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This is the seventh 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 Dave Devine - Photos by Vic Sailer

  Emily Pendleton
The American high school throws this year featured a number of event leaders who seemed unbeatable in their specialty. Senior discus thrower Emily Pendleton of Woodmore HS in Elmore OH was among those titans in the field. Pendleton, the defending NON and USATF Junior champion, made good on her goal of repeating in both of those competitions, then did herself one better this year, winning her first international title at the Pan Am Juniors in Brazil.

In the process, Pendleton improved from #23 on the all time US girls discus throw list to #6, reaching all the way out to 183-03 at the Oak Harbor OH Invite in early May. That breakthrough set her up for winning an unprecedented fourth straight Ohio state title, and then heading to NC for the Nike Outdoor National meet. There, she eked out a victory of 166-06, but it wasn’t the romp many expected. Pendleton didn’t move into the lead until round five when she hit 162-01. That was enough to hold second-placer Skylar White of Texas at bay, and then she threw her 166-6 winner in round six for good measure.

Pendleton charged through the rest of the post-season unbeaten, chasing Suzy Powell’s USR of 188-04, but never quite able to get back over 180. She ended her seasonal clean sweep by winning USATF Juniors in 162-06 and the Pan Am Juniors in 161-00. The NON/USATF double was actually a “double-double,” as she took both titles in 2006 as well.

Defining Performances

1st Oak Harbor Invite DT – 183-03
1st Eastwood Invite DT – 174-11
1st Midwest MOC DT – 168-02
1st NON DT – 166-06
1st USATF Jrs. DT – 162-06
1st Pan Am Jrs. DT – 161-00

  Kamorean Hayes
In the world of athletics, when a sports dynasty seeks their fifth championship ring in a row, the rallying cry is “One for the thumb,” but when it comes to national HS shot put titles, Harding NC star Kamorean Hayes needed a second hand. Hayes, the dominant female prep putter for the last three years, ran the table indoors and out in 2006-07, maintaining her status as the only female over 50 feet this year.

Hayes’ longest throw actually came indoors, when she was pursuing her third NIN title in a row. With her 52-06.50 winner in Landover MD, on top of previous wins (48-11.00 in
2005 and 50-08.00 in 2006), Hayes easily secured the three-peat. Four of her five measured throws were farther than second-place Media PA junior Karen Shump's 48-10.75. The winning throw moved Hayes to #3 all-time on the prep indoor lists.

Outdoors, she was unable to improve on that mark, struggling with a hand injury that left her with a best of 51-03.50. She still ran up impressive wins at the Penn Relays (49-03.75) and the Texas Relays (48-01.75) before arriving in Greensboro, NC seeking her third outdoor title in a row to match the three from indoors. There, the seasonal form chart held, as Hayes moved into the lead with a third-round toss of 49-02.25, then hit the eventual winning toss of 50-06.75 in round four. No one else came within two feet, and Hayes had the sixth Nike title of her outstanding prep career.

Defining Performances

1st Simplot Games SP – 49-11.50
1st NIN SP – 52-06.50
1st Penn Relays SP – 49-03.75
1st Texas Relays SP – 48-01.75
1st NC State 4A SP – 51-03.50
1st NON SP – 50-06.75

  Honorable Mention 

Gabrielle Midles WA – The Camas WA senior hammer thrower won the XO Invite in Oregon, took 2nd (first American) at Golden West with a then-PR 172-05, skipped Nike Outdoor Nationals and then reemerged at USATF Juniors, where she beat NON-champ and yearly list-leader Allison Horner GA with a US#2 173-07 that left her 2nd overall behind collegian Emily Bernhardt of Kentucky.

Allison Horner GA – The junior from Marietta GA led the yearly hammer throw list with her 177-09 best, landing her just outside the all-time top ten (179-00 is 10th). She’ll have another year to get into that vaulted territory, as well as defend the NON title she won with her 166-11 heave.

Chrissi Grizzel OR – Until an 8th-grade dynamo named Hannah Carson came along to steal the mantle, Jefferson OR senior Chrissi Grizzel was firmly entrenched as the US#1 girls’ javelin thrower in the US with a 161-07 PR from her conference meet. Grizzel ended as US#2, and won the Golden West Invitational with a throw of 151-10.

Hannah Carson AZ – With one monster javelin throw in the USATF Junior Olympic Youth Girls division, Rhodes Jr. High 8th grader Hannah Carson charged to the fore of the yearly HS list. Her stunning late-summer 173-07 made her #4 all-time prep with the new jav, and ranked her 7th among all Americans in the javelin this year (same weight implement is used from youth to professionals). Carson certainly didn’t come out of nowhere, as she was 2nd among HSers at Great Southwest with a 150-06 heave.

Kylie Spurgeon OK – In any other year, the senior from Owasso OK would have likely been the top discus thrower in the nation, but the last two outdoor track seasons have been the Emily Pendleton era. Spurgeon nonetheless impressed with a US#2 173-02, as well as a collection of hardware that includes gold at Great Southwest (157-04) and Golden West (153-00) and bronze at NON (154-07).

Becky O’Brien ME – After a runner-up shot put finish at the Nike Outdoor Nationals (48-08.25), the junior from Greely HS in Cumberland ME was given an opportunity to prove her throws mettle on the big stage at the Ostrava World Youth Games. O’Brien seized the chance, pushing into the finals of the discus throw (her off event) to place 8th, before storming the shot put field with a big PR 49-00.25 that placed her fourth, and only a heart-breaking centimeter away from bronze.

Year-End Awards Index