by John Dye
SACRAMENTO CA 6/8/02 -- Delicious matchups are featured in the
43rd Golden West Invitational to be played out today and tonight
at Sacramento State University, site of the 2000 Olympic Trials
and the 2003 NCAA championships. Some are athlete against the national
record, some are athlete against athlete, and some are both.
Four national records are in jeopardy (using Jack Shepard's HIGH
SCHOOL TRACK 2002 as the reference). They are boys pole vault, girls
pole vault, boys 300m hurdles, and girls shot put.
Boys 300m Hurdles
(35.32 George Porter CA 1985)
GWI 2001 MVP Bershawn Jackson, Miami FL Central senior,
is back, and he has already come within an eye's blink of the record
with a 35.39 time in a conference meet in April. He won't be alone
in his three-fourths of a lap tour this year because Texas 5A double
hurdle champion Kerron Clement, Laporte TX junior, is here.
Clement's 35.78 took one tick off Jackson's junior class national
record 35.79 set here last year.
Girls Pole Vault (13-8
Shayla Ballentine CA 2001)
This event is starting to mature and the record-setting is slowing
down. But the one-year-old record is under assault by Atascadero
CA sr Chelsea Johnson, who soared onto the scene in her senior
year. Competing in pole vault less than 6 months, the erstwhile
hurdle-soccer-volleyball star has a season best of 13-6. She won
the California state meet last week at 13-3 and had good record
tries at 13-8.5. Chelsea is coached by her father, Jan Johnson,
an Olympic silver medalist. He also coached Ballentine last year.
Skyview Nampa ID jr Julene Bailey, 2001 World Youth Games
champion in Hungary, is also acquainted with the 13-foot range and
will keep it interesting, as will Chelsea's Atascadero teammate,
Kacey Lundgren, only a sophomore.
Boys Pole Vault (18-2.25
Eric Eshbach TX 1999)
Sandy OR jr Tommy Skipper has stretched out his PR several
times this year, getting up to 17-5 and making serious attempts
at 18-3. He is joined in the stratosphere by two other 17 footers
-- Tyson Byers WA and Mike Landers CA -- as well as
Nike Indoor Classic champion Chip Heuser KY and California
state champ David Moore. Another 17-footer, Donovan Kilmartin,
was waylayed by food poisoining at the Idaho state meet recently
and is resting for the decathlon at the USA Junior Nationals 2 weeks
from now. Decathlete Skipper is also top seeded here in the javelin
(211-0), but the record in that event is safe. It is 259-10, and
it was set in 1988 by Tommy's brother Art Skipper, who was killed
in a light plane accident last winter.
Girls Shot Put (53-7.75
Natalie Kaaiawahia CA 1983)
Red Oak TX jr Michelle Carter has the top five throws in
the US this year, all over 51 feet and the best falling only 4 inches
short of the record. She takes record setting bloodlines into the
record quest. Her father is Michael Carter, who put the boys record
out so far it may never be challenged: a golden once in a lifetime
81-3.5 at this meet in 1979, four feet farther than his second career
Other delicious matchups (and who knows if a record might come from
Jack Shepard took one look at the entries and said it could be
one of the great 200 meter fields of all time. Five Texas screamers
(Some are calling GWI the unofficial Texas state championship because
it brings together runners who don't meet in the 5-division Texas
state meet): Brendan Christian, Jeremy Wariner, Kelly Willie, Ivory
Williams, and Jarvis Murchison. Kelly Willie 20.49 leads the US
in wind-legal marks this season, and Brendan Christian 20.32 and
Jeremy Wariner 20.41 are 1-2 on the wind-assisted list. Also in
the field are Nike Indoor Classic champion Mike Loyd NC, Kevin Marion
FL, Paul Williams CA, and Kwesi Byrd CA.
Another Texas showdown pits Sterling Houston sr Kelly Willie --
defending GWI champion, Nike Indoor Classic champion, and Texas
4A champ -- against Lamar Arlington sr Jeremy Wariner, who had a
brilliant 20.48w / 46.52 double in the Texas 5A state meet. Both
have gone under 46 seconds this season.
Bingham UT sr Laura Zeigle has been running up and down the West
Coast recently with eye popping results. Last week she ran a 4:25.24
1500 meters in British Columbia for the U#1 time this season, and
3 weeks ago she ran 16:29.83 for 5000 meters at Whittier CA for
a new national record. Earlier, Zeigle ran 10:23.05 2-mile US#2
at the Mobile AL Meet of Champions. Smoky Hill CO jr Megan Kaltenbach
has been doing some travelling herself, winning the Arcadia 3200
(10:21.01 US#4) and the Penn Relays mile (4:55.84), and is fresh
from winning four gold medals in the Colorado state meet. Joining
the top pair are Laura's twin sister Jackie Zeigle and California
3200 champ Clara Horowitz.
Boys Long Jump
Two 25-footers -- Kevin Marion FL and Oregon state meet quad Jordan
Kent -- shove defending GWI champ I-Perfection Harris NY down to
third seed. Harris is itching to go after his Poly NY team was sidelined
most of the year with eligibility questions.
Great cross continental competition brings together Texas 5A double
champion Marshevet Hooker, Poly Long Beach CA's US#1 relay stars
Shalonda Solomon and Jasmine Lee, Juanita Broaddus PA, Amy Menlove
UT, and Yolanda Goff OK.
Four of the top 6 throwers in the US: US#1 Melanie Uher NE 185-4
(just 3 feet under the US record of 188-4 set by Suzy Powell CA
in 1994), US#2 Rachel Varner CA 178-0, US#4 Billie Jo Grant CA 175-3
(who beat Varner for the California championship last week), and
US#6 Michelle Carter 169-3.
Golden West Invitational