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13th New Balance Games

The New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory, New York NY
January 19, 2008

DyeStat on-site with John Nepolitan

Price upstages the milers (but the milers rock, too)

Photos/Story by John Nepolitan

Chanelle Price
In the past editions of the New Balance Games, the invitational miles were the featured races of the day as the winner would be guaranteed a place on the starting line of the high school mile races at the Millrose Games. Once again, leading into the New Balance Games, the mile races were the talk of the messageboards – that is, until word got out that there would be a special 500-meter race matching Chanelle Price (Easton, Pa) against the New York duo of Dalilah Muhammad (Cardoza) and Charlene Lipsey (Hempstead) in an attack on the national record of 1:11.44 set in 2004 by Devon Williams.

Going out hard the opening 100 meters to get herself in the front, Price rode the fast start through splits of 26 (200 meters) and 41.0 (300 meters). Those splits did not shake any of her competition, but Price kept rolling. Hitting the 400 in 54.7, Price started to pull away from the field and continued to push through the final 100 meters to cross the line in a new National Record of 1:10.30.

Price’s time, besides being a new high school national record, is equal to the #10 time run in US history, which includes collegiate and professional runners. For the Easton senior it may be the 1st of a number of new records to be set this year, which is all pointed for a shot at making the US Olympic team in late June. Price is scheduled to return to the Armory in 2 weeks to take a shot at a 2nd national record, this one the 1000 meters when she runs the Junior 1000 meters as part of the New Balance Collegiate Invitational.

QUOTES: Chanelle Price – “I wanted to go out and bring them through in about 54 and then just keep on going and try to finish in about 14 or 15 seconds (for the last 100 meters) and run about 1:08 or 1:09…Starting down was a little rough for me, it was the first time, my coach said I came straight up instead of just going out….You learn and I am happy with the record…I wanted to be in the lead at the 400 and use my strength for the last 100 meters….All week going on PennTrack, Dyestat, you see PA vs NY, it is something that comes with the sport. It is hard but my parents and coaches tell me it is just a race. If you win, fine; if you don’t, just try again.”

While the new national record grabbed the headlines, the mile races provided their own fireworks, both resulting in a new national leader. Kristin Reese(Carmel, NY) started her season as she had done in 2006, with the Bishop Loughlin Games 2-mile. 10:49 was just about the same time she ran in 2006, but this year she ended up on the losing end of an Emily Lipari (Roslyn, NY) kick.

Reese, who will be running for Stanford next year, then came down with a bad cold that had affected her racing. A first attempt at qualifying for the Millrose Games in the Hispanic Games did not go well as she was slowed by the cold. But one week later, a win at the Stanner Games 1000 meters helped to boost her confidence that she was on the way back. So New Balance would be one last chance at making it to Madison Square Garden.

Following the early leader Heather Stephens(Ridgefield, Ct) through an opening 200 of 37 was a little off the race plan for Reese, who “ was looking to run straight laps of 36.” Reese then moved into the lead by 400, hitting the quarter mile post in 74 and continued to lead through splits of 2:27(800), 3:02(1000 meters) and 3:40. By 1200, Reese had looked to be a sure winner, but moving up from 5th at 800 and in full flight over the last 200 was New Jersey state cross country champion Melanie Thompson(Voorhees, NJ). Thompson started to close in on Reese, but the Carmel runner had enough to hold on for the win crossing the line in a new USA #1 time of 4:52.65 to Thompson’s 4:53.58. Behind Reese, 4 other runners broke the 5:00 barrier.

Kristin Reese
QUOTES: Kirstin Reese“It feels really good to have that time under my belt…the 1000 ( a win at the Stanner Games last week) boosted my confidence last week a lot after being sick and running bad at the Hispanic Games I gained my confidence back…my coach wanted me to run 36’s even paced and that is pretty much what I did.”

Back in December, Robby Andrews(Manalapan, NJ) used a strong kick to take the Bishop Loughlin Games 1000 meters. Once again, the junior stayed in the pack then used a devastating kick to pull away from the field and chalk up another win. His win in the invitational mile not only earned Andrews a place in the high school mile field at the Millrose Games, but his 4:12.48 clocking is also the fastest time in the USA in 2008.

Nick Crits(Wissahichon, Pa) grabbed the early lead, taking the field through an opening 200 before New Jersey cross country champion Brian Leung jumped to the front, leading the field through 400 in 62.9. As the pace settled down, Leung continued to lead, passing the half mile post in 2:10. The entire pack was still in touch at this point.

Past 1000 meters (2:42) and through 1200 (3:14), Willie Ahern(Danbury, Ct) took over and started to stretch the field out. A strong move to the front had Gill St Bernard(NJ) junior Doug Smith at the front with just 1 lap to go, but moving quickly on the outside was Andrews. Flying down the back straight, there no catching the former basketball player. He covered the final 200 meters in 27.5 to record the nation’s fastest time of 4:12.48.

Behind Andrews, Smith would hold on for 2nd in 4:15.95 with Ahern in 3rd with a 4:16.40 clocking. Heading into the Millrose mile, Andrews may have a little advantage over his competition as his father, who is also coaching him this season, ran in the Millrose Games while competing for the University of Pennsylvania, the Westchester Track club and most recently with the Shore Athletic Club.

QUOTES: Robby Andrews“I am very excited about my race overall…I was expecting to run fast coming in, but not 4:12…(on his 27.5 last 200) I hoped that I had wheels like that, I really did not know how much anybody else had left.”

Two weeks ago, it was announced that the Millrose Games was adding a 4 x 800 race for boys that will have teams from suburban New York and New Jersey square off. The top 4 team times from New York and top 2 from New Jersey would get invited to clash at Madison Square Garden. This weekend would be the cut off date to post times, and since the 4 x 800 is not an event run as part of many New Jersey meets, teams from the Garden State entered in large numbers to take a chance at running a time that would get them into the Millrose field.

With the New York Catholic schools absent, many of the areas teams that had posted fast times were not on the line at the New Balance meet. Through the early stages, Somers(NY) had the lead and kept on repelling challenges from New Jersey Schools. Always at or near the front, Washington Township and Morris Hills were in prime position to make a run at a Millrose qualifier. With just 1 lap to go, 5 teams were still in the mix.

Robby Andrews
In what seemed to be the tactic of the day, Washington Township was moving up on the outside and hit the front for good around the last turn and held off a late charge by Morris Hills in the last 50 meters. Washington Township’s 7:55.40 would be a national leader and drag 3 other New Jersey teams under 8:00 ( Morris Hills 2nd in 7:56.11, Hunterdon Central 3rd in 7:58.68 and West Windsor North 4th in 7:59.21). Early leader Somers would come home 5th in 8:00.07.

Other quality performances included:

Boys and Girls HS winning both girls sprint relays taking the girls 4 x 200 in 1:40.68, then comes back to take the 4 x 400 in 3:55.78.

Top Field Performances:
  • 2 girls cleared 12’ 0” in the vault with Nicole Pompei(Hanover Park, NJ) having the best jump of the day clearing 12’ 3” while Tory Worthen(Council Rock South, Pa) has the 2nd best jump of the day clearing 12’ 0”.
  • Jen Clayton (Suffern, NY) once again had the best long jump performance of the day, spanning 18’ 3-1/2”, then had the best high jump performance of the day clearing 5’ 6”.
  • Over in the shot put, 3 girls threw the 4kg ball over the 40’ standard, lead by Kaleena Greg’s(Coatesville, Pa) 43’ 2” performance. Shannon Watt(Jackson, NJ) , 41’ 8-1/2”, and Vanessa Stewart(North Babylon, NY) , 41’ 4-1/4” were also over 40’.
  • The boys field events were highlighted by three throwers in the shot going over 50’, led by Kwaneba Keene(Washington Township, NJ) 56’1”, DJ Thomas (Coatesville, Pa) 55’ 9-1/4” and Louis Day(Holy Trinity, NY) 54’5-1/4”.
  • In the vertical jumps, a 15’ 6” by Tony Shirk(Pheonixville, Pa) in the pole vault and Andy Kahl(Cicero North Syracuse, NY) 6’ 8” in the high jump were the top marks.
  • The best horizontal jump was a 22’ 7-1/4” leap by Dewayne Powell(CH Flowers).