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70th Eastern States Championships

Girls DMR and Boys 2-Mile Hold Most Intrigue

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 The New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory -- New York, New York

Coverage from SteveU and The Track Junkie

Walter Henning Breaks Own HSR - 86-03.75

St. Anthony's NY sr adds 1.75" to Weight Throw record he set earlier in season.

FULL BOYS RESULTS - FULL GIRLS RESULTS - Results from jacobbrown.com

Accepted Entries - Time Schedule - Meet's Own Site - Live Results - Armory Meet Page - Preview

The Main Events - Athletes give a hint of what could be in the weeks ahead
Story by Steve U - Pix by John Nepolitan

Walter Henning, on the third throw of the series that produced his new US Record, drew a crowd, as usual, to the throwing cage at The Armory. Photos by The Track Junkie.



Four More US#1s Highlight Annual Multi-State Bash

  • Southern Regional NJ girls, with Jillian Smith (3:32) and Danielle Tauro (4:51) as bookends, hit US#1 11:49.62 in the DMR. They hold off tough challenges by Colts Neck NJ and Ashley Higginson (US#2 11:56.24, 4:52.2 anchor) and Warwick Valley NY (11:59.86).
  • Collegiate NY boys, with anchor Chris Williams holding off challenges from Terrence Prial and Warwick Valley, win the boys DMR with a US#1 10:18.15 (WV 10:20.73).
  • Shenendehowa sr Steve Murdock staves off the surges of Trinity Christian sr Andrew Hanko for a US#1 2M, 9:07.85 - 9:09.80.
  • Pleasantville NJ, which had lowered their pre-meet best since the seeding, won the 4x400 out of the next-to-last heat with a US#1 3:18.90. Newburgh NY (3:19.96) couldn't top it in the final, but barely held off Monmouth Regional NJ and anchor Charles Cox (3:20.14).

More coming ...


Above, Southern Regional and Warwick Valley battle on the first leg of the girls DMR, producing fast 3:32 legs. At right, Chris Williams anchors for the winning Collegiate School team. Photos by The Track Junkie.


Above, the 4x400 winners from Pleasantville NJ pushed it hard in the next to last section and were rewarded with the win and US#1 time. At right, Steve Murdock and Andrew Hanko waged a great duel in the 2 mile. Photos by The Track Junkie.



Historic Meet Occupies a Unique Place

By Steve Underwood

An eclectic mix of relay showdowns and individual showdowns/showcases will highlight the 70th Eastern States Championships at The Armory Tuesday night. The tradition-rich meet is always a highlight of the late-season crunch, and will find some athletes bouncing back from state meets in NJ and PA, while many New Yorkers are getting ready for their finale this coming weekend. Nike Indoors and National Scholastic meets loom another week ahead for the best regardless of state, so the end result is interesting faces in interesting places, and some intriguing matchups.

A few select athletes will be relatively fresh and the anticipation is high regarding what they might do. Southern Regional NJ will be testing a girls DMR team that many feel could challenge the national record at NIN. Super soph Jillian Smith will be coming back from her Meet of Champs 1600 win, but the nation’s dominant miler – Danielle Tauro – sat out the NJ Group meets with a mild hamstring injury and, thus, missed MOCs, too. Tauro is supposedly ready now, though, so a very fast time could be in the cards.

Southern Regional will hardly lack competition, though. Colts Neck NJ will also be looking to go very fast, with anchor Ashley Higginson coming off her MOC record and US#1 10:26.53 3200 and no stranger to giving Tauro all she can handle. There’s also Carmel NY with standout Kristin Reese. Both teams have done 12:01 this year to S.R.’s 11:59.

The boys 2-mile will also feature a well-rested pair eager to prove themselves. NJ Group 1 3200 runner-up (9:08.03) Andrew Hanko of Trinity Christian NJ missed the MOC for religious reasons, so he’s fresh, as is St. Benedict’s NJ jr Brandon Jarrett (defending champ), whose school is not an NJSIAA member. They will get a big fight from Shenendehowa NY sr Steve Murdock, who is finally making his 2007 debut at a distance longer than a mile. The Foot Locker 3rd-place finisher and NTN XC Champ has been running shorter races all winter, but plans to go after the high school 5k mark at NSIC. Expect all three to at least flirt with sub-9:00 and for more fast times to come from Morris Hills NJ sr Kyle Soloff, Delbarton NJ’s Tom Poland, and West Windsor South NJ jr Brian Leung.

There’s much, much more here to enjoy, however, besides these two intriguing events. Fans will get to see the likes of Walter Henning, Devon Bond, Brandon Bing, Craig Forys, Ashlea McLaughlin, Taryn O’Conner, Lindsay Rowe, English Gardner, and much more.

Boys DMR – 14 teams seeded at 10:35 and better, with 3 of the top 5 in the nation here. Down the list, though, are St. Benedict’s and Colts Neck, with potential anchors Jarrett, and Craig Forys. Forys is a given here, since he’s not entered in an individual event, and he electrified the crowd with his 4:05 anchor here last year (even though Colts Neck was 3rd in 10:20.70). He is also, of course, coming off the 9:03.58 MOC record Sunday in the 3200. Jarrett is a question mark, given that he’s listed in the 2M, too (the DMR is first).

But those three teams have to get the stick to their anchors in good position. Collegiate, defending champ Ridgewood, and Jackson all have the balance and could have tough leads to overcome at that point.

4x800s: Pope John XXIII of NJ is the top girls 4x800 seed at 9:15.71 and is reportedly shooting for a state record of 9:08. Traditional powers Warwick Valley and Suffern can also be expected to challenge 9:20. Iona Prep was runner-up in the first sub-8 race of year for the 4x800 and has the top seed here. Four others are between 7:58-8:02.

Sprint Relays: Newburgh NY, which ran the country’s only sub-3:20 (3:19.97) at Simplot, is the top seed by more than four seconds in the 4x400. Should they falter (they’d probably have to falter a lot), there’s several seeds in the 3:24-25 range. NJ MOC winner Monmouth is now down to 3:22.42. The girls 4x400 looks much tighter, with Bishop Loughrin leading at 3:53.71, followed by Hempstead, Mt. Vernon, and Boys & Girls.

The boys 4x200 features one sub-1:30 team seeded in Clarkstown South, but look for Trenton Central NJ (1:30.12) and Newburgh to give tough battle. The girls 4x2 battle will feature US#1, defending champ, and NB Collegiate winner Uniondale (1:39.17), along with Hempstead, who had the surprising win at the Hall of Fame meet.

Other Distances: Hanko is also the top seed in the mile; we’ll see if he doubles, but bet on him first racing the two. Soloff is also in on the deuce, but the next seed, Doug Smith, is not. The 9:08.01 performer, however, is known more for his longer races. Several others have seeds in the low 4:20s, including Kris Carle, Keith Stapleton, Matt Frawley, Matt Ciambriello, and others.

The girls mile is led by Millrose participant Suejin Ahn, the Ward Melville NY sr, who has run 4:56 this year. Defending champ and Bay Shore sr Callie Hogan, US#2 at 3k and also a Millrose runner, is also under 5, as is Welch, who would be doubling. Ranked down the list, but always dangerous is 2006 runner-up and Jackson NJ sr Amanda Marino.

In the boys 800, NJ stars Jason Apwah (Roxbury sr) and Gigi Gibilisco (Notre Dame sr) will look for redemption after allowing their MOC race to turn into a kicker’s battle that failed to match the time of the unseeded race. Pleasantville jr Alan Laws jr, the runner-up from that unseeded race, will be here; so will Bay Shore sr Jesse Thompson, though he’s been running longer races all winter.

In the girls 800, North Shore NY fr Brianna Welch is the top seed, with Bay Shore jr and defending champ Sarah McCurdy joining her in the 2:12 ranks. McCurdy and Welch were 2-3 at Hispanic Games for their best times of 2007. Down the list, the talents of McNair Academy sr Leslie Njoku (NON 400H champ) and Roxbury’s Ariann Neutts should not be forgotten; nor should Plainfield’s Jahlisa Smith, seeded just 18th. Neutts and Smith were 2-3 at NJ MOC.

Delsea NJ sr Amanda Goetschius, the NJ Grp 3 champ, is the top seed in the 2-mile at 10:52.05 (3200).

Boys Sprints/Hurdles: Though they are 3-4 on the seed list, the best legit 55 dash men look like Plainfield NJ sr Reggie Dixon, with a PR of 6.37 and NJ Grp 4 and MOC titles, and Hillhouse CT sr Terrell Wilks, also a 6.37 man. South Shore NY sr Kemar Clarke, on the other hand, is a legit top seed at 7.37 for the 60H. Trenton Central sr Tykeen Fulton, the NJ MOC winner at 7.45, is probably his best challenger.

The 200 seeds show Cheltenham PA sr Brandon Bing 3rd, but his 21.52 from the PA State Meet makes him the top seed. But Wilks may be one to watch here, too, along with St. Benedict NJ jr Brian Bucknor, and Carey NY jr Joe Scher. NJ MOC winner Charles Cox, the Monmouth sr, is the top legit seed in the 400 at 48.76. His brother Chris is a big threat, too, as is Old Bridge sr Allan Lunkenheimer. Jersey could dominate here.

Girls Sprints/Hurdles: Although she is seeded #2, Benjamin Cardozo sr Lindsay Rowe is the class of the 55H field, with her US#2 7.86. Ashlea McLaughlin, the 54.67 performer and long sprint standout as a Uniondale sr, is clearly the 400 favorite. But she still could get a battle from Boys & Girls jr Nadonnia Rodriques, Njoku, defending champ Kristen Mahon (Notre Dame NJ), and Mt. Vernon NY soph Breanda Crump.

In the 55, Eastern NJ fr English Gardner is coming off her 56.29/7.09 double win in the 400/55 at NJ MOC. She’s doing the 55/200 here, and she looks like the legit fave on the short dash list. Chatham NJ jr Ogechi Nwaneri, last year’s runner-up, could challenge. Hamilton NY sr Trisha Hawthorne, the Hispanic Games champ at 24.84, is a legit #1 seed here, but don’t discount Gardner.

Girls Field Events: The girls SP battle should be another showdown between US#3 Hillsborough NJ sr Taryn O’Conner and Brick Twp NJ jr DeAnne Hahn, who are both 47-footers and were first and second at the NJ MOC. New Rochelle’s Cynthia Lloyd may not quite be the female version of Walter Henning, but at 51-08.75 she is this meet’s best by more than 10 feet.

US#3 Gabriela Baiter hopes to continue her domination of triple-jumping in NY. The Elwood/John Glenn standout is seven inches up with her 40-00 seed. South Brunswick NJ sr Stephanie McIntyre (39-05) is more than a foot ahead of the third seed. Four are seeded at 5-05.75 in the high jump, but Lataya Dixon added her name to the list of 5-08 jumpers with her NJ MOC win Saturday. In the long jump, Baiter and North Babylon NY sr Bianca Fung are the seeded 18-footers, but Newark DE jr Krystina Muhammad is a new addition to the list.

Washingtonville NY sr Stephanie Duffy is the class of the PV field and defending champ as her 12-07.25 is more than a foot ahead, seed-wise.

Boys Field Events: Walter Henning is undoubtedly the biggest field event name. It goes without saying that he’s the heavy favorite in the weight throw, even with a fine 70-footer like Tri-Valley NY’s Ryan Loughney in the field. He has the #2 seed in the shot put, though his recent 62-09 is actually the best mark. But 61-11.50 performer Frede Spelleman, an Oscar Smith VA jr, and five others between 57’ and 59’ could challenge. Henning’s pretty consistent, though.

There’s another big name out here, too, though. Devon Bond has shown uncommon versatility in the jumps this year and he will be looking again for that elusive 7-01 HJ Tuesday. The Trenton Central NJ sr will see well-known competition from Jersey, such as West Orange jr Qaadir Tudor (6-10). Bond is also a solid favorite in the triple jump, with his 48-06 one of the nation’s top marks. Next best is Abraham Lincoln NY sr Russell Morton at 47-01.

Cherokee NJ sr Chris Steliga and West Orange NJ sr Jon Arnold are the two seeds above (just above) 23 feet in the long jump, but Hackensack NJ sr. Kwame Collins is close behind. New York’s two 15-06 PV performers, Fordham Prep NY sr Jonathan Bednarz and Msgr Farrell NY sr Kyle Duggan, should rule over that event – perhaps prefacing their state meet battle.

(in some cases, marks mentioned in the story are recent performances that exceed the athletes’ seedings; in others, the seed time exceeds known performance)