FAIRFAX, VA -- At the Northern Region Indoor Track & Field Championships held at George Mason University on Saturday, Robert E. Lee senior Sean Holston made history in becoming the first male athlete in the Northern Region Meet history to sweep all three sprint events in the 55, 500, and 300 meter dashes. Right in the middle of the triple, the national leader in the 300 and 500 meter dash ran a US #7 all-time 500 meter performance of 1:03.45.
Mother nature forces Holston to slow down but not by much
Holston was well rested for his regional meet thanks to mother nature as a winter ice storm last week in the area made his school's track virtually inaccessible for days. "I have had like the last week off. I have gotten in no speedwork. I did some strength work and got in a couple of starts, but our track was completely frozen until two days ago," said Holston. However, the US #2 all-time 300 meter sprinter was not too worried about the missed practice time. "I just have faith in God that everything happens for a reason. Maybe rest was good for me.". The rest obviously served him well as shown by his stellar triple.
"I think this is going to be as hard as it gets"
Holston knew this may be his last chance to go hard in a 500 meter race in high school as he plans to run hard enough to win in next weekend's AAA State Championships to be held at the same venue at the George Mason Fieldhouse to save up for tougher competition in the 300 meter dash. "I think this is going to be as hard as it gets," says Holston referring to having to come back in the 300 meter dash after an all-out performance in the 500 meter dash. After going throuh a preliminary heat of the 55 meter dash and winning in the finals at a 6.40 clocking and finishing out his day with first place in the 300 meter dash in 34.75 to go along with his 500 meter victory, Holston stated, "States is going to be tough, but it can't be any harder than this."
Holston took the short sprint title in 6.40 in the 55 meter dash. (Photo by Brandon Miles)
Looks to match and eclipse Merritt
Next week, he will look to join LaShawn Merritt, a two-time national champion in both the 200 and 400 meter dash in 2004 as a high school senior at Woodrow Wilson as well as World Juniors champion for 400 meters, as the only other male athlete in Virginia 3A State Meet history to sweep all three sprint events as he did at his regional meet. Holston has already ran faster indoor prep times than Merritt for 300 meters and 500 meters. Holston enjoys the comparisions between himself and Merritt. "It feels kinda special since he's a great runner." He certainly is matching up well and even exceding the times put up by Merritt at this time in the high school senior year of the current professional runner for Nike. "I'd like to follow in his footsteps to national championships at least."
Flat track experience at Prince George
Looking ahead to the national championships, Holston is aiming to achieve the same feat by Merritt three years ago at Nike Indoor Nationals by winning national titles in both the 200 and 400 meter dashes. He is very familar with the home track for NIN at the Prince George County Sports & Learning Center in Landover, Maryland. Holston ran three early season US #1 performances in the 300, 500, and 400 meter dashes on back-to-back-to-back weekends in late December and early January. His national leading time in the 400 meter dash was very short lived of only a couple of hours. After clocking the nation's fastest time for 400 meters at the time with a 47.90 personal best win at the Montgomery Invitational. A time zone away at one of the fastest banked tracks in the country at the University of Arkansas, two athletes in Florida's Chris Ward (47.42) and Alabama's Chris Bilbrew (47.68) ran faster than his time to bump him back.
Holston cruised to a victory in the 300 meter dash in 34.75. Only for a US #2 all-time performer at 33.21 would 34.75 be considered a cruising win. (Photo by Brandon Miles)
However, some argue that Holston's 47.90 on a flat track stands as the best overall performance in the event this season and he feels his experience racing at Prince George and running fast on the flat track will give him an edge over the competition at NIN. "Other guys up there ran on banked tracks and I'm so use to running on that track. It will be a challenge, but still fun." It will be fun for Holston, but maybe not so much fun for the competition that will be finishing behind him.