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This is the fifth 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 John Dye and Doug Speck

  Jessica Beard
Jessica’s 2007 season didn’t have quite that smooth progression of faster and faster times until the end, like it did in 2006, but she was nonetheless even more dominant among her peers than she was as a junior. Not typically an indoor runner, she ran a few tuneups and then challenged Bianca Knight and the rest of the field at NIN, taking the title despite a rather average time.

Until mid-May, in fact, her entire season was rather average by her lofty standards, due largely to nagging injuries. Then, at her Ohio regional meet, Beard dropped a 53.03, taking over the US lead and showing promise of that strong late-season again. But no one anticipated what the Euclid sr would do in Columbus. At her state meet, she skipped the 52s entirely and suddenly exploded to a PR 51.63, moving to #8 all-time.

The excitement of perhaps chasing the USR seemed at hand, but Beard found her own excellence hard to match. Oh, she won Golden West, NON, and USATF Juniors all handily, but couldn’t get back under 52 (much to her own dismay). It didn’t help that in all three meets no one pushed her as hard as Meshawn Graham had at state. When she was finally pushed again at Pan-Am Juniors, she suffered her only loss in a super race where three ran in the high 51s.

Defining Races

1st OH State 400 51.63
1st NON 400 52.43
1st USATF Jr 400 52.12
1st Golden West 400 52.07
1st NIN 400 55.24
2nd Pan-Am Jr 400 51.91

  Bianca Knight
Last year, the Class of 2007 made up a big percentage of the DyeStat Most Outstanding Performers, with a stunning number of athletes winning multiple national titles in the World Junior Championship year. Few of them were able to duplicate their success in 2007. By not TRYING to do so much, however, Bianca Knight may have made the most of her senior year.

In 2006, Knight went for a monster post-season, trying to run doubles at Great Southwest, Golden West, NON, and USATF Jrs in successive weeks. Shortly after, injury ended her World Junior hopes. This time the Ridgeland MS sr just went for the USATF 200, which she won in her best outdoor time of the year, a 22.93w. That left her fresh enough to prepare for Pan-Am Juniors and earn a big win in 23.17.

Bianca’s best moment of the year was indoors, however. Having stated she was going for the longer sprints, she lost early at 60 meters, then again early in the Simplot meet. But in the 200, she ran like never before, scorching the track and stopping the clock at 22.97, securing an entry in the record books for the final season of a great career.

Defining Races

1st Simplot Indoor 200 22.97A
1st USATF Jrs. 200 22.93w
1st Pan Am Jrs. 200 23.17
1st Pan Am Jrs. 200 23.21 (heat)
1st Arkansas Indoor 200 23.27

  Victoria Jordan
It was a most unusual season for the junior from Fort Worth Dunbar. She started the season by upsetting Bianca Knight over 55m at LSU, literally leaping for joy after finishing. She would go on to become history’s 3rd-fastest over 60m, at 7.24, and would sweep the 60 and 200 at NIN.

For an unreported reason, however (rumored to be a dispute of some sort with her coach that led to leaving or being dismissed from the team), Jordan did not compete during the outdoor high school season. For a few months, she was forgotten on the national scene as Tiffany Townsend, Chalonda Goodman and others took the sprint headlines.

But at the USATF Junior Olympics, with her Dallas Gold teammates, Jordan was as dominant as she had been indoors. The most sparkling of her 4 Gold Medal efforts in the Young Women’s division was a wind-aided 22.84 200, equaling the best all-conditions time of the year. She also won the 100 and anchored both winning relays for her club. In both the 100 and 200, she defeated the NON champ Goodman.

Defining Races

1st USATF JO 200 22.84w
1st USATF JO 100 11.36
1st USATF JO 4x100 44.43
1st USATF JO 4x400 3:39.10
1st NIN 60 7.33
1st NIN 200 24.26
1st Houston Inv. 60 7.24

  Tiffany Townsend
Although her season didn’t end as she would have liked it to, with a pair of titles at Nike Outdoor, Townsend’s honors were still plentiful. Although she didn’t have an extensive indoor campaign overall, the Killeen TX sr still was ready to claim top honors at NSIC, with 7.28 and 23.34 getting the job done at 60 and 200.

Outdoors, she was one of the few elite athletes who braved the 2nd day at the Texas Relays, splashing to a slow victory after blasting a windy 11.26 the first day, a time that would hold up as the 2nd-best all-conditions time all year. The best, of course, was her own 11.21, good for #8 all-time, at the Texas 4A State Meet. Her 200 there, a US#1 22.84, was even better, rating 5th-best ever.

In the post-season, Townsend dominated under less-than-ideal conditions for sprinting at Great Southwest. At NON, however, back problems and cool weather did her in as she was able to get just 4th and 3rd in the 100 and 200. But her times and victories earlier in the season will stand as a testament to a still-great season.

Defining Races

1st TX 4A State 100 11.21
1st TX 4A State 200 22.84
1st NSIC 60 7.28
1st NSIC 200 23.34
1st Great SW 100 11.62
1st Great SW 200 23.42
1st TX Relays 100 11.96 (11.26 heat)

  Chalonda Goodman
When the sprinters lined up for the NON 100, most eyes were on either Tiffany Townsend or Gabby Mayo. Most would not even have picked Chalonda Goodman as the first Georgian, as Brittany Long’s times were generally superior to hers. But track fans were about to find out that the Newnan GA soph – whose older brother Cedric was 2nd (46.08) in the 2004 NON 400 – was a force to be reckoned with.

Goodman beat all of them – Townsend, Mayo, and Long – and needed just 11.56 to do it. Headwinds and cool temperatures were not ideal for sprinters all meet long. The next day, the pressure was on Chalonda, but again she responded with a great start and a 23.42 that defeated Long and Townsend again. She was on top of the sprint world.

Goodman then confirmed her abilities in the World Youth 200, taking the silver in 23.54. She went on to USATF JOs, where her season came to a close in runner-up performances at the hand of a fresh, comebacking Victoria Jordan. The Georgian will have two more years to compete in the prep sprint wars.

Defining Races

Defining Races
1st NON 100 11.56
1st NON 200 23.42
2nd World Youth 200 23.54
2nd USATF JO 100 11.54
2nd USATF JO 200 23.30w

  Honorable Mention 

Jeneba Tarmoh CA – Jeneba’s season highlighted by two super meets. At Simplot indoors, she outblasted Bianca Knight in the 60, with a US#2 7.26A, then added a runner-up 23.65A in the 200. After dealing with injury and recovery, the Mt. Pleasant CA sr rallied to the CIF Finals in Sacramento and came up with golds in the 100 and 200, with US#2s at 11.27 and 23.34 (#4 at end of season).

Erica Alexander TX – Few sprinters work to be excellent across the entire sprint spectrum like Erica. Mostly, it worked for her, as the Friendswood TX (Clear Brook HS) jr won the Golden West 200, and Great Southwest and USATF JO 400s. She was also 3rd in the GSW 100 and even 3rd and 5th in the NSIC 200 and 60, respectively. But her best meet was Texas State, where she was 5A 400-200 champ (53.29 400).

Brittany Long GA – The centerpiece of Long’s season, without question, was NON. The Atlanta GA (Therrell HS) junior not only took 3rd in the 100, then 2nd in the 200, but also anchored winning 4x100 and 4x200 relays. She also hit 23.05w and 23.02 (nwi) in other meets.

Kya Brookins SC – Brookins dominated the 55-meter list (best of 6.73) with a series of fast early runs in her home state, hit 7.28 at 60, then took 4th in the women’s (pro) 60 at Millrose. But the Seneca SC sr suffered an injury later that shut down most of her outdoor season. At the end, however, she came back and was 3rd at USATF Juniors in the 100, hitting a PR 11.30w in the heats.


Year-End Awards Index