by Pete Cava
RALEIGH, June 11, 2001 --- In an ordinary year in high school track
field, John and Sean Jefferson of Atlantic High School in Delray Beach,
Fla., would be the talk of the mile. The only twins hotter than the
Jeffersons right now play baseball in Minnesota. John's run a 4:05.54
this year while Sean's gone 4:07.25.
Ordinarily, these are outstanding performances. But this is no ordinary
At an April 14 high school invitational in Arcadia, Calif., where the
Jeffersons ran their career bests, Alan Webb of South Lakes High School
Reston, Va., won in 4:01.81.
And on May 27, Webb turned the prep track world on its ear with a 3:53.43
clocking at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, breaking one of the sport's
most venerable records: Jim Ryun's national high school mile standard
3:55.3 from 1965.
Webb and the Jeffersons are among the entries for the adidas Outdoor
Track and Field Championships at North Carolina State University, June
They'll hook up in a pair of classic relay races, the 4x800 and distance
"It'll be a grudge match in the DMR," says National Scholastic
Foundation invitations director A.J. Holzherr, who helped put together
fields for the meet. "They're both keying for this meet, and there's
potential for records in both races."
Atlantic has beaten South Lakes twice this year --- indoors at the
national championships (March 10 in Landover, Md.) and outdoors at Arcadia.
At the California meet, the Atlantic lineup of Sean Jefferson (3:03.3),
Preston Bean (51.2), Kenny Schappert Jr. (1:56.4) and John Jefferson (4:07.0)
put together a time of 9:57.88 --- third-fastest in prep history and within
striking distance of the national record, 9:53.31 by McCullough High of
Woodlands, Texas, in 1987.
Second in 10:04.55 was South Lakes. On the current prep list, Atlantic
and South Lakes occupy the top two spots in the DMR. The Floridians' time
from Arcadia ranks just ahead of South Lakes' 9:59.66 at the Penn Relays
April 27, where Richard Smith (3:07.2), Justin Smyser (50.4), Kanda Karmo
(1:57.4) and Webb (4:04.7) became the sixth-fastest quartet in prep history.
South Lakes won the Penn Relays high school 4x800 in 7:41.75, with Webb
once again upstaging the Jeffersons. On May 12, Atlantic won the Florida
title in 7:37.76, the year's fastest time and the tenth-fastest in history.
But Webb captured the spotlight with a 1:49.1 anchor leg, the fastest
split in Penn's venerable history.
While Webb continues to dominate news stories and track chat rooms, this
weekend's relay matchups between Atlantic and South Lakes have track
connoisseurs drooling. Neither South Lakes coach Scott Raczko nor Atlantic's
Ken Schappert Sr. (Kenny's dad and a former Villanova runner, where he
for Hall of Fame coach Jumbo Elliott) has announced a relay lineup.
No matter what the order, all eyes will probably be on Webb. But one
person who appreciates the Jeffersons' achievements is Indiana University
coach Marshall Goss. "We're very pleased with them. They were very
last year, and they signed early," says Goss, who credits Indiana
guru Robert Chapman in recruiting the Jeffersons. "They have tremendous
range, all the way to the 10,000," Goss says. He points to John's
Sean's 4:07, noting the times are "not bad. But this year has been
Goss sees the Jeffersons as latter-day Lou Gehrigs --- great athletes
whose talent seems to be overshadowed by legends. For the Jeffersons it's
Webb; for Gehrig it was Babe Ruth. Over the next four years John and Sean
will see plenty of Webb, who'll enroll this fall at Big Ten rival Michigan.
And a lot can happen over four years. According to Goss, John and Sean
"have everything to make them known throughout their careers. They're
be in the race. They're great prospects."
Return to adidas Outdoor