Coverage

Weekend Highlights: Cali. Runners Fernandez, Babcock, Hasay and Chetelat All Impress May 31, 2008

The greatest double performance of all-time in the boys distance events took place Saturday evening at the California State T&F Championships. German Fernandez (Sr., Riverbank, CA), who'd been running incredibly well all year, ran one of the fastest 1600m times ever in 4:00.29 and the fastest all-time 3200m performance of all time in 8:34.23. See what else took place this weekend, as well as State Championship wrap-ups are up for CA, IN, KY, MI, VA and WI. **German Fernandez (CA) 4:00.29 1600m, 8:34.23 3200m at Cali State Meet!!! **Christine Babcock (CA) runs 4:33.82 at CA State Meet, U.S. #2 All-Time!!! **Jordan Hasay (CA) beats Laurynne Chetelat (CA) 9:52.13-9:52.51 3200m, U.S. #2 & #3 A-T!!! Top Boys Weekend Highlights - Dominguez (CA) blazes new U.S.#1 4x400m relay in 3:09.59 - Rob Finnerty (MN) runs 4:06.49 1600m, 9:00.94 3200m in MN - Nico Weiler (CA) vaults 17-03 to break state meet record in CA - Joey Hughes (CA) runs U.S.#1 400m in 46.28 at CA State Meet - Randall Carroll (CA) 100m in 10.42, 200m in 20.91 at CA State - Detroit Mumford (MI) wins 4x8 at MI State Champs in 7:44.79 - Mike Alleman (NJ) beats Nick Vena (NJ) in SP with 66-00.25 toss - Marcus Jenkins (WI) leaps 24-04 to win WI State long jump Top Girls Weekend Highlights - Vashti Thomas (CA) wins 100mH, LJ, TJ at CA State Meet - Shakeia Pinnick (IL) wins heptathlon with U.S.#1 5053 points in IL - Anna Jelmini (CA) 169-04 discus, 48-03.50 shot put at CA State - Akawkaw Ndipagbor (CA) runs U.S.#1 400m dash in 53.35 in CA - Long Beach Poly (CA) runs 3:40.87 in 4x400m relay at CA State - Rebecca Addison (MI) wins 1600m in 4:50.80 at MI State Champs. - Leslie Aririguzo (MI) runs 13.84 to win 100m hurdles at MI State - Ashley Beutler (WI) runs 10:33.43 in 3200m at Wisconsin State - Natalie Baird (VA) throws 161-07 in discus at Virginia State - Felisha Johnson (IN) throws 47-06.25 to win shot put at IN State - Alex Banfich (IN) wins 4:55.12 1600m, 10:46.55 3200m in Indiana

VHSL State Championships Coverage: Baird 161'7 - New Discus State Record Jun 1, 2008

Natalie Baird - New Discus State Record - 161'7"! Photo by Joe Showker On Friday night at the VHSL Group AA State Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Natalie Baird gave her dad who also happens to be her coach a few more gray hairs. Baird waited until her final and sixth attempt to break Jackie Wallace’s 1981 state record in the girls discus throw of 159’9”. The Park View senior started out with a throw of 139 feet and then launched her next four throws over 150 feet. It looked like it would be another typical state meet for returning three-time discus state champion Baird: consistent and dominating. When she stepped into the discus circle for her final attempt in a high school state meet, all eyes were on the red-headed girl to see if she could pull it off in the clutch. She delivered. One hundred-sixty one feet and seven inches and a new Virginia high school state record. More on Baird... AAA State Meet Coverage Landstown girls win big tying the largest team score (94 pts) in the history of the AAA State Meet and become the first team ever to win all three relay races (4x800, 4x100, and 4x400). Western Branch boys join Landstown girls as indoor and outdoor state team champions in 2008. Plenty of photos, race videos, interviews, and stories to come from action at Todd Stadium. VHSL GROUP AAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS MEET PAGE: VHSL Group AAA State Championships - Complete Results VHSL Group AAA State Championships - Day One Results VHSL Group AAA State Championships Race Videos - All race/events videos to be posted by Monday. VHSL Group AAA State Championships Video Interviews - All 22 interviews posted. Include interviews with Damien Thigpen, Marlena Wesh, Jason Witt, Hiruni Wijayaratne, Eric Hoepker, Joe Lorusso, DeShana Briggs, Torry Womack, David Wilson, Kevin Newsome, Amanda Smith, James Taylor, Cierra McGee, Frank Afriye, Tiffany Harris, Wesley Smith, Chris Copeland, Varina boys 4x800, Albemarle boys 4x800, Emma Dejarnette/Rachael Hawks, and Landstown girls 4x800. VHSL Group AAA State Championships Photo Gallery by Ted Plunkett - Photos being added. VHSL Group AAA State Championships Photo Gallery by Andy Paisley - Photos posted from Friday's events. More photos from Saturday on the way. AA State Meet Coverage Western Albemarle boys and Brentsville girls win AA titles! Collins denies Dorrell a second triple crown in close 800 win! Photo by Tom Hoerner VHSL GROUP AA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS MEET PAGE: VHSL Group AA State Championships - Complete Results VHSL Group AA State Championships Photo Gallery by Tom Hoerner - More photos being added VHSL Group AA State Championships Meet Summary & Highlights - More to come.   A State Meet Coverage VHSL GROUP A STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS MEET PAGE:   VHSL Group A State Championships - Complete Results VHSL Group A State Championships Photo Gallery by Scott Rigler - To be posted soon. Upload Your Videos From The VHSL Group A State Championships VHSL Group A State Championships Meet Summary & Highlights - More to come.

VHSL Group AAA State Meet Coverage Jun 1, 2008

Thigpen repeats as 300H, sets up for three peat in 2009 Stonewall Jackson junior Damien Thigpen won the 300 meter hurdles state championship at the AAA State Meet for the second year in a row and with one of the fastest times ever in the meet's history at 37.04. Thigpen has set himself up to make history next year if he can become a three-time state champion in the event and also go after the the 1984 meet record of 36.50. (Photo by Ted Plunkett) Dramatic finish in finals of girls 300H! Brittany Hyter of Osbourn Park and Taylor Wheaton of Landstown went into the final hurdle almost even, but Wheaton clipped the last hurdle and fell to the track while Hyter was able to get her body across the line first in a stellar time of 42.76. Wheaton was able to recover quick enough to get back up for fourth place. (Photo by Ted Plunkett) Landstown becomes first team ever to win all three relays Their 4x800 meter relay win was a shocker on Friday, their 4x100 meter relay win was dominating earlier on Saturday, and their 4x400 meter relay was history making to close out the meet on Saturday. The Booker T. Washington girls made them work all four legs and down to the wire, but the Landstown girls were able to win with a strong time for a relay which did not even include Marlena Wesh in 3:47.92. Landstown became the first team ever in the history of the meet to win all three relays in the 4x800, 4x100, and 4x400 meter relays (Photo by Ted Plunkett) Full meet summary from the 2008 VHSL Group AAA State Championships to be posted late Sunday night. VHSL GROUP AAA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS MEET PAGE: VHSL Group AAA State Championships - Complete Results VHSL Group AAA State Championships - Day One Results VHSL Group AAA State Championships Race Videos - All race/events videos to be posted by Monday. VHSL Group AAA State Championships Video Interviews - All 23 interviews posted. Include interviews with Damien Thigpen, Marlena Wesh, Jason Witt, Hiruni Wijayaratne, Eric Hoepker, Joe Lorusso, DeShana Briggs, Torry Womack, David Wilson, Kevin Newsome, Amanda Smith, James Taylor, Cierra McGee, Frank Afriye, Tiffany Harris, Wesley Smith, Chris Copeland, Varina boys 4x800, Albemarle boys 4x800, Emma Dejarnette/Rachael Hawks, and Landstown girls 4x800. VHSL Group AAA State Championships Photo Gallery by Ted Plunkett - All photos posted. 1198 photos total. VHSL Group AAA State Championships Photo Gallery by Andy Paisley - Photos posted from Friday's events. More photos from Saturday on the way.

Group AAA Girls Team Rankings (with all regional performances entered) May 24, 2008

For many years at the VHSL AAA State Outdoor Championships, the Lake Braddock girls have been a thorn in the side of the Eastern Region's attempt of complete dominance at the state meet as a team always expected to be in the hunt for a state title or at least a top three finish. However, the Lake Braddock girls have gone now three straight outdoor state championships without a top three finish including a very distance 26th place in 2007 with 9 points. The 2008 Lake Braddock girls appear to be ready to make a push to get back in the middle of the Eastern Region's plans for taking all three team trophies of the top three finishing schools thanks to the versatile hurdler and jumper Melanie Akwule as well as their new sub 5 miler in Liana Epstein (pictured above by Ted Plunkett), who clocked a state best time of 4:57.46 at the Northern Region Meet. Nonetheless, it looks like the drama in the girls team scoring may be only for second and third as the Landstown girls could double the total of points of the runner-up school. The defending AAA state indoor champions rested and sat out the majority of their top athletes at the Eastern Region Meet as they did indoors as well en route to a state title. Updated Group AAA girls team rankings with all regional performances entered and reflected in the new team rankings. These rankings were calculated by scoring the rankings as a meet. We took the individual rankings and relay rankings and scored them as a normal meet: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. It is important to note these rankings are not scored by what athletes will actually be competing in at the Group AAA State Championships as many athletes contributing points to the top teams will be forced to make choices on what events they will focus on with a limit of three running events and only one other running event on Saturday if competing in the 3200 meter run. The top 10 teams include in alphabetical order: Booker T. Washington, Centreville, Grassfield, Lake Braddock, Landstown, Osbourn Park, Potomac Senior, T.C. Williams, Western Branch, Westfield View full rankings with 55 teams scoring and see where each team may be getting their points at the state meet next weekend.

Group AAA State Meet Heat Sheets May 28, 2008

Performance list for the 2008 VHSL Group AAA State Outdoor T&F Championships to be held Friday, May 30th and Saturday, May 31st at Todd Stadium in Newport News, VA.

Another Great Girls 800 May 29, 2008

June 9th and 10th, 2000 at Sports Backers Stadium the fastest Virginia high school girls 800 Meter Run took place. 27 girls took to the track for the Friday prelims. The winner of each of the four preliminary heats and the next four fastest times would advance to the Saturday finals. Three of these heat leaders had already run under 2:15 during the season. For two of the finalists the 1600 would come before the 800 finals. Nikeya Green of Hayfield and Lauren Goldsmith of Cave Springs would place first and third in the 1600 running 5:03.49 and 5:08.93. Now the stage was set for the fastest girls 800 in VHSL history.

AAA State Meet Day 1 Highlights May 30, 2008

Despite dealing with a hip injury this spring, Lakeland senior Chris Copeland was able to overcome the adversity as well as his toughest challenger yet in the form Ocean Lakes sophomore Justin Hunter to win his fourth state title (2 outdoor, 2 indoor) in the boys high jump on Friday at the VHSL Group AAA State Championships. (Photo by Andy Paisley) Day 1 Highlights @ VHSL Group AAA State Championships: Emma Dejarnette ties state meet record now shared by three with 12'0" clearance in girls pole vault with teammate Rachael Hawks taking third to give Atlee girls a day one lead with 16 points Landstown girls pull off a shocker in the 4x800 meter relay and set themselves up to become first team to win all three relay races at state meet. Landstown dominates preliminary rounds on Friday with the fastest qualifiers in the 100, 200, 400, and 300 hurdles. Marlena Wesh in the 100 and 200, Cierra McGee in the 400, and Taylor Wheaton in the 300 meter hurdles. Tynita Butts scratches all three jumps and fails to make finals of girls long jump. Without Butts in the finals, Churchland's Tiffany Harris wins the state title on her final jump to take lead away from Brittni Finch. Albemarle boys lead from first exchange to finish in the 4x800 meter relay with a final finishing time of 7:49.55. Anthony Kostelac anchors with a 1:54 split Wesley Smith of Oscar Smith wins his second straight outdoor state title in the long jump with a personaly best mark of 24'7" over a field which had a great day of marks including four over 24 feet and nine over 23 feet. More...

The dominance of the Central Region pole vault girls & two reasons or coaches why May 30, 2008

The 2008 State Meet will mark the 10th time AAA girls compete for a state championship in the pole vault.  In 1999 Carrie Bennett of Hayfield was one of the 39 pioneers who came to Norfolk State University to vault at the state meet.  She would vault 10’6” to become the first girl’s pole vault state champion.  In the first few years of the event champions came from all four regions:  Danielle Taylor of Cox High School from the Eastern Region in 2000 Rhian Jenks of Prince George High School from the Central Region in 2003 Nancy Baar of Patrick Henry GS High School from the Northwest Region in 2004 Nicole Kazuba of Chantilly High School from the Northern Region in 2006   But in these last two years the sport seemed to evolve to another level in the Central Region.  Central Region girls would win 3 of the last four indoor vault championships and Anne Marie Gordon of Godwin would tie the meet record in the event with her winning vault at last year’s state outdoor championships. This year 29 girls are entered in the pole vault. Eleven of these are from the Central Region. Of these eleven, six are found in the top seven seeds in the event.  Two of the reasons for this evolution of the girls pole vault in the Central Region are, Kyle Bishop, the Atlee coach and Val Osipenko the Xtreme Heights Vaulting Club coach.  

Group AAA Boys Team Rankings (with all regional performances entered) May 24, 2008

Jeffrey Artis will attempt to lead the Western Branch boys to their third team championship in the past four state meets as the #1 ranked athlete in the 110 meter hurdles, #2 in the 300 meter hurdles, and #5 in the triple jump. Currently roughly 20 to25 points separates Western Branch on paper from their challengers in Group AAA. (Photo by Andy Paisley) Updated Group AAA boys team rankings with all regional performances entered and reflected in the new team rankings. These rankings were calculated by scoring the rankings as a meet. We took the individual rankings and relay rankings and scored them as a normal meet: 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1. It is important to note these rankings are not scored by what athletes will actually be competing in at the Group AAA State Championships as many athletes contributing points to the top teams will be forced to make choices on what events they will focus on with a limit of three running events and only one other running event on Saturday if competing in the 3200 meter run. Example: Jason Witt cannot compete in the 1600, 800, and 3200 as well as the 4x800 meter relay for Midlothian. The top 10 teams include in alphabetical order: Battlefield, Bethel, Douglas Freeman, Green Run, Midlothian, Mountain View, Nansemond River, Oscar Smith T.C. Williams, and Western Branch. View full rankings with 56 teams scoring and see where each team may be getting their points at the state meet next weekend.

Dorrell is on another Kamikaze mission at the AA State Championships May 29, 2008

Photo by John Herzog He pulled off the impossible last year when he rallied late in the last 100 meters to win the 800 meter run and his third state title of the meet in a too close to call finish for even the finish line camera to decide between himself and Heritage's Nick McLaughlin. Peter Dorrell became the first distance runner ever in state history to win the 3200, 1600, and 800 meter races all in the same state meet. In the same Group AA State Championships, Catherine White won all three races for the second year in a row. The gauntlet that Dorrell will have to go through to match White's feat with a second straight state meet with three victories will be even tougher than last year with the competition that he will be facing. When looking at his race schedule this weekend, Dorrell could be viewed as someone slightly insane. We'll just call him the "Kamikaze Runner". Read more...

VHSL State Championships Coverage in the Newspapers Jun 1, 2008

Newspaper coverage across the state of the VHSL State Championships this past weekend: Daily Press: Watch and Learn Daily Press: York's White tops 100 Daily Press: Seventh isn't heaven for Peterson Daily Progress: Western takes state title Richmond Times-Dispatch: Witt beats heat, field Roanoke TImes: Dorrell short of triple Roanoke Times: Hart aids Byrd's relay win The Virginian-Pilot: Landstown girls, Western Branch boys complete indoor-outdoor sweep The Washington Post: Oakton's Lorusso seizes 1st outdoor championship The Washington Post: Afriyie wins discus for T.C. Williams The Washington Post: Amid controversy, Tigers shine

Why Group AA is enlightened with their meet schedule and Group AAA is not May 29, 2008

In the 2002 AAA State Meet, the only escape from a 100 degree track temperature day for 3200 champion Matt Keally and the rest of the fields was an official spraying them with a water hose in the first curve. A couple years ago, Group AA voted to change its state meet schedule to move the 3200 meter run on Friday night under the lights from its previous place in the meet schedule, which typically found it being run off during the heat of the day. When I heard the news of the change, I could only think back to my own outdoor state meet experiences in the 3200. All three were poor races, water hoses were involved, and the rays of the sun were my chief competition of the day instead of the other runners. I was not the only athlete who suffered in performances in those three races. Plenty of other kids were running well off their season best performances and disappointed with their results. It is important to run for place instead of time in championship season meets, but it comes to a point when you look around and say "Hey! There has got to be a better time to run this race!" Those involved with the Group AA State Championships realized this and the meet has great benefited from it since the schedule change. The athletic trainers are less overworked having to deal with overheated athletes, the athletes are able to finish the season with personal best performances on the greatest stage, the coaches have less worries on focusing their athlete on just one distance race if they feel the sun will zap up all their energy to double, and now there also is a 30 minute awards ceremony to recognize our All-State athletes in between the block of time that the 3200 meter races would have normally existed in the 3200 meter format. It is time for Group AAA to wake up and focus less on how it might impact team scoring, but instead how it might benefit the kids who compete in the event.

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