Distance Gala Weekly moves into its third week with many top notch performances from around the country to report on, but first we had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Jordan Hasay, catching up with the California standout. The Kentucky High School Invitational and New Jersey Meet of Champions capture the top result headlines.
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Catching Up with Jordan Hasay
Distance Gala Weekly (DGW): You've been relatively quiet since winning Foot Locker Nationals. Besides deciding where you're headed to college next fall, what else have you been up to? How's your training going?
Jordan Hasay (JH): Training has been going great. Basically, we decided that after Foot Locker I was going to just take it easy and not worry too much about having to be ready to race. I just focused on getting in my last college visits and making my decision. I didn’t do any really hard workouts for awhile and just worked on building up my base mileage. Then we started to slowly ease back into some harder workouts. Right now I’m still in a training phase and just getting into some track work.
DGW: You decided not to participate in U.S. Cross Country Nationals earlier this month, something you did take part in last year. What was the reasoning behind this?
JH: The reasoning for this was basically the same as I mentioned above. We decided that I shouldn’t worry about having to be ready for a certain race and rather just focus on base training and making sure that I stayed healthy. Of course, it was very difficult to sit home and not race once the time came, but now that it is over I think it was the right decision. I was very happy for Neely [Spence] to run so well and it looks like they have a very strong team going to Jordan.
DGW: How does your approach to this season differ when compared to last year?
JH: The approach is very similar this year. Basically, we just want to be sure that I am ready for the big meets in June. It is a little bit different this year because there are no World championships (I am too old for World Youth, and there are no World Juniors this year). So that does mean that I am hopefully going to peak a little bit earlier this year (the end of June, instead of mid- July). So Coach Mando has adjusted the training just slightly so that I am a little bit ahead of where I was last year since I plan to peak sooner.
DGW: Any idea of when you'll open up your racing season?
JH: We just recently decided that I am going to run Nike Indoor Nationals on March 15th. I’ll run the 2 miles. At first, I was just going to wait until March 28th to race outdoors, but training has been going well and I am getting really excited and want to race. So we think that it will be a very good experience for me and a lot of fun to travel to Boston and run my first indoor race.
DGW: You decided to make your college decision live online. Very few athletes in the sport do this. How did making your decision live online come about?
JH: Actually, I did not know that it was going to be live! I was informed after the fact that they broadcasted it live. I didn’t really want it to be a huge deal or anything, so I decided that we would just invite the two local news stations and the two local newspaper reporters. So I came down from class at 2 p.m. thinking that it was just going to be a small thing, and then I looked in the room and there were a lot of reporters there! I thought it ended up going really well though and it was really exciting. After it was over, I still didn’t know that it was live, until I talked to my friends who said that once I had left class, they pulled it up on one of their laptops and were watching the whole thing!
Kentucky High School Invitational
Over the past few years the University of Kentucky has hosted one of the top indoor track and field competitions in the country. The annual event brings together many of the sport's top stars, whether it be hurdlers, sprinters, jumpers, or distance runners. While much of the focus of this year's event went towards the sprints and hurdles, the distance races were very competitive.
Perhaps the most notable result of the event came in the boys two mile race. Zach Wills (So., Mason, OH), who's been a dominant distance runner in Ohio the past two years, out kicked Foot Locker finalist Matthew Sonnenfeldt (Sr., Knoxville West, TN), winning the race in 9:13.04. Sonnenfeldt finished in 9:15.56.
The girl's mile was the most anticipated clash of talent, as star distance runners Madeline Morgan (Sr., Mountain Brook, AL) and Cory McGee (Jr., Pass Christian, MS) were set to clash. However, sophomore Emma Brink (So., Sacred Heart Academy, KY) played the spoiler, taking home the title in 4:55.75, with Morgan placing second in 4:57.28. McGee came up in the results as false starting, thus being disqualified, but came back in the 800m dash to claim victory in 2:14.74, winning by nearly three seconds.
Finally, the boy's mile featured numerous state champion caliber athletes. Alabama's Patrick McGregor (Sr., Hoover, AL) used his patented kick to pull away from the rest of the field in the final 400m, taking home first place with a time of 4:21.34. McGregor beat Scott Lasiter (Sr., Franklin Central, IN), who placed in the runner-up spot with his 4:23.52, while Ryan Eaton (Jr., Greenwood, KY) ran a strong third in 4:24.49.
University of Kentucky High School Invitational Results
New Jersey Meet of Champions
The best and brightest of the New Jersey track and field community got together this past weekend, combining all the state groupings into one giant meet, the New Jersey Meet of Champions. So far this indoor season, New Jersey has shown that they not only have some of the top talent in the country, but have incredible depth that may match any state this outdoor season.
Many performances stood out, but perhaps the most inspiring was Jillian Smith's (Sr., Southern Regional, NJ) U.S. #1 1600m performance of 4:48.23. Not only did Smith run the top time in the country this season thus far, but she won by over ten seconds.
Smith's teammate, Chelsea Cox (So., Southern Regional, NJ), showed that she is the next great Southern Regional runner coming up, placing second behind the frosh phenom Ajee Wilson (Fr., Neptune, NJ). Wilson showed once again why she'll be one to watch this spring, as she ran away from Cox in the 800m dash, posting a winning time of 2:10.45. Cox finished a strong second in 2:12.25.
The Morris Hills High School boys program had a great weekend as well. Senior teammates Liam Tansey and Sean Pohorence won their respective races. Tansey outlasted Jim Rosa (So., WW-P North, NJ) in the 1600m, 4:11.95-4:13.12. Meanwhile, Pohorence beat the other Rosa brother in the 3200m, taking home the title 9:08.55-9:13.30.
The highlight distance event of the weekend was the girls 3200m run. The loaded field did not disappoint, with ten athletes dipping under the 11 minute barrier, including four under 10:45. All-American, and University of Oregon signee, Melanie Thompson (Sr., Voorhees, NJ) won the race at the line, beating runner-up Angela Rugino (Sr., Toms River North, NJ) 10:39.39-10:39.71.
Girls 3200m - Top Five Finishers
10:39.39 - Melanie Thompson (Sr., Voorhees, NJ)
10:39.71 - Angela Rugino (Sr., Toms River North, NJ)
10:41.35 - Briana Jackucewicz (Sr., Colts Neck, NJ)
10:43.10 - Chelsea Ley (Jr., Kingsway, NJ)
10:46.09 - Megan Venables (So., Highland, NJ)
New Jersey Meet of Champions Results: Boys / Girls
Big 800's in Pennsylvania
What a big weekend it was for Tom Mallon (Jr., Central Bucks South, PA). Mallon, who ran 1:52.35 at the Pennsylvania State Track and Field Championships last spring as a sophomore, won this weekend's 800m dash event at the PTFCA Indoor State Track and Field Championship in a new U.S. #1 indoor mark of 1:51.79. Not only did Mallon capture the top spot nationally, but he also led his Central Bucks South 4x800m relay to victory in 7:49.01.
Meanwhile, Chloe Schmidt (So., State College Area, PA) racked up a big 800m performance of her own. Schmidt ran away from the strong field to take home first in 2:11.99, while coming back later in the event to take home the title in the mile with a 5:01.89 effort.
PTFCA Indoor State T&F Championship Results
Breaking Down the College Recruiting Process
The recruiting process is tricky. It's tricky from an athlete's perspective. It's tricky from a parent's perspective. It's even a bit confusing from a high school and college coaches' perspective. However, esteemed coaches Jay Johnson and Alan Versaw break down the collegiate recruiting process in fine form, laying out simple explanations to many aspects of the process. This is a must read if you want to take your talent to the next level.
Recruiting Give and Take: Part 1 / Part II / Part III
CoachJayJohnson.com - A Resource for Coaches and Athletes
You can also follow Coach Jay on twitter.com/coachjayjohnson
Additional Articles of Interest
10 Year Old Wins Louisiana Indoor State 3200m Race (FloTrack)
PreRaceJitters Track & Field Radio Show - Episode #8
Hall Hoping to 'Run Free' in Boston (Universal Sports)
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