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18th Nike Outdoor Nationals
June 19-21, 2008 - North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro NC
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SteveU's Previews and Predictions - Girls

Distances - Throws - Jumps - Sprints/Hurdles - Distance Relays - Sprint Relays

Girls Distances

The Buzz: Pretty high, despite the absence of stars such as Chanelle Price, Jordan Hasay, and Christine Babcock. The girls deuce still reads like a Who’s Who of Foot Locker Finalists, albeit with a decided East Coast bent. The mile and the 800 will not have quite the star power of recent years, but they will still bear notice – especially Jillian Smith in the 800, who could go well below 2:05.

The 5k, added two years ago as an event for those not-quite-ready for the prime time 2M, is getting ‘A’ list star-power this year with Foot Locker Champ Ashley Brasovan FL. Seeing what she can do for a track 5k will be worth the price of admission Thursday night. Saturday’s steeple will match the country’s best in that discipline, as New York stars US#1 Shelby Greany and defending champ Hannah Davidson duke it out.

What 2 Watch 4: The girls 2-Mile will be fascinating – maybe even MORE so than it would have been with Hasay and Laurynne Chetelat. That’s because it’s truly possible to imagine any one of seven or eight girls winning it. If Brasovan runs it, she’ll be coming off the 5k, which makes it hard to call her a favorite, despite her talent. Look at all the rest: You have 2006 Foot Locker champ Kathy Kroeger TN, rounding into the best track shape of her life. You have Neely Spence PA, who has left this event untouched this year, but who was 2nd last year in 10:20 and has run 4:44 for 1600. You have Emily Lipari NY, who is fresh off a great NY state double, including a 9:37 3k. And you have NIN 2M and Penn 3k champ Katie McCafferty, who just ripped a 10:17 at the NJ MOC.

You want more? How about Foot Locker Finalists Emily Jones MA (New England 2M champ), Emily Infeld OH (2007 NON mile runner-up), Jessica Tonn AZ, Mary Kate Champagne NY, and Chelsea Ley NJ? And 2007 New England XC champ Georgia Griffin NH? Whew!

Girls like Jones, Kroeger and Ley probably won’t want it to come down to a kick, so look for a 10:10-type pace. The fastest milers, though, are unlikely to be dropped … and Spence has the experience, speed, and consistency to make it her race in the end.

Infeld is definitely the fastest miler in the mile field, but she will be doubling back – as will Lipari, Tonn, Champagne, Kroeger, and Shields. Amanda Winslow GA, a fast 4:48.36 runner-up in the Mobile mile, will have the best PR of the fresh runners. Look for a kicker’s race, with Winslow, Infeld, Lipari, Brittany Koziara FL probably having the best shots.

Smith and Brasovan are likely to make the 800 and 5k one-girl shows. The 800 will have some very good girls, like Charlene Lipsey NY, Nachelle Stewart UT, and six more at 2:10 or better. Don’t be surprised to see Tasha Stanley MD, the anchor of so many great relays for Eleanor Roosevelt, push the pace early. But expect Smith, who could be ready to break 2:04, to finish the best. And in the 5k, despite the presence of talents like Chelsea Ley, expect a one-girl show by Brasovan, who has the potential to run in at least the low 16s.

The steeple should be a great duel between NY specialists Greany and Davidson. Both can pace a race, and finish it. It’s very hard to pick a winner, there. Emma Coburn CO, the Great Southwest champ and 4th here last year, will also be a big factor. Destiny Lalane NY has the top PR by 14 seconds coming into the Mile Walk, with a 7:21.

Record Possibilities: The record most likely – and almost certain – to fall is the 16:36.34 5k meet record set by Marissa Treece last year, with Brasovan definitely having the wheels there. The other meet and national records will be awfully tough to beat.

The Predictions:

2-Mile: 1. Spence, 2. Brasovan, 3. Lipari -- Winning Time: 10:11.50

Mile: 1. Infeld, 2. Winslow, 3. Lipari -- Winning Time: 4:48.50

800: 1. Smith, 2. Lipsey, 3. Chelsea Cox NJ -- Winning Time: 2:04.30

5k: 1. Brasovan, 2. Ley, 3. Heather Stephens CT -- Winning Time: 16:12.00

2k Steeple: 1. Greany, 2. Davidson, 3. Coburn -- Winning Time: 6:41.50

1 Mile Walk: 1. Lalane, 2. Kayte Demont NE, 3. Mary Dutkoski NY -- Winning Time: 7:19.00

Girls Throws

The Buzz: Modest – With top throwers such as NIN shot champ Karen Shump PA, US discus leader Anna Jelmini CA, and former US shot leader Daniella Bunch IL competing in Columbus, the buzz for the girls throws is somewhat tempered. But some of the stars are attempting tough, but doable doubles, so fans at both meets should see the US#1s in the shot (Becky O’Brien ME), the jav (Hannah Carson AZ), and the hammer (Allison Horner GA).

What 2 Watch 4: New US shot leader O’Brien (51-06.50 last weekend at New Englands) appears to be going for the shot and disc at NON, then the USATF Jr. shot on Sunday. She has three feet on Penn Relays champ Emily Vannoy MD in the shot. O’Brien (161-11) is a foot behind Taylor Freeman IA (162-10) in the discus, but appears to be peaking at the right time and has a great chance for the double – though Natalie Baird VA is also over 161 feet.

The battle for first in the hammer should be a good one. Horner established herself as #3 all-time with a great series of throws (topping out at 194-00) last month. She would be coming back from the USATF competition the day before, though, while US#3 and indoor weight record-setter Victoria Flowers RI will be fresh. Carson will be coming back in the same fashion, but with an 18-foot gap over Danika Ham NH, she could pull off the double, too.

Record Possibilities: Horner and Carson both have a great chance at records. Horner has seven feet to go to Maureen Griffin’s USR (201-07), but she’s also that many feet ahead of Griffin’s meet record. Carson’s PR from last year (173-07) exceeds Emily Carlsten’s MR (168-04) and is a few feet off Rachel Yurkovich’s USR (176-05). The shot and disc records are probably out of reach of this year’s group.

The Predictions:

Shot Put: 1. O’Brien, 2. Vannoy, 3. Maureen Laffan NJ – Winning Distance: 51-09

Discus: 1. O’Brien, 2. Baird, 3. Freeman – Winning Distance: 159-06

Javelin: 1. Carson, 2. Ham, 3. Casey Wagner PA – Winning Distance: 163-03

Hammer: 1. Horner, 2. Flowers, 3. Meaghan McGovern RI – Winning Distance: 184-10

Girls Jumps

The Buzz: Moderate – As is the case with the boys, the lion’s share of the cream of the crop in these events will be in Columbus or they are bypassing the weekend altogether. This includes standouts like Rachel Laurent, Vashti Thomas, Tynita Butts, Alitta Boyd, and the three 6-foot high jumpers from Texas. But not all of the good Texas jumpers will be in Columbus. Great Southwest LJ/TJ champion A’Lexus Brannon TX, the only girl to hit a 21-foot LJ in any conditions this year, and 20-footer Jacinda Evans NC will highlight some pretty good horizontal jump fields. Meanwhile, US#3 vaulter Stephanie Foreman AR, leads five 13-footers in what should be a very solid PV competition.

What 2 Watch 4: Brannon, just a soph, has been money in the horizontal jumps all year – she also just doubled in the NSSF Caribbean. Evans, the NIN champ who won four events at the NC state meet, will have to be at her very best to top her in the LJ, even though she has the better legal jump. In the triple jump, Brannon has a foot on three others who have reached 40 – Charaschiesa Lockhart TX, Jalesha Jarmon OH, and Abaobi Unachukwu NJ.

Foreman, who has been raising her state record all season, is now #11 all-time outdoors and has more than three inches on the field. Of the other 13-footers, Penn Relays champ and NIN runner-up Abby Schaffer has great big-meet experience and consistency. As for the high jump, most of the 18 girls over 5-10 this year are not competing, with the three 6-footers from Texas in Columbus. That leaves Monique Roberts NY and Taylor Burke OH as the top jumpers in Greensboro at 5-09.

Record Possibilities: Surprisingly, with all the talent from recent years, the meet record for the PV at NON is just 13-02.50 (defending champ Shade Weygandt, who is out with injury, and Katie Veith), ripe for the picking for Foreman and maybe Schaffer. Tianna Madison’s 20-07.25 meet LJ record is not out of reach, either.

The Predictions:

High Jump: 1. Roberts, 2. Burke, 3. DeShana Briggs VA – Winning Height: 5-08.50

Pole Vault: 1. Foreman, 2. Schaffer, 3. Leslie Brost SD – Winning Height: 13-05.75

Long Jump: 1. Brannon, 2. Evans, 3. Sonnisha Williams FL – Winning Distance: 20-02

Triple Jump: 1. Brannon, 2. Unachukwu, 3. Lockhart – Winning Distance: 40-06

Girls Sprints/Hurdles

The Buzz: Moderate – Defending 100/200 champ Chalonda Goodman is in the house, but may be hard-pressed to get a good test. The 400 will be more competitive, with former US#1 Natalie Stewart UT and indoor #1 Nadonnia Rodriques leading a good field of sub-54s.

The hurdles events will be missing the likes of Jackie Coward, Vashti Thomas, Ryann Krais, Dalilah Muhammad, and Donique’ Flemings. But supersoph Jasmin Stowers SC, the only current prep to have beaten Coward indoors or out, and 13.56w Texan Destiny Lumas will provide a good battle in the 100s. The 400H will feature Elizabeth Mott NY, who is also a former US#1 this spring and gave Muhammad all she wanted last weekend at their state meet.

What 2 Watch 4: You can certainly say this about Goodman: She won’t surprise anyone this year. Last spring, her victories over the likes of Gabby Mayo and Tiffany Townsend were revelatory; this year, she has been at or near the top of the US lists all spring and will be a heavy favorite to repeat. Most of those who could give her the best race – the Californians, Texans, and most of the Georgians – are in Columbus or have shut it down. In the 100, super youngsters English Gardner NJ (soph) and Olivia Ekpone (freshman), and fellow Georgia Brianna Hubbard, could make things interesting. At twice the distance, breakthroughs by Marlena Wesh VA or Ekpone (1-2 at Nike Indoor), or Stacey-Ann Smith CT, could make things interesting.

Now the 400, that will be very interesting. Great Southwest winner Stewart is reliable in the mid-53s; so is NIN champ Briana Nelson SC, who was 2nd out of the 2nd heat here last year. And what about Rodriques? She led the nation with a blistering 52.83 indoors, #4 all-time, but her best outdoors is 54.09. Three other sub-54s, as well as eight in the 54s (including Gardner, whose 54.00 was 3rd here last year, and Ekpone at 54.18), are going to make even the prelims fascinating. Still, it should come down to Stewart and Nelson.

The 100H has a lot of athletes between 14.00 and 14.20, but Stowers and Lumas really stand above the field. The former has plateaued somewhat and is due to get under 13.5. Similarly, the 400H field has several athletes between 1:00 and 1:02, but Mott is two seconds up on the pack; unless she missteps, the race will be for second.

Record Possibilities: If Goodman is really on, she could push the 11.39 100 meet record of Alexandria Anderson, but other sprint/hurdle meet and national records look unreachable.

The Predictions:

100: 1. Goodman, 2. Gardner, 3. Jacinda Evans NC – Winning Time: 11.42

200: 1. Goodman, 2. Wesh, 3. Ekpone – Winning Time: 23.49

400: 1. Stewart, 2. Nelson, 3. Rodriques – Winning Time: 53.45

110H: 1. Stowers, 2. Lumas, 3. A’Lexus Brannon TX – Winning Time: 13.59

400H: 1. Mott, 2. Melissa Bellin NJ, 3. Paige Morton GA – Winning Time: 57.95

Girls Distance Relays

The Buzz: Pretty solid – There isn’t that “superteam” feeling you have some years with some of the great recent teams like Eleanor Roosevelt, Corona Del Mar, and Southern Regional. On the other hand, Warwick Valley NY (DMR and 4x800) or Saratoga Springs NY (DMR) could definitely continue to move up the all-time lists, while Burnt Hills NY looks to improve on their great 4x1 Mile at NSIC indoors. All three relays will be dominated by East Coast teams, especially those from New York. Roosevelt, incidentally, should be strong in the DMR, but is bypassing the 4x8, where it set the national record at Penn. They are focusing on the sprint medley, where they also own the USR, and the 4x400.

What 2 Watch 4: The DMR will probably be the best race of the three. Toga and Warwick were 2nd and 3rd at Penn, with 11:42.49 (#12 all-time) and 11:45.69 (Penn winner Roxbury is not running any distance relays here). Warwick won NSIC at 11:44.44. Toga has a strong all-around group, led by defending steeple champ Hannah Davidson, who’s capable of 4:50 for 1600, while Tori Pennings and Lillian Greibesland are the strongest cogs for Warwick.

If either of these teams puts every piece together, they could push 11:40. Other teams in the hunt should be Lenape NJ, Eleanor Roosevelt MD (Blazin Raiders), and Burnt Hills NY.

Warwick is the clear favorite in the 4x800, with Greibesland and Pennings joined by Claire Pettit and Kristen Jados. They took over the US#2 spot at 8:55.61 at their own Fast Times meet and are 10 seconds up on the field. Four other teams are good sub-9:10 bets, including Lenape and Voorhees (Hunterdon Hawks), the latter of which includes distance star Melanie Thompson, who is bypassing the 2M for this race and Saturday’s mile.

Burnt Hills, with standouts Sam Roecker and Meaghan Gregory, are also head and shoulders above the field in the 4x1 Mile. Others that have the best chance to run in the 20:30-20:45 range are Shenendehowa NY, Saline MI (Running Gear TC) and Bromfield MA, with Foot Locker Finalist Emily Jones in the mix.

Record Possibilities: Warwick has an outside shot at the 4x800 meet mark of 8:51.60 by Boys and Girls NY, but it would take otherworldly performances for any of the other meet and national records in these events to go down.

The Predictions:

4x 1Mile: 1. Burnt Hills, 2. Saline, 3. Bromfield – Winning Time: 20:07.00

Distance Medley: 1. Warwick, 2. Saratoga, 3. Lenape – Winning Time: 11:40.80

4x800: 1. Warwick, 2. Voorhees, 3. Lenape – Winning Time: 8:53.90

Girls Sprint Relays

The Buzz:  Pretty good – Eleanor Roosevelt’s girls (Blazin Raiders) are always good for a few record attempts and some drama, and this year will be no different, with this being Coach Desmond Dunham’s last go-round.  The way they’ve stacked their relays makes it like they’re really going for it in the 1600 SMR, where the broke the USR here last year, as well as the 4x400 (they beat the Jamaicans at Penn) and 4x200.  From Texas to challenge in the 4x200 is Dallas Skyline (also a leading entry in the 4x100), while Nadonnia Rodriques and her Boys and Girls NY squad is here from NY in the 4x400.

What 2 Watch 4:  The 1600 SMR may be the most interesting to watch, if only because it requires successfully putting together 200, 400 and 800 runners, and it’s the event in which Roosevelt has the best chance for a record.  Unfortunately, they likely will have little competition at the end, meaning that when anchor Tasha Stanley gets the stick from Doris Anyanwu, Afia Charles and Amirah Johnson, she will have to pace it better than usual and finish hard.  Putting Johnson, who has also run under 2:10, on the anchor and Stanley on a 400 leg might yield good results, too.

The same quartet, with Elan Hiliare in place of Johnson, will attempt to dominate the 4x400Boys and Girls, which has been known to put Rodriques on an earlier leg, will be dangerous, as will Skyline.  The 4x200 should be most competitive, with Roosevelt again rolling out their ‘A’ team, but with Skyline being much closer. 

Skyline and Oak Ridge FL should battle it out in the 4x100, though Skyline has had six weeks since its state meet, while Oak Ridge should have the best crew in the hard-to-predict 800 SMR.

Record Possibilities:  Roosevelt has a great chance to break their own US 1600 SMR mark from last year (3:51.90), but it will require great pacing on the 800 leg.  They have a good shot at beating the 3:37.48 (Long Beach Poly) meet record in the 4x400, too, though they don’t have the one or two 52/53-second girls needed for a national record.  The 4x100 and 4x200 leaders have outside shots at the meet records of 45.47 (Elsik TX) and 1:35.65 (Skyline).

The Predictions:

4x100:  1. Oak Ridge, 2. Skyline, 3. Hoffman Estates – Winning Time: 46.17

4x200:  1. Roosevelt, 2. Skyline, 3. Oak Ridge – Winning Time: 1:37.20

4x400:  1. Roosevelt, 2. Boys and Girls, 3. Skyline – Winning Time: 3:37.85

1600 Sprint Medley:  1. Roosevelt, 2. Cruzin Clippers, 3. Irish Road – Winning Time: 3:51.60

800 Sprint Medley:  1. Oak Ridge, 2. Walnut Hills, 3. Maryland Jaguars – Winning Time: 1:45.10

NON Index