Virginians @ New Balance Indoor Nationals (Day 1)

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10:00am EE 60m H Trials
10:45am EE 60m Trials
11:20am EE 60m H FINAL
11:35am EE 60m FINAL
11:40am EE 4x800m FINAL
12:30pm EE 400m FINAL (sections)
1:05pm EE 800m FINAL
1:55pm EE 200 Trials
2:30pm EE 2 Mile FINAL
3:20pm EE 4x200m FINAL
3:50pm EE Sprint Medley Relay FINAL
4:30pm EE 200m FINAL
4:40pm G - Distance Medley FINAL
5:10pm B - Distance Medley FINAL
5:40pm EE 4x400m FINAL
6:15pm G - 5000 meters FINAL
7:00pm B - 5000 meters FINAL


9:00am G - EE Shot Put FINAL
9:00am G - EE Long Jump FINAL
10:00am G - EE Pole Vault FINAL
12:00pm B - EE Shot Put FINAL
12:00pm B - EE Long Jump FINAL
12:30pm G - EE High Jump FINAL
1:00pm B - EE Pole Vault FINAL
3:00pm G - EE Triple Jump FINAL
3:00pm G - EE Weight Throw FINAL
3:00pm B - EE High Jump FINAL
6:00pm B - EE Triple Jump FINAL
6:00pm B - EE Weight Throw FINAL
6:00pm G - High Jump FINAL

Friday Highlights:

Photo by Don Rich

The distance medley relay legs for the West Springfield girls are Virginia's first All-Americans of this year's New Balance Nationals with a national runner-up finishing time of 11:59.35 in the championship DMR race, which is second fastest all-time in VA high school history behind only Hidden Valley's 11:52.24 from the 2011 indoor nationals. Caroline Alcorta ran a strong anchor leg well under 5 minutes to move her team up firmly into second place. Maddie Wittich ran opening leg for the West Springfield girls and is the last remaining leg from their state outdoor record 4x800 from several years ago. Wittich almost got her name included with another state record relay.

In the distance medley for boys, both Blacksburg and Midlothian found themselves just on the outside looking in of an All-American top 6 going into the anchor legs with Nick Link for Blacksburg and Collin Hahn for Midlothian. The Group AA state cross country champ Link, coming off a shortened indoor season due to injury, almost got his team into the top 6 as the Blacksburg boys ran an outstanding time of 10:17.07 for 7th place, which breaks their school record and puts them among the top 10 all-time in state history. Matthew Borny ran a strong opening 1200 meter leg with a 3:06 split to put Blacksburg out to an early leg. Midlothian was bookend by the Hahn brothers, Randy and Collin, as well as featuring All-State 300 meter runner John Gerard on the 400 meter lreg, ran a school record time of 10:27 to finish 11th in a loaded a fast section.

Update: Blacksburg boys ended up finishing 6th for All-American honors in the DMR as the original second place team from Canada was later disqualified to move Blacksburg up one place for 6th.

In the girls' high jump, Colonial Forge sophomore Crystal Jones earned All-American honors as she cleared 5'7.25" on her first attempt at the height. Unable to clear the next height of 5'9.25", which would be a new personal best (Jones has cleared 5'8" before), Jones settled for being tied for third place with Amy Collins from Massachussetts. Two-time indoor state champ Brianna Hayes of Matoaca cleared 5'5.25", but went out at 5'7.25" to finish 9th overall.

Three Virginian girls were featured in the 5000 meter run late on Friday night with two of the Central Region's best in Kara Dickerson of Midlothian and Rachel Galton of Maggie Walker as well as two-time Group A state cross country champ Hannah Rose of Wilson Memorial. Rose and Dickerson both battled in section 1 with Galton for a sub 18 minute time at the Armory. Rose was able to accomplish the feat with a time of 17:57.13 to place 21st overall, while Dickerson was one place (22nd) behind her but five seconds back and over 18 minutes at 18:02.51.

On her first jump in the emerging elite triple jump, C.D. Hylton's Ebony Owusu-Sampah reached out for a legal mark which would likely place her in contention for the win the championship division of the event and certainlty into All-American status with a state leading performance of 40'5.50". The Northwest Region champ Owusu-Sampah, who placed 7th in the AAA State Meet in the triple jump, now moves up to a US #4 ranking in the event prior to championship flights and finals later this weekend. At the Cardinal District Indoor Meet last month, which was actually held at an outdoor polar bear meet, the C.D. Hylton senior Owusu-Sampah made a big improrvement from her previous bests in a leap of 39'8.75". At nationals on Friday, she proved that she was no one-jump wonder with the emerging elite division victory and mark over 40 feet.

Grassfield's Andrew Hines may have lost the Group AAA state title in the shot put two weeks ago which he had been favored to win. There is still questions and controversy surrounding the Group AAA state shot put competition with the thrower who ended up winning the event possibly using a girls' weight shot for his winning toss, but officials could not determine with confidence or prove that in fact happened. Hines unfortunately cannot control what happened at the state meet, but could control what happened in the throwing circle on Friday at the Armory as his best throw of the day at 54'6.50" proved to be good enough to win the emerging elite division of the shot at the New Balance Nationals. Atlee sophomore Austin Cannon also broke into the top 6 with a fifth place throw of 51'2.75". 

After their older brother in two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong set the American national indoor 5K record (13:06) just the other weekend on the same track at the Armory in New York City, his kid brothers in Fork Union sophomore Alex and freshmen Peter Lomong were racing on the same 200 meter banked track on Friday in the emerging elite 4x800 meter relay. The Lomong brothers, adopted by Fork Union track coach Winston Brown, helped the FUMA boys break 8 minutes as the top finishing relay from Virginia in the event (7th) with splits of 1:58.6 for Russ Graver, 1:57.7 for Alex Lomong, 2:02.6 for Nemuel Okaah, and 2:00.3 for Peter Lomong. Osbourn Park boys also ran a season best time in the same race with a 8th place effort of 8:03.45 for the Northwest Region 4x800 champs, which were anchored by a 1:58 split by Nick Causey.

Despite not having an official indoor season at Freedom High School in Loudoun County, sophomore Brandon Polk was able to make the finals of the 60 meter dash in the emerging elite. Polk was a state qualifier last spring as a freshmen in the 100 and 200 meter dash with personal bests of 10.83 and 21.94 respectively. At the New Balance Nationals, Polk qualified for the finals by winning his preliminary heat with a time of 6.97, which he matched that performance in the finals at 6.97 to finish 5th overall and earn a medal.

Both Grassfield freshmen Grant Holloway and Manchester senior Michael Averett made the finals of the 60 meter hurdles in the emerging elite division with a 8.14 clocking for the US #2 55 meter hurdles performer Holloway and a 8.15 performance for the Central Region runner-up Averett. Holloway's misfortunate in the final past few meets continued into New York as he failed to win the state title as the top seeed and also then false started in the finals at nationals. With Holloway and another finalist also false starting, Averett was able to pick up a medal despite finishing last in the finals in sixth at 8.33.

Two-time Group AA 55 meter dash champion Latrice Morris of Heritage was able to advance onto the finals of the emerging elite girls' 60 meter dash as the 7th fastest qualifier in winning her preliminary heat with a 7.80 clocking. Morris was able to improve upon her time and placing in the finals with a swifter performance of 7.70 to finish fourth overall and earn herself a medal in the emerging elite division. Two weeks ago at the Group AA State Indoor Championships in Lynchburg, Morris won her second consecutive indoor title at 55 meters with a 7.10 personal best time. Morris just missed qualifying for her second finals of the emerging elite on the day as she won her preliminary heat of the 200 meter dash in 25.31, but the performance put her one hundredth of a second off the 8th fastest time overall among all the 11 preliminary heats in order to advance on. 

C.D. Hylton senior Hail Mcfadgen cracked into the finals of the 60 meter hurdles in the emerging elite division through winning her prelim heat with a 8.96 clocking as three other Virginia hurdlers were in her section between Midlothian's Alice Babashak (9.54), Manchester's Jonniece Scott (9.57), and Henrico's LaChyna Roe (9.81). In the finals, McFadgen went faster with a 8.91 clocking, but her competition did as well as the Group AAA All-State performer two weeks ago in the 55 hurdles and long jump finished last in 8th place.

Mcfadgen may have been worn down from the long jump competition going on simultaneously with the hurdles as she may have been last in the hurdles finals, but got enjoy first place and will be taking home a title in the emerging elite division of the long jump. On her third attempt, Mcfaden popped a new personal best in the long jump with a mark of 18'6.50", which held up through the finals as the best jump of the field. On her final attempt in the finals, Phoebus senior Kennedy King was able to leapfrog over several other competitors into second place with a new all-time best performance for her at 18'5.25" to nearly challenge Mcfadgen for first.

Zakiya Rashid was one of the top freshmen throwers nationally last indoor season and now she is looking to move up the state and national ranks as a sophomore. Rashid earned a medal Friday in the emerging elite division of the shot put as she best throw of 39'0.50" came on her sixth and final attempt to secure herself a fifth place showing in the event.

After dropping a handful of seconds off his 1000 meter PR this winter, Grassfield's Alex Midkiff was due to chop off some time from his 800 meter best of 1:58 this weekend at the Armory. In Friday's emerging elite 800 race, Midkiff finished 3rd in the fast section with a time of 1:56.47, which placed him 5th overall after two faster times from previous sections to drop his PR. Midkiff should be able to run 1:55 or faster this spring in the open 800 with his current progression. Northern Region 1000 meter runner-up Chase Heiner placed 11th as the next best finisher from Virginia with a time of 1:57.91.

Two of the top 8 finishers and finalists in the emerging elite division of the boys' long jump were from Virginia with Louisa County's Raeshawn Bishop and West Springfield's Nathan Conquest. Bishop, a double All-State performer in the long jump and triple jump at the Group AA State Meet two Saturdays ago, will be going for double medals in the emerging elite jumps at the New Balance Nationals after picking up fifth in the long jump with a mark of 21'9.50". Conquest was just over an inch behind Bishop in 8th place at 21'8.25".

Xavier Collins, one of the top legs not named Michael Cherry on the Oscar Smith relays, was the state's top finisher in the emerging elite 400 meter dash with a 9th place run of 50.55, which breaks his former personal best in the open 400 at 51.32. Collins shortly thereafter competered in the prelims of the emerging elite 200 meter dash. In his heat, Collins ran against another top Virginian in James Robinson senior Ayo Raymond. Third in the state 55 dash finals, Raymond showed that his range is improving in time for the outdoor season as he nearly broke into the top 8 for the finals with his time of 22.47, which was 9th fastest overall among the 13 prelim heats. Collins clocked in at 22.56, which ranked him 13th among 65 competitors in the prelim round. 

Molly Novak, who will be featured on many of the Cosby relays this weekend, kick started her weekend at the Armory track with a near PR in the open 400. The Cosby junior Novak placed 19th overall in the emergining elite division among 65 competitors with a time of 58.94.

Recent Group AA state indoor 3200 meter champion Carley Shannon of Bruton battled with the lead pack for the majority of her race in the emerging elite girls 2 mile. With a 3200 meter PR of 11:19, the junior Shannon was able to hang on and finish strong to run a two mile PR time of 11:15.09 for third place in her section.  The time will convert down to a 11:11 3200 PR for two-sport athlete Shannon (plays field hockey and runs cross country in the fall).

The Hampton girls posted a time of 1:44.81 to finish second in their heat, which was fast enough to place 6th overall in the emerging elite 4x200 and earn all four legs a medal each.

After running a swift time from a slow section of the 4x200 to finish third at the AAA State Meet in 1:31.12, the I.C. Norcom boys got the opportunity to run with the best of the best in the fast section of the emerging elite division on Friday at the Armory. The relay squad of Romero Hines, Charles Wiggs, Marquinn Morris, and Waelene Riddick was able to simple runaway from the field in section 11 onto a time of 1:30.38 to claim the emerging elite 4x200 title. The Fork Union boys posted a 1:31.59 from one of the slowest sections earlier on, which stood as the leading time for a while before the FUMA quartet ended up third overall and with medals for all four legs.

Thomas Negron ran a stellar leg on the 800 meter anchor leg for the Cosby boys' sprint medley relay to move up several positions from the moment that he received the baton and was able to make up incredible ground on the leaders from Michigan on the final straightaway for Cosby to win the emerging elite division title in 3:35.57.

Both Franklin County's Coy Seneff, Fluvanna County's Chance Parmly, Fauquier's Grant Holmes, and Oakton's Lucas Wratschko were all able to clear 14'3.50" in the emerging elite boys' pole vault. All have cleared greater heights, but earlier misses allowed only Seneff in fifth place to break into the top 6 and pick up a medal.