters in 1:28.0 the pace now was quick, but it was still nothing special, one more lap of pressing would bring Andrews past 800 meters in 1:55 and all of a sudden a super fast time was in the works.  Shifting from running hard to running all out Andrews flew through his last lap and stopped the clock at 2:22.28 breaking the national record of Alan Webb (South Lakes, Va) from 2001.  Andrews last 3 laps were an amazing 1:22 and last 4 laps an incredible 1:52.8. Behind Andrews White would hold on to 2nd crossing in 2:25.99 making him the 8th fastest high school runner in history.  Morris Hills’s Liam Tansey would complete the sweep of the top 3 places for New Jersey kicking hard to finish in 2:28.02.  

Robby Andrews
– “Last year I ran 2:30 with 3 weeks training and I asked my dad what the state record was, I thought I could have done that (2:27) last year.  Then after I ran 4:12 I was like wow I have some strength and asked him what the national record was and when I found out it was Alan Webb I was like I have to try to get that….Me and my dad we had every single split imaginable put down and what I had to do from there on out so I was not going to panic just stick to the plan no matter what….Millrose was great, but this is a national record…I knew I had to run 1:25 after I heard the 400 split so I just kept picking it up and blasted the last 400.”

High School Boys 4 x 400 – The members of the New Bern (NC) relay team (photo left by John Nepolitan) had run age group races together since they were 12 years old and had been building toward one great performance, that performance would be a new national record in the 4 x 400.  Last week on the oversized East Tennessee State’s track the foursome had run the #2 time in US history with a 3:13.24 clocking an now it would be onto  New York  and a shot at Muir (Ca) national record of 3:13.34 from 1996.  From the break after just one lap New Bern was on top and it was the foursome against the clock.  Opening up and putting the team out front and away from traffic, Anthony Hendrix would split 47.7.  Hendrix would hand off to Fuquawn Greene whose 48.7 would build on that lead.  Miles Sparks third leg of 49.0 would get the baton to Andrew Hendrix with a clear run into history.  47,5 seconds later Hendrix would cross the line in 3:13.06 to claim the national record.  Behind the new national record, Newburgh would get to the front of the chase pack at the 2nd hand off and finish in 2nd in 3:18.65 the #2 time in the nation for 2009.

New Bern coach Dave Simpson  - “Since they have been 12 years old they have worked for this, they just worked hard and today means a whole lot…This week we took it real easy, just 1 or 2 days of work but we just took it real easy…it has been a whole week of trying to keep them up”

Junior Boys Weight throw – While much of the attention was on the track, at the far end of the Armory Track and Field Center Davis Fraker (McIntosh, GA) (photo right by John Nepolitan) was waking up the field in the weight throw with a 69’ 2.75 3rd round throw.  Up to that point foul throws had plagued the event, but Fraker’s throw would settle down the field and on the very next throw Mike Gamma (Bishop Hendricken, RI) would respond with a 69’ 2” throw.  Fraker’s throw would hold up in the final round and the 3’ personal best would give the Georgia thrower the win.