State championships highlight this week's Distance Gala Weekly, as athletes start to wrap up their indoor season and set their sights on Nike Indoor Nationals and the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in two weeks time. See what took this place this past week, as well as a brief interview with Illinois' standout Stephanie Brown.
Michigan State Indoor T&F Championships
While there isn't an official indoor season in Michigan, the annual MITS Championship took place, where athletes enter as unattached and use the meet as an unofficial state indoor championship. This year's edition hosted a lot of talent, including Michigan-signee Becca Addison (Sr., Grand Haven) and Nebraska-signee Tommy Brinn (Sr., Otsego).
Both Addison and Brinn took part in their best event, the 800m dash. Addison won the girls race by almost four seconds, taking home the title in a respectable 2:16.95. Meanwhile, Brinn won the boys race by over four seconds in a great early season time of 1:54.65.
In other distance action, Foot Locker all-American Megan Goethals (Jr., Rochester) ran a U.S. #2 time in the 3200m, winning in 10:33.81. The boys' 3200m race was fast as well, with Antonio Schafer (Sr., Grand Rapids Central Catholic) besting cross-town rival Reed Kamyszek (Jr., Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills) 9:22.29-9:23.61.
The 1600m races came down to the wire, as race winners Sara Kroll (Sr., Livonia Churchill) and Stephen Walker (Sr., Midland Dow) each won their respective races by less than 1.5 seconds. Kroll out kicked Alexandra Leptich (Jr., Saline) to the line, winning 5:03.26-5:03.35. Walker distanced himself Michael Atchoo (Jr., Troy) in the final turn to win 4:18.16-4:19.55.
Michigan State Champs. Results
Virginia State Indoor T&F Championships
Thomas Porter (Sr., Mountain View) usually starts his seasons slow, then builds and builds until he explodes at the very end of the season with a monster performance or two. It happened this past fall with his surprising third place finish at Foot Locker Nationals. Well, Porter earned a big victory this past weekend at the Virginia State Indoor T&F Championships, beating Oregon-bound Ben DeJarnette (Sr., Atlee) 9:09.01-9:13.86, to take home the 3200m title.
The top performance of the meet came in the boys 4x800m relay, which saw Albemarle run a U.S. #1 mark of 7:44.70, beating the rest of the field by over 15 seconds. Albemarle's time ranks them U.S. #5 all-time in the event. Anthony Kostelac (Jr., Albemarle) also gave his team a boost with a runner-up finish in the 1600m run, losing to Bobby Peavey (Sr., Kellam) 4:09.31-4:10.73, but earning the top junior 1600m time in the process, while also taking home the 1000m title in 2:30.51.
On the girls side, Paige Johnston (Sr., Midlothian) had the best weekend of the distance runners, winning the 1600m run in 5:00.50 and placing first in the 1000m run in a time of 2:55.38.
Virginia State Champs. Results: AAA Boys / AAA Girls / AA Boys / AA Girls
Massachusetts State Indoor T&F Championships
Emily Jones (Sr., Bromfield) once again proved why she's one of the best female distance runners in the country, winning the two mile at the Massachusetts State Indoor Track and Field Championships in a U.S. #1 time of 10:29.57. Jones cruised to victory by nearly thirty seconds, breaking the 10:30 barrier for the first time this season.
While Jones was lighting up the girls race, John Gregorek (Jr., Seekonk) ran an impressive time to win the boys two mile in 9:19.64. However, the best race of the night on the boys side came in the mile, which saw John Bleday (Jr., Xaverian) beat pre-race favorite Omar Abdi (Sr., Charlestown) at the line, 4:20.79-4:20.84.
In the girls mile, Bridget Dahlberg (Sr., Newton South) won in 4:56.16. Dahlberg also helped her squad to a runner-up finish in the 4x800m relay, losing to Lincoln-Sudbury 9:15.17-9:18.98. Lincoln-Sudbury, a school known for their 4x800m relays, earned the U.S. #2 time in the event, only trailing Southern Regional (NJ), who's run 9:07.67 this season.
Massachusetts State Champs. Results
The Woodlands Invitational (TX)
While most of the states east of the Mississippi finish up their indoor season in the coming weeks, Texas is well under way with the start of their outdoor track season. Nice February weather allowed for some great performances this weekend at The Woodlands Invitational, led by The Woodlands senior duo of Drew Butler and Reed Connor.
Butler and Connor each impressed in a big way, as Butler took home the 800m title in 1:54.12, while Connor won the 3200m race by over 25 seconds in 9:03.39. Along with their individual wins, Butler and Connor teamed up with two other teammates to easily take home the 4x1600m relay title, running an incredibly impressive mark of 18:03.23.
On the girls' side, Sarah Andrews (Sr., The Woodlands, TX) once again showed why she is perhaps the best female distance runner in Texas, nearly breaking 10:30 in the 3200m event, winning in 10:30.39.
The Woodlands Invitational - Official Website
Catching Up with Stephanie Brown
Stephanie Brown (Sr., Tri-Valley H.S., IL) is a big time performer. This indoor season Brown has produced some top notch results, placing third at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games mile in 4:54.87, then in late-February winning the IVC Invitational 1600m race in 4:52.1h. Both marks rank her in the U.S. top five. With a big indoor season wrapping up, Brown looks forward to one last outdoor track season before she packs her bags and joins the Razorbacks of the University of Arkansas.
Distance Gala Weekly (DGW): You've had some great indoor success so far this year. Last year you had some amazing early season success as well. What do you attribute to getting out of the gate so quick early on in the season?
Stephanie Brown (SB): I get into the speed work early. I really enjoy indoor and decided that I wanted to do well and get started quick. I also take a big break from cross country so that I don’t get run down.
DGW: You attend a fairly small school in Illinois. Do you have many teammates to train with over the winter? Does your school compete in indoor track?
SB: I do all my training on my own in the winter. We do have an indoor season but it starts a lot later then other school’s indoor season. This is because the numbers are short at my school, and a lot of kids that run track are in basketball and cheerleading.
DGW: Last year was seemingly a breakout year for you. What are you changing this year to take yourself to another level?
SB: Well I actually haven’t changed much. I am doing the same sort of stuff all just a bit faster. I also have added more strength training. I also had a bigger base to work from this year. It has all went as planned. I am really happy that I have found the training that works for me.
DGW: You picked the University of Arkansas as your college choice? Why Arkansas?
SB: I really just liked everything about the place. The coaches are awesome, and I felt like I fit in well with the team, and the campus is amazing. When I went on my official visit everything just felt right. I felt like I belonged there.
DGW: This year you had the opportunity to take part in the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. Can you tell us about that experience for you?
SB: It was AWESOME! Reebok treated all of us really well. We got to meet a bunch of Reebok’s elite athletes, and eat lunch with them. Then at the race we got to meet even more elite athletes. It was so cool to be warming up next to all of my idols. Everything was just really great and the race was a lot of fun as well. All together, the experience was fantastic.
Nike Indoor Nationals Gets a New Website
Nike Indoor Nationals is only a couple weeks away. Have you seen their new website? The new site has a ton of features, daily articles and news releases stating who will be taking part in this year's edition of the event. Check it out!
Nike Indoor Nationals New Website
Additional Articles of Interest
Shannon Rowbury Looking for Stronger Finish in '09 (Universal Sports)
USATF Indoor T&F Championship Coverage (Trackshark)
NCAA DI Conference Championship Coverage (Trackshark)
German Fernandez Sets Collegiate Record in Mile (OKState.com)
To submit an article or results to Distance Gala Weekly please contact Scott Bush at: firstname.lastname@example.org