|Tauro takes the wheel as championship time begins
Late debut confirms her #1 ranking, followed closely by Hannah Davidson, Ashley Higginson and Caitlin Lane
by Steve Underwood
The Big 15
1. Danielle Tauro NJ (1)
2. Hannah Davidson NY (5)
3. Ashley Higginson NJ (3)
4. Caitlin Lane NY (2)
5. Shelby Greany NY (7)
6. Elizabeth Deir NY (4)
7. Emily Jones MA (NR)
8. Briana Jackucewicz NJ (6)
9. Neely Spence PA (13)
10. Kacey Gibson PA (14)
11. Carly Seymour PA (NR)
12. Allison Smith MD (15)
13. Amanda Marino NJ (8)
14. Juliet Bottorff DE (NR)
15. Jillian King NY (HM)
Tauro Takes the Wheel as Championship Time Begins
No where else in the country was a top runner awaited for so long and so eagerly than in New Jersey, where Southern Regional sr dynamo Danielle Tauro finally made her fall debut last weekend. Her arrival (and victory in her regional meet) really set the stage not only for the individual title chase in that state, just two weeks from the end of the season, but the chase for Northeast Region Foot Locker bids. That race will take place in two weeks, with Tauro indeed still the favorite after a showing that shows that she’s obviously fit. But a whole lot happened while she was gone and a whole lot is still to happen.
Interesting things have happened in both Jersey and New York. In Tauro’s absence, Colts Neck sr Ashley Higginson has been the clear leader, going unbeaten (in all out efforts) in-state and losing only to Davidson at Eastern States and Spiked Shoe. For Higginson’s soph teammate, 2005 FL Finalist Bri Jackucewicz, it’s been a different story. Bri missed the first half of the season, finally debuting at Eastern States with a well-beaten 42nd.
But anyone who wrote off the talented runner was premature. Jackucewicz has regained racing form, running right with her teammate the last two weeks at Shore Conference and Central Jersey meets. Tauro, Higginson, and Jackucewicz will be expected to put up the top three marks at the New Jersey Group Championships this weekend in head-to-head competition, now that Colts Neck is in Group IV.
The New York scene has been intriguing, too. When we left them last spring, Hannah Davidson and Caitlin Lane were not young runners on the rise. Davidson’s soph track season at Saratoga saw her times often going backwards, while Lane (former Saratogan then running unattached) missed most of the spring with an injury.
But this fall, with teammate Lindsay Ferguson graduated, Davidson has stepped up and is running better than ever, fashioning an unbeaten season. The crown jewel in her campaign has been the Eastern States title at Van Cortlandt Park four weeks ago and she will be the favorite to win the Class AA NYSPHSAA title Saturday.
Lane, now with the new team at Greenwich, has been almost as good. She won the Warwick Wave meet, and was 5th at Eastern States in a bit of an off day. The top returnee from 2005 FL Northeast is a clear #3 and could fight for NY titles and should easily make San Diego again.
New York has two more returning finalists in Liz Deir and Shelby Greany. Though she wasn’t at Eastern States, Honeoye Falls-Lima sr Deir has fashioned another strong campaign in upstate NY, including the best time at McQuaid and will be favored to win Class B Saturday in NY – and it will be interesting to see how her times match up with the other classes. Greany, a soph leading Suffern’s charge after teammate Kara McKenna graduated, was a fine 3rd at Eastern States.
NY and NJ have dominated FL Northeast the last two years, taking 18 out of 20 berths. The remaining athletes to keep the closest eye on are the leading runner from MA and a trio of PA standouts.
Bromfield MA soph Emily Jones helped break up the NY/NJ domination at Eastern States with her 4th-place finish. She also won the big Brown Invitational. The big PA state meet last weekend saw home-schooled Shippensburg jr Neely Spence easily take the AAA race and Neshannock jr Kacey Gibson win a close race over Central Cambria jr Carly Seymour in AA. While Spence’s time was slightly off the other two, she has probably put together the superior season/career marks to earn a slightly higher ranking. Seymour was also 6th at Eastern States.