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2007 Virginia Tech Invitational

Rector Fieldhouse, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg VA

January 26-27, 2007

Virginia Tech Invitational Preview

Expect a Tech weekend full of US #1's and possible national record attempts!

By: Brandon Miles - [email protected]

BLACKSBURG, VA -- Last year's Virginia Tech High School Invitational saw a national record for 300 meters from Bethel VA's Francena McCorory as well as a slew of US #1 and US top 5 performances. The 2007 Virginia Tech Invite with meet director Dan Ward under the helm for the second year in a row as the coordinator of traditionally one of the nation's top high school invitational promises to be just as strong if not the best ever at Rector Fieldhouse.

While Virginia's best track and field athletes will be in full force this weekend, the college town of Blacksburg will be invaded by some of the nation's best athletes and teams up and down the East Coast. The states of North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York will all be represented.

Clayton NC sr Johnny Dutch fresh off his 7.07 national record in the 55 meter hurdles last weekend at the Eastern Challenge will look to break his own record again in the hurdle event. Meet director Dan Ward has attempted to setup for another national record in the meet with a special 600 meter dash invite field which includes the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt MD's Tameka Jameson and current US #1 for 400 meters (54.28) in Cardoza NY's Dalillah Muhammed. They will be looking to go after 2005 national record of 1:29.27 set by Janine Davis. Meanwhile, Robert E. Lee VA's Sean Holston, current US #1 for 300 (33.99) and 500 (1:03.93) meters is gunning to move well up the US all-time list for 300 meters.

In one of Jim Spier's most recent US top 5 updates, the entry list for the Virginia Tech Invite included a whopping total of 18 US top 5 performers! Hold tight! The banks of Blacksburg will be rolling this weekend!

Friday night's action starts at 5:00 pm with the trials of 55 meter hurdles and several field events including the girls' shot put, boys' triple jump, girls' pole vault, and girls' triple jump. The high jump and shot put for the boys will have later start times at 7:15 pm and 7:30 pm respectively. The first day of the Virginia Tech Invite will also feature the trials of the 55 meter dash, an invitational DMR, and sections of the 4x800 meter relay and 3200 meter run on the track.

Girls Shot Put: Virginia has the top two throwers in the event with Samella Koroma of T.C. Williams and Allison Jones of Lake Braddock. The two Northern Region throwers are the top two returnees from last year's Virginia State 3A Meet as Koroma is currently the state leader with a season best throw of 42'3". Jones is not far behind this season at 41'3.75". J.R. Tucker's K'Lynne Robinson joined Koromoa and Jones with a mark over 40 feet last weekend with a 40'2.25" win at the East Coast Invitational. Potomac of Maryland's Rochelle Wright has also thrown over 40 feet this season with a 40'5.25" best.

Boys Triple Jump: Two of the nation's top four ranked jumpers will be present in Blacksburg with US #1 Devon Bond from Trenton Central NJ and US #4 Antonio Miller from Manchester VA. Bond hit his national leading mark with a leap of 48'6" to win at the Hispanic Games earlier this month. Meanwhile, Manchester junior and defending Virginia 3A state champion Miller had a jump of 48'1" last weekend at the East Coast Invite and competed without spikes.

Boys High Jump: 2006 Penn Relays high jump champion Devon Bond of Trenton Central looks to pick up two wins Friday evening at the Rector Fieldhouse as the top seed in both the high jump and triple jump. Bond cleared a personal best of 6'10.25" last April in the big victory at Franklin Field as he was a US top 20 performer in the event last spring. However, Bond is having an even better senior season as he cleared 6'11" to win the Bishop Loughlin Games in December and moved himself up to a share of the US #1 in the high jump with a 7 foot clearance only two weeks ago in New Jersey.

Virginians Ethan Nixon of Brookville and Phil Allison of Centreville have both cleared 6'6" this season as the next best competitors in the high jump event.

Girls Pole Vault: One of North Carolina's top vaulters in R.J. Reynolds senior Joanna Wright was hoping to compete against Virginia's best in Mills Godwin senior Anne Marie Gordon as Gordon was on the entry list for the Eastern Challenge at UNC. However, Gordon was in reality on the side of the country at the Pole Vault Summit in Reno, Nevada. While Gordon won her high school section at the Pole Vault Summit with a clearance of 11'7", Wright was a 11'6" winner at the Eastern Challenge. Fellow Virginian and club teammate to Gordon in Betsy Alter of Westfield High School cleared a personal best of 11'6" in Reno. Gordon will need to have a near 11'9" personal best day to come out first in Friday's competitive vault event.

Girls Triple Jump: John Glenn NY sr Gabriella Baiter as the current US #2 performer in the event will be considered as the favorite in the triple jump. Baiter leaped to one of the nation's top marks last month at the New York Armory. Baiter is not the only 40+ foot triple jumper found at Virginia Tech this weekend as University of Nebraska recruit Rachel Butler from Lee-Davis VA is one of the country's top returning athletes in the event. Butler had a best mark last spring as a junior of 40'0.50", which ranked her 15th overall in the country. She has competed sparingly in the event thus far this indoor season with a 37'8" season best, which is a state best in Virginia currently. Baiter will be looking to deny Butler a win on Friday and pick up her third major invitational victory this season after winning the Bishop Loughlin Games and Jim Mitchell Games at the Armory in December.

Boys Shot Put: Virginia's top throwers in 2A will meet for the second straight weekend to determine an invitational shot put title as Liberty VA's Erik Kuster and Jefferson Forest VA's John Pavia face off again after Kuster defeated Pavia at the Asics Invite at Liberty University last Saturday. Kuster won last weekend with a best mark of 53'3.50", which ties Pavia's season best of 53'3.50" in an earlier season win for Pavia over Kuster.

Girls 55m Hurdles: US #10 hurdler Kali Watkins from Menchville VA is the top seed in the 55 meter hurdles as she has a personal best of 8.08 this season from the CNU Showcase two weekends ago. Watkins is a returning Nike Indoor Nationals All-American in the 60 meter hurdles as she finished fifth in the finals last March in Landover. Winston Churchill MD senior AUdrey Gariepy will be her toughest competition after posting a 8.22 clocking earlier in the season at the Montgomery Invitational at the Prince George County Sports & Learning Center. Watkins and Gariepy are the top returnees from last year's 60 meter hurdles finals as Watkins took fourth and Gariepy finished fifth in 2006 at Virginia Tech.

Boys 55m Hurdles: Clayton NC senior Johnny Dutch will still be full of smiles from his 18th birthday last Saturday in which the birthday boy broke the 12 year old national record of 7.08 for the 55 meter hurdles with a 7.07 clocking. The returning Nike Outdoor Nationals champion in the 110 meter hurdles will have a tough task in attempting to repeat or better his national record performance last week, but will have a much easier task to win at Virginia Tech as his closest competition will be fellow North Carolina hurdler Charlton Rolle from R.J. Reynolds, who finished third in the finals last week at the Eastern Challenge against Dutch with a 7.42 clocking. Rolle currently is the 7th fastest hurdler in the country.

Girls 55m Dash: Providence NC senior Gabrielle Glenn will be favored in the sprint after clocking a US #8 time of 7.01 in a runner-up performance to Southeast Raleigh NC's Gabby Mayo (6.90) last weekend at the Eastern Challenge. Glenn ran a 11.86 wind-aided 100 meter time last spring as a junior to finish as a North Carolina 4A state runner-up in the event to eventual Nike Outdoor Nationals champion Mayo.

Potomac sophomore Yvonne Amegashie and Heritage (Newport News) junior Ruth Hunt have the two fastest times among Virginia entrants this season of 7.34 and 7.35 respectively.

Boys 55m Dash: Manchester VA sr Anthony Chesson will be favored with his 6.46 F.A.T. best this season. Chesson is the lone returnee from last year's 60 meter dash finals at Virginia Tech Invite in which he finished eighth.

Girls Invitational DMR: Two 2006 Nike Team Nationals squads from Southeast are featured in this invitational event created by meet director Dan Ward as Eleanor Roosevelt MD and Midlothian VA will clash with stacked squads. Eleanor Roosevelt returns all four members from a Nike Indoor Nationals champion squad in the event with a 12:07.34 best, while Midlothian returns all of their legs as well from a 12:17.73 All-American squad. Lake Braddock VA also should be in the mix with only one loss from their 12:11.35 DMR squad in 2006. The top teams in the race will be shooting for US top 20 all-time performances with the cutoff time at 11:58.4.

Boys Invitational DMR: Mountain View VA will be anchored by a Footlocker finalist in sophomore Thomas Porter and last year's Nike Indoor Nationals freshmen mile champ should bring home the win if he gets the baton close enough to the leaders.

Girls 4x800m Relay: With the invitational DMR being held shortly before the 4x800 meter relays on Friday night, the field for the event will not be as strong as possibly could have been with teams such as Eleanor Roosevelt and Midlothian loading up the DMR versus going after it in the 4x800 meter relay.

Lake Braddock VA and Blacksburg VA also have great distance talent, but are also entered in the distance medley relay, so it is uncertain which event both of those teams will focus on Friday evening. There is no question about which event Westfield VA is looking to run fast in as they are the top seed in the 4x800 meter relay and will have three of their four relay legs from a 9:14 team last spring. Westfield has three girls with 800 meters bests of 2:15 in Tasia Potasinski (2:15.59), Kerry Hartman (2:15.79), and Brittany Sevachko (14th, 2:15.83).

Both Eleanor Roosevelt and Midlothian can still be competitive as each squad has shown in the past their depth extends past four legs as the Midlothian girls showed a few weeks ago at CNU with a "B" team running under the Virginia 3A state qualifying time of 9:45 and finishing only a couple seconds behind their "A" team.

Walt Whitman also has a solid distance program out of Maryland, but again will have to choose between the DMR or 4x800 meter relay like other top seeded teams in the event.

Boys 4x800m Relay: The relay event will pit Virginia's top ranked team in Forest Park at 8:06.69 and Maryland's top ranked team in Eleanor Roosevelt at 8:09.93 as now that both teams have ran under 8:10 this season, Forest Park and Eleanor Roosevelt will be looking to push each other under eight minutes on the banked Tech track.

Girls 3200m Run: Durham Academy NC so Adrianne Soo is the top seed with a time of 11:03.40, but ran a time of 11:30 last weekend at the Eastern Challenge to finish third, so the 3200 meter run on Friday night appears to be fairly open with no runner in the field of the caliber of last year's winner Catherine White. White ran a US #1 time of 10:39 last year at Tech, but will be competing in the elite high school mile race this weekend at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games.

Winston Churchill MD junior Louise Hannallah (11:17.54) and Midlothian VA junior Samantha Dow (11:18.67) have the fastest times this season among the entries in the event with a cluster of runners behind them at 11:30 or faster.

Boys 3200m Run: Look for a great race between Footlocker finalists Griff Graves of Abingdon and Mike Spooner of West Springfield. Two of Virginia's top distance runners race sparingly against each other residing in different corners of the state as well as being in different classifications with Graves in 2A and Spooner in 3A. Spooner had a 2 to 1 advantage over Graves this past cross country season and Graves will look to even the score this Friday night.

Graves ran 9:14 last spring for 3200 meters and has been training lately under one of NAIA's and college's best coaches in Scott Simmons at Virginia Intermont College. The Abingdon junior is training for USA Cross Country Nationals in Boulder on February 10th, so it will be interesting to see if he has the track legs to pop a fast 3200 meter time. Aurora Scott showed last weekend with a US #1 performance that training for US Cross Country Nationals does not hurt a distance runner's performances on the track too terribly.

Meanwhile, Spooner will be facing major competition for the third weekend in a row and hopes to come out with his first win after taking his lumps early in losses the past two weekends ago. However, Spooner came away with excellent season debut times as a result with a 9:18 third place showing in the 3200 meter run at the Montgomery County Invitational and 4:20 sixth place finish in the mile at the New Balance Games this past weekend. Spooner ran well last year in the 3200 meter run at Tech doubling from the 4x800 meter relay within an hour span to finish third with a time of 9:27.69.

Do not be surprised if FL finalists Graves and Spooner have company up front with the likes of Blacksburg VA jr Peter Dorrell and West Johnston NC sr Dakota Lowery also in the field. Dorrell is coming off a sensational double at the Asics Invite at Liberty University posting a 4:18 1600 meter time and following up with a 9:23 win in the 3200 meter run. Meanwhile, Lowery ran his 3200 meter personal best of 9:21 at the tail end of the cross country season in a time trial. Both Lowery and Dorrell had fantastic races at Footlocker South to earn All-South honors with 13th and 17th places respectively. Not a bad collection of two milers at all with four of the top 17 finishers from the Footlocker South regional meet in the race.

Girls Long Jump: Centreville VA's Brittni Finch won the long jump competition last year at Virginia Tech with a leap of 18'10.25" as a sophomore. Finch went onto finish her indoor season with a 19'10.50" state meet record win at the Virginia 3A State Meet and earned All-American honors in the event at Nike Indoor Nationals. The Centreville junior will need another big performance this weekend to win for the second year in a row with some great jumpers found in the Saturda morning event.

While Finch has a season best of 18'1", Bethel VA senior Shakia Forbes has the top performance in the state of Virginia as well as current US #4 mark in the long jump at 18'9.50". Like Finch, the Seton Hall bound Forbes has ventured well in 19 feet including a 19'9.75" best this past summer in a USATF Junior Olympic Nationals runner-up showing. Forbes beat Finch in the process as well.

Woodbridge VA senior Brittni Dixon-Smith has came through in the clutch at a state meet like Finch did at last year's Virginia Indoor State Meet. Dixon-Smith, headed to Stanford University next year, won the Virginia 3A Outdoor State Meet last June over Forbes and Finch. She has a personal best of 19'5" in the long jump and has a best mark of 18'2.75" this season.

Despite the talented trio of jumpers from Virginia, New York could have the winner with Uniondale's Ashley Hendrix. Hendrix makes for two US top 5 performers at Virginia Tech along with US #4 Forbes, Hendrix is the only competitor who has actually leaped over 19 feet this season with her US #3 19'0". Hendrix hit her mark in a win at the Southern Tier Invitational at Cornell University on January 6th. Last year, Finch had a US #4 ranking with her 19-10.50" state performance, while Hendrix had a US #13 mark at 19'0.75" as only two of four sophomores in the entire nation ranked in the top 20 indoor national list.

Boys Long Jump: Highland Springs VA senior Rashad Cannon will be looking to make his mark into the US top 5 after this weekend. Cannon is just outside of a top five mark in the country with his 23'3" season best. Last weekend at the Eastern Challenge, Cannon picked up a big momentum victory heading into Tech with a leap of 23'2".

Much of Cannon's top competition is familar to him from last weekend at UNC as the meet saw a total of nine jumpers over 22 feet and several of them will be present at Virginia Tech including runner-up to Cannon in Lakeland VA sr Predist Walker (22'7").

Girls High Jump: Last year at Virginia Tech, Deep Creek VA's Ashley Gatling cleared a US #1 height of 5'9" to win the high jump competition. After defeating Nike Indoor Nationals champ Patience Coleman from North Carolina last weekend with a US #3 height of 5'8", the Deep Creek senior is looking forward to having another US #1 performance weekend in Blacksburg. The bar will be set high for her as the current US #1 height is 5'10" by Brittani Carter from Texas.

Booker T. Washington's DeShana Briggs has already cleared 5'8" this season for a share of the US #3 mark with Gatling and others, but struggled in her last head-to-head matchup against Gatling two weeks ago at the CNU Showcase and managed to only clear 5'4". However, Briggs has a best of 5'10" from last summer in AAU competition and will look to return back to top form against Gatling on Saturday.

Boys Pole Vault: Finally. Virginia's big three in vaulters this season with Harrisonburg's Tim Beierle, E.C. Glass' Daniel Inge, and Lake Braddock's Ian Prohaska will all face off. Beierle and Inge went head-to-head this past weekend at the Asics Invite at Liberty University with Inge having the 15'3" state leader Beierle on the ropes after a clearance of 14'6", but Beierle came through in the clutch to clear 14'6" and then make it over 15 feet as well for the win. Inge had a personal best day in second at 14'6". Prohaska is third vaulter over 14 feet this season in Virginia and has a 14'3" all-time best.

Girls 4x200m Relay: Uniondale NY comes with the US #3 time of 1:42.18. The crew from Uniondale ran the time fairly early in the season at the New York Armory at the Bishop Loughlin Games, so expect them to run close to 1:40 on another fast banked track found at Virginia Tech. While Eleanor Roosevelt MD has the fastest flat track 4x200 meter relay time in the country at 1:42.80 and is present at the meet, they will not be fielding a relay at the meet in the event. However, several Maryland and Virginia relays are ready to post fast times. Western MD (1:44.29) and McDonough MD (1:44.36) posted swift 4x200 two weeks ago at the Prince George County Sports & Learning Center for the Montgomery Invitational to lead the Maryland relays, while Bethel leads the Virginia squads with the fastest time in the state of 1:45.60 from last wekend at Liberty. Osbourn Park VA and Menchville VA will also load up and expect to be in the mix.

Boys 4x200m Relay: Based off of seed times, Virginia's fastest 4x200 meter relay team in Manchester with their 1:31.10 best on a flat track would be found outside of the fast section as the eighth fastest seed. It would be understandable if they were seeded eighth behind seven faster out-of-state relays, but only top seeded DeMatha Catholic MD has ran a comparable time, yet still not faster at 1:31.21 from the F.I.T. Relays. The real injustice though is four relays from Virginia seeded ahead of Manchester. Hopefully, meet management will rectify the situation and place the Lancers in the fast section and face off with top seeded DeMatha.

Girls 1000m Run: North Shore NY freshmen Brianna Welch will be tough to beat in the 1000 meter run at Virginia Tech as she has been a very steady performer with three of the nation's five fastest times this indoor season including her US #3 best of 2:54.99 in a runner-up finish at the Bishop Loughlin Games on December 16th. She was defeated in the race by last year's US #2 performer (2:50.26) in Brittany Sheffey of Bellport NY. Welch will be gunning for the national freshmen class record in 1000 meters of 2:52.84 and break the record on the same track that Devon Williams (Towson Catholic MD) set it in the 2004 Virginia Tech Invitational. She might as well challenge for the 2005 meet record by Katie Doswell (St. Catherine's VA) of 2:52.38 while she is in Blacksburg also.

She should have some decent competition to press her for a fast time. Great Bridge VA senior Kristy Tobin specializes in the mile and 1600 meters as she is a two-time VA state champion for 1600 meters with a 4:53 best, but also has shown her speed in the shorter events with bests of 2:56 for 1000 meters and 2:12 for 800 meters. Yorktown VA sophomore Andrea Oaxaca also owns a 2:56 PR, while Eleanor Roosevelt MD's Tasha Stanley is one of the best middle distance runners among the Greenbelt pack and in the state of Maryland. However, Walt Whitman's Leslie Morrison (2:18.97) and Montgomery Blair's Ashlyn Sinclair (2:19.54) also have solid season bests for 800 meters frm Maryland and look to complement them with quick 1000 meter times on Saturday.

This event is extremely deep with a large group of runners right at three minutes or a little off including current Virginia state leader Cate Berenato of Blacksburg at 3:00.25, while Westfield's Tasia Potasinski and Lake Braddock's Michelle Presley ran just under three minutes last year. Potasinski actually ran her 2:59.21 personal best last year in a win at Virginia Tech as a sophomore. A second straight win will be a tough task with the talented Welch competing.

Boys 1000m Run: This season has been one of the weakest and worst years ever so far in the 1000 meter run in the state of Virginia. The state's fastest time is at 2:34. Just a couple of years ago in 2003, a Virginia team had three runners at 2:34 or faster in the event at this same meet. Hopefully with the sprinkle of some talented out-of-state competition, some wheels will start rolling and fast times will be produced at Virginia Tech.

Dylan Ferris, a junior from East Forsyth NC, leads the field as Ferris is one of the top returning half milers in the country after running a 1:51.95 800 meter time as a sophomore last spring. Ferris moved up in distance last weekend at UNC for the 1600 meter run at the Eastern Challenge and ended up finishing third in 4:22. While a solid time, Ferris will probably feel more comfortable racing at the 1000 meter dash fresh this weekend on the fast banked track.

Ferris will be trying to stop South County VA senior Jeff Miller from winning for the second year in a row at Tech. Miller ran his personal best time of 2:32.81 in Blacksburg last January for the win. His time was the fastest time in Virginia last indoor season, but unfortunately he suffered a season ending injury and missed the state meet. Miller is back on top of the Virginia state leaderboard again with a 2:34.17 season best and will look to better his 2005 winning time and creep closer to the national lists. Eleanor Roosevelt MD's Kelli Thibou also returns from last year's 1000 meter race in which he finished fifth with a time of 2:35.18.

Girls 300m Dash: Hurdler vs. Sprinter. Nicole Saunders vs. Elan Hilaire. It may not be as simple as that with several other worthy competitors who have decent shots at picking up the win as well at Tech, but the top two seeds definitely attract attention as a matchup to look forward to.

Saunders, one of the nation's top returning 300 and 400 meter hurdlers, does pretty well for herself on the track without hurdles in front of her. Last year, Saunders had a best of 39.19 in the 300 meter dash. She is the top returnee from last year's national record 300 meter race from Francena McCorory at Virginia Tech after finishing third in 39.30.

Meanwhile, Hilaire finished eighth in 2006 at Tech with a time of 40.37 when she was still competing for Park High School in Maryland. Now competing for Eleanor Roosevelt MD, Hilaire has a speedy 400 meter best time under 55 seconds. Fauquier VA's Dania Sanford is also looking fit this season with a 40.99 season best on an unbanked track at George Mason back in December.

Boys 300m Dash: Step aside for the Sean Holston show when the final section of the 300 meter dash steps on the track. With the performances that Holston has been putting up on unbanked tracks all season long, he is bound to pop a fast time on Saturday in the 300 meter dash. Holston currently owns the nation's fastest times for 300 (33.99) and 500 (1:03.93) meters and has ran a 47.90 400 meter time indoors as well this winter. The defending Virginia 3A state champion for 300 meters, in which he defeated eventual Nike Indoors and Nike Outdoors national champion for 200 meters in Charles Clark from Bayside VA, looks to move up on the US all-time list from his current position as US #17 (33.94).

Holston could potentially become the fastest Virginian prep ever in the event as only Lashawn Merritt at US #5 all-time in 33.51 (2004) and Rickey Harris at US #10 in 33.74 (2000) have ran faster. Merritt's best time is also the Virginia Tech meet record that Holston certainly is threatening. The long standing national record of 21 years in the event is held by William Reed from Pennsylvania at 33.19.


Girls 500m Dash: Expect one if not two athletes to dip under 1:15 when Uniondale NY senior Ashlee McLaughlin and Eleanor Roosevelt MD senior Takecia Jameson meet up in the final section of the 500 meter dash. McLaughlin has the US #2 time in the event at 1:15.02, while Jameson went 1:15.4 for 500 meters last week and rank her #3 in the country. Another US top 5 performer will be competing at Tech with Keshia Rudolph of Deep Creek VA after a US #5 1:17.18 at the Eastern Challenge last weekend.

Girls Invitational 600m Dash: A special event setup specifically for a national record attempt, meet director Dan Ward did a fine job of assembling the right talent to go after it. University of Miami recruit Tameka Jameson of Eleanor Roosevelt MD is the top seed as she is the top returning runner in the country for 500 meters after running a US #2 time as a junior of 1:12.40 last year. She also split under 2:10 last spring for 800 meters as anchor leg on the Eleanor Roosevelt's national champion SMR at Nike Outdoor Nationals.

She will not only have her work cut out for her to take down the 2005 national record of 1:29.27 by Janine Davis NJ, but crossing the line first will not be easy either with current US #1 400 meter runner Dalillah Muhammed. The Cardozo NY junior ran the nation's third fastest time for 600 meters last year as a sophomore with a time of 1:31.29. Muhammed is looking very sharp heading into her trip to Blacksburg. She has the nation's two fastest times for 400 meters thus far this season including a US #1 time of 54.28 at the New Balance Games last weekend.

Virginia's top representative in the six athlete and one section only invited field is Woodside VA junior Dominique Jordan. As a sophomore, Jordan ran under 55 seconds last spring for 400 meters, but has had a late start to her indoor season and looked a little rusty at the CNU Showcase in the 300 meter dash a few weeks ago.

Boys 500m Dash: No immediate favorite in this event. Westfield VA sophomore Matthew Anderson (1:06.42) and Deep Creek VA senior Keonta Coleman (1:06.48) are two legit sprinters under 1:07 this season from Virginia. Top seed Adrian Browne from Eleanor Roosevelt MD has ran 1:07.11 this season for 500 meters.

Girls Invitational Mile: This race has all the ingredients for some fast times to be produced with the individuals entered. There is Albemarle VA senior Rachel Rose, who makes up for lack of turnover with great toughness and willingness to set brutal paces to break her competition as shown with her second state cross country championship in the fall despite missing a month in the middle of the fall with a stress fracture. Then there is Chantilly VA sophomore Lia DiValentin, who has been on a roll as of late as she has ran personal bests for one mile (5:03), 800 meters (2:20), and a US #5 time of 10:49 for 3200 meters in the past two weeks.

Lastly, a revisit of last June's epic 1600 meter battle at the Virginia 3A State Meet between Great Bridge VA senior Kristy Tobin and Midlothian VA senior M.C. Miller in which both runners clocked personal bests of 4:53 will be found in one of the meet's final events. The closing speed of both always makes them a threat to win if they find themselves within striking distance at the end. Thrown in top runner for the outstanding distance program found at Eleanor Roosevelt MD in Marika Walker and expect to see an honest pace. Walker is the top returnee from the 2006 Virginia Tech Invite as she finished third in 5:09. Expect the time for third place to be much faster this year in Blacksburg.

Boys Invitational Mile: Walter Johnson MD junior Chris Moen will look to keep his streak going of exceptional mile races this indoor season at Virginia Tech. Moen is coming off a big win at the New Balance Games at the New York Armory last weekend as he earned an automatic invitation to the 100th annual Millrose Games with a US #2 time of 4:16.75. A win at Tech would be Moen's third big mile win in as many weekends as he also ran the nation's fastest mile time on an unbanked track in a 4:17.33 win at the Montgomery Country Invitational.

Coming back from the same race with Moen in New York will be West Springfield VA senior Mike Spooner and West Johnston NC senior Dakota Lowery. Spooner finished sixth in the race with a time of 4:20, while Lowery finished just outside of the top six. Lowery will be one of three sub 4:20 milers from North Carolina in the race with his 4:18 best from last spring, Providence NC's John Curtiss at 4:18, and East Forsyth NC's Dylan Ferris at a 4:16 best. While their best times come from last spring, Blacksburg VA junior Peter Dorrell ran his personal best time of 4:18 last weekend at Liberty University. Outside of Moen and maybe Spooner, Dorrell has looked the most fit this season among the mile entrants. Radford VA junior Nathan Brame also looked strong last weekend in a 4:22 runner-up finish in the 1600 meter run at the Eastern Challenge and held off Ferris for second place.

Girls 4x400m Relay: The final event for the girls looks to be the most exciting with several of top ranked relays in the country present to push for times well under four minutes. Cardozo NY comes in as the top seed and owns the US #3 time in the event at 3:54.50. However, Eleanor Roosevelt MD will be gearing up for this event as they are bypassing the 4x200 meter relay earlier in the day and return all of their key legs from last year's 3:48.04 meet record squad. Elan Hilaire was not even at Eleanor Roosevelt then, so that makes for even great anticipation of what kind of time the Lady Raiders can produce on Saturday.

The Osbourn Park VA girls return everyone from a Nike Indoor Nationals runner-up squad and currently have the second fastest time in the country on an unbanked track at 3:58.69 and will look to put themselves well up on the banked list after this weekend. Bishop McNamara MD has the second fastest time this season among the Tech entries at a US #5 time of 3:54.69. McNamara finished right behind Cardozo NY in the same race at the Hispanic Games. Menchville finished second to Eleanor Roosevelt in 2006 at Virginia Tech with a time of 3:51.19, but have yet to show their full cards in the event this season and feature Nicole Saunders as one of their legs.

Boys 4x400m Relay: DeMatha Catholic MD was a runaway winner in 2006 at Virginia Tech with a 3:17.59 meet record performance. The boys from Hyattesville, Maryland may not challenge their own meet record with their current US #5 3:24.76 season best time in the 4x400 meter relay, but they will be favored to win again in convincing style. Eleanor Roosevelt MD (3:26.76), Bethel VA (3:27.48), and Manchester VA (3:27.87) have the next fastest times this season in the final event of the meet.

Virginia Tech Invite Index