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girls distance | 07-08 most outstanding performers

This is the fourth of a series of DyeStat year-end awards for 2007-08. The DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers series, which follows the DyeStat Athlete of the Year awards, includes top honors for boys and girls distances, sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, relays, and multi-events. Selections are made by DyeStat editors and are based a combination of multiple major victories/honors won and performances on all-time and yearly lists. Performances from outdoor track, indoor track, and cross-country are taken into account..

Text by SteveU - Photos by John Dye and John Nepolitan

Jordan Hasay

Jordan’s well-documented 2007-08 campaign began with her wanting to improve on a less-than-satisfying sophomore XC season. She had a long-term goal in fall of ‘06 of trying to peak for the USATF Jr. Trials later in the winter and never seemed to hit top form. So in fall of 2007, she had a somewhat stronger regular-season campaign, including a Mt. SAC win and PR (16:42), and then won her 3rd straight D5 title – but her 17:05 was a tick back of Christine Babcock’s D2 time. She rolled to a Foot Locker West win (17:17) and seemed primed to regain the FL Finals title she won as a freshman. But with a too-fast start and with mid-season favorite Ashley Brasovan reaching new heights, the Mission Prep CA junior had to settle for third in 17:31.

As she did in 2007, Jordan bounced back with a decisive USATF Jrs. XC win – and again chose not to travel to the World meet. Instead, she prepped for Arcadia, where she delivered a super 3200 win over Babcock, lowering her PR to 10:03.07. She also stepped outside the prep competition for a then-US#1 4:17.46 1500 at Stanford (10th vs. pros and collegians). Then at the CIF meet, the stars aligned with Jordan ready for a best-ever 3200 effort and Laurynne Chetelat ready to push her to the limit. The result was a narrow win with a monster 9:52.13 PR, #2 all-time.

Still, the best was yet to come. Jordan repeated her USATF Jrs. 1500 title, beating Alex Kosinski to make the World team. She then went to the Olympic Trials, where she squeaked into the 30-woman 1500 prelims and made the semis with a 4:18.39. She thought she’d then have to join the US Junior team in Poland, but was granted last-minute permission to travel later, giving her a chance to continue in the Trials. With that gift, she ran like never before in the semifinals, blasting a mind-boggling 4:14.50 to beat Babcock’s new HSR by nearly two seconds and make the Trials Final – where she took 10th two days later in 4:17.36. Finally, she wrapped up what would become her DyeStat Athlete of Year slate by taking 4th at the World Junior 1500 in 4:19.02.

Chanelle Price

Coming into 2007-08 and the Olympic year, no athlete had a higher profile, or had created for themselves an (entrée) to competing against the sports professional elite like Chanelle Price had. She alone could talk about not just making the Olympic Trials, or the Olympic Trials final in her chosen event, the 800, but also making the Olympic Team. While sprinter Jeff Demps would also move into that realm by the end of the Trials, the fact that Chanelle was in that mode all year speaks volumes about how far along she was even as a junior, when she ran 2:02.38 in the USATF 800.

Chanelle’s 6th-place finish in the first round of the 800 in Eugene (2:05.93), thus, was a tremendous disappointment. But to that point, dealing with of having to improve on a DyeStat Athlete of the Year (2006-07) season, she had an exceptional year. It began with an ambitious indoor schedule that included running the full Colgate Women’s series (and winning the Final). The centerpiece of the campaign was a spectacular 500m HSR, a 1:10.30 at the New Balance Games at The Armory. She also ran a fast 1000 (2:45.76) at the New Balance Collegiate meet, had a disappointing prelim at the USATF Indoor meet, but wrapped it up with a NSIC 800 title in 2:05.93.

Outdoors, Chanelle twice ran 2:03s during the regular season, as well as a 1600 PR 4:46.70. At her state meet, she nearly topped her 800 PR, getting down to 2:02.90. Then came the race that should be the enduring memory of the season, a 2:01.61 in a Prefontaine Classic race that saw her leading Maria Mutola and an elite field until the last 200. That made her #2 all-time, second only to fellow Pennsylvanian Kim Gallagher. Unfortunately, the season would then end on the down note at the Trials. And for Chanelle (unlike most other prep qualifiers), the Trials were not just a bonus ending to the season, they WERE her season. For those who watched her four years at Easton (PA) HS, however, they will have many memories of a career almost without peer.

Christine Babcock

Though a long year came to an end with her having to watch her rival break her record ahead of her, Christine couldn’t have asked for much more out of a stupendous 2007-08. Babcock first served notice that she had a chance to be the best harrier in the nation with a dazzling 16:05 3M at her school’s own Woodbridge Invite. It was clear she could run with anyone – if she took the chance. The rest of her season was very solid, though she didn’t compete in any more of the biggest invites. Heavily favored to repeat as D2 state champ, the biggest question was how her time would compare with Jordan Hasay’s in D5. Christine’s 17:04 at Woodward was indeed the best of the day – by a second.

Christine’s first big outdoor race was Arcadia, where she lined up against Hasay in a 3200 for the ages. She lost, but her effort netted her a big 10:04.03 PR. Fans waited to see what she could do in a big 1600 and the Woodbridge senior showed them at the CIF SS Masters meet as she beat the National Federation mark with a 4:36.58. A week later at the state finals, she again pushed herself to a Fed record, with her eye-popping 4:33.82 being intrinsically within an eyelash of the 4:35.24 mile HSR.

Then, finally, the world was going to get to see Christine in the post-season. Her choice was the Olympic Trials and she needed a qualifier. Again showing that great individual resolve, she ran a near-solo 4:16.42 in a USATF High Performance meet at Mt. SAC, not only ensuring her Trials participation, but cracking the 26-year-old HSR as a bonus. At the Trials, she ran a fine 4:18.32 to finish 7th in her qualifier and make the semis. Though she lost her record to Hasay in the semis, she finished her career with a solid 9th in 4:20.00.

Ashley Brasovan

While an early-season injury kept her track season from being quite what it could have been, 2007 Foot Locker Finals champ Ashley Brasovan still had a great junior year, especially on that December Saturday in San Diego when she was on top of the prep distance running world. It was clear from the blazing fast performances she authored in September, including a 16:43 at the Southern Stars meet, that she was raising her game after a soph track season where she ran a 10:13 3200. By the time she overwhelmed the crack field at Great American, with a course record 17:05, many considered her the Foot Locker national favorite.

The only thing was, the talented Wellington (FL) HS junior had found the Foot Locker South race to be a stumbling block her first two years, despite being at least one of the best 2-3 in the region each year. This time, while she didn’t run great, she got through it. By the time she got to San Diego, she felt no burden and was free to just race like she had at mid-season – and the result was pulling away from Jordan Hasay in the last mile to 17:20 and a grand victory.

A nagging injury, though, got Ashley’s track season off to a slow start. She didn’t try to defend her NIN 2-mile title and decided not to make a trip to Arcadia even when she had started racing again. By early May, she was finally in good form again and hit a winning 10:15 for 3200 at her state meet, her 2nd best ever. She added a 10:21 a week later at the Running-Zone.com meet. At NON, she picked the 5k, where she pushed to a meet record 16:18.91, #6 all-time, and added a 6th in the 2M the next day. Eyes will be on her this fall as she’ll be one of three active Foot Locker champs nationally with a chance for a second title.

Laura Roesler

Laura Roesler has been a young prodigy, with both endurance and speed to burn, since she was a middle-schooler. But her emergence as a soph this spring from being on the cusp of national class to one of the fastest prep 800 runners was stunning and caught most of the nation by surprise.

Laura ran 2:07.83 as a freshman in 2007, but stayed out of the national post-season meets, leaving her more of a regional phenom. In XC last fall, she won the North Dakota ‘A’ title with the 2nd best time overall (all classes). It’s amazing, though, what a difference a few seconds can make. When Fargo finally got some decent spring weather and she blasted a 2:05.68 in early May of this year, she suddenly became someone who could start thinking really big. And she did – not NON or World Juniors big, but Olympic Trials big. After displaying her full range of speed with her state meet sweep of the 100 through 800 (12.07w, 24.30w, 55.76, 2:10.78) – the amazing third time she had done this – Laura focused on getting that 800 further down.

She got under 2:05 (2:04.96) at the Dakota Elite meet, but that was nothing compared to what she achieved when she leveraged her ND club connections to the Jim Bush USATF meet in SoCal that featured others at her ability. The result was a shocking 2:03.08 that vaulted Laura to #8 all-time. When she got to Eugene, her even paced style and finishing speed helped her immensely as she executed a 2:04.03 in her heat that got her into the semis – while US leader Chanelle Price suffered a 2:05.93 that ended her meet. After a few days of overwhelming attention, she came back without her zip and still ran a solid 2:06.82. With five sub-2:07s for the year, plus her stunning range, there’s no telling what Laura will achieve her final two years.

Jillian Smith

Middle distance standout Jillian Smith came into her junior year both competing in XC for the first time and also with the status of following in the footsteps of an extremely decorated teammate (Danielle Tauro). She had a very solid harrier campaign, winning the NJ Group 4 meet (18:29), taking 2nd in the NJ MOC (18:03), and finishing 11th at Foot Locker NE – perhaps not quite what she wanted, but not bad at all.

Like Danielle, though, Smith found a real niche indoors. For the second straight year, a Southern Regional NJ runner swept the Reebok Boston and Millrose miles, with Smith clocking 4:48.83 and 4:50.87. Her third major win came at Nike Indoor, as she rode a tactical pace for a winning 4:53.68 – though Chelsey Sveinnson ran faster in the freshman mile.

Outdoors, Jillian ran only a DMR leg at Penn, running an impressive 4:42.2 leg. She then turned her attention to the 800, where she tightened the screws and twice hit 2:05-low – 2:05.26 to win the NJ Meet of Champs and 2:05.24 to take the Nike Outdoor title. Many felt Smith was ready for something at least in the 2:03 range and she’ll have another chance as a senior to get in the range of the all-time greats.

Laurynne Chetelat

Like Roesler, Laurynne Chetelat went on the track this spring from being very good to being one of the best of all time in the space of a few quick meets – then backed it up on the big stage. Laurynne first gained notice last spring as a junior when she handed Jordan Hasay her only prep loss ever at 3200 or 2M in Sacramento with a 10:23; going into the fall, she was definitely a strong contender to make Foot Locker Finals and do well.

And that she did. Along with way, she was 3rd at Mt. SAC and Stanford, then took the D1 state title in 17:18, the 3rd best time of the day at Woodward behind Babcock and Hasay. Then she was a very strong 2nd behind Hasay at FL West (17:28) before taking a moderately disappointing 16th (18:00) at FL Finals. The XC season wasn’t over for Laurynne, though, as she made the World Jr. XC team with her 7th at the Trials. In Scotland, she was 29th and 3rd American.

Still, as late as Arcadia, Laurynne was in the “very good” category; she was 3rd in the 3200 there, 11 seconds behind Babcock. Then, at the SJS Masters, she was suddenly a 10:05.95 runner, hitting that mark to take a big jump up. Obviously, that gave her a shot of confidence, but no one could have foreseen that she would rip 13 more seconds off her PR a week later in Norwalk. With a stunning 9:52.51, she was just a stride behind Hasay, just getting nosed out in a duel for the ages that made her the 3rd-best ever over the distance.

After easily winning the USATF 3k and making the World Junior Team, she again rose to the occasion in Poland, notching the highest finish ever for an American in the event (6th) with a PR 9:15.11 that was good for #5 prep all-time.
Honorable Mention

Kathleen McCafferty – The Oak Knoll senior first really gained national attention with an 18:13 to win the Non-Public ‘B’ race at the NJ Groups, a time that stood up as the fastest of the day in a meet with a lot of national class athletes in five other races. At the NJ MOC, she was 4th (18:28), though, and then 8th at Foot Locker NE (17:53) and 28th (18:36) at FL Finals. In track, she ran away with the NIN 2M (10:24.53) and the Penn 3k (9:37.15) before a narrow PR 3200 loss in the NJ MOC (10:17.28). She finished with the only NON/USATF Jrs. distance double, taking 3rd in the Greensboro deuce (10:22.47) and 2nd in the Columbus 3k (9:42.82).

Neely Spence – The Shippensburg PA senior always picked and chose her competitions, always guarding against overracing, and it paid off for her. After sweeping through PA, but settling for the #2 PA time overall at state, she executed her post-season peak by repeating as Foot Locker Northeast champ (17:37), then improving to 4th in San Diego (17:35). She eschewed indoor track and focused mostly on the 1600 outdoors, twice running 4:44 and repeating as state champ there. When it finally came time for a serious deuce, she moved up from second in 2007 to take the loaded NON race, closing in 5:02 for a 10:20.77.

Madeline Morgan – The Mountain Brook AL junior and her teammates shut it down after their state outdoor track meet, but that was only after Morgan made her mark in the XC and indoor post-seasons. After a solid regular season and state meet title, she won the NTN Southeast region to lead her team into Portland, then surprised almost everyone there by outrunning the field for the NTN Finals individual crown (18:54). Always a team player, she then lead the MB distance crew into NIN, where she not only anchored their winning DMR (11:57.60), and ran on the victorious 4x800 (9:04.80), but was also 2nd in the open mile (4:56.01) to Jillian Smith.

Year-End Awards Index