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Simplot Games

Idaho State University, Pocatello ID
February 15-17, 2007

DyeStat on-site with Doug Speck, Rich Gonzalez,
Mike Kennedy, and John and Donna Dye



Volcano set to erupt this weekend

Simplot Games fields again oozing with talent

By Richard Gonzalez, DyeStat/DyeStatCal 
     POCATELLO, ID -- As it does each year at about this time, the volcano begins rumbling on Thursday. In unison, all local residents quickly start to scramble.
     That's right. Before the volcano erupts, the mountain must first move.
     By Friday, those volcanic forces multiply. Adrenaline flows faster while the army of local contributors also continues to build.
     Come Saturday, the volcano reaches full force: a power-packed display matched only by the pageantry of one community's inspiring levels of hospitality and pride.
     Welcome to the annual Simplot Games, one of prep track and field's truly unique environs. Residents from the cozy mountainside town of Pocatello annually coalesce their energies, helping orchestrate an athletic event that symbolizes the best of youth athletics. The event is largely manned by the legion of volunteers from Boise-based agri-business giant R.J. Simplot Co.
     And the volcano we speak of ? Pools of prep track and field talent, oozing from the 2,400-plus teenagers in attendance that enjoy a bastion of fun times, a collection of memorable times and, of course, oh-so-fast times.
    Simplot Games 2007 appears as strong as ever, with the heart of the best action once again figuring to spill across the banked 200-meter Holt Arena indoor track.
    National leaders in nine events decorate the entry fields for the 29th annual event, led by Mississippi dasher Bianca Knight. America's fastest indoor dasher this winter, the "Mississippi Missile" has bolted 23.27 for 200 meters in recent weeks and will be challenged by California-based speedburners Jeneba Tarmoh (Mt. Pleasant HS, San Jose), Ebony Collins (LB Wilson/unattached) and Ashton Purvis (St. Elizabeth HS, Oakland).
    Dalilah Mahummed, a sensationally versatile talent form the New York area (Bishop Cardozo HS, Queens), tops America's long dashers witha 54.28 clocking undercover thus far this season, with fellow New Yorker Brittany Sheffey (Bellport HS, 2:10.77) heading up the 800m entries.
    Perhaps the deepest field of the weekend occurs in the girls 60m hurdles event, where five athletes rankings in the top five nationally at either the 55m or 60m distance will converge. Cardozo's Lyndsay Rowe and Tennessee's Bianca Blair represent the eastern half of the map, with the California trio of Julian Purvis (Ashton's sister), Ke'Nyia Richardson and Vashti Thomas in the mix from the western half. Richardson is also the big name in the triple jumpo, especially after blasting a monstrous 42-07 effort recently that assumed the yearly national lead and also ranked #3 all-time in the prep undercover lists!
    For the men, North Carolina;s Trenton Guy (West Charlotte HS) is the one to catch, with the powerful senior being the national leader across 200m on flat tracks and the 55-meter U.S. leader to boot. Plenty of talented long sprinters are also on hand, led by Northern Californian Quentin Powell and South Dakotan Chas Demers.
    Few athletes are as dazzling to observe in action as North Carolina's Johnny Dutch, with the Southern flash snapping over the hurdles better than anyone on the map these days. Dutch is the national leader at 55 meters and will seek to assume the 60m H lead this weekend as well.
    On the topic of amazing athletes, Southern Californian Terry Prentice (Diamond Ranch HS) was runner-up at last year's Nike Indoor Nationals in the pentathlon. His specialties are the hurdles and the long jump and he's entered in both here this weekend. The reigning state champion outdoors in the 110m highs, Prentice has already soared a U.S.-best 23-11.50 indoors in the sand pit this winter.
    Salt Lake City's Colin Boevers (Judge Memorial HS) has put the shot a nation-leading 63-09 this far to rank as the heavy favorite there.
    Two great matchups among non-national leaders should also yield plenty of highlights, with defending Simplot Games champion Spencer McCorkel (Bryant HS, Arkansas) facing off against Central California's Casey Roche (St. Francis HS, Mountain View) in the pole vault. McCorkel cleared 17-03 last year before fallnig short in his bid at a national indoor record 17-07.00. Roche then scaled 17-05.00 outdoors last summer to rank as the best returnee in the nation this year.
    The men's 800m should also be a dandy, largely due to UCLA-bound Cory Primm (Westlake HS) putting in an excellent off-season training regimen to be in very fit form, a rarity for California distance runners during February. Also in the field should be New Yorker Lionel Williams, Utah's Justin Hedin (1:53.55) and North Carolina's Anthony Hendrix (1:51 relay split). Washington's Nectaly Barbosa is also entered, but word is he may not compete. Also questionable is FootLocker cross-country nationals finalist Taylor Farnsworth, who lives four miles from the Holt Arena facility. Farnsworth has been nursing an Achilles' injury recently and said on Wednesday that he may run the trials, but avoid overdoing it by racing in the mile final.