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Friday: A Night for Near-Records

Story and Photos by John Nepolitan

Bring together top teams and individuals to take part in one featured event on a super fast surface, in front of a loud supportive crowd, and only exceptional performances can be the end result. Each year, the New Balance Collegiate Invitational at the New York Armory Track and Field Center in upper Manhattan sets aside time in the meet’s busy schedule of college action to feature some of the top high school track and field performers, and each year those events produce some of the best performances of the year.

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At left, Tasha Stanley's 2:12.1 anchor sealed the sub-9 for Roosevelt; at right, Chanelle Price is spent after her hard-driving, solo 1000 effort.

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The winning 4x800 foursome from Morris Hills NJ (boys).

The event that was most looked forward to was the girls 1000 meters where Chanelle Price(Easton, Pa) was looking to take down the national record. Price went out a little fast, which would cost her the record, but she still wound up with an Armory Record and the #3 time in US history for high school runners. Meanwhile, the two relays – the boys and girls 4 x 800 – created fireworks that brought the crowd to its feet. Eleanor Roosevelt(Md) would end up crossing the line in 8:59.37, equal to the #2 time in US history while Morris Hills(NJ) would lead 8 teams under 8:01, nipping Warwick Valley(NY) in the last few steps to record a 7:56.42 – 7:56.66 win.

At the far end of the facility, Patrick Onye(Classical, RI) would only have 2 legal throws, but his 68’ 9-3/4” toss in the 4th round would outdistance his teammate Josh Foboyde, who would throw 63’ ¾”.

Boys 4 x 800
Jumping right to the front, Eleanor Roosevelt(Md) attempted to run away and hide from the field. During the second leg, the Maryland team built a lead of close to 40 meters over the chasing pack that included every other team, headed up by Morris Hills(NJ).

Over the last lap of the 2nd leg, though, the field started to reel in the leaders, and by the hand off, halfway through the race, New Jersey’s Hunterdon Central had a step over Colonie(NY), Somers(NY), Newburgh(NY) and Roosevelt.

Halfway through the third leg, the early leaders started to drift back through the field as Colonie and Newburgh began to do battle up front. Working his way back up towards the front was Mike Fox of Warwick Valley(NY), and by the final hand off Warwick was out front. Morris Hills made it back into contention once again, getting the baton in 2nd with Newburgh, better known as a 4 x 400 power, in 3rd.

Classical RI sr Patrick Onye spun to a 68-09.75 and an easy win in the weight throw.
As the final leg drama began to unfold, Colonie moved back to the front and attempted to break the field, but the pack looked to be organized as a group, slowing working its way back to the upstate New York school. Entering the final lap of the race, Colonie still had a slight lead, but Morris Hills and Warwick were giving chase.

Over the last 150 it became a three team battle, and off the final turn Colonie still held a slight lead over Warwick with Morris Hill’s Liam Tansey swinging wide and making one last bid for the lead. With just steps to go, Tansey moved Morris Hills into the lead for the first time and crossed the line in 7:56.42 to Warwick’s 7:56.68 with Colonie 3rd in 7:57.13. In all, 7 of the 8 teams would come home under the 8:00 standard.

Morris Hills’ Liam Tansey“I was just keeping calm…I knew I was going to try to go out and stick with the front, and see what I can do with my kick and it worked out great. I was a little wide on the turn(the last 100 meters), but I knew that it would come down to the finish and I knew that I had to do it…there was a lot of bumping going on, but we tried to keep away from that. They(his teammates) did a great job of staying away from all that and then take the lead at the end when it counts.”

Morris Hills (NJ)
Sean Pohorence 2:00.9
Vinny Chiugano 2:00.6
Lucas Clyne 1:59.2
Liam Tansey 1:55.7

Boys Weight throw
The weight throw is not an event contested in every state. But Rhode Island is one state that has the event and, year in and year out, produces athletes that dominate the event’s national list. Patrick Onye (Classical, RI), the top thrower in the state and the #2 performer in the USA, may have only gotten two legal throws in today but his 68’ 9-3/4”grabbed the lead in the 4th round and was never really threatened. Behind Onye, his teammate Josh Faboyde held onto 2nd entering the finals. Then Jim Schwendtner unloaded a 62’10-3/4” throw in the 4th round, only to be re-passed by Faboyde on the very next throw with a 63’ ¾” toss of his own. Only Vicenz Chiariello was also able to reach beyond the 60’ mark with a toss of 61’ 8-1/4” to nail down 4th.

Patrick Onye – “(It was) horrible. I had 4 fouls. I was hoping to get over 72’, but I just did not come through today. I love this circle here; it was just my shoulders, a lot of mechanical things…this is a little bit of a faster circle; I just have to slow it down and make sure of all the mechanical aspects of the throw.”

Girls 4 x 800 – While the Roosevelt boys team jumped out to an early lead, then surrendered that lead half way through the race, the girls would find themselves a step behind Saratoga (NY) at the 1st hand off. But from then on it was out front and pretty much in a race against the clock.

The victorious 4x800 quartet from Eleanor Roosevelt MD (girls)
By the 3 lap of the 2nd leg, Roosevelt had built up a 40 meter lead over the pack, which was headed up by Cardozo(NY) with Conestoga(Pa), Bronxville(NY) and Saratoga right behind. Coming into the half way point, the 40 meter lead had shrunk a bit, but Roosevelt still had a lead over Cardozo with Conestoga and Immaculate Heart (NJ) right behind.

After another 3 laps, Roosevelt was still on top, but the lead had been reduced to 10 meters over Cardozo, with Saratoga moving back into contention. But over the final lap of the third leg, Roosevelt would re-establish the original lead it had and even build on it.

A fast opening 2 laps by Roosevelt anchor Tasha Stanley opened a 50 meter lead on Cardozo, being anchored by Dalilah Muhammad, which also a slight lead over Conestoga, Saratoga and Holy Names(NY). Holy Names anchor Jordan White closed in on Cardozo over the final lap, but was not able to get by the IAAF Youth 400 hurdles champion. Up front, Stanley brought Roosevelt, which had lost 2 big legs off their Penn Relays Championship team, home in 8:59.37 which equaled the #2 time in US history. Suffern NY also ran 8:59.37, in 2006, and the USR is way out there – an 8:53.67 by Boys and Girls from 2002.

Coach Dunham
“This is what we expected – to get under 9:00 – and I was happy with the way everybody carried their weight. So we are very pleased with their performance overall...these are things that they have been doing in training…everyone ran as we expected them to.”

Tasha Stanley“I was confident at how fast I went out. I have been training hard, doing a lot of speed work, so I was supposed to go out in 60-61 and I was right on that…I needed something to push me…I
Midlothian VA jr Paige Johnston outlasted Carmel NY sr Kristin Reese for 2nd in the 1000.
have been here(at Roosevelt) for a while and we are just trying to continue where our teammates had already done…we came here with a goal in mind – to win the 4 x 800 like we did last year and get the US #1 time.”

Eleanor Roosevelt(Md)
Dominique Lockhart 2:16.1
Brittany Ogun-Mokun - 2:16.3
Amirah Johnson 2:14.9
Tasha Stanley 2:12.1

Girls 1000
Ever since she set the 500 meter national record at the Armory, it was expected that Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa) would take down the national record for twice the distance. From the first step, Price was on her own in her attack on the national standard. Passing through laps of 29.1 – 1:00.0 - 1:33.1 and 2:08.0 may have put the Tennessee-bound runner in a little bit of distress as she struggled home. But she still recorded the #3 time of 2:45.76 in US history behind the national record of future teammate Sarah Bowman’s 2:43.40 and Arianna Lambie’s 2:45.46.

Behind the leader a nice race developed between Paige Johnson(Midlothian, Va) and Kristin Reese(Carmel, NY). Reese jumped to the front of the 2nd race, just like she had done at the Hispanic Games and in last week’s Millrose Games. Johnson sat on the New Yorker until the two came off the final turn, then shot past Reese to claim 2nd in 2:51.05 to Reese’s 2:52.06.

Chanelle Price“I’m happy that I was able to get the Armory record. The national record didn’t fall; I think I went out a little bit too fast that first lap. That was probably my nerves. I am happy with my time…Through the 800 I was ok, but after that I could feel my hamstrings starting to tighten up, so I tried to pump my arms, but what it came down to is that I just did not have it tonight…It’s really hard; people don’t understand that. My main competitor is the clock…I know I am there and I am happy with my performance…I think I am going to take a little bit of a break; I have been running a lot; then I have the Championships in Boston(USATF Sr’s)….I have a meet for my school tomorrow and I am not going to kill myself there, then I am going to take a little break …keep on training, but not kill myself.”

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