6 Virginians to roll with the best in elite 1000 races at the NY Armory this weekend

Quite a field has been assembled for the junior 1000 meter races this weekend at the New York Armory in the New Balance Collegiate Games. Held right in the middle of a great college meet, some of the top middle distance high school runners in the nation currently are featured in the two races with the junior girls being contested at 8:25 PM on Friday night and junior boys going off at 1:39 PM on Saturday. It also speaks highly of the talent pool in Virginia with a total of six entrants among the 17 total who were invited to compete in the elite caliber race are from our state.

Photo by David Fleenor

Two girls from Virginia will race on Friday with some of the nation's very best led by Chanelle Price of Pennsylvania with her 2:47 best in the event as well as a 2:02 800 among her many credentials. Midlothian junior Paige Johnston is the established runner with state titles last year in the 1000 meter run indoors and 800 meter run outdoors, but Great Bridge senior Jayna McGehee has really come on as of late including a US #6 performance last weekend at the St. Christopher's Mid-Atlantic Track Clash of 2:56.91. Johnston has only a 3:00.27 season best time in the event, but actually beat McGehee in that race at the CNU Showcase and looked very fit last week in the same meet where McGehee ran her 2:56 1000 by winning the 1600 in 5:03.49. Johnston ran her VA #9 all-time 1000 of 2:55.05 in her state title victory last March. Only Price and Kristin Reese of Carmel NY (2:53.5) have ran faster in the 1000 this year among Friday's field than the Virginia state leader McGehee. There are no weak links in this field though with several sub 5 milers including New Yorkers Caitlin lane, Sarah McCurdy, and Emma Miller-Bedell.

The odds are pretty decent that a Virginian might pull off the win in Saturday's boys race with half of the field from the Old Dominion with US #3 Logan Collins of Orange County at 2:30.59, US #4 Leoule Degfae of Thomas Edison at 2:31.19, US #8 Joe Lorusso of Oakton at 2:32.67, and Tihut Degfae of Thomas Edison at 2:34.66. Last year, Axel Mostrag of Fork Union blitzed the field at the Armory to win in a US #9 all-time performance of 2:26.11. There is some tough competition in the field though with Andrew Perkins coming in all the way from Wisconsin making a rare indoor appearance. Perkins is one of the top returning 800 meter runners in the country with a 1:50 best. Meanwhile, Lance Roller has rolled out a few good indoor 800's at 1:54 tops this winter to make him a threat as surprisingly the lone New Yorker in the nine person field.

Collins & Degfae at Virginia Tech
Photo by John Herzog

Collins appears to be the most likely challenger of the favorites Perkins and Roller among the Virginian quartet after his 2:30 win at the Virginia Tech Invite and a tough challenge from Leoule Degfae in second at 2:31.19. Lorusso put up his season best time on a flat track at Liberty University, so it will be interesting to see if he can drop his time much more with his first opportunity to race on a banked track this season.

Both Degfae and Lorusso's district meets have already gotten underway with day one events already in the books for the National and Concorde districts. The Degfae twins will actually be missing in action on Friday's conclusion of the National District Meet, so the Edison boys will have a tougher challenge to hold onto their lead in the team scoring without their middle distance star twins. Meanwhile, Lorusso won the 1600 and anchored Oakton's 4x800 to a win in the first day of events at the Concorde District Meet last week. The final events of the district wrap up tonight at the PG Center in Landover, Maryland, so it will be interesting to see if Lorusso competed with a big race in New York coming up on Saturday.

The race in New York is not a sanctioned high school race though as all the participants are competing unattached from their respective high schools.


Junior Boys 1000 meters Sat 1:39 PM
1 Eric McDonald Groveland, Mass.
2 Lance Roller Cortlandt Park, NY
3 Andrew Perkins Watertown, Wis.
4 Logan Collins Orange, Va.
5 Daniel Edmund Greenbelt, Md.
6 Leoule Degfae Alexandria, Va.
7 Tihut Degfae Alexandria, Va.
8 Joe Lorusso Vienna, VA
Junior Girls 1000 meters Fri 8:25 PM
1 Caitlin Lane Greenwich, NY
2 Sarah McCurdy Bay Shore, NY
3 Chanelle Price Easton, PA
4 Paige Johnston Midlothian, VA
5 Kristen Reese Carmel, NY
6 Emma Miller-Bedell Orangeburg, NY
7 Dana Walsh NYC
8 Jayna McGehee Chesapeake, VA