The Internet Home of Track & Field

October 11, 2008 at Van Cortlandt Park, New York NY.   DyeStat on-site.

Girls Individuals
Emily Jones and Melanie Thompson
wonder "What if?"

by Jim Lambert

Emily Jones and Melanie Thompson both left Van Cortlandt Park wondering ``what if ’’ after the two distance running stars put on dazzling performances at the 36th Manhattan Invitational.

Thompson, a senior at Voorhees High in New Jersey, won the girls Eastern States Championship race in 14:12.8, matching the fastest time ever run by a New Jersey girl over the venerable 2.5-mile course. Then in the next race,  the Georgetown-bound Jones, a senior at Bromfield in Massachusetts, beat Thompson’s time by the slimmest of margins, winning the A Division race in 14:12.7.

Jones, now No. 6 on Van Cortlandt’s all-time list, and Thompson, tied at No. 7 all-time, had the two fastest times of  the day.

 Emily Jones
 Melanie Thompson

photos by John Nepolitan

``It’s nice to win and run that time, but I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get to run in the race with her (Thompson),’’ said Jones, a two-time Foot Locker national cross-country finalist.. ``If we ran against each other we would have run faster, but not sure how much faster.’’

Thompson felt the same way.  ``I came here to try to be the fastest and it would have more exciting and a faster race if we ran against each other,’’ said Thompson, third in the mile at the Nike Outdoor Nationals last June.   ``But I’m still happy with what I did.’’  Thompson’s 14:12.8 equaled the time run by Karen Ahearn of  Bernards in 1985 as the fastest by a New Jersey girl at Van Cortlandt.

Last year, Jones and Thompson did go head-to-head in the Eastern States race. Jones was fourth in 14:16.1 and Thompson fifth in 14:17.4.

The way Jones and Thompson are running, they could meet twice this year, at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional and at the national finals.   Jones, the runner-up in the two-mile at the Nike Outdoor Nationals  (10:22.40), is bidding for her third straight trip to the Foot Locker finals in San Diego. She was 25th as a sophomore and 11th last year.

``Yes, getting back there is a major goal for me,’’ said Jones, second in the Northeast Regional last year. ``I know there are some great runners in the  country this year, so if I can get to nationals and finish somewhere in the top five I’d be real happy with that.’’

Thompson isn’t sure if she’ll run at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional or at the Nike Northeast Regional.  ``It really depends on what we can do as a team,’’ said Thompson. ``If our team has a chance to get back to Nike Team Nationals, then I’ll do that. The team comes first, so we’ll just have to wait and see.’’
 Girls Eastern States results - Girls Varsity A results