Long Sprints Preview: 300m Dash/500m Dash
It looks like the man to beat here is Jayson Ward (L.C. Bird) who is the favorite in both the 300 and 500 meter dashes for Class 5. His club teammate Nicholas Brown (Clover Hill) and sprint specialist Javonte' Harding (Prince George) are his closest competitors in the 300 while Salem teammates Richard Edwards and Donovan Ward chase him in the 500. Ward will have to run well but these are definitely his races.
Up in Class 6 it is a free-for-all in the boys 300. Max Karen (John Champe) is the favorite on paper but him, Jalen Hinton (Western Branch), Jaylen Barringer (Freedom), or Doval Simmonds (West Potomac) could take home the title here. Our pre-race favorite might have to be Simmonds despite him being seeded fourth.
The Class 6 500 is almost the same story with Elijah Bellamy (Forest Park), Marcus Dropik (Fairfax), Keith Frasier (Western Branch), and Caleb McGirt (Western Branch) all in contention. Bellamy does have some separation here and is the pre-race favorite.
The Class 6 girls long sprint races could be swept by Aaliyah Pyatt (Massaponax) who looks to be one of the strongest long sprinters our state has ever seen or they could be split up after this contentious 300. Pyatt is certainly the favorite in the 500 with Grace Bir (George C. Marshall), Merasia Johnson (Cosby), Jaidyn Curry (South County), and Mary Gregory (South Lakes) all vying for the top spot as well.
In the 300 though it is a tight battle between Pyatt, top seeded Na'Tajah Ballard (Western Branch), 2018 champion Hannah Waller (South Lakes), and Mia O'Neil (Landstown). This is going to be a historically great race and will take a facility record to win.
Last here but first on the track will be the Class 5 girls races. Makhia Jarrett (Salem) is the strong favorite in the 300 with Morgan Snow (North Stafford) and Alicia Thorpe (Highland Springs) joining her there with Star Price being the favorite in the 500m dash.
Price was a 400 specialist until recently when she began running the 800 and 1000 as well. She has made quite a name for herself at the 800m distance and won the outdoor state title in that event. Here she will be a strong favorite but do not count out Alicia Thorpe, Erin Weigel (Kecoughtan), L'nya Carpenter (L.C. Bird), or freshman Nyah Harrison (Nansemond River). Price likes to walk people down in the final stretch but here will likely lead.
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