DyeStat on-site with John Nepolitan
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|Saturday: US#1s for Perkins, E. Roosevelt|
Story and Photos by John Nepolitan
In the 2007 edition of the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, Eleanor Roosevelt MD dazzled the crowd by taking top honors in all three of the high school girls relays. In 2008 the schedule would be easier, as the three events would be spread over two days, but with heavy losses to graduation, the task would be much harder. At the end of the two days, Roosevelt—led by Tasha Stanley—would not only claim all three titles, but record two national leading performances, posting the nation’s fastest times in the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800, and the US#2 time in the 4 x 200. Along with the amazing display by the Maryland school, fans were treated to a number of exciting prep performances mixed among events for many of the nation’s best collegiate teams, including Andrew Perkins WI US#1 1000m race. (continued below)
Watertown WI senior Andrew Perkins completes his first foray into the 1000m race with a win and US#1 2:28.64 mark.
Andrew Perkins (above) had never run a 1000 meter race before this weekend, but a recent fast 1:19.91 600 meter on a flat floor in his home state of Wisconsin gave him confidence in his fitness. Since he had never been to the Armory’s banked track before, his plan was simply to follow whoever wanted to lead, then use his speed and power to kick home for the win. He followed that plan, tucking in behind through early splits of 57.8 – 1:29.6 and 2:00.2. The pace was fast, but nothing Perkins couldn’t handle. Early on it was the duo of Daniel Edmund and Lance Roller that handled the pace, but by the 800 point, while the entire pack was still in contact, the field started to get stretched out. Edmund had the lead with one lap to go, with Perkins tucked right in behind. As they hit the back straight, Perkins started to make his first true move for the front, pulling next to Roller with 100 meters to go then kicking hard around the final turn to get to the front. From there he simply lifted and powered his way to victory in 2:28.64.
|Afia Charles brings it home for Eleanor Roosevelt 4x2|
Eleanor Roosevelt had showed its middle distance power the night before by taking the 4x 800 in the #1 time in the US for 2008, and equal to the #2 mark all-time. Saturday was going to be its show of speed, and the first speed test would be the shortest race of the weekend—the 4 x 200. Standing in the way of the relay sweep would be New York’s Boys and Girls. The New York school tried to grab the lead early and then attempt to hold on, by putting its big guns up front. With just one leg to go it looked like the strategy would work, as Boys and Girls held a slight lead Eleanor Roosevelt’s Afia Charles got the stick a few steps behind, but built speed around the first turn before smoking the back straight, bringing the crowd to its feet with a 24.5 split. Charles, only a sophomore, moved right past the New York school and powered up the final straight to cross in US#2 1:40.33 with Boys and Girls second in 1:41.31.
Girls 4 x 400
Just over an hour after the 4 x 200, Roosevelt and Boys and Girls were back on the track to fight it out over twice the distance. Right away, a battle developed as the two schools broke away from the field. After two legs the New York school had a slight lead, but a 55.6 run by Doris Anyanwu put Roosevelt back on top. Tasha Stanley, who had run on all three relays, did not waste any time in building on the lead, going out very fast, but Nadonnia Rodriques of Boys and Girls was attacking her leg in a more even pace, and over the final 100 meters started to come back on Stanley. Although feeling the effort of her three-performance-weekend, Stanley was able to hold on for Roosevelt’s second national leading time of the weekend, crossing the line in 3:45.38 to Boys and Girls’ 3:46.25.
Coach Dunham (Eleanor Roosevelt) – “It feels good to get a hat trick. We came here and we meant business. We knew we were going to see some stellar competition. We wanted to take advantage of it and take advantage of the track, we just wanted to come here and run fast…When you have great leaders it is almost like the younger siblings looking up to the older ones, and they take full advantage, knowing the right things to do. And when you have stellar athletes like the Jameson’s, who set the good precedent, they want to take after that; they want to model themselves after them and that is exactly what they have done. They, the stars of the past, have inspired [the current athletes] to work harder and fill those shoes. They communicate with these girls and they follow them up to this day. They just kind of paved the way.”
Boys 4 x 200
The fireworks may not have been as impressive as the girls’ race, but the boys’ 4 x 200 had its own excitement. Midwood NY held the lead through two legs, but Ramapo NY was right behind. Nick Padilla of Ramapo was moving fastest of all the third legs, and was able to get his way to the front and give anchorman Mike Abelard a clear path. A shaky handoff was not enough to stop Abelard, as he brought Ramapo across the line in 1:29.11.
|Mike Abelard brings it across for Ramapo NY 4x2|
Nick Padilla – “I did not think that I would have to catch up. I thought we would run a pretty strong race…I knew I could pass him (the Midwood runner).”
Mike Abelard – “I was thinking I had to do my job: push it all the way, keep working, keep working. We did a good warm up and we felt good.”
Kevin Malivert 22.3
Chidi Ezenma 22.4
Nick Padilla 22.9
Mike Abelard 21.4
Boys 4 x 400
Just like the girls’ 4x400 race, the boys’ got quickly down to two teams, as Meade MD and Newburgh NY went head-to-head for the entire distance. Each leg, the Meade runners would get out fast for the first lap, only to have what small lead they would gain evaporate as the Newburgh runners worked their way back by the hand-off. When Dahmur Smiles grabbed the baton for Meade on the anchor leg, he had a step lead and as Newburgh tried to come up on his shoulder and pass, Smiles would not give in. He went on to cross the line in 3:19.56 to Newburgh’s 3:20.28
Coach Nigil Holder (Meade MD) – “We tried to chance the order up here a little bit today from Virginia Tech. We had a little problem with hand-offs there, and the baton falling, so it was good to come here today. We put Anya Uzah, who is our pentahlete, first and told him to make sure you put us out front. Anya led it off and put us out front. By the time it got to Dahmur Smiles, who is our best 400-meter runner, I knew the guy from Newburgh was going to close, but he (Smiles) was able to seal the deal. It is a great run for us.”
|Victoria Flowers spins inside the fast Armory ring.|
Anya Uzah 50.4
Justin Murdock 49.1
Matthew Brinkley 50.9
Dahmur Smiles 49.3
Girls Junior Weight Throw
In the last major meet of 2007, the Brown Invitational, Victoria Flowers (Classical RI sr) took down the national weight throw record. Soon after, Flowers started to think toward the National Scholastic Championships scheduled for the Armory in mid-March. The New Balance Collegiate meet would provide Flowers with the opportunity to get a feel for the fast Armory circle, the site of the boys national record by Walter Henning. While it looked like she was having problems adjusting to the circle in warm-up, putting most of her practice throws into the safety fence down the right side of the sector, Flowers made the needed adjustments to place all of her throws down the center of the sector and all over the 55 ft. line. Although she did not add to her national record, Flowers was able to reach out to 60-01.25. In second was Karen Henning (St Anthony’s NY), sister of boys’ national record holder Walter Henning. On her last throw, Henning spun the weight out a personal best of 50-08.75 to grab second.
Victoria Flowers – “I just wanted to use the circle as best I could. I just wanted to make sure I had full use of the circle today. The circle is fast, but I like it fast…I need to work on my foot work and probably my arms getting longer.”
New Balance Meet Index