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9th Annual Marine Corps Holiday Classic

Warwick Valley NY sweeps championship DMRs

Thursday, December 27, 2007 - The New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory, NY NY

DyeStat on-site with John Nepolitan


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In a crowd and all alone: Warwick Valley's Brad Ackerman takes the stick in a crowd for the final leg of the boys DMR; at right, Tori Pennings crosses the line alone to win the girls DMR for Warwick. Photos John Nepolitan

Early Highlights
  • Warwick Valley (NY) sweeps the Championship DMRs – 10:24.05 for the boys and 12:21.14 for the girls
  • Khaliff Featherstone (Gratz, PA) comes from off the pace to take the Boys Invitational 800 1:58.37
  • In just her 2nd 800 ever, Charlene Lipsey (Hempstead, NY) upsets Brianna Welch (North Shore, NY) to take the girls invitational 800 2:12.40 – 2:14.27
  • Irvington NJ wins the 1st varsity event of the day with a 31.23 to take the boys shuttle hurdle relay and Swenson PA takes the girls title in 36.00
  • Michelle Quimby (Shenendehowa, NY) has the highest jump in the Pole Vault Relay with an 11’ 6” clearance, but Atlee VA wins the relay title.
  • Boy and Girls HS NY take the girls 4 x 200 final in 1:43.61 while Westlake MD comes north to take the boys 4 x 200 final in a swift 1:28.85

Warwick's fast DMRs highlight the day

By John Nepolitan

A normal day at The Armory Track and Field Center in upper Manhattan starts early and goes into the evening hours, with highlights spread out through the day. The Marine Corps Holiday Classic also starts early and will go into the evening hours, but most of the meet’s highlights fell within a fast paced 90-minute block with something for everyone – distance relays, sprint relays, mid-distance match ups and a constant parade of field events.

The highlighted events of the day were clearly the invitational events, 800 and DMR, and the ever-popular and exciting 4 x 200’s.

The Warwick Valley (NY) boys and girls cross country teams had both qualified for the Nike Team Nationals, both placing 11th, and after some time off to re-group and rest, were ready to get their indoor track seasons started. Both did so in style, each winning the Championship Distance Medley Relays in swift early season times.

Both races unfolded pretty much the same, each winning Warwick team made all three of its handoffs in the lead. Handling the early stick work for the boys’ squad, Mike Fox (3:09.4 for 1200) and Karl Schnabl (51.7 for 400) had opened up a slight lead. Then 800 meter man Ryan Florkiewicz (2:02.2) would lose some ground to the chase pack, headed by Chaminade NY, a late addition to the field, and Methacton PA.

Grabbing the stick for the final 1600 meter leg, Warwick’s Brad Ackerman held a slight lead. The leaders glided along together until, with 3 laps to go, Ackerman started to draw away. Just 4:20.6 after grabbing the baton, Ackerman crossed the line first, finishing off a swift 10:24.05 team time. Chaminade would hold off Methacton for 3rd, 10:31.24-10:33.47.

800 winners Featherstone and Lipsey. Photos John Nepolitan
The girls race was very similar with Lillian Greibesland (3:42.2), Kristen Jados (1:01.4) and Claire Pettit (2:20.5) giving Warwick anchor runner Tori Pennings a comfortable lead over Shenendahowa NY and Pine Bush NY. Pennings grabbed the stick and went out a tad fast, coming through the first two 400 meters in 69, before starting to slow. Although never in danger of getting caught, Penning (5:16.8) would slow some over the final laps and lose some ground to the two chasing teams and hold on for a 12:21.14 clocking with Shenendahowa coming home 2nd in 12:26.79.

Invitational 800s
About 40 minutes before stepping to the line of the invitational 800, Khaliff Featherstone (Gratz, Pa) ran a key 3rd leg on his schools 4 x 200 relay team, which would just miss the finals with a 1:33.95 clocking. So it was not a shock that when the boys 800 broke from the starting line, Featherstone would hang back. Jumping to the front was Ford Palmer (Absegami, NJ), who would take the field through splits of 28, 57 and 1:27.

Right off his shoulder was in state rival Brian Laskowski (Bishop Eustace, NJ) and Aki Bajulaiye (New Rochelle, NY), with Featherstone just off the back of the group. Down the back straight for the final time, Featherstone began to move, finally getting by those in front of him during the final steps. He nipped Bajulaiye by a slim .24 to record a 1:58.09 win.

While Featherstone has many times run events from 200 through 800 with success, Charlene Lipsey (Hempstead, NY) had only run one previous 800 meter race. Following the instructions of her coach to hang off the pace early, Lipsey let super soph Brianna Welch (North Shore, NY) go out and have her way. Zipping though splits of 31, 65 and 1:39, Welsh, a 2:08 800-meter runner from last year, looked to be a gun-to-wire winner. But Lipsey started looking in her element in the last lap and began to close in on the leader. With 100 meters to go, she went past Welch and onto a personal best of 2:12.40.

4 x 200s
While many consider the premier outdoor relay to be the 4 x 400, in the Northeast during indoor track the 4 x 200 many times takes center stage. With bodies running at top speed, there is always a chance of bumping and a possible dropped stick and teams’ fortune can change on each leg.

After 2 legs of the girls 4x200 race, Swenson PA held the lead with Boys and Girls NY and Jackson NJ the closest. A strong 3rd leg by the two chasing teams would see Boys and Girls on the lead at the final handoff, just ahead of Jackson. Moving up into 4th was Central Bucks East PA. Boys and Girls pulled away from Jackson and Swenson over the final lap, but moving best of all was Central Bucks East, which got past Jackson and Swenson to claim 2nd in the final steps.

After the opening leg of the boys 4x200 relay, St Benedicts (NJ) and Midwood (NY) were the first to hand off. Around the 3rd turn and coming in off the break 1st (though hiding out in lane 6) was Westlake MD. Once they had the lead Westlake was not going to be caught on their way to a 1:28.85 – 1:29.99 win over Midwood.

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