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This is the eighth in a series of DyeStat year-end awards for 2006-07. The DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers series will include boys and girls distance, sprints, hurdles, jumps, throws, and multi-events. These will be followed by the DyeStat Athlete of the Year award. Selections are made by DyeStat editors and are based a combination of multiple major victories/honors won and performances on all-time and yearly lists. Performances from outdoor track, indoor track, and cross-country are taken into account.

Text by Steve Underwood - Photos by Vic Sailer and Kirby Lee

  Jackie Coward
Few, if any, elite athletes had a longer, more complete season that Jackie. From the beginning of December through the beginning of August, Coward dominated the short hurdle races – the 55s and 60s indoors, and the 100s outdoors. She also led the 300H and was only 0.11 off the U.S. lead at 400H, where she had her only hurdle losses of the year.

Indoors, the highlight no doubt came in Lexington. Jackie had already nipped the 60H US record 3 weeks earlier, but here she hammered it down to 8.17. The Track Knoxville/Knoxville West junior also advanced to #4 all-time on the much-tougher 55H list with her 7.67. With her NIN 60H title, she finished the season with the 4 of the best 7 60H marks and 6 of the top 7 in the 55H.

Outdoors, Coward was unbeaten at 100H and 300H and won Nike Outdoor in the former. She couldn’t top Vashti Thomas’s 13.03 list-leader (#2 a-t), but beat Thomas in both of their meetings (Arcadia, USATF Jrs). Jackie’s US#2 13.21 at USATF, in winning her heat, gave her =#4 all-time. She was 3rd (1st prep) in the final with her best all-conditions time of 13.17w.

That wasn’t all. After hitting US#1 40.83A (#8 all-time) to win Great SW, Coward pushed her limits in the 400H during the post-season. She kept improving with 3rd at NON and USATF JOs, then all the way to 57.21 (#9 all-time) for 3rd at Pan-Am Juniors. Finally, at home in Knoxville, she took the AAU JO hurdle double to wrap it up.

Defining Races

1st Nike Outdoor 100H 13.55
1st Nike Indoor 60H 8.28
1st Arcadia 100H 13.60
1st Arcadia 300H 41.66
1st Great SW 300H 40.83
1st Kentucky Indoor 60H 8.17
1st E Tenn Indoor 60H 8.35 (8.29 in heat)
3rd USATF Jrs 100H 13.17w (legal 13.21 heat)
3rd Pan Am Jrs 400H 57.21

  Dalilah Muhammad
Dalilah Muhammad doesn’t get tested too much during her outdoor regular-season, apparently. That’s why she saves her best for the intense East-Coast undercover campaign and the end of the outdoor season.

Indoors, Muhammad was using her long-sprint versatility everywhere, it seems. She finished the season ranked 2nd on banked and flat 600 lists, 2nd on the banked 400, and 5th on the banked 300. She won several major races, including the NSIC 400, where she avenged her Simplot loss to Turquoise Thompson.

Then Dalilah wasn’t heard from much leading up to Nike Outdoor. Sure, she was ranked #2 in the 400H, but at 59.68 her time didn’t really stack up with the best 300H times. She clearly had more in the tank, though. In a great field with almost all of the nation’s best in attendance, she ripped a 57.09 to win and move to #7 all-time. After passing on USATF Jrs., she again showed her big-meet excellence at World Youth, again nipping Ryann Krais and taking the gold in 57.25.

Defining Races

1st Nike Outdoor 400H 57.09
1st World Youth 400H 57.25
1st NSIC 400 54.23
1st New Balance In 400 54.28
1st Va Tech In 600 1:31.11
2nd Simplot In 400 54.07A

  Ryann Krais
Ryann’s best single event is probably the 400H, but becoming an international multi-event queen is probably in the cards for her. In either case, she’s an obvious choice.

The Methacton PA junior had little competition in the NIN pentathlon, but hammered the 800 final event to hit a US#1 and meet record 3,715 points, moving her up to #3 all-time.

Outdoors, Ryann was named to the World Youth team and the hurdles became a key focus. She had the US lead at 400H going into NON and came out at #2, but with a big PR 57.26 for #9 all-time. At USATF Jrs., she was 2nd (1st prep) with an even-better 57.20, moving up another spot all-time. Finally, she again was the bronze medalist at World Youth, just 0.25 behind winner Dalilah Muhammad.

Of course, who knows how fast Krais might have run in the USATF Jr meet if she hadn’t already done the heptathlon. She entered on almost a whim to “get a mark” for the year, even with no berths at stake. What a mark she got, using another super closing 800 to hit US#1 5377, second only to collegian Shana Woods and #4 all-time with a junior class record. Krais also finished the year with PRs of 13.73 100H and 41.84 300H.

Defining Races

1st Nike Indoor Pentathlon 3,715
2nd USATF Jrs. Heptathlon 5,377
2nd USATF Jrs. 400H 57.20
2nd Nike Outdoor 400H 57.26
3rd World Youth 400H 57.50

  Vashti Thomas
Although Thomas’s profile is in this hurdles section, she earns mention based on her great combination of hurdling and jumping. But there’s no doubt that the biggest headlines she earned this year came in Sacramento the first Saturday in June as she dropped a US#1 13.03 100H bomb at the CIF State Championship. Taking advantage of the highest allowable wind aid, 2.0 mps, she came within .08 of the almost unapproachable 12.95 HSR of Candy Young for #2 all-time.

While she couldn’t beat Knoxville TN star Jackie Coward, she topped all other preps she raced against. Meanwhile, on the runway, the Mt. Pleasant CA jr used an even-friendlier wind to bound a 43-01.75w at a division meet, making her #2 all-conditions for the year (was also 2nd with a wind-aided 42-footer at CIF). A 41-01.75 from USATF Jrs ranks her #4 on the wind-legal list. In the long jump, she made #5 at 20-02.

Thomas excelled indoors, too. In an extraordinary triple at NSIC, she was 2nd in the 60H, LJ, and TJ, losing only to standouts Lindsay Rowe, Shakia Forbes, and Ke’Nyia Richardson, respectively.

Defining Races

1st CIF CA State 100H 13.03
1st Mt. Hamilton Div. TJ 43-01.75
1st CCS Semi Finals LJ 20-02
2nd CIF CA State TJ 42-03.25w
3rd USATF Jrs TJ 41-01.75

  Honorable Mention 

Julian Purvis CA - Julian was clearly the queen of the 30” 100H at Ostrava, winning the World Youth title in 13.41. She also hit a barely-legal 13.32 at the CIF state meet for 2nd in the 33” 100H, a time only 11 have bettered. Indoors, she hit 8.49 for 60H.


Year-End Awards Index