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25th National Scholastic Indoor Champs

March 14-16, 2008

The New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory, NY NY

DyeStat on-site

A Baker's Dozen (13) Reasons to Get Pumped
About National Scholastic Indoor Champs!

By SteveU, DyeStat News Editor

1. A Boys 400 That Redefines “Loaded” – Chanelle Price is the greatest, Dylan Ferris is awesome, and Christian Taylor and Vashti Thomas are going to be gangbusters all weekend on the jump runways. But to me, the event that defines “must-see” track for NSIC this weekend is the boys 400. You can’t even say for sure who’s going to be in the final and some guys with 47-second talent will be sitting in the stands watching when the gun goes off. Start with US#1 and defending champ William Wynne GA, continue with the #1 US outdoor returnee Robert Simmons TX, and – oh yeah – there’s Taylor himself, coming over from the jumps, having already dropped a US#1 47.39 this spring in crappy weather. And that’s only about half the guys who could be holding the gold medal at event’s end.

2-3. Triple Taylor & Thomas – Ok, so maybe it’s a little two much to lump together triple threats Christian Taylor and Vashti Thomas. But are there any other athletes who have a solid chance to win three individual events – with two of those events being the same? No. Of course, neither is exactly a lock for a sweep. Taylor is a strong favorite to win the events in which he heads up the US indoor list – the TJ and LJ (though he will get some solid competition in each) – but he’ll claw for a medal against that great 400 field, most of whom will be fresher. Thomas is an overwhelming fave in the TJ, and leads the hurdlers, though Julian Purvis and others could push her hard. But in the LJ, she is seeded third, behind 20-footers Jen Clayton NY and Tynita Butts VA. For both, look for an awesome weekend with potentially all-time list altering marks.

4. Farewell, Chanelle – Countless outstanding prep athletes will be out there running the final indoor races of their careers this weekend, but somehow it means more here. Chanelle Price has been on a plane of her own the last 2+ years and, had things worked out a little differently, could have probably owned 3-4 US records by now. As it is, her most thrilling effort of the year was that 500 USR in January here. She’ll wind up way up on the all-time 800 and 1000 lists, and leave the 600 to others. Three weeks ago, she ran 2:08 at USATF and missed the final.  On March 1, she put more effort into a 54.82 400, with the accompanying 2:09 800 just trying to win and get the 10-spot for her team.  With two weeks rest since, and no other events to worry about here, can she end her undercover career with a monster race and maybe bury that 2:04.96 indoor PR from last year?

5. An Almost-As-Loaded Girls 200 – The girls sprint fields are all attractive; in fact, the 60 and 200 fields are close to identical at the top. But the 200 stands out a little more than the rest. US#1 and frosh/soph class record-holder Ashton Purvis CA and NON champ Chalonda Goodman GA are probably the class of the field. But, good God, there’s 2007 NIN champ Victoria Jordan (22.84w outdoors), Erica Alexander TX, Nyosha Bryant NC, and, well, you get the idea. At least 1-2 very good girls will be on the sidelines for the final.

6. Hello, Dylan – There are plenty of good ones out there, but one middle distance runner in the Class of 2008 really stands out and it’s Dylan Ferris NC. Owner of 1:49.27 800 and 4:08 mile PRs, he’s the nation’s top returnee in both. So far indoors, with injuries and illness slowing him a tad, he’s just shown flashes of his brilliance. But if he’s healthy and really “on” for his 800 this weekend – he’s not entered in the mile – he could make deep inroads to the all-time list. He could also get a stiff test from Isaiah Ward MI and others on the entry list.

7. Jeremy Rankin vs. DeAngelo Cherry – What a race this would have been if Rynell Parson TX was still in the field, too. But having a 60 with just the two indoor short dash list leaders is pretty good, too. Coloradoan Rankin is probably the fave, with his 6.64A 60 and his big 6.68 win at Millrose as top credentials. Cherry, from GA, comes in with the top 55 in the country at 6.21.

8. Speed City’s Rockin Sprint Relays – One of the more fascinating things at NSIC each year is to see how the relatively untested (indoors) California and Texas relay teams come in and do against the East Coast teams that have been competing indoors all winter. Seed times don’t always mean a lot in these events here, but who can hold on to the stick and maximize their talents in a less familiar environment. More often than not, Speed City (Long Beach Poly, CA) is the team to watch. On the girls side, Jasmine Joseph and Akawkaw Ndipagbor are Speed City’s big names. The boys have to replace superstar Bryshon Nellum.

9. The Nick Vena Show – There might be no other athlete indoors this winter that’s made eyes pop like this Morristown NJ freshman. How many times has he raised the freshman shot put record? You’re forgiven if you’ve lost count. Of course, when you’re looking at someone who’s over 66 feet and leading the country overall, class records start to lose meaning. Fellow New Jerseyan Mike Alleman is also on the entry list, but is also on the NIN list. But most of the other 60-footers will be in Maryland, leaving Vena to push himself.

10. That’s R-O-D-R-I-Q-U-E-S To You
– The NY long sprint star with the oft-misspelled name (most at least get “Nadonnia” right these days) made people sit up and make sure they knew it when she cracked 53 seconds in the 400 a few weeks ago. She should get a heck of a race from Californians Turquoise Thompson and Jasmine Joseph. However, aspiring track spelling bee champs will have to look to the 200 to see another Cali long sprint talent, Akawkaw Ndipagbor.

11. Enter … Donn Cabral – One of the only top-shelf Eastern distance runners that has bypassed indoors to this point, the Foot Locker NE champ from CT will jump on the oval here for the 5000. Most years, 1-2 really good males will enter this longest of track events at NSIC – like Steve Murdock and Paul Springer last year, and Mohammad Ige two years ago, but it’s rare. It will be interesting to see what he can do in what could be a largely solo effort.

12. Multis Talents from New Mexico – The pentathlon doesn’t often get a lot of love, but two superb athletes from NM will do their best to put it on the map here. Curtis Beach, still just a junior, was 4th in the octathlon at the World Youth meet last year and set a soph class pentathlon mark here last year. Dan Gooris, also from Albuquerque, has the ability to push him or even beat him. Beach and Gooris were 1-3 in the Great Southwest decathlon last spring.

13. The Youngsters – Keep an eye on these standouts who have not yet reached high school: MI sprinter Kendall Baisden in the 200, UT distance runner Danielle Menlove in the 1M/2M, and Trinity Wilson CA in the sprints. The meet will also have a special mile and 400 each for 7th and 8th-grade boys and girls.

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