by Pearl Watts
Last, but not least, applied to the South Lakes distance medley relay
on Sunday as they set a national high school record of 9 minutes 49.78
seconds in the final event of the adidas Outdoor National Championships
in Raleigh, North Carolina.
The foursome of Richard Smith on the opening 1,200 leg followed by 400
meter runner Justin Smyser and 800 runner Kanda Karmo with Alan Webb on
1,600 anchor leg handily erased the old mark of 9:53.31 set by McCullough
High of The Woodlands, Tx from 1987.
The boys distance medley race, one of the most highly anticipated matchups
of the championships which was bringing together Penn Relays champ South
Lakes and national leader Atlantic High of DelRay Beach, FL was a day
but certainly not a dollar short in coming about.
The adidas meet was set to have all events contested on this past Friday
and Saturday but a huge storm which erupted at about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday
and which eventually put the most of the Paul Derr Track underwater after
hours caused the postponement of finals in five of the field events and
of the running events until Sunday morning beginning at 8:00 a.m.
South Lakes coach Scott Raczko said, "if for some reason, the meet
going to be continued late into the evening and the distance medley was
to be run at two or three o'clock in the morning we probably wouldn't
lined up but once the meet officials said that it was being continued
into Sunday for those who wished to stay it never entered our minds not
Atlantic had been schduled to leave on their plane flight home early
morning but once coach Ken Schappert of Atlantic heard that South Lakes
going to stay, their squad hustled to get their flights changed to later
the day on Sunday to set up the huge race between the number three all
high school of Atlantic (9:57.88) and number six all time South Lakes
Atlantic already owned two huge DMR victories over South Lakes this year
with a win at the Nike Indoor Championships in mid-March and also defeated
the Seahawks in late April at the Arcadia (CA) Invitational where they
In both those races Sean Jefferson of Atlantic had given his team at
a five second lead on the opening 1,200 leg over Richard Smith of South
with neither Smyser or Karmo able to close the gap enough for even a runner
such as Alan Webb to catch Atlantic's excellent anchor, John Jefferson.
However, the adidas meet would play out much differently than the previous
two meetings. Since the Arcadia meet Smith had lowered his times to 1:52.17
for 800 meters and 4:14.91 for 1,600 meters, giving him much more confidence
to compete at a higher level for 1,200 meters.
At the start Sean Jefferson immediately took the lead and led the field
through the first 400 meters with Smith in striking distance at 59.5.
Jefferson continued to push the pace through the 800 with a slight lead
Smith was right behind in second place at 2:03.3. Smith then moved up
Jefferson's shoulder with 200 to go but Jefferson opened a slight lead
final straight and recorded an excellent split of 3:02.0.
The key to the race had been sealed however, as Smith hung tough in the
final 100 meters and recorded a personal best by five seconds of 3:03.5.
Smith then handed off to fellow South Lakes junior Justin Smyser who once
again gave the Seahawks a solid 400 dash split of 50.2. Smyser pulled
Lakes within a stride of Atlantic on the handoff after their 400 runner,
Preston Bean, split 51.4.
Kanda Karmo of South Lakes then went up against Ken Schappert, the son
the Atlantic coach, in the 800. Karmo split 54.7 on his first 400 and
overtook Schappert on the backstretch of the second lap and continually
pulled away. Karmo's time of 1:56.3 compared to Schappert's 1:59 then
Alan Webb over a 2-second lead heading into the anchor leg against John
Jefferson, with Webb needing a time below 4:03 to guarantee the record.
Webb was out in 59.4 but was overtaken for the lead as Jefferson went
in a sizzling 56.4. Webb then overtook Jefferson on the second lap and
recorded an 800 split of 1:58.8. The Webbmaster was then just over 61
for his third lap before bringing the high school record home with a final
lap time of 59.8 as he recorded 3:59.8 for his 1,600 meter baton carry
the new record of 9:49.78.
Webb said, "The South Lakes team is not just about Alan Webb. It's
to coach Raczko that the team got the national record. I can't believe
so well because of the conditions. This past week with graduation and
committments combined with the race being postponed for a day kept us
all week but we got tough, stepped it up and we did it. We felt we had
at the record but you never know.
"While I was waiting for my turn to run in the race I saw Richard
great in the 1,200 and then Justin looked so good in the 400. When Kanda
the stick I knew he wouldn't let Schappert get away. The rest of the team
me up so well. When I got the handoff from Kanda I sort of glanced at
clock and saw 5:50 and knew I could chill a little and still destroy the
record. The plan had been to run even splits and I knew I had room for
record. I felt okay and got into a rhythm. My time wasn't super fast but
was still pretty fast."
Another South Lakes title in the 4x800
The distance medley race was the one national record for South Lakes
wasn't the only national title for the Seahawks for the weekend. On Friday
night in Raleigh the team of Yonathan Kebede, Karmo, Smith and Webb put
the fifth fastest high school time ever in the 4x800 relay with their
The 4x800 race was also billed as a matchup between South Lakes and
Atlantic and did not disappoint the large crowd either as a total of five
teams went under 7:44. Christian Brothers Academy of New Jersey held the
at the first exchange at 1:56 with Atlantic in second and South Lakes
ninth among the twelve teams in the fastest seeded section after Kebede's
1:59.6 leadoff leg.
Sean Jefferson then popped a 1:54.0 for Atlantic on the second
leg to give Atlantic the lead over CBA. Cardinal O'Hara (PA) was third
South Lakes was up to fourth after Karmo's 1:56.2 split but South Lakes
trailed Atlantic by about thirty meters. Richard Smith then roared out
the Seahawks and went sub 51 seconds for his first 400 enroute to an
excellent time of 1:52.2 to pull South Lakes into second place just ten
meters behind Atlantic.
Alan Webb on anchor then gradually pulled even with Atlantic anchor John
Jefferson after Webb's first 400 in 52.0 and the Webbmaster took off
with one lap to go and opened up a fifteen meter lead with 200 meters
Jefferson gamely fought back and closed within ten meters entering the
homestretch but South Lakes prevailed in 7:35.33 with Webb clocking 1:47.3
his carry and Atlantic was timed in 7:37.31 with John Jefferson hitting
St. Ignatius High of Cleveland, OH was third in 7:41.22 as their
anchor runner Marc Sylvester, who also won the open 800 wire to wire in
Saturday rain at 1:48.76 split 1:47.2 as his team grabbed third in 7:41.22
with Christian Brothers finishing fourth in 7:43.26 and John Jay (NY)
7:43.99 for fifth.
Raczko: "They did what we knew was possible."
Coach Raczko said of the South Lakes efforts in the distance medley and
4x800, "all five of them did a real good job. They did what we knew
possible and that is pretty cool. In the DMR, Richard Smith was so close
Sean Jefferson in the 1,200 that I think it killed Atlantic's spirit but
think the real backbreaker was Justin Smyser putting the team up almost
after the 400.
Raczko added, "What a great season it's been for them. Two
Penn Relays victories in the 4x800 and DMR and a Relays record in the
then two national championships in the same two events with a national
in the distance medley. That's great stuff and they will remember it forever."
Webb was working out for Eugene
Alan Webb's next concentrated effort will be the USATF Championships
held in Eugene, Oregon from June 21-24. Webb is entered in the 1,500 run
has a best of 3:38.26 which was enroute to his national record of 3:53.43
the mile run last month. Thus far this season, the only Americans to have
faster are Bryan Berryhill of Colorado State (3:37.05) and Gabe Jennings
Stanford (3:37.56) which they did at the NCAA Championships two weeks
The trial heats for the men's 1,500 are scheduled for Thursday at 6:30
PDT with the final set for Saturday at 5:11 PDT.
Webb said, "this past weekend in Raleigh was a really good workout
prepare me for Eugene because I was able to click off the laps at a fairly
even pace. I don't know what to expect from some of the other runners
but I feel like I'm ready for anything because of the different types
racing I've done this season. My primary goal is to get to the finals.
make it to the finals, I'm looking to compete."
Raczko said, "I thought he looked extremely relaxed and comfortable
two races in Raleigh. The meet is very close timewise to USATF but we
some time ago what he was going to run down at Raleigh and so we have
the workouts down a lot recently. Alan is in great condition. Even the
for 1,600 meters did not appear to affect him much."
Other Northern Virginia athletes at Eugene
There will also be a number of former top area athletes competing in
this weekend at the USATF meet, which also serves as the qualifier for
World Championships to be held in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada August 3-12
the Americans. Fomer Mount Vernon High and University of Tennessee star
Dawane Wallace has the fastest U.S. time this year in the men's 110 meter
high hurdles at 13.30 and four of the top ten times overall.
Allen Johnson (Lake Braddock) has come back from a winter leg injury
the 1996 Olympic champion could also be a factor in the 110 highs as
evidenced by his time of 13.46 from two weekends ago.
Tiombe Hurd (West Potomac) comes in with the nation's top mark this year
the women's triple jump at 46 feet, 2 inches and will surely be one of
top contenders in that event.
Rickey Harris (Centreville) will forego the
men's 400 hurdles where he has a qualifying mark of 49.65 this year and
instead run the 400 dash where he comes in with the 12th fastest time
45.22 and Brendan Rodgers (Paul VI) has qualified for the 1,500 meter
with his recent effort of 3:42.66.
Other NoVa athletes at Raleigh
In other action from local high school athletes at the adidas
championships, Oakton's Matt Maline was a very competitive seventh in
mile run in 9:11.34 with Dathan Ritzenhein of Michigan taking the lead
the outset and going through the first mile in 4:20 enroute to a victory
100 meters in a swift 8:44.43 for a mark among the all time high school
Oakton junior Phil Gaeta won his section of the 800 run and finished
overall in a personal best time of 1:53.59 and Oakton's Keira Carlstrom
tenth in the mile run (5:01.56) with Erin Donahue of New Jersey making
move with 300 meters to go to win in impressive fashion at 4:42.96 with
pacesetter Alicia Craig of Wyoming second in 4:47.29.
Robinson senior L.A. Snead held the lead with one lap to go in the mile
only to finish eleventh overall at 4:16.51 with Nick Schneider of Minnesota
having just enough kick to win in 4:09.42 with River Hill (MD) junior
Stroup second in a personal best of 4:10.61.
Hayfield's Ron Richards was ninth in the 400 dash (48.66) with Darold
Williamson of Texas the winner at 46.88. Madison's Brittany Robinson was
eighth in the girls triple jump (37-3) with Erie, PA junior Sheena Gordon
winner with a distance of 40-6 while Alonzo Moore of Phoebus (VA) won
boys triple jump (48-11.75).
National records were set on the girls side by Boys and Girls High of
York with a stunning time in the 4x800 of 8:51.60; better than a 2:13
per runner and by Rockford, MI in the 4xmile relay as they broke their
mark set at this same meet last year of 20:30.57 with their time of 20:24.34.
Rockford also ran extremely well in the girls DMR in clocking the number
four time ever of 11:45.05 but their anchor runner was overtaken by Tameka
Johnson of Boys and Girls in the final 50 meters as Boys and Girls became
number three team all time among high schoolers at 11:43.58. In a true
testament to outstanding distance talent, the Rockford "B" team
to finish third in the race and move to number nine all time.
Also, Chaunte Howard of J.W. North (CA) became the first ever four time
winner as she won the high jump at 6-0.5 and was part of the winning 4x100
relay(45.96), the 4x200 relay which ran the number two time ever of 1:35.89
and the winning 4x400 relay (3:38.86) while Camden (NJ) ran the fastest
4x400 relay ever by any school outside of either Texas or California with
their winning time of 3:09.91.
Junior Nationals at Richmond
Allen Simms of George Mason University was a double winner at the USATF
Junior National Championships held at Sports Backers Stadium this past
Saturday and Sunday. Simms became the first man ever to win both the long
jump (25-8) and triple jump (50-9.5) in Junior National history. The meet,
open to athletes born January, 1 1982 or later, enables the top two finishers
in each event to automatically qualfiy for the Pan American Games to be
in Argentina in October and to also participate in Junior team competition
with a series of meets this August in Great Britain.
UCLA's Sheena Johnson (Gar-Field High) broke her own meet record in the
hurdles of 56.82 with her time of 56.24 in the finals with Texas's Alyssa
Aiken (Chantilly) seventh in 1:01.10.
Wake Forest's Nikeya Green (Hayfield) was second in the 800 run at 2:08.6
with Pitt's Janine Jones (Menchville) the winner in 2:07.41. Oakton's
Meekins was fifth in the high jump (5-7.25) and Stanford's Busayo Ojumo
Williams) was ninth in the men's 800 run (1:55.08).
University of Tennessee freshman Justin Gatlin was named the men's
outstanding performer after becoming the first ever winner of three events
the same year with his wins in the 110 hurdles (14.01), 100 dash (10.36)
200 dash (20.43) while Arizona freshman Amy Linnen was named the outstanding
women's performer after setting a U.S. Junior record in the pole vault
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