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4/14/01 at Arcadia HS, Arcadia CA

Arcadia Invitational


by John Dye

Webb vs. Hall and a whole lot more

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 back yard.

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 entire race.

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 shape.

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 Davis.

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 Nolte NV.
  • 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 for 1600m.

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.



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