Two long Ashe days

RICHMOND, VA -- The question this Saturday was whether it was harder to negotiate the icy turns on the way to the Arthur Ashe Athletic center or the tight turns on the 145-meter rubber made track. Particularly in the sprints, athletes had difficulty staying on their feet as they raced around the hair pin turns on the Ashe Center track, and on more than one occasion a runner lost footing and fell to the ground. Some star performances did however manage to shine through the dark, gloomy atmosphere of the Ashe Center in both the men's and women's competition.

In the men's competition, many state qualifying performances were achieved at still an early point in the indoor season. In the 55m hurdles, Petersburg's Terry Thornton won, running 7.71. It was Sherrod Lewis of Patrick Henry; however, who blazed the field in the 55m dash clocking a time of 6.53. In the other sprints, Quinton Bowen of Heritage ran a time of 1:08.37 in the 500m run, beating Atlee's Anthony Easter by nearly two and a half seconds. Atlee's relays performed well, winning both the 4x200m and 4x400m relays.

In the field events, Marlon Smith cleared a height of 6'04" in the high jump, but the story of the field events was Taylor McFadden who jumped a distance of 46'03" in the triple jump. Dinwiddie's Wayne Odom won the pole vault by 6 inches and thrower Tim Tiller of L.C. Bird threw the shot 53'04".

The distance races featured a star studded 1600m run with 7 of the Central Regions best distance runners placing in the top 7 spots all running 4:45 or faster. Matt Wolak won the race in 4:28.58 missing state qualifying by less than three seconds and again just missing the state standard in the 1000m with a time of 2:39.72. Not suprisingly though, group AAA cross country state champion Alex Tatu stole the spotlight running a 1:57 800 split for Thomas Dale's 4x800 relay. He also cruised to a time of 9:53.09 for 3200m. Tatu and Louisa's Daniel Kane, each wearing one of the others spikes, ran together for the first mile coming through 1600m in 4:57. Then Tatu immediately pulled away from Kane and maintained a lead of at least 10 seconds throughout the remainder of the race.

On the girls side, Briana Smith of Manchester dominated her heat in the preliminary round of the 55m hurdles running 8.55, but it was Shaunte Barber of Meadowbrook who won, running 8.67 in the finals. Smith injured herself warming up before the finals and was unable to compete in the finals. Kwadena Caple of Manchester and Latesha Coulter of Gar-Field finished first and second in the 55m dash, both beating the field by one tenth of a second. In the longer sprints, Armstrong crushed the 4x200m relay competition winning by more than three seconds and Atlee's 4x400m relay edged out a victory running 4:23.09. Courtney Tolbert of L.C. Bird won the 300m dash with a time of 43.73.

In the field events, Angie Jordan of Clover Hill and Shoshana Pettes of Armstrong both cleared 5'05" in the high jump and Briana Smith won the long jump with a distance of 18'00". Group AAA outdoor state champion Kira Barcus won the pole vault clearing 10'06" and Tiffany Evans of Gar-Field won the shot with an impressive distance of 41'05".

Girls distance saw a number of impressive performances by St. Catherine's, highlighted by the 4x800m relay with a time of 10:17.75. Also, Elizabeth Harrison won the 3200m with a time of 11:53.16 and Morgan Barry won the 1000m run in a time of 3:12.67. Other noteworthy performances in the 1000m are 3:16.44 by Rebecca Ward of James River and 3:17.78 by Tiffany Cross of Atlee. Kristyn Shiring of North Stafford brought home a victory in the 1600m run with a time of 5:26.41.