Webb vs. Hall
ARCADIA CA 4/13/01 -- Hall vs. Webb, need we say
more? YES! There is a whole lot more to the Arcadia Invitational
at Arcadia High School tomorrow night.
This is the 34th Arcadia Invitational, and it may
be the best ever, certainly "the premier in-season meet"
of 2001, to go by the Arcadia meet managers' motto for the meet.
First things first: sub-4 Alan Webb against Ryan
Hall in an added elite section of the boys mile. Just when fans
were worrying that the big 3 of prep distance running (add Dathan
Ritzenhein of Michigan to this pair) might not meet on the track
in their senior years, and just as message board arguments raged
as to whether there really is a "big 3", with Hall's credentials
being called into question, this race materialized. Virginian Webb
decided to travel across the continent to take on Hall in his own
Hall lives and trains at elevation in Big Bear Lake
CA. It was a few miles south of Arcadia at Walnut CA that Hall broke
the record for the fabled Mt. SAC cross country course (a record
held by HS 2-mile record holder Jeff Nelson). A few miles east is
Azusa Pacific college, where Hall opened his 2001 outdoor campaign
with a workout style 8:58.70 2-mile, running virtually alone the
But on a track, there is no home court advantage.
Webb's reputation precedes him as he journeys the country in search
of competition. At the New Balance Games in the New York Armory
January 20, Webb ran a 3:59.86 mile -- fastest ever indoors, first
sub-4 by a prep since 1968, and only the fourth sub-4 HS boy ever.
Webb followed that up by breaking the high school indoor record
for 1000 meters with a 2:23.68 at the Virginia AAA state meet. And
then, when Ritzenhein skipped the Nike Indoor Classic March 11 to
train for the World Cross Country championships, Webb took aim on
the indoor 2-mile record by himself. He didn't get it, but his 8:45.19
was an eye popper as he took control from the start against Canadian
Nate Brannen, an experienced international star and future teammate
of Webb at the University of Michigan. Webb has been lightly raced
since then but his relay splits and workouts show he is in great
One question is the relative phase of training for
the two runners. Webb appears dead fit and aggressive (he is reported
planning to invade the Midwest in hopes of meeting Ritzenhein at
2 miles in the Roosevelt Memorial meet in Dayton OH May 4-5). Hall,
who rarely runs for his high school team, has a record of peaking
late. Last year, he ran off three great races in June: California
state 3200 (1st, 8:55.12), Foot Locker Outdoor championship mile
at Raleigh NC (1st, 4:06.15), and a 3:46.51 1500 meters against
older runners in the Can Am series in Massachusetts. The latter
is equivalent to about a 4:03 mile, which was Webb's PR before his
New York stunner.
Webb and Hall ran 2-3 behind Ritzenhein in the Foot
Locker Cross Country national finals at Disney World in December.
Few people besides Webb and coach Scott Raczko know
the Webbmaster's goals for this campaign, but two that have been
mentioned could be in their sights tomorrow night: the HS mile record
of 3:55.3 (Jim Ryun 1965) and sub-4 in a HS-only race. The latter
has been done only once before, by Ryun as a senior in Kansas.
The Webb-Hall clash is scheduled for 6:40 pm, as
afternoon heat turns to cool California evening, bringing to life
another Arcadia Invitational slogan: "when the lights go on,
the stars come out." The temperature will be falling from a
predicted afternoon high of 71 toward a predicted low of 50 later
at night, so race time temperature should be in the low 60s. The
smallish stands will be packed as the meet returns to its high school
home after a 1-year tour at Cerritos College.
This is not the only race of the evening for Webb.
Three hours later he will lead his South Lakes Reston VA team in
a distance medley rematch with Atlantic Community High School
of Delray Beach FL. At the Nike Indoor Classic last month, Atlantic
seized a big early lead on Sean Jefferson's 3:03 1200 meter
split and not even Webb could catch them with a 4:03 split for the
1600 meter anchor. Twin John Jefferson held off Webb with
a 4:06 split and said later he got a PR "running scared."
The teams ran the 2nd and 3rd fastest indoor DMRs ever: 10:03.70
and 10:05.72. We could see sub-10 minutes, an area that only six
teams have ever seen. The outdoor record is 9:53:31 (McCullough,
The Woodlands TX, 1987).
Webb and Hall aren't the only national stars in
the mile either. Both Jeffersons are in the fray, along with Simplot
Games indoor champion Seth Pilkington Of Utah, who popped
a 4:11.38 for 1600 meters at altitude 3 weeks ago and just signed
with the University of Oregon. There are also solid runners like
David Vidal MT, Dustin Bybee UT, Bryan Dillon CO,
and Aaron Fisher IN, along with Californians Matt Bates,
Daniel Clements, and Tom Phelps.
Two other esteemed milers who would be national
leaders in an ordinary season -- Bobby Lockhart VA (2nd by
fractions at both the Millrose Games and NIC miles) and Stephen
Haas NC (8:23 3k March 17) -- have switched to the 3200. Discretion
is the better part of valor? But the 3200 will also be hotly contested
as these two will be joined by Chandler Goodwin UT, leader
of Mountain View's US#1 cross country team in 2000; Seth Watkins
MT; and a strong California delegation that includes Tim Nelson,
Ozzie Pina, J.J. Duke, Arturo Garcia, Carl Dambkowski, and Neil
And still more . . .
These two stories leave out enough expected fireworks
to satisfy almost any other meet of the year outside the national
championship events in June:
- Girls 300m hurdles - Can Lashinda Demus
CA , already 3-4 on the all-time list, 40.41 and 40.44, get
the US record (40.18, Leslie Maxie CA, 1984)? She will be pressed
by Beau Walker CO, Simplot Games indoor champion at 60 meters
in 8.53 and 42.75 at 300m last year.
- Girls Shot Put -
Also a distinct US record possibility as Karen Freberg CA
has already been within a quarter inch of the outdoor mark this
season with her 53-7.5 effort.
- Boys Discus - Nik
Arrhenius UT returns to defend his Arcadia discus title with
a monstrous 218-2 mark already under his belt this season, making
him the #2 thrower all time behind Kamy Keshmiri. Keshmiri is
the only HS boy to exceed 220' and he did it nine times! Can Nik
join him? The record is 225-2 by Keshmiri in 1987. Arrhenius will
also throw the shot, where he has done 61-5.5 this year.
- Girls High Jump
- three girls capable of clearing the 6-feet barrier: Jenna
Grimaldi CA, defending Arcadia champion Schquay Brignac
CA, and Chaunte Howard CA, 5-11 winner of the Texas
Relays last week and NSIC champion.
- Girls Pole Vault
- a new wave of high flierswho are pushing toward 13 feet: Jamie
Kolar CA, Melissa Astete CA, Laura Chen CA,
Rachel Viau CA, Kim Stuyvesant PA, and Amber
- Boys 110 hurdles
- Giddings TX sr Tony Francis, 13.90 +1.6 winner of the
Texas Relays last week, will challenge California state champion
Chris Morgan, 13.90 -0.1 winner of the Pasadena Games 3/31
and 60m winner indoors of both Simplot Games and NSIC. Lurking
in the wings is Jeff Garrison CA, who set a new US indoor
record in the 50m hurdles at the Los Angeles Invitational and
ran 14.08 +1.6 at the Texas Relays.
- Girls 800 - a gang
of national champion calibre contenders: Heather Hennessy
CA, 2:07.73 last year and Golden West champion; Robin Mortel
NY; Kassi Anderson UT 2:09.97 last year; and Canadians
Jennifer Kemp and Jenny VanKempen.
The Rest of the Story
The Arcadia Invitational consists of 100 events
over a 12-hour period. The Open Division starts at 11 am. The elite
Invitational Division starts at 4 pm with field events. First running
event is at 6:10 pm and then things heat up rapidly. As they say
at Arcadia, "When the lights go on, the stars come out."
There is an incredible lineup of nationally ranked talent in this
year's field, apart from the boys mile (left). Here is a sample:
Girls 400 - Angel
Perkins vs. Monique Henderson. Just as cataclysmic a collision
as Webb vs. Hall. The outdoor record holder (Henderson 50.74, California
State Meet finals, June 2000) vs. the indoor record holder (Perkins
53.25, National Scholastic Indoor Championships, New York, March
2001). Both are from Southern California so they end up with a lot
of 1-2 finishes -- Perkins won here last year, but Henderson won
in her record run at the California State Meet. Perkins is also
entered in the 200 an hour later; she set a new US indoor record
the same day in New York at NSIC in 23.59.
Brendan Christian 100/200 - fresh off his
60-200 double at the National Scholastic Indoor championships in
New York, where he smashed the national 200 meter indoor record
at 21.02. In Texas, they are comparing him to Roy Martin in the
mid-1980s. As a sophomore last year he ran 10.48 and 20.72.
Wilson Long Beach CA girls 4x400
- You could say they own this event, posting the fastest three times
in history over the last 5 years, including the record 3:36.32 in
1998. Wilson broke the national indoor sprint medley record at NSIC
in New York and won the Texas Relays last week in a sizzling 3:40.19
MR. But they lost to J.W. North Riverside CA in last year's
Calfornia State Meet, and North is here and loaded with a Tracee
Thomas-led baton crew that has a 3:49.30 clocking this year. And
there's more: William Penn PA, 3:47.53 winners of the Nike
Indoor Classic while Wilson was winning the NSIC in New York on
the faster Armory oval in 3:43.70; Poly Long Beach CA, winners
of a dual meet with Wilson this season; Collinwood Cleveland
OH, a perennial power; Logan Union City CA 3:51.64 at
the Stanford Invitational.
Girls 1600/3200 - There
is a big 3 in girls distance racing too -- Anita Siraki CA,
Alicia Craig WY, and Sara Bei CA . They will be teammates
next year at Stanford University next year, but they will be battling
each other this year for the prizes of their senior year in high
school. Bei, a double winner at the Stanford Inv with a 4:47.96
mile and 9:30.29 3k, is sitting this one out, but Siraki,
Foot Locker Outdoor 2-mile champion last year and 10:30.50 winner
in 3200 at Azusa Pacific 3/24, will defend her Arcadia title in
the 3200. Craig, winner of the Golden West and Foot Locker
Outdoor miles last year and 4:53.10 mile runnerup at NIC, will go
in the 1600.
The 1600 is also loaded with such luminaries as:
defending Arcadia champion Alejandra Barrientos CA, who led
the nation last May from 800 meters to 3200 before her stress fracture
and may be returning to form based on her 4:57.77 third-plaace mile
at Stanford;Sally Meyerhoff AZ, who returns to California
after her second at Stanford in 4:56.95; Amber Steen CA,
a red-hot winner of the 1600 over Siraki at Azusa Pacific 3/24 in
4:50.2; Kelley Otstott VA, 4:56.28 at NIC; Jackie Zeigle
UT, 5:00.21NSIC indoor mile champion; Lynn Dixon CA,
4:50.05 for 1600m last year; Megan Kaltenbach CO, 10:32.89
2-mile champion at NIC and 4:56.85 for 1600m already this year at
Pikes Peak 4/7; and Clara Horowitz CA, 4:57.03 last year
Kaltenbach is also entered in the 3200, only
70 minutes after the 1600. If she runs both, she will lead a pack
of Siraki-chasers that also includes: Laura Zeigle UT, 10:26.68
indoor 2-mile champion at NSIC and winner of the junior women's
title at the US Winter XC Nationals; Julia Pudlin PA, 9:57.60
for 3k indoors and 10:38.37 for 3200 outdoors already this season;
freshman Liza Pasciuto CA, 10:49.7 for 3rd behind Siraki
at Azusa Pacific this year and a finalist at Foot Locker Cross Country
nationals last December.