John Nepolitan Sat. Winners Gallery | Plans go awry, but Andrews still wins - by SteveU | No More Doubting New Bern - by Dave Devine
A Clash of Titans - Boys shot put story by Dave Devine
8 Doubles ... and 1 Very Big Quadruple - by SteveU.
New Bern NC 4x400 relay team
photo by Donna Dye
New Bern NC 3:08.05 4x400 is US#2 all time and their 4th relay gold of the meet, including 1:28.20 800 SMR USR
Mason Finley CO wins the battle of the 70-footers with 71-08.75, US#10 all-time
Northwestern Miami FL girls double in 3:42.36 4x400, barely holding off Blazin' Raiders' (3:42.82) desperate charge.
The Woodlands TX boys 9:55.17 DMR, US#4 all-time, makes a distance relay double.
Florida champion Dentarius Locke gets NON sprint double with 20.87 +3.2 win in 200.
Chalonda Goodman GA 22.94 -0.6 in 200 completes a double threepeat - 3 straight years NON 100/200 champion
Part 3 of Tate-Parros in 400 goes to Tavaris Tate MS again, 46.17 to 46.34 over Clayton Parros NJ.
Chelsey Sveinsson TX 4:40.24 mile, national sophomore class record and US#9 all time overall.
Robby Andrews NJ runs down Curtis Beach NM in the stretch, 1:50.05 to 1:50.75, of the 800.
Withrow OH girls blaze 1:41.73 in 800 SMR, US#3 all-time
Reggie Wyatt CA 49.78 400H is meet record and US#5 all time for the 300H national record holder.
The Woodlands TX wins 4-mile relay in meet record 17:17.21. South Eugene's 1976 national record stands.
|8 Doubles ... and 1 Very Big Quadruple Fuels Saturday Magic in Greensboro|
Lead story by SteveU
Photos by John Nepolitan
It’s hard enough to win one Nike National Championship; countless athletes can attest to it. But this weekend in Greensboro, there was an exceptional number of individuals and relay squads that decided if one title was fun, then two might be twice as nice – and it was. You only had to watch Reed Connor pump his baton in the air after The Woodlands TX completed their distance relay sweep. Or see Chalonda Goodman put her hands over her mouth and face in wondrous disbelief when she saw the 22.94 on the board for her 200 that completed her dash double.
Yes, there were an amazing nine winners of multiple titles this weekend, with each claiming either one or both of their victories Saturday, and all did so with style and greatness – and some all-time list marks to boot. But if the 2nd day of NON could be called “The Day of the Double,” then you’d also have to add the tag “… And A Very Big Quadruple.”
If you guessed the relay kings of New Bern as the four-time champions, you would be right. They gave the performances of the weekend and, amazingly, turned the excitement about the meet from where it had been – on events like the “Clash of the 70-Footers” boys shot put, the rocking boys 800 field, and the ancient-record-threatening boys 4x1 Mile – back to where it has been in every meet they’ve run in this year – on themselves.
They won Friday’s boys 4x200 and 1600 SMR with fast enough times, but that was just a warmup. Saturday, they made fans remember why they were so enamored of them all year, since early indoors. First, there was the meet’s only USR in the mid-day heat, a blistering 1:28.20 in the 800 sprint medley relay that took down the 1:28.43 by Long Beach Poly CA two years ago. The real corker was nine hours later: a mind-numbing 3:08.05 4x400 to close the meet that was history’s 2nd-fastest, trailing only the legendary 3:07.40 from Hawthorne CA in 1985.
| Mason Finley winning the shot.|
“There’s nobody that has the mental attitude of these boys,” said New Bern coach Dave Simpson. “They’re just mentally in another world.”
The day’s other multiple champions were pretty otherworldly, too. The best of these, to wit:
- Mason Finley CO, discus/shot put – Yes, the shot put stood alone as a competition of intense proportions – a first-ever meeting of more than two 70-footers at once in this amazing year of the thrower. But Finley, the USR-holder in the discus, was something of an underdog in the shot as most picked US#1 and NSIC champ Nick Vena NJ or US#2 and NIN champ Stephen Saenz TX. Vena, however, had trouble with his form and settled for “only” 70-07, while Saenz had a super series with four 70-footers and a best of 71-06. It was the Buena Vista CO senior who hit 71-08.75 on his third throw that stood up for the win – adding to his “average” (for him) 211-00 discus on Friday.
So the boys throws end up with a huge double winner. “After the discus, where I didn't throw so well according to my throws, I just had to put that all in the past and just focus, because (the shot) was the biggest competition of my life,” said Finley, who now stands at #10 all-time. “It's awesome. I can't even describe to you how cool it is.”
- Chalonda Goodman GA, 100/200 – One of the most intriguing matchups of the weekend was Goodman – the two-time outdoor and 2009 indoor double dash champ – against fast-rising Florida soph Octavious Freeman. The Newnan GA senior was impressive enough Friday with her US#1-equaling 11.30 prelim and 11.38 final into a headwind, with a decidedly unhappy Freeman 2nd in 11.66. In the 200 final, Freeman zoomed out of the blocks and gave Goodman a much tougher race … which was exactly what Goodman needed, as she pushed harder than ever.
What followed was the best victory reaction of the meet. When Chalonda saw and heard her new US#1 22.94 (-0.6w, =#10 all-time), taking in for the first time her name in a 200 result with a “22” associated with it, it was as if someone had slipped her a check that she thought would be for $100, and instead had six zeroes on the end. It was overwhelming joy at the barrier-breaking, galvanizing results of her effort, tempered by the polite restraint of her humble soul. “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe it!” she squealed. “Octavious (23.20) really pushed me. I didn’t get out quite as good as I wanted … I had to work really hard down the stretch.”
- Chelsey Sveinsson TX, 2-mile/mile – The Greenhill TX gazelle won the mile Saturday much the way she took the deuce Friday: a measured start, followed by a mid-race drive and negative split that left no hope for the field. After letting Ajee’ Wilson lead through 440 (71.26), she took over at halfway (2:22.50), then left the other girls far behind with laps of 69.37 and 68.28. Her US#1 4:40.24 is #9 all-time and a US sophomore record, beating the 4:42.40 mile mark of Nicole Blood and also superior on conversion to the 4:39.13 by Jordan Hasay two years ago. It was the second 10th-grade national mark of the weekend for Sveinsson, both times relieving now-senior Hasay of 2007 marks.
“I was tired at the end, but I definitely feel like I handled (the double) good; better than the Texas Relays,” she said, noting that the 2nd day 1600 there had been more of a struggle, even though she won handily. Chelsey is not shy at all about what she wants to accomplish the rest of the season: “My next goal is the World Youth Trials, to make the team and start establishing myself on the national scene!”
|Reed Connor completes DMR win for The Woodlands. |
- The Woodlands TX, 4x1 Mile Relay/Distance Medley Relay – The two longest distance relay races stood on their own in their depth and historic import. The favorites in Saturday morning’s 4x1 Mile, The Woodlands TX and North Central WA, would both be in Saturday night’s DMR, but the idea that either school could win both seemed a little far-fetched. The Woodlands proved, however, that it was perfectly reasonable, especially when you have two extra-motivated star seniors. In the end, Reed Connor and Drew Butler just wouldn’t let The Woodlands lose.
In the 4x1 Mile, the Texas school stayed close enough through two legs that Connor and Butler were able to take over and pull away in three and four. The time wasn’t at the USR level, but at a MR 17:17.21, it was fast enough. The DMR saw Butler put out a blazing 3:00.81 1200 and a near-three-second lead to start, then Connor closing with a PR 4:08.89 to secure the 9:55.17 win. Both figured an all-out performance was only fitting for their final laps of high school running. “It brought out the fire in me,” said Connor. While the DMR (#4) and 4x1 Mile (#8) were both US top ten all-time, The Woodlands' amazingly tough school records survived the onslaught.The other individual doubles went to sprinter Dentarius Locke FL (10.59 100, -2.6w on Friday; 20.87w 200, +3.2 on Saturday) and Andrea Geubelle WA (US#2 42-10.25 TJ, -1.1w on Friday; 20-00.50 LJ, +0.1w on Saturday). In the relays, the Blazin Raiders (Eleanor Roosevelt MD) girls won the 4x200 in US#1 1:36.54 Friday, then the 4x100 in 45.36 Saturday. They went for the triple with the 4x400, with their rivals including Miami Northwestern, which had already scored a 1600 sprint medley victory Friday in 3:55.58. The Blazin Raiders uncharacteristically fell back, while Northwestern pushed ahead with excellent legs. Blazin Raiders anchor Aurieyall Scott got the baton in fifth, then took off like she was running a 200, rocketing into 2nd around the final curve. But the Northwestern anchor was savvy Skyler Wallen, who had shown in the SMR that she knows how to close and hold on to the win. Scott's amazing 52.69 closer wasn’t quite enough (see photo below), with Northwestern winning in US#3 3:42.36 to get their own double.
Wyatt's 400H, boys 800 also among thrill-makers
Of course, the dramatic victories and all-time list makers were not relegated to those scoring doubles. In the 400H, 300H USR-setter (35.02) Reggie Wyatt CA came to Greensboro for his first attempt at the longest race this season, hoping for an eventual set of post-season Junior wins and a high school record. “I’ve only had a week to train for this,” he said after his US#1 49.78, which made him #5 all-time. “I stutter-stepped a little coming down the stretch,” he said. “But I came here to break 50. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself this week by saying I was going for the record right away.”
The much-heralded 800 field would up with an unexpectedly large field (11) as decathlon star Curtis Beach NM was added to the field at the last minute. It had appeared another competitor wasn’t showing up, prompting officials to add Beach. Then the officials left him in even when the missing runner showed up. The second unexpected twist came when traditional fast starter Cas Loxsom CT decided not to hammer the first lap and no one took up the slack. Ryan Lynn IL led the field of studs through at 56.74, throwing a fast time out the window and actually playing into Beach’s hands.
|Collins Hill GA girls celebrate DMR victory|
Beach was positioned well down the final backstretch and took the lead in the final 200, but that slow start had also played into the deadly hands of Robby Andrews NJ. Andrews powered by on the home stretch for the 1:50.05 victory, with Beach 2nd in 1:50.75 … except that stunning soph Nick Kaiser MI had run 1:50.47 in the previous section to nab the silver. Still, Beach was “really, really grateful” for having gotten in with the big dogs. Andrews admitted he was motivated to avenge his loss to Mac Fleet in the Portland mile the previous week and that the slow pace played right into his hands on a hot, windy day.
A somewhat unheralded mark on the girls side came from the Withrow OH girls, which had a great weekend in all the sprint relays and was able to enjoy a victory in the 800 SMR, where their 1:41.73 is #3 all-time.
Whitt's HSR attempt tops field magic
On the field, fans got a treat with Jack Whitt OK going for a USR in the pole vault for the 5th time this season. After securing the win early, he would hit a meet record 17-08.25 before finally bowing out at 18-03.25, a quarter-inch above Tommy Skipper's 2003 mark; it’s his 7th meet over 17-06 this spring. The other field events saw Erik Kynard OH complete an NIN-NON double with a 7-03.25 win over new talent James White MO and Damar Forbes take the LJ (24-04.50).
The girls field action saw victories for super soph Alex Collatz CA in the discus (162-06), Heather Bergmann KS in the javelin (157-02), Lauren Chambers GA in the hammer (174-09), and Tynita Butts VA in the high jump (5-10). Butts came within an inch of scoring a double herself as her 19-11.50 just missed beating Geubelle.
|Miami Northwestern tops Blazin Raiders in 4x400|
The other boys track races saw Tavaris Tate MS hold off Clayton Parros NJ again, 46.17-46.74; a New York 1-2 in the mile as Chris Stogstill led wire-to-wire and held off Alex Hatz NY (4:07.28) for a 4:06.74 win; and a stunning 2k steeple win for Alex Dier (5:53.13) as he outkicked Zach Ornelas TX (5:53.87) in the last 100.
And for the girls on the track, there was also the blazing 52.07 400 win by Ebony Eutsey, the 2:05.47 800 triumph by Claudia Francis NY (after defending champ Jillian Smith NJ was felled by a calf cramp), the 1:00.58 400H victory by Brianna Rollins FL, and the 1:41.73 win by Withrow OH – which had a great all-around relay weekend – in the 800 SMR. The last medley relay, the DMR, went to Collins Hill GA as Amanda Winslow’s 4:45.18 1600 anchor completed a come-from-behind effort.
New Bern's got "it" again
As the evening ended, however, the burning image was of New Bern’s victories. If you were aware that the North Carolina stickmasters were favored in each relay they were entered in, but either had Track EC record-chase fatigue or thought maybe these guys didn’t have anything left, that would be understandable; after all, their most recent showings suggested they had plateaued.
Friday, they had ripped the US#2 1:24.80 4x200 and a 3:24.54 1600 SMR, but that didn’t really prepare anyone for Saturday. Few thought that 800 SMR record would be taken down; after all, the Poly quartet that held the mark had featured 400 megastar Bryshon Nellum. But no one had figured on Daishawn Stryton stepping in to add the speed he did, and the others in peak form.
As for the 4x400, New Bern had run a seemingly endless series of 3:12 and 3:13s outdoors from coast to coast, hoping to add the outdoor mark to the indoor record. But it seemed no way they could break 3:12, let alone anything close to Hawthorne’s mark. But as dusk settled in Greensboro, the Hendrix brothers Anthony and Andrew, Fuquawn Greene, and Miles Sparks found a deeper level.
“We’ve been chasing that (4x400) record for a while,” added Anthony Hendrix, “A looong while. As I crossed that line I saw 3:07 and I thought we had it.”
Well, they didn’t have it. But again, they did – they had that magic again. And at the end of the weekend, another magical weekend in Greensboro for thousands of athletes – despite the heat and wind – that was what mattered most.
(Preview highlights if event name is light face, results highlights if event name is bold face. Click on completed events for details.)
- G-4xMile: Newton Center (Newton South MA) 20:23.20 was never headed after taking the lead midway of the first leg, moving to US#8 all-time
- B-4xMile: The Woodlands TX drew away on the third and fourth legs of Reed Connor and Drew Butler to win in 17:17.21, a meet record and #8 all-time. The 33-year-old national record (17:06.6 by South Eugene OR in 1976 stands for another year.
- G-Hammer: US#1 Lauren Chambers GA 174-09
- G-Javelin: US#1 Heather Bergmann KS 157-2
- B-800 SMR: Running as Track Eastern Carolina, New Bern NC's crack relay squad won in 1:28.20 for a new national record (was 1:28.43 by Poly Long Beach CA in 2007). It was New Bern's third relay win this meet and their third national record this year (indoor 4x400 and outdoor 1600 SMR). New Bern is favored to collect a fourth gold in the closing 4x400 tonight.
- B-2k Steeple: Alex Deir NY 5:53.13 roaring through the stretch and catching defending champion Zach Ornelas after the last hurdle.
- G-Discus: Alex Collatz CA's first throw of 162-06 held up for the win by one foot over Erin Pendleton OH 161-6.
- B-High Jump: The super deep field of ten 7-footers almost faltered at 6-10.75, with only US#1 James White MO and US#2 Erik Kynard OH surviving. They advanced to 7-3.25 and were down to their third try. White missed and Kynard cleared for the win.
- G-200 pre: Three swifties lead qualifiers - Allison Peter VI 23.50 +3.2, Octavious Freeman FL 23.58 +0.8, and 100m winner Chalonda Goodman GA 23.59 +0.5. Goodman is going for her third straight 100/200 double here.
- B-200 pre: US#1 Dentarius Locke FL, winner of the 100 on Friday, runs 21.04 +0.1 to lead qualifiers, with Blake Heriot OH 21.05 right on his heels.
- G-Fresh Mile: Megan Ferowich TN 5:01.04
- B-Fresh Mile: Futsum Zeinasellassie IN 4:25.05
- G-Long Jump: Meet record of 20-7.25 will be under severe pressure from US#1 Brittany Porter GA 21-3.5 and US#2 Jen Clayton NY 20-6.25.
- B-Pole Vault: US#1 Jack Whitt OK 17-8.25 shatters meet record and has three more shots at Tommy Skipper's national record (18-3).
- B-Shot Put: Discus winner Mason Finley CO 71-8.75 tops the deepest boys SP field ever, with Stephen Saenz TX 71-6 and Nick Vena NJ 70-7 also beating the old meet record.
- G-400H: Brianna Rollins FL 1:00.58, with favorites and Ugonna Ndu NJ and Kori Carter CA scratching.
- B-400H: Reggie Wyatt CA 49.78 meet record and US#5 all time. Wyatt set the 300H national record earlier this season.
- G-High Jump: Tynita Butts VA 5-10.50 wins on her last try at that height. 2008 USA Junior National champion Shanay Briscoe TX did not show.
- G-4x100 final: Blazin' Raiders (Eleanor Roosevelt MD) 45.36, second relay gold of the meet.
- B-4x100 final: Ben Davis IN 41.09 lived up to their top seed.
- G-800: Claudia Francis NY 2:05.47 over NY rival Charlene Lipsey NY 2:06.89 as US#1 and 2008 NON champion Jillian Smith falls at start of second lap and does not finish.
- B-800: Indoor national record holder Robby Andrews NJ ran down national decathlon record holder Curtis Beach NM in the stretch, 1:50.05 to 1:50.75. Nick Kaiser MI 1:50.47 got second overall from an unseeded section.
- G-400: US#1 Ebony Eutsey FL 52.07 over Briana Nelson SC 52.42
- B-400: Part 3 of the year-long battle between US#1 Tavaris Tate and US#2 Clayton Parros NJ went to Tate again, 46.17 to 46.34
- G-Mile: Chelsey Sveinsson TX 4:40.24, national sophomore class record and US#9 all time all runners.
- B-Mile: US#6 Patrick McGregor AL 4:07.07 and US#7 Chris Stogsdill NY 4:07.93 lead a close bunch of experienced runners.
- G-200 final: Chalonda Goodman GA 22.94 -0.6, completing her third straight sprint double at NON. Soph Octavious Freeman FL 23.20 was 2nd.
- B-200 final: Florida champion Dentarius Locke gets NON sprint double with 20.87 +3.2 win in 200.
- G-DMR: Collins Hill GA 11:42.94 came from behind on Amanda Winslow's anchor.
- B-DMR: The Woodlands TX 9:55.17 wins second big distance relay (4xMile in the morning) with Reed Connor anchoring again for US#4 all-time
- G-4x400: Miami Northwestern FL 3:42.36 goes wire to wire and holds off defending champion Blazin' Raiders MD 3:42.82.
- B-4x400: Track Eastern Carolina (New Bern NC) 3:08.05 is US#2 all time and the fourth relay gold of the meet.