Atlantic Coast Invite (Day 2): Saunders US #1 1:14 500, Hunter US #2 6'10 HJ, W. Branch 1:40.72 4x2

Leave it to the Eastern Region to give something to get excited about in a snowed out weekend from track meets for the majority of the state. Shakeela Saunders, Justin Hunter, and the Western Branch girls 4x200 had the leading performances on day two of the Atlantic Coast Invitational at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton on Saturday. Saunders stormed to a US #1 and VA #10 all-time 1:14.46 500, while Hunter cleared a US #2 height of 6'10" in his first high jump competition of the season. The Western Branch girls are capable of setting a state record later this season in the 4x200 after their US #2 1:40.72 performance this weekend.


All photos by Ryan Kelly


The Western Branch girls recorded the #6 all-time performance in Virginia high school indoor history with their dominating US #2 time of 1:40.72. Their flat track run is certainly a superior performance to the current US leading performance from a much faster banked track at the New York Armory. The Virginia state record of 1:39.52 by a Francena McCorory-anchored squad from Bethel in 2006 is in serious jeopardy when this quartet of girls under the guidance of Coach Claude Toukene steps on a banked track at the indoor nationals.



Not a bad season opener for Justin Hunter in his first high jump competition since last outdoor season. Hunter had only long and triple jumped in previous meets, so he had to shake off a little rust in his season debut for the high jump. With a personal best of 7'2 from last outdoor season, Hunter ended up clearing a height of 6'10" on Saturday at Boo Williams which ties him with several others nationally at US #2. Hunter matches his indoor best of 6'10" from 2009, which inserts him on the Virginia all-time top 25 list. Hunter also won the long jump on Saturday with a mark just under his season best, which would rank #6 in the country in his leap of 23'6.50".



Shakeela Saunders is simply sensational. The sophomore from Great Bridge did it again with another impressive performance as her 500 meter time of 1:14.46 earns her the US #1 ranking with room to spare on the second fastest time in the country. She has not even reached her upperclassmen years and is already attempting to cement herself as one of the all-time greats in Virginia high school history as her performance ranks #10 all-time in state history for the 500 meter dash. The state has not seen an athlete as dominant and fast as underclassmen since 300 and 400 national high school record holder Francena McCorory.


The Landstown boys 4x400 meter relay, featuring current US 55 meter dash leader Darrell Wesh, significantly lowered the previous state's fastest time by several seconds with their US #13 performance of 3:25.49. Their time ranks as the fastest in the country this season from a track which is not banked or oversized (over 200 meters). Their victory was decisive against some of the top 4x400 meter relays in the Eastern Region which are also the best in the state as four seconds separated them from both Landstown and Western Branch at 3:29.


Plenty of depth and talent was found in both boys and girls 300 meter dash events. Taylor Sykes, originally slated to compete today at the New Balance Collegiate Games in New York City had those plans marred by the snowstorm pounding the East Coast this weekend. Staying local, Sykes had to race from the slow section as a late entrant and ended up stealing first overall from a thrilling fast section with only four hundredths of a second separating Oscar Smith's Joel Coleman (35.90), Indian River's Kirk Spellman (35.92), and Landstown's Wesh (35.94). Sykes posted a time of 35.34 from section one.


Green Run senior Monica Williams recorded her second sub 40 second performance of the season at Boo Williams in the 300 meter dash with a new personal best and US #10 time of 39.83. Williams and state leader Shakeela Saunders (39.20) are the only two athletes among the US top 10 who recorded their times on a flat track versus a banked track.


Dominating 25+ second wins were produced by both 3200 meter winners Colin Mearns of Jamestown (US #11 9:21.16) and Stephanie Frenchik of Landstown (US #17 10:59.41). It was the first 3200 meter races of the season for both runners who easily achieved state meet automatic qualifiers. Mearns will be looking to win his first state title in Group AA after failing to win in cross country as the pre-meet favorite. Frenchik might consider the 3200 meter run as an event to compete in at the state meet, despite also being state qualified in the 1600 after posting her first sub 11 minute performance.


More to come from the Atlantic Coast Invitational...


Complete Results


Photo Gallery by Ryan Kelly - Photos to be added throughout Saturday and Sunday from both days of events.


Below are the performances entered for the meet that met the national silver standard.

HS Girls
1000 Meter Run 3:01.10 Amanda Smith Grassfield
1000 Meter Run 3:06.88 Mary Katherine Sanders Western Branch
1000 Meter Run 3:07.71 Lizzie Cornell Princess Anne
1000 Meter Run 3:09.36 Tiel Westbrook Lee-Davis
300 Meter Dash 39.83 Monica Williams Green Run
300 Meter Dash 40.41 Emmy Fraenk Hampton Roads Academy
300 Meter Dash 40.73 Tanisha Green Landstown
300 Meter Dash 41.02 Qualitra Brown Kings Fork
300 Meter Dash 41.19 Kinyata Cooper Deep Creek
300 Meter Dash 41.42 Piarrah Payne Deep Creek
300 Meter Dash 41.56 Cydney Robinson Churchland
300 Meter Dash 41.76 Jazmen Townsend Grassfield
300 Meter Dash 42.61 Ammeech Thomas Landstown
300 Meter Dash 42.72 Christen Roberts Grassfield
300 Meter Dash 42.85 Khadeja Kearney Churchland
300 Meter Dash 42.86 Shanice Mitchell Heritage (Newport News)
3200 Meter Run 10:59.41 Stephanie Frenchik Landstown
3200 Meter Run 11:24.54 Stephanie Cario Lee-Davis
4x200 Meter Relay 1:40.72   Western Branch
4x200 Meter Relay 1:46.22   Grassfield
4x200 Meter Relay 1:48.69   Deep Creek
4x200 Meter Relay 1:49.01   Green Run
4x200 Meter Relay 1:49.70   Churchland
4x400 Meter Relay 4:03.57   Western Branch
4x400 Meter Relay 4:06.11   Grassfield
4x800 Meter Relay 9:50.96   Western Branch
500 Meter Dash 1:14.46 Shakeela Saunders Great Bridge
55 Meter Hurdles 8.09 Samantha Scarlett Bethel
55 Meter Hurdles 8.61 Jazmine Vaughan Phoebus
55 Meter Hurdles 8.63 Johniqua Porter Lakeland
55 Meter Hurdles 8.67 Olivia Cameron Green Run
55 Meter Hurdles 8.82 Amani Harper Churchland
55 Meter Hurdles 8.89 Vamonie Boddie Phoebus
55 Meter Hurdles 9.02 Leah Lott Landstown
55 Meter Dash 7.17 Christal Peterson Phoebus
55 Meter Dash 7.32 Jenira Shufford Heritage (Newport News)
55 Meter Dash 7.33 Qualitra Brown Kings Fork
55 Meter Dash 7.39 Kristalyn Morton Phoebus
55 Meter Dash 7.43 Shanice Mitchell Heritage (Newport News)
55 Meter Dash 7.44 Kayla Bailey Landstown
55 Meter Dash 7.45 Ammeech Thomas Landstown
55 Meter Dash 7.46 Cydney Robinson Churchland
55 Meter Dash 7.47p Emmy Fraenk Hampton Roads Academy
55 Meter Dash 7.51 Dominique Johnson Bethel
55 Meter Dash 7.51p Camille Thomas Western Branch
55 Meter Dash 7.56 Brittnee Perry Grassfield
High Jump 5-2 Piarrah Payne Deep Creek
High Jump 5-2 Brittany Brathwaite Denbigh
High Jump 5-2 Christen Roberts Grassfield
High Jump 5-2 Chelsea Utley Green Run
High Jump 5-2 Audree Green Ocean Lakes
Long Jump 16-11 Tanisha Green Landstown
Long Jump 17-0.5 Qualitra Brown Kings Fork
Long Jump 17-11 Jenira Shufford Heritage (Newport News)
Long Jump 17-11 Tiffany Ellick Western Branch
Long Jump 18-5.5 Jazmen Townsend Grassfield
Pole Vault 10-6 Gracie Gibson Princess Anne
Pole Vault 11-0 Lizzie (Elizabeth) Powell Patrick Henry (Ashland)
Pole Vault 11-8 Stephanie Oleson Henrico
Triple Jump 37-7 Desmonae Gray Western Branch
HS Boys
1000 Meter Run 2:32.63 George Matais Western Branch
1000 Meter Run 2:39.63 Joseph Daversa Grassfield
1600 Meter Run 4:21.83 Drew Paisley Ocean Lakes
300 Meter Dash 35.35 Taylor Sykes Great Bridge
300 Meter Dash 35.90 Joel Coleman Oscar Smith
300 Meter Dash 35.92 Kirk Spellman Indian River
300 Meter Dash 35.94 Darrell Wesh Landstown
300 Meter Dash 36.47 Vince Mosby Kings Fork
300 Meter Dash 36.48 Tyler Holloway Kings Fork
300 Meter Dash 37.13 Mike Lawton Grassfield
300 Meter Dash 37.39 Andrew Shipp Western Branch
300 Meter Dash 37.48 Ta'Von Felton Deep Creek
300 Meter Dash 37.60 Issac Cooper Landstown
300 Meter Dash 38.08 Romero Hines I.C. Norcom
300 Meter Dash 38.09 Tevis Snellings Western Branch
3200 Meter Run 9:21.16 Colin Mearns Jamestown
3200 Meter Run 9:45.79 Aaron Harrison Grassfield
4x200 Meter Relay 1:32.77   Indian River
4x200 Meter Relay 1:33.86   Heritage (Newport News)
4x400 Meter Relay 3:25.49   Landstown
4x400 Meter Relay 3:29.93   Salem (Virginia Beach)
4x400 Meter Relay 3:29.97   Western Branch
4x800 Meter Relay 8:06.55   Grassfield
4x800 Meter Relay 8:14.18   Western Branch
500 Meter Dash 1:07.39 Cameron Bolton Landstown
500 Meter Dash 1:07.56 Raymond Thornton I.C. Norcom
500 Meter Dash 1:08.17 Darnell Miller Indian River
500 Meter Dash 1:09.55 Douglas Smallwood I.C. Norcom
500 Meter Dash 1:09.57 Joseph Hill Kings Fork
55 Meter Hurdles 7.67 Daniel Mcfadden Heritage (Newport News)
55 Meter Hurdles 7.78 JaQuan Demiel Lakeland
55 Meter Dash 6.36 Darrell Wesh Landstown
55 Meter Dash 6.52 Joel Coleman Oscar Smith
55 Meter Dash 6.63 Ronnie Saunders Bethel
55 Meter Dash 6.66 Cameron Bolton Landstown
55 Meter Dash 6.70 William Greene Phoebus
55 Meter Dash 6.71 Isiah Gibson Bethel
55 Meter Dash 6.71 Anthony Harris Green Run
55 Meter Dash 6.72 Quentin Gilchrist Lakeland
55 Meter Dash 6.73 Mylon Blueford Indian River
55 Meter Dash 6.80 Monte Robinson I.C. Norcom
55 Meter Dash 6.82 Kirk Spellman Indian River
55 Meter Dash 6.83 Dominque Artis Kings Fork
55 Meter Dash 6.84p Jeremie Walton Deep Creek
55 Meter Dash 6.84p Romero Hines I.C. Norcom
55 Meter Dash 6.84p Victor Parrish Smithfield
High Jump 6-10 Justin Hunter Ocean Lakes
Long Jump 21-3 Mike Lawton Grassfield
Long Jump 21-6.5 Austin McNeil Deep Creek
Long Jump 23-6.5 Justin Hunter Ocean Lakes
Pole Vault 14-3 Eric Zwarycz Mills Godwin
Shot Put 50-10.5 Brandon Ruffin Oscar Smith
Triple Jump 43-7.75 Raymond Thornton I.C. Norcom


National Elites