Virginians @ New Balance Indoor Nationals (Day 2 Highlights)


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8:30am Freshman 60m Dash G/B Trials
8:50am 60m Dash G/B Trials
9:35am Freshman 60m Dash G/B FINALS
9:45am 60m Hurdles G/B Trials
10:35am B - Shuttle Hurdles FINAL
11:05am G - Shuttle Hurdles FINAL
11:35am G - 4x200m Relay Trials
11:55am B - 4x200m Relay Trials
12:15pm G - 4x1 Mile Relay FINAL
1:05pm B - 4x1 Mile Relay FINAL
1:50pm G - Sprint Medley FINAL
2:20pm B - Sprint Medley FINAL
2:50pm G - One Mile Walk FINAL
3:05pm B - One Mile Walk FINAL
3:20pm G - 400m Trials
3:55pm B - 400m Trials
4:30pm G - Freshman 400m FINAL
4:45pm B - Freshman 400m FINAL
5:00pm EE Mile G/B FINALS
5:45pm G - 200m Trials
6:20pm B - 200m Trials
6:55pm G - 4x800m Relay FINAL
7:40pm B - 4x800m Relay FINAL


12:00noon B - Pole Vault FINAL Unseeded
12:00 noon B - Long Jump FINAL
2:00pm G - Shot Put FINAL
3:00pm B - Pole Vault FINAL Seeded
4:30pm G - Long Jump FINAL
5:00pm B - Shot Put FINAL
6:00pm B - High Jump FINAL

The Western Branch boys ran one of the fastest shuttle hurdle times in US high school history as they finished second as national runners-up with a 29.54 clocking. The Bruins from Chesapeake, Virginia nearly broke the national record of 29.45, which was broken by the race champions from Union Catholic of New Jersey in a 29.20 victory. Western Branch held the lead on Union Catholic through the first two hurdle legs before Union Catholic took the lead just after the final hurdle for the 3rd leg entering the final leg. Union Catholic then created further separation of the final leg away from Western Branch, who still ran a fantastic time as most years would win them the national title. The time for Western Branch averages to a time of 7.39 seconds per leg, which all run 55 meters each. The relay consisted of Aaron Simpson, Byron Robinson, Deonte Grant, and Darius Dixon.

Felecia Majors has been known as one of the greatest multi-event stars in the state's history without actually competing in a multi-event. She got her first try at one this weekend in the pentathlon at the New Balance Indoor Nationals. After competing in seven events to lead the South County girls to the Group AAA state team title two weeks ago, Majors got a break with only five events to compete in the pentathlon. The shot put (28'7.75") and 60 meter hurdles (9.34) were not the strongest events for Majors to start out with, but the best mark in the long jump at 19'6" for the US leader Majors started to move her up in the points standings. She gained a little bit more ground in the high jump with a clearance of 5'5.75" before wrapping up her busy day with a second place finish in the 800 at 2:24.73. Her points total of 3,700 points placed her third in the event for All-American honors and ranks her US #8 all-time in the event. The outdoor version of the multi-event in the heptathlon should be better suited for Majors bringing in the pole vault (12'7" best) and 400 meter dash (54 second quarter miler). Expect to see Majors in the multis more in the future at the University of Tennessee.


Also earning All-American honors in the girls' pentathlon from Virginia was Bayside senior Summer Walters. Walters was not dominant in one particular event, but consistently solid over all 5 events with performances of 9.33 in the 60 hurdles, 5'1" in the high jump, 31'1" in the shot put, 17'2.75" in the long jump, and 2:29.62 in the 800 to accumulate an overall score of 3,381 points. Walters was also an All-American in the multi-events over the summer in age group competition. 

In the trials of the girls 4x200 meter relay, Group AAA state champions Nansemond River cracked into the top 6 to advance onto the finals later this weekend with the fifth fastest time overall at 1:40.96, which improves upon their state leading time of 1:41.87 from the state meet. Their relay consisted of Brandee Johnson, Kara Lyles, Mia McClain, and Kieaira Middleton. Middleton is the only senior on the relay, so if they can get a solid replacement for her next year, Nansemond River will still remain formidable. Their preliminary time also ranks them VA #9 all-time in the event, which will they try to move up in even further on that list in the finals. Woodbridge (8th, 1:41.47) and Cosby (10th, 1:41.87) were the next fastest squads from Virginia with school record races and moving into the top 20 all-time in state history with their times at the Armory.

The Forest Park boys had a clean indoor season of getting the stick around and running the nation's fastest times whether it was on a banked track, flat track, or outdoor track. Their recent US leading time of 1:28.06 was run on a flat track to win the 4x200 at the Group AAA State Championships. Their second to third exchange from Ricky Morgan to Cephas Reddick was not the cleanest and almost took them out of the exchange zone after Morgan and first leg Joshua Morgan got them out to a commanding lead through the first two legs of the preliminary heat at the New Balance Nationals. Reddick then was caught by the third leg from a team from Georgia in Team Velocity, who started encroaching on Reddick's track space running right off his shoulder which Reddick then tripped on the rail on the final turn. Reddick and Forest Park was unable to finish after the final and their hopes of a national title and challenge for the state record went down the drain as well.

The Oakton distance girls continued their excellent post-season. After their distance squad carried them to a third place state team trophy at the Group AAA State Championships in Hampton two weeks ago, Oakton put their best four milers on the track for the perfect event for them in the 4xmile relay. Grosse Point South of Michigan dominated the event by lapping the entire field including Oakton with the 3rd fastest time all-time, but Oakton was the next best team among the lapped relays to finish as national runners-up in 20:45. Their total time averages out to 5:11 mile per leg, which is certainly feasible for a relay featuring the likes of Allie Klimkiewicz (4:59 1600), Hailey Dougherty (5:04 1600), Briana Stewart (5:06 1600), Kristi Carrigan (5:13 1600, and their 1600 PR's.

Sean McGorty had his work cut out for him when he received the baton on anchor leg for the Chantilly boys 4xmile relay in order to bring his team up to 6th place. Lots of ground and time for McGorty to make up, which he was able to do with a 4:09 split to edge out the Blacksburg boys ironically for the 6th and final All-American spot in a state record time of 17:34.51. Blacksburg had edged out a McGorty-less Chantilly squad at the NXN Southeast Regional to qualify for the Nike Cross Nationals, so the tables ended up being turned this time around as Blacksburg ran the second fastest 4xmile in state history at 17:34.71, but just missed out on the podium for All-American honors in 7th place. Last night, Blacksburg was in a similar tough spot of 7th place in the DMR, but moved up to 6th for All-American honors and medals after the second place team from Canada was later disiqualified.

Nansemond River freshmen Brandee Johnson was beating many of the Eastern Region's best in the sprints this season regardless of grade. Johnson now has the opportunity this weekend to see how she measures up against the nation's top 9th graders. Johnson easily won her morning heat of the freshmen 60 meter dash in a time of 7.81 (7.25 55 dash en route), which made her third fastest heading in the finals. In the finals, Johnson maintained her third place position, but lowered her time with a swift 7.73 clocking (7.17 55 dash en route). Later this afternoon, Johnson will be racing in the freshmen 400, which might be the best event suited to her strengths and potentially finish higher than her third place showing in the 55 finals.

Freshmen hurdling phenom Grant Holloway of Grassfield never ran the 55 meter dash all season while tearing up the track at Boo Williams in the 55 meter hurdles with national record times. However, Holloway has to have some fast enough sprint speed to run that quick in the hurdles, which he improved in the freshmen 60 meter dash prelims in New York as the fastest qualifier from Saturday morning's trials with a time of 7.17. Joining him in the finals wasanother Virginian in Kettle Run's Austin Lewis, who posted the sixth fastest time at 7.25. Lewis actually matched his 55 meter dash PR from this season en route at 6.73 as the 55 meter dash en rnoute was FAT timed as well in the race. In the finals, Holloway lowered his time even more in a meet record time of 7.02 to literally runaway from the field (second place at 7.14). Holloway was timed at 6.52 FAT through 55 meters. Kettle Run's Lewis finished 6th at 7.26.

One would never see Hampton's Chantel Ray and Landstown's Leah Lott running in the prelims of the hurdles back in a meet in Virginia as two of the state's fastest all-time in the 55 meter hurdles after their US #1 and US #2 performances at the Group AAA State Meet two weeks ago with Lott as the winner in 7.84. However, the talent and competition is so good at the national meet that the two found themselves racing head to head early in the first round of three in the 60 meter hurdles on Saturday morning. Ray had several consecutive wins against Lott prior to the state meet defeat and was able to regain her position over Lott in their preliminary race with a 8.64 clocking (4th fastest qualifier), while the East Carolina recruit was just behind her in 8.67 (7th fastest qualifier). Both will need to pick it up in the next two rounds though to challenge the top 3 qualifiers Dior Hall (8.38), Sasha Wallace (8.41), and Kendell Williams (8.46) who all rolled in the prelims. Defending Group AAA 300 meter hurdles state champ Heather Smith of Great Bridge was also able to advance onto the semis with an opening performance of 8.96 (18th fastest qualifier). 

Nearly all three hurdlers from Virginia were able to advance onto the semi-finals of the 60 meter hurdles as Booker T. Washington's Rodney Johnson was just on the outside looking into getting another race with his 17th fastest overall time of 8.37 in the prelims. Advancing onto the next round were Western Branch's Aaron Simpson (9th, 8.11) and Phoebus' Charles Graham (11th, 8.18). Simpson was clocked at 7.52 through the 55 meter mark. In order for Simpson to make the finals and have a shot at top 6 All-American, he will need to get down to his 7.37 PR level from his Eastern Region Meet victory.

After just missing the finals of the 60 meter dash at last year's New Balance Nationals when she bowed out after the semis as the 11th fastest in the second, Phoebus sophomore Carolyn Brown is determined to make the finals this year and become an All-American. The Group AAA state runner-up in the 55 meter dash, Brown already bested her 60 meter dash PR in the first round with a 7.62 (7.08 thru 55 meters) clocking, which ranks her 8th fastest overall into the next round. Also moving onto the semis from Virginia is Northwest Region 55 meter dash champ Kiana Hairston, who was the 17th fastest of 24 qualifiers in 7.76 (7.20 thru 55 meters).

By winning his Saturday morning prelim heat of the 60 meter dash with an impressive 6.82 clocking, Forest Park junior Mustaqeem Williams got to warm up for a race which he did not got a chance to run as the stick did not get around to him for his anchor leg in the 4x200 meter relay prelims. Williams went through 55 meters in a 6.34 PR as well in his prelim race, which ranks him second fastest among all 55 qualifiers. Grassfield's Vincent Lowe is looking for a redemption meet after falling out of his blocks in the state meet finals. Lowe got off to a good start in doing that by moving onto the semi-finals as the 9th fastest qualifier from the prelims at 6.96. James Robinson's Ayo Raymond (18th, 7.01) makes for three Virginians among the 24 semi-finalists.

Oscar Smith senior Michael Cherry rolled through the trials of the 400 and 200 meter dash prelims on Saturday to set himself up to be a potential double national champion on Saturday. Cherry clocked a US #1 time of 47.36 in his preliminary heat of the 400 meter dash, which puts him 7 tenths of a second faster than the next fastest qualifier on the day. With a PR of 46.37, the Florida State recruit is looking to win his second national title in the 400 after taking first last June at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals. Cherry later came back on the track for the 200 meter dash, which he comfortably won his heat in a time of 21.55 (3rd fastest) qualifier. No other Virginians were able to qualify for the finals in either event besides Cherry, but ther were some impressive times nonetheless from others. Woodberry Forest's Eric Ways (10th, 49.33), Forest Park's Ricky Morgan (13th, 49.46), Osbourn Park's Teague Peck (18th, 49.70), and Cosby's Michael Kokal (19th, 49.82) all were able to break 50 seconds on the boars at the Armory in the 400 meter dash. In the 200 meter dash, Forest Park senior Josh Washington was just outside of the top 8 finalists with winning his heat in a time of 22.07 (10th fastest), while Woodbridge's Greg Henderson (17th, 22.20) and I.C. Norcom's Romero Hines (23rd, 22.29) posted solid 200 meter dash times indoors as well.

Group AAA 300 meter state champ Andrea Wright was certainly ready to pop a new 400 meter PR after running under 39 seconds on a flat track in the 300 for her state meet victory. The Indian River senior Wright finished second in her prelim heat of the 400 meter dash at indoor nationals in a new personal best performance of 56.38, which was less than a tenth of a second off the 8th fastest time overall and a spot in Sunday's finals. Battlefield's Ellison Grove who will be in the 800 meter run tomorrow, tuned up with a swift 400 meter time to also break 57 seconds like Wright in a 56.91 clocking for 16th fastest among the 50 competitors in the prelims.

Grassfield's Grant Holloway appears to be a man among boys when matched up with the rest of the nation's top freshmen track athletes. Holloway claimed first in the freshmen 60 meter dash finals earlier despite never running a 55 meter dash all season long. Holloway then came back to roll out a 49.18 meet record time in the freshmen boys 400 to win the event by a margin over 1.7 seconds. I.C. Norcom's Waelene Riddick joined Holloway for the freshmen 400 awards by winning his heat in 51.17, which placed him as the third fastest overall in the event.

Nansemond River freshmen Brandee Johnson was third earlier in the day in the freshmen finals of the 60 meter dash. The Eastern Region 300 meter dash champion Johnson was one place better in the freshmen national 400 meter race later in the day as she nearly won from a slower section with her time of 57.23.

Photo by Don Rich


Only a half inch separated the top three performers in the championship girls' long jump, but US leader Felecia Majors of South County ended up on the short end of the tape in third place with her mark of 19'6.25". A Canadian in Magali Roche, won the event with a mark of 19'6.75" and the pentathlon national record holder Kendell Williams of Georgia was second with the same best jump as Majors at 19'6.25". Majors fouled three of her six attempts, to only have two other legal marks to break the tiebreaker with Williams for runner-up honors.

Battlefield junior Galissia Cause just missed All-American honors with a season best throw of 43'5.75" for 7th place in the shot put. The 2013 Group AAA state shot put champ Cause was an emerging elite discus winner at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals last summer and is certainly making the transition to be competitive at the championship division level of the national meets.

Incredible 4x800 meter relay from the Thomas Edison boys to knock off nearly 10 seconds from their previous season best to finish 3rd at the New Balance Nationals for All-American honors in a time of 7:47.02. All four legs for Thomas Edison ran 1:58 or faster including a 1:53.76 anchor leg by 3200 state champ Louis Colson.

The Blacksburg boys distance crew completed an outstanding triple of relays action this weekend after running a 10:17 for 6th in the DMR and 17:34 for 7th in the 4xmile, the Bruins won the slow section of the 4x800 in 7:56 for 9th place overall in the event.