RICHMOND, VA -- The first annual St. Christopher's Indoor Invitational in Richmond had nothing but rave reviews whether it was regards to the facility itself or how well the meet was run. The performances this past weekend certainly indicated that Richmond's newest indoor track facility will produce to many future great meets, times, and marks.
FUMA boys run US #1 7:52.73! Can they beat 2004 Westfield's 7:48?The leading performance of the meet came in Friday evening's 4x800 meter relay with the Fork Union boys. Having ran a 8:06 4x800 meter relay time on one of the state's slower 200 meter indoor tracks at VMI, the FUMA boys were anxious to see what they could run on a fast track. The result was a US #1 time of 7:52.73. The quartet nearly lapped the entire field with a 20 second victory as the relay included
Kacper Slusarcyzk (2:06), Jamie Reichlen (1:58), Szymon Rola (1:56), and Axel Mostrag (1:53).
The scary thought is despite being four seconds faster than the next best in the country this season, Fork Union can run faster. A 2:06 leg on their team is glaring among three legs well under two minutes, but Slusarcyzk can run much better as shown by his 2:39 1000 on the next day or he can be interchanged with JeremY Haney, who finished second in the 3200 meter run at St. Christopher's in 9:44.01.
Coach Winston Brown's crew could end up becoming the fastest indoor 4x800 meter relay in Virginia history as Westfield's 2004 VHSL Group AAA state champion and meet record team at a US #15 all-time performance 7:48.63 is currently the best ever. The best chance and likely only shot for Fork Union to go after Westfield's time will be at Nike Indoor Nationals in which they would be considered one of the favorites if they chose to compete in the event. However, they also will have a formidable DMR squad as they were second at NIN last March and with Mostrag likely to compete in an individual event of either the mile or 800 meter run, Fork Union may decide to focus on only one relay in Landover.
Fork Union's presence of strength was felt throughout in the meet after Friday's US #1 4x800 meter relay win and Haney's runner-up showing n the 3200 meter run, Saturday was even better for the team. Fork Union senior Jamie Reichlen, the only relay member for FUMA born and bred in the USA, showed Fork Union is program that it does not matter if your Polish or American, Coach Brown can help you roll around the oval called a track by posting the state's fastest time for 1000 meters with a 2:32.14 victory to set a facility record.
Huguenot's Seward continues his recent streak of wins with 500 victory over MostragMeanwhile, Fork Union's top stud in Mostrag opted to sharpen up his leg speed in lieu of next week's big 1000 meter race at the New York Armory against an elite high school field by competing in the 500 meter dash on Saturday at St. Christopher's. He would be facing off against Huguenot's Donnie Seward, who has been on a roll as of late with victories at CNU and Liberty as well as a victory over Manchester's Anthony Chesson at a polar bear meet this past week in the 55 meter dash. Sprinter won over mid-distance runner in a class battle as Seward ran a US #5 time of 1:05.68 to win with Mostrag right behind him with a US #6 time of 1:05.85. Their ranks third and fourth respectively among flat track times in the country, while only US leader Sean Holston from Robert E. Lee has ran faster in Virginia this season.
Seward was not finished after the 500 though, he would later come back in the 300 meter dash to post another impressive time with a 35.34 clocking, which is also second fastest in the state behind Holston. Despite the heavy graduations from last year's state indoor runner-up team, Huguenot will still be well represented at George Mason individually by Seward.
Spellman becomes first VA thrower since Huntzinger in 2003 to throw over 60 feet, US #4!Oscar Smith junior Frede Spellman produced the meet's fourth US top 5 performance in the shot put in becoming the first Virginian since 2003 to throw over 60 feet with a winning throw of 61'2.50". Spellman's mark at St. Christopher's ranks him fourth in the country currently in the event. Steve Huntzinger of James Robinson was the last Virginian to throw over 60 feet indoors as he had a indoor best of 63'7" in 2003. The Oscar Smith junior now has a season best throw which is nearly five feet greater than his next competitor in Denbigh's Jaymes Brooks.
Western Branch boys load up relays at St. Chris, look to challenge for AAA state crownWestern Branch showed why as a team they have be considered a strong contender for the AAA state team crown. At St. Christopher's, the Bruins focused primarily on their relays over individual events and it showed by two victories in the 4x200 (1:33.49) and 4x400 (3:23.21) meter relays. Their 4x400 meter time is second fastest in the country on a flat track and seventh fastest overall.
Kelvin Griffin, ranked second in the state in the triple jump currently for Western Branch, but with a victory to his credit this season at CNU over current state leader Antonio Miller of Manchester, passed on his specialty event to pick up two runner-up finishes in the high jump (6'4") and long jump (22'6.50"). Kevin Nichols of Hickory at 6'6" in the high jump and D.J. Thomas of Patrick Henry at 22'7.50" in the long jump were the two event winners.
Stonewall Jackson's Damien Thigpen, one of the top underclassmen sprinters in the state as a sophomore, won the 55 meter dash in a 6.49 clocking and finished third in the 300 meter dash as well with a time of 36.02.
Jake O'Connor of Douglas Freeman finished in between Seward and Thigpen for second in the 300 meter dash (35.93), while winning the 55 meter hurdles as the only athlete under eight seconds with a 7.99 clocking.
Several Northern Regions teams opted to skip Virginia Tech and become familarized with the new indoor track facility at St. Christopher's. As no surprise, those teams faired very well in the distance events as shown with Washington-Lee's Chris Tyson posting a strong time of 4:21.49 to win the 1600 meter run over Fork Union's Rola (4:23.75), while Thomas Jefferson's Paul Norland earned an automatic state qualifier with a 9:36.21 win in the 3200 meter run on Friday.
The Western Branch girls also looked formidable as a team with several event winners and high finishes during the weekend in Richmond. The Lady Bruins went 1-2 in the 55 meter dash with Brittney Smalls and Amber Mitchell with clockings of 7.26 and 7.43 respectively. Western Branch also picked up a big win from Jessi Gaines in the 55 meter hurdles as she finished just ahead of Huguenot's Wanetta Kirby (8.46) at the line with a time of 8.45. All three girls were part of the first place 4x200 meter relay squad, which simply dominated the event with a three second victory at 1:46.68.
Northern Virginia swept the distance races with the exception of Maggie Walker's 9:47.14 win in the 4x800 meter relay with Paul VI's Abby Clement in the 1000 meter run at 3:05.29, Herndon's Hiruni Wijayarante in the 1600 meter run at 5:19.22, and James Robinson's Stephanie Bray in the 3200 meter run at 11:24.55.
Hermitage girls had two winners in the sprints as Empress Harrison looks to follow in the footsteps of big sister Queen at least on the track and ran well at St. Christopher's with a 1:19.74 win in the 500 meter dash. Meanwhile, teammate Gevonda Winston was a 42.27 winner in the 300 meter dash.
Runner-up to Winston in the 300 meter dash at 43.03 as well as a second place finisher in the 55 meter hurdles, Huguenot's Wanetta Kirby had no problem claiming first in the high jump as she cleared 5'4" to win the event by four inches.
Patrick Henry's Powell vaults over 11 feet again!Patrick Henry senior Anne Powell had her second straight clearance over 11 feet in the pole vault in as many weeks, but this time she went three inches higher than her 11 feet clearance the previous weekend at the Asics Invite with a 11'3" win at St. Christopher's.