Photo by Nicoll Knudsen
While the invitational mile and 500 meter races were expected to be the featured races of the 2010 Montgomery Invitational and certainly did not disappoint with some of fastest times in the US, the top performance may have come from the boys 3200 with Chantilly senior Chris Foley clocking a US #1 9:14 performance. Foley had to shut his season down after the state cross country meet due to illness, but appears to have been training well since then as shown with his performance in Landover. Foley won by a large margin of 20 seconds with Robert E. Lee's Natnael Meseret (2nd, 9:34) and Lake Braddock's Alex Clark (3rd, 9:38) putting together strong races themselves to finish among the top 3 and post automatic state qualifiers.
Foley's time puts him one second ahead as the national leader ahead of Will Geoghagen from Maine who ran a converted time from 2 miles of 9:15 at the Dartmouth Relays this past weekend as well. It was a remarkable drop of time for the UVA recruit, who had a previous all-time best of 9:29 from last indoor season at UNC.
The invitational mile races were put together to assemble fields with hopes of producing performances to warrant invitations to the elite Millrose Games high school mile race later this month. Osbourn Park senior Ariel Karabinus did not hurt her chances of receiving an invitation with her sensational race to pull away from previous state leader in the mile, Stephanie Frenchik of Landstown, on the final lap for a personal best time of 5:02.29. In only her second race season, Karabinus ran a 5 second personal best for 1600 meters when converted from the actual mile distance to a 5:00 1600 (previous PR of 5:05).
Also running under 5:10 from Virginia in the hotly contested race were Frenchik (2nd, 5:04.93), Lake Braddock's Liana Epstein (3rd, 5:07.92), and Thomas Edison's Myah Hicks (4th, 5:09.69) as the state's runners swept the first four places in the race. The time by Karabinus is the fastest flat track mile time in the nation and sixth fastest overall including the faster banked track times.
Also running quick in the non-invitational 1600 meter race was Lake Braddock freshmen Sophie Chase who won the event in a time of 5:09.28 and qualified automatically for the state meet in her second event of the day later in the 3200 meter run, which was won by the future teammate of Karabinus at UVA in Brooke Point senior Katherine Walker. In this young indoor season, there are now five girls who have ran under 11 minutes for the 3200 meter run as Walker joined the Stevens twins of Blacksburg, Kathleen Lautzenheiser of Midlothian, and Madalyn Nuckols of Deep Run with her US #8 run of 10:55.21. Walker made some remarkable improvements in cross country from her junior year including winning the Northwest Region title and close runner-up in the AAA state race, so a drop in her 3200 time was to be expected in indoor. Her previous best before her 3200 race at Montgomery was a 11:23 performance at her outdoor regional meet last spring.
Centreville's Yazid Zouamia and James Robinson's Genamarie McCant posted some national caliber times in their runner-up finishes. Zouamia finished second in the invitational boys' mile race to defending Nike Indoor 800 meter champion Billy Ledder of Gonzaga (4:16) with a time of 4:18.16, which ranks just inside the top 10 nationally in the event and behind only Ledder on a flat track. Zouamia now has the fastest 1600 meter time (converted) in Virginia at 4:16 just ahead of Eastern Region cross country champion Drew Paisley, who finished just behind Zouamia at the PG Center in fourth place with a final time (mile) of 4:19.06.
McCant had a spirited battle with Eleanor Roosevelt's Afia Charles (1st, 1:15.74) in the 500 meter dash but had to settle for second place. The Robinson sophomore's consolation prize was becoming the state leader in the event with her time of 1:15.88 as Green Run's Monica Williams had a short stay ontop of the state and national leaderboard with her 1:16.34 performance earlier on Saturday at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton. McCant achieved a rare feat as a freshmen last February in claiming the 500 meter state title and will be attempting to continue her march on making history as a potential four-time winner by winning another 500 crown this season as well.
A mild upset in the boys' pole vault with Matt Hazelgren of Stafford knocking off 15'1" state leader Matt Hoogland of Lake Braddock in his 14'0" first place clearance. It is the third straight invitational that Hoogland has failed to clear over 14 feet after clearing 15'1" at an early season meet at the Episcopal School in Alexandria. Hazelgren now joins 5 others excluding Hoogland who have a season best height of 14 feet this indoor season in Virginia.
Other top performers in the field events from Virginia included Alex Maybury of Langley asserting himself as one of the top triple jumpers in the Northern Virginia area as he achieved a new personal best mark of 45'7.25" in a first place showing at the Montgomery Invite. Maybury is the defending Northern Region outdoor champion in the triple jump, but will look to improve upon his disappointing 17th place finish at the AAA State Outdoor Championships.
Darrell Wesh, one of the state's top returning short sprinters and the younger brother of last year's most dominant female sprinter Marlena Wesh, made his season debut this weekend as posted a swift 55 meter dash time with a 6.40 lifetime best clocking. A 6.40 performance would normally place an individual as the state leader in the short sprint event for most years, but the 2009-2010 has been an abnormally fast year for the 55 meter dash with several individuals having already dipped under the time of 6.40. Wesh is one of the top returning sprinters in Virginia after posting times of 10.60 in the 100 meter dash and 21.50 in the 200 meter dash as a junior last year. His performance at Montgomery ranks him #6 in the nation currently.
Photo Gallery by Nicoll Knudsen - 577 photos total.