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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

World Youth Games Redux
NSIC is reunion time for Ostrava "alums"

Preview by Dave Devine, DyeStat assistant editor

Think of it as a class reunion for a particularly challenging session of summer school.

Last July, while most of the nation’s high school tracksters were either on vacation or prepping for cross country, a select group of America’s most talented underclass athletes were traveling to the Czech Republic to compete in the IAAF World Youth Championships. For many, it was their first experience traveling internationally, and for nearly all, it was the initial chance to slip on a Team USA uniform and fly the colors on behalf of their country.

Current US#1s and World Youth alums William Wynne GA (400), Ashton Purvis CA (200) and Christian Taylor GA (TJ, LJ, 400 outdoors) lead the charge into the Armory this coming weekend. (Photos: Wynne and Taylor - Joy Kimani, NSSF; Purvis - Photorun.net)

A few, like Jordan Hasay, Chanelle Price and Wayne Davis II, were already national champions and well-established among fans of high school track and field. Others, like Becky O’Brien and Christian Taylor, were relative unknowns occupying deeper positions on the yearly national lists. Regardless of accolades heading in, over the course of five days in the city of Ostrava, the young team defied odds and exceeded expectations to bring home a glittering hardware haul and a wealth of unforgettable memories.

Summer heroes, winter stars
In a few short months, the modest heroes of July have become the stars of winter. On indoor tracks and covered infields across the country, the alumni of that team have continued the medal flow, rising to the top of their respective events and proving that the team selected for that summer squad was a special group indeed. This coming Friday, an impressive collection of former team members will meet again at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in New York City. No fewer than fourteen US World Youth participants (and one athlete who competed for Germany, but attends school in the US) will hit the straights, runways and throwing circles of the Armory for two days of competition that will, in many cases, be every bit as challenging as that which they faced in Ostrava.

A quick check of the latest US high school leader lists for boys and girls reveals that 2007 World Youth alums hold the top spot in twelve different indoor events, and at least two outdoor events. California super soph Ashton Purvis, a relay gold medalist in Ostrava, leads the girls’ 200 meters with a sterling 23.54. Pennsylvanian Chanelle Price, 800 finalist at World Youth, currently tops the 500, 800 and 1000 meter lists, with a US record of 1:10.30 in the 500 on the same Armory track she’ll compete on this weekend. William Wynne GA and Wayne Davis II NC, both gold medalists last summer, are US leaders in the indoor 400 and the hurdle events (55m and 60m), respectively. Becky O’Brien ME, one of the unheralded performers heading to Ostrava, has ascended to the apex of the girls’ shot put list this winter with her recent 50-11 heave. Dalilah Muhammad NY, a World Youth winner in the 400 hurdles, is tied for the US lead in the high jump, an event she didn’t even contest in the post-season last summer. Leaper Christian Taylor of Georgia, a relative unknown heading to the Czech Republic who scored gold (TJ) and bronze (LJ) that week, has had a massive winter campaign which includes US#1s in the long jump, the triple jump, and the outdoor 400 meters. Jordan Hasay CA, World Youth 1500 silver medalist, is US#1 outdoors in the girls 1600. Finally, Nico Weiler, World Youth gold medalist for his native Germany in the pole vault, sits atop that US list this season after returning as an exchange student to Los Gatos HS in California.

Of these, only Hasay, O’Brien and Davis will not be in New York for the National Scholastic meet. Hasay is focusing on her outdoor track campaign--already underway--while O’Brien and Davis have opted for the Nike Indoor Nationals meet in Maryland.

Other prominent Ostrava alums slated to appear at NSIC include sprinters Kenneth Gilstrap GA, Erica Alexander TX, Isaiah Sweeney TX and Chalonda Goodman GA, hurdler/sprinter Julian Purvis CA, mid-distance star Dylan Ferris NC, multi-eventer Curtis Beach NM, and thrower Conor McCullough CA.

The entire group is summer seasoned and internationally tested. There can be no doubt that the experience of competing in the 2007 World Youth Championships has raised their performance level and upped their game. With a full slate of competition looming and familiar faces scattered throughout the arena, the members of that decorated squad will surely be crowding the medal stand and renewing friendships in the midst of their victory celebrations.

Let the reunion begin.

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