The Internet Home of Track & Field

Four nation-leading marks lead the way at New Balance Games
Parros, Morris Hills boys’ 4x8, Southern Reg. girls 4x8, Washington Twp. SMR set pace
By Jamie Kempton

The spirit of Larry James helped push Clayton Parros to a realm few schoolboys ever reach. Running against an elite field of open men, Parros, the Seton Hall Prep sensation, won the 400 meters in 47.58 seconds, the No. 1 scholastic time in the U.S. this season and No. 4 all time in New Jersey, to headline performances in the 14th New Balance Games at the Armory Track & Field Center in New York.

Starting from the tight confines of lane two in the elite men’s 400, Parros (photo left by John Nepolitan) remembered the words that Olympic legend James imparted last summer at an outing he hosted at Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, where James had been athletic director for 28 years before succumbing to colon cancer in November.

“Larry said that a good athlete should be able to run from any lane,” said Parros, who also gleaned valuable pearls of track wisdom during phone conversations with James, a gold and silver medalist in the 1968 Olympics and history’s second sub-44-second 400-meter runner. “I thought of Larry James a mentor, and I remembered what he said to me.”

Parros found himself lagging in fourth when the runners came off the staggers at 150 meters but he kept his composure, swung wide around the last turn and overtook Anthony Campbell and Tyrone Ross in the homestretch. “I felt strong but I had a bad start,” said Parros, whose previous best of 47.78 had been second fastest in the country. “I thought if I want a shot at winning I have to make my move soon. I could feel their pace slowing down, but I wasn’t sure of their kicks. It was me versus a bunch of men. But I felt if I got around them I might have enough at the end.” Now that he’s competed against “a bunch of men,” the experience should serve him well when he lines up in the Millrose Games 600 yards on Jan. 30.

Parros’ blazing two-lapper shared the spotlight with some devilishly fast baton squads, as was anticipated in the New Balance meet’s relay format. The Morris Hills (N.J.) boys’ 4x800(photo right by John Nepolitan) , less than 24 hours after losing the nation-leading mark to Albemarle, Va., (7:49.88) in the Virginia Tech Invitational, answered emphatically with a blow-the-field-away 7:46.54, No. 10 on the all-time U.S. list. Vinny Chiusano (1:55.5) opened a 15-meter lead for Morris Hills on the opening leg, Tyler Hendrickson (1:57.9) and Lucas Clyne (1:59.7) expanded the margin and anchor Liam Tansey applied the exclamation point with a 1:53.2 anchor. All but Clyne ran personal best legs to continue the team’s hot streak, having slashed a combined 10 seconds in their past two serious attempts at the 4x800.

“Our goal was to not let (Albemarle) have it more than 24 hours,” Tansey said. “We had planned to run the race by ourselves and were ready for it. We wanted to run the splits our coach had for us and keep the pace honest.”

“Right now this is our house,” said Clyne. “Now we’re looking forward to the bigger races and nationals.” The team has been eagerly awaiting this season after placing sixth in the distance medley at last year’s indoor nationals with an all-junior lineup.

Behind Morris Hills, Robby Andrews brought Manalapan (N.J.) to second place (7:57.87) – albeit a distant second – with his sizzling 1:52.3 anchor. West Windsor Plainsboro North (N.J.) clocked 8:02.90 to place third from an unseeded section.

New Jersey schools made it a pair of U.S. seasonal list leaders as Southern Regional’s girls’ 4x800, running fresh for the first time this year, put together a 9:07.67 with a decisive 2:05.4 anchor by Jillian Smith. After Kate Bergin and Erin Horleman handled the first two legs, junior Chelsea Cox (2:13.6) brought Southern Regional from about eighth to third, some eight meters behind Boys & Girls and Bronxville. “I thought that every position I get will make it easier for Jill,” Cox said.

Smith (photo left by John Nepolitan) grabbed the baton from Cox and zoomed into the lead within half a lap, sailing through 400 in 59 and 600 in 1:32. “We were pumped up before the competition,” said Smith, who scratched from the invitational mile and is set to defend her Millrose mile title. “We were a little rushed getting ready and we end up doing better when that happens. This gives me a confidence boost [for the mile], being able to run faster in a shorter race.”

Yet another U.S. #1 performance came in the final track event of the day, the boys’ sprint medley. Washington Township (N.J.) (photo left by John Nepolitan) came from behind to win in 3:30.84, taking down the previous top time of 3:33.16 by Springfield Gardens (N.Y.).

The invitational miles were marked by a pair of upsets. Charlene Lipsey of Hempstead was a late addition to the race and, despite having little experience in the event, outran Melanie Thompson of Voorhees (N.J.) and other high-caliber milers to win in 4:55.82. Lipsey, the state Federation outdoor champ at 800 (2:07.46), simply kept within striking distance of the lead and unleashed a withering dash past Thompson in the last 200 to win by four meters over Thompson (4:56.81). Emily Lipari of Roslyn (N.Y). edged Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall (N.Y.), for third, 4:59.87 to 4:59.92.

“I’m not a distance person,” said Lipsey. “My coach said to just stay with her till the last lap, that no one could outkick me because of my speed. I don’t like the mile as much but it makes me better for the 800.” Lipsey had run 5:02.62 at the Stanner Games last weekend, the last weekend of qualifying marks for the Millrose mile. She was hoping for an invitation and by winning at New Balance she felt she gained some measure of satisfaction. “If I won here I felt like I could run with anyone at Millrose,” she said. Lipsey came back later to anchor Hempstead’s winning sprint medley (4:06.89).

In the boys’ mile, Chris Carrington of North Rockland (N.Y.) shifted gears with 250 meters left and ran 58.8 for his last 400 to win going away in 4:19.83, by far the biggest win of his budding career. The prosaic pace played right into the hands of the long-striding Raider senior, as he sat comfortably in the pack while the paced dawdled through 66.8 and 2:14.8 splits. Lower Merion’s (Pa.) Ben Furcht upped the tempo a smidgeon in the third quarter with Shawnee’s (N.J.) David Forward and Morris Hills’ (N.J.) Sean Pohorence closely in tow, but once Carrington accelerated he telescoped away from the field in an instant. Pohorence wound up second in 4:22.18 and Forward third in 4:23.13.

The 4x200s and 4x400s were monopolized by a pair of New York teams as Medgar Evers swept the shorter relays and Newburgh Free Academy took both of the 4x4s. The Medgar Evers’ girls’ 4x200 of Janice Jackson, Shakele Seaton, Rachel Leake and Nyanka Moise clocked 1:42.23 for a narrow victory over Swenson Arts and Technology of northeastern Philadelphia, which ran 1:43.33. Swenson had run 1:41.94 in the prelims and was battling Medger Evers for the lead when some contact was made heading into the last turn between anchor legs Moise and Swenson’s Anthonia Ballard. No violations were called and Moise managed to get past Ballard in the final strides to give her team the win.

“I was not expecting such aggression,” said Moise. “She hit me with the baton and I hit her back. I was not going down without a fight. I was like the Energizer bunny.”

In the boys’ 4x200, Medgar Evers posted a 1:29.98 in the trials and came back for a wire-to-wire victory in the finals in 1:29.31, although Ramapo (N.Y.) anchor Kevin Malivert closed considerable ground on Evers’ Yaw Affum and fell two meters short. “I was just thinking run my own race, nobody pass me and don’t lose momentum,” said Affum, who teamed with Jermaine Brown, Jason Genius and Andy Williams, the same foursome that’s hoping to win the New York City PSAL 4x400 division at Millrose.

Malivert said, “In your mind you always think you can catch the guy in front of you. I thought I could get him but he had a little more speed.”

’s girls had missed making the finals of 4x200 by one-tenth of a second, fueling their fires for the 4x400. The team of soph Doris Little (58.8), seniors Danielle McHolder (58.4) and Dasia Jones (58.4) and sophomore Chante Coppedge (58.5) held off Penn Wood (Pa.) to triumph in a school indoor-record 3:54.24 over Penn Wood’s 3:54.67.

“We preach to the girls about being consistent,” said Newburgh coach Bruce Greene. “You can’t win if you have a layoff on any leg, if one leg doesn’t come through. After we missed making the 4-by-2 final, the girls were pumped up for the 4-by-4, that was their motivation. That, plus the [upcoming] Millrose 4x400.”

The Newburgh boys were trailing after two legs but third-leg Fred Locklary (48.6) overtook Abington (Pa.) in the last 50 meters to set it up for anchor man Randy Patterson (49.2), who repulsed the challenge of Abington’s anchor down the entire final backstretch and brought the Goldbacks home first in 3:19.53. Robert Graham (50.7) and Akino Morgan (50.8) handled the first two legs. “I felt I had it. I just had to make my move,” Locklary said. Patterson was succinct in his response to Abington’s bid to pass him. “Just kick, and kick again.”

The meet opened with a pair of strong shuttle hurdle relay performances. The Swenson girls’ team of Anthonia Ballard (8.1), Khristy Neou (8.9), Vanessa Mack (8.3) and Shanae Bailey (8.4) led from gun to tape and clocked 33.63. “We always practice hurdles the day before the meet in our hallways,” said coach Dean Lent, whose foursome also won the event at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic. “We do drills over four hurdles because that’s all we have room for in the hallway.”

Fordham Prep (N.Y.) captured the boys’ shuttle hurdles – which were run over a four-hurdle setup – in 29.93. Andrew Hemmings, Ed Allison and Bruce Grant sped the first three legs and anchor Wayne Seaton overhauled Uniondale (N.Y.), a perennial hurdling power, to give Fordham a hard-fought win.

The boys’ pole vault provided riveting drama as the relay format added suspense to each attempt by pairs of teammates. Ben Peterson of Warwick (N.Y.) cleared 13 feet 6 inches and 14-0 on his third attempts, setting personal bests each time, and teammate Josh Mann scaled a personal-best 13-0 to give the Wildcats the event’s team title with a combined height of 27-0. Scott Weismiller of Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) also made 14-0 on his third attempt, equaling his lifetime best, and sophomore teammate Michael Baselice cleared 12-6 as the Ironmen were runners-up with a combined 26-6.

Linda Hadfield
of New York Mills (photo left by John Nepolitan) turned in the best individual girls’ field performance of the day, vaulting 12-4.

Return to main meet page