Friday Updates for VA Athletes @ NIN: Willard wins frosh mile! West. Branch & Grafton sub 10:10 DMRs

Friday Highlights/Updates


Boys DMR - Both Western Branch and Grafton rolled out fast times in the distance medley relay under 10:10 to conclude day one events, but only one team earned a spot on the podium among the top six All-Americans. Less than two seconds separated the top seven teams with the Hamden boys of Connecticut as the champions at 10:07.58, while Grafton ended up being the odd team out in seventh place with a time of 10:09.40. Western Branch was able to slip into the top 6 as they were anchored by Blake Theroux (pictured right by Matt Shatkus) with a 4:14 1600 split in a fourth place time of 10:09.06.  The rest of the splits for Western Branch went as followed: George Matais (1200) 3:02 high, Keenan Smith (400)  51 high, and Cameron Cipcic (800) 1:59 mid. Both Western Branch and Grafton join a short list of past Virginia schools to have broken 10:10 indoors in the DMR.


Girls DMR - West Springfield girls slipped into the top 6 and earned All-Americans thanks to a stellar 4:59 anchor leg split from their Foot Locker finalist Paige Kvartunas. Alex Watt led off with a 3:45 1200 leg to give the Lady Spartans a decent start. Kvartunas was able to hold off some formidable New York squads for the final All-American spot in Northport (7th, 12:08.24) and Saratoga Springs (8th, 12:10.88) with West Springfield finishing with a school record time of 12:08.18. The middle two legs for West Springfield were Anna Barber as the 400 leg with a 61.8 split and Lauren Blackburn as the 800 leg with a 12:08.18 split.


Boys 5000 Meter Run -  A geat run by Kevin Bennert of Woodberry Forest in the 5K at the Reggie Lewis Center tonight. Like Andrew Catanese earlier today in the NSIC 5K, Bennert just missed All-American honors with a PR time of 15:21.34 to place seventh overall from the slower section as he took first in his section. His performance was a 12 second improvement from his cross country 5K PR of 15:33 from the Foot Locker South Regional this past November.


West Springfield's Colin Taylor posted a solid personal best time of 15:33 to finish 17th overall, while Greenbrier Christian's Michael Bailey mistakenly finished a lap early in the fast section and no time was recorded for him.

 Boys Freshmen Mile Run:  Midlothian 9th grader Sean Willard (pictured left by Matt Shaukus of ran a 10 second PR to win the freshmen mile title in a thrilling and narrow 6 hundredth of a second win over Rob Napolitano of New Jersey with his first place time of 4:31.29. His times converts to under 4:30 for 1600 meters, which Willard had a previous season best of 4:40. He is the second Nike Indoor freshmen mile champion from Midlothian as current juniorteammate Brayden Burleigh won the event back in 2008. (Watch Video Interview w/ Sean Willard).


Also earning All-American honors with a sixth place was Chantilly freshmen Sean McGorty with a time of 4:35.61 to finish among a tigh pack of four runners at 4:35 to round out the top 6, which was a seven second improvement from his best best of 4:41. Blacksburg's Nick Link finished 10th overall from the slower section with a personal best time of 4:40.53


Girls Freshmen Mile Run: West Springfield's Madeline Wittich equaled her place from the Northern Region Championships 1600 meter run with her 11th place time at Nike Indoor Nationals in the freshmen mile. The difference between the two races was Wittich's time as she ran roughly 8 seconds faster converted from her full mile time of 5:21.99.



Friday Schedule


Friday, March 12, 2010

2:00pm G - Freshman 400m FINAL
2:15pm B - Freshman 400m FINAL
2:30pm Freshman 1 Mile Run G/B FINALS (2 sections each–Max)
3:00pm G - 5,000 Meters FINAL
4:15pm B - 5,000 Meters FINAL
5:30pm G - Distance Medley FINAL
6:00pm B - Distance Medley FINAL
2:00pm G - Weight Throw FINAL     on infield
4:00pm G - High Jump FINAL     at far end
4:30pm B - Weight Throw FINAL     on infield


Friday Meet Preview


Group AA 4x800 state champions Grafton and Group AAA 4x800 state runners-up Western Branch are both competing in the top section of the DMR with the potential of sneaking into the top 6 for All-American honors and running times in the 10:20s or faster. Grafton will have two strong legs to open and close their relay in Group AA 1000 meter state champion David Gunnerson (pictured above by Ryan Kelly) and Group AA state cross country champion Kyle King. Western Branch might have an even stronger pair for their relay with two sub 4:20 milers in Group AAA 1600 state runner-up Blake Theroux 4:15 1600) and All-State 100/3200 performer George Matais (4:19 1600). Grafton is stronger through three legs though with Brian Gorwitz having posted a time of 4:26 for 1600 meters this season.


Western Branch girls are also in the fast section of the DMR along with the West Springfield girls. West Springfield should be the stronger squad of the two Virginia schools and be the most competitive in a race with the formidable New York girls and Northeast teams with Foot Locker finalist Paige Kvartunas (pictured above by Ryan Kelly) anchoring their relay and capable of splitting close to 5 flat as the 1600 meter leg. Western Branch will be strongest in the middle two legs without a dominant miler with Maressa Pinnock and Blake Andrews as their potential 400 and 800 meter legs.


Keilah Tyson, a junior at Western Branch, takes aim at a height greater than 5'8" on Friday in the high jump, which expects to be a great competition for the national meet with a clutter of girls at 5'8" then a select few having already went over 5'10" and 5'11" successfully. Tyson (pictured above by Ryan Kelly) is the Virginia 3A state indoor champion in the event with two clearances at 5'8" this season including at the state meet two weeks ago. A repeat performance may or may not be good enough for All-American top 6 honors, so Tyson will seeking for an all-time best to firmly position herself among the top 6 and jumping late into the competition.


Skyline's Thomas Madden is unfortunately not competing at the Nike Indoor Nationals freshmen mile as his recent Group AA state meet double of a 4:29 1600/9:42 3200 would have made him as one of the race favorites. Nonetheless, Midlothian freshmen Sean Willard (pictured right by John Herzog) who qualified for AAA state competition in the 1000 meter run has a 1600 meter season best of 4:40, which ranks him just among the top 20 ninth graders in the country. Willard will have a shot at cracking among the top 6 All-American honors in the event from the fast section of the event. His last opportunity to run a fast 1600 was at CNU in early January, so a significant drop in time from his 4:40 then is very possible.


Michael Bailey ran his share of fast 5K times this past fall including a season ending PR of 15:22 at Foot Locker South. The Greenbrier Christian Academy senior and private school state cross country champion will see if he can beat that time in Boston this weekend on the 200 meter banked indoor track at the Reggie Lewis Center among a fast section field of cmany capable of times well under 15 minutes for 5000 meters.