Girls Long Jump - Hampton senior Renay Ransaw is the Virginia state leader this outdoor season at 19’9” and coming off a 19’4.25” third place finish last weekend at Sports Backers Stadium for the AAA State Championships. Ransaw is within reach of breaking the meet record of 19’3.75” set by Wanetta Kirby of Huguenot in 2007. Bethel junior Siobhand Ford-Holland has really excelled in the sprints at her new home, but will be returning to her old stomping grounds as a former Central Region athlete at Thomas Dale in the events which she performed best in the jumps. Ford-Holland has a personal best of 18’2.50” in the long jump. Knocking on the door of their first 18 plus foot performances are Armstrong senior Mikala Carrington at 17’9” and Manchester senior Candice Hairston at 17’7”.
Boys Long Jump - Lets see if Justin Hunter can outperform his single attempt last week at the AAA State Championships when he set a new meet record with his wind legal US #1 leap of 25’8.75”. The Ocean Lakes senior is the top seed by over three feet, so he will be basically jumping against the standard he set for himself last weekend. Hunter should break another meet record as Nike Indoor Nationals runner-up Rashaad Cannon of Highland Springs set the current top mark in the meet’s history at 23’5.75” back in 2007. Episcopal’s Archie Odenyo is one of the best jumpers in the private schools and set a PR mark of 22’5.25” earlier this season at the Draper Invite. Auburn junior Logan Shumaker scored in multiple events at the VHSL Group A State Championships including the long jump and has an all-time best over 22 feet.
Girls High Jump - Atlee junior Kala Page is the top competitor at 5’2” in a field of eight athletes with only two seniors. One of the seniors in Sarah Roethel of Herndon is the younger sister of Rich Roethel, who recent earned All-American honors in the multi-events at the NCAA Division III National Championships for Christopher Newport University.
Boys High Jump - An event which Justin Hunter did just enough to win last week and pick up the 10 points at the state championships with a clearance of 7 feet, maybe this week he will really try to continue jumping after sealing the win to try and match or better his all-time best of 7’3” in the high jump. The Ocean Lakes senior and University of Tennessee bound Hunter should break up the current two way tie for the meet record at 6’6”. Meanwhile, Highland Springs senior Quentin Moore is looking for a redemption meet after just missing All-State honors with a ninth place 6’5” clearance at the AAA State Meet. Moore has an outdoor season best of 6’6”, but was one of the top ranked athletes indoors and Central Region Champion with a clearance of 6’7”.
Girls Shot Put - The Northwest Regional champion in the discus, Ashley Cooper of Stafford has recently made great improvements in the shot put as well. The senior from Fredericksburg recently threw for a PR distance of 38’3.50” in the shot put at last weekend’s state championships at Sports Backers Stadium to earn All-State honors with a sixth place finish.
Boys Shot Put - Central Region champion Sulaiman Fareed finished a disappointing seventh place last week at the AAA State Meet despite being the second seed with Virginia’s second best mark of 58’8.75”. The Highland Springs senior is looking to make up for that performance and end his season on a high note with a personal best at the Gala. There are four other competitors after Fareed with marks over 50 feet including third place finisher in the AAA State Meet and Eastern Region runner-up Brandon Ruffin of Oscar Smith. The junior Ruffin threw for a new personal best of 54’9.50” and will look to improve a few inches to go over 55 feet. Northern Region champion Kirk Nguyen just missed All-State honors last with a PR mark of 52’9.50” in the shot.
Girls Triple Jump - Bethel junior Siobhan Ford-Holland has competed sparingly in the triple jump this season, especially during championship season but last year as a sophomore was 40 plus foot and All-State performer at Thomas Dale High School. Ford-Holland last competed in a major meet in the triple jump at the Penn Relays which she recorded her season best of 35’11”. With that in mind, the competition might be more open for another to step for a win with a pack of five separated by less than five inches from 36’8.75” to 36’4”. An eighth grader from Bailey Bridge Middle School in Chesterfield finds herself in that pack of challengers in Alex Moseley who won the middle school county championships with a mark of 36’6.75”, which would have won the local high school district meet.
Boys Triple Jump - Justin Hunter will attempt to make it a sweep of the jumps, which he has accomplished in many meets including most recently in historic fashion at the state meet with the triple jump as his final event of the meet. Another meet record in sight for Hunter at 48’10” set by current University of Indiana athlete Olu Olamigoke in 2007. Hunter went a personal best mark of 50’8.25” last week on the same runway at Sports Backers Stadium to win the AAA State title, which ranks him #7 in the country. Nansemond River junior Ricky Blake led the nation during part of the indoor season with a mark of 48’2” in the winter and finished fifth in a very competitive Group AAA state competition last week with a season best wind-aided mark of 47’10”. Bethel’s Derrick Thomas achieved a new personal at the state championships as his 46’6.50” leap last Saturday inserted him into the All-State top 8 in the final place of eighth.
Girls Discus - A small field but good match-up between Northwest Region champion and Group AAA All-State performer Ashley Cooper of Stafford (115’7”) with Region II champion and Group AA All-State performer Meredith Oare of Park View (118’7”).
Boys Discus - Some good marks should be produced in a competition with three throwers over 160 feet in Fauquier senior Jon Billings (166’7”), Herndon senior Kirk Nguyen (165’6”), and Oscar Smith junior Brandon Ruffin (163’11”). Billings could have potentially competed for a state title in Group AAA, but had to settle for second in Group AA behind his teammate and state leader Kyle Fortney with a personal best mark of 167’2”. Northern Region champion Kirk Nguyen had a sub-par sixth place showing at the AAA State Meet, so he will look to perform like his prior performance at Sports Backers Stadium when he set a personal best mark in his 165’6” win at the Southern Track Classic. Ruffin will be back next year to defending his Eastern Region title in the discus and had a solid showing at the state meet with a third place effort.
Girls Pole Vault - The pole and not her body kept knocking the bar off last week for Stephanie Oleson in the pole vault at the AAA State Championships. The state’s second ranked vaulted with a personal best of 12’7” only cleared 10’6” successfully last week for sixth place. One of the top returnees next year and top contenders for the state title, Oleson can finish on a high note with a clearance over 12 feet and breaking the 2007 meet record of 12’0” set by multiple state champion Anne Marie Gordon of Mills Godwin. Club teammate Sydney Hobart of Patrick Henry should stay in the competition late with Oleson as she has cleared 11 feet multiple times this season including a 11 foot clearance last week to finish fifth and ahead of Oleson at the state championships.
Boys Pole Vault - Group AAA state champion Matt Hazelgren of Stafford is head and shoulders above the rest of the field with his all-time best clearance of 15’7”. The Stafford senior won his first state title last week with a clearance of 15’6” at Sports Backers Stadium. Hazelgren will use the Gala as a tune-up for the New Balance Outdoor Nationals next week, which he will be skipping his high school graduation ceremonies for. Chris Speicher is bring himself and his pole all the way down from Johnstown, Pennsylvania with a best height of 13’6”. Mountain View’s Josiah Brunson has a matching personal best height of 13’6”, which he cleared last week to earn All-State honors with a sixth place showing at the AAA State Meet.
Girls 100 Meter Hurdles - Hampton’s Renay Ransaw was one of the top seeds heading into the AAA State Championships with a season best of 14.61, but tripped on a set of hurdles and failed to make the finals. She will return to Sports Backers Stadium for a redemption race and clock another sub 15 performance. Episcopal junior Shantell Bingham had very little competition to challenge her in the hurdles in the private school ranks this season en route to the state title in the 100 hurdles, but should get the competition to press her to a fast time going against Ransaw and Allie Johnson (14.95) from Athens Drive High School in North Carolina. Johnson was an All-State performer in North Carolina 4A in both hurdle races.
Boys 110 Meter Hurdles - A very hot fast and final section including five hurdlers under 14.50 should be produce quick times. Leading entrant best is arguably of the best hurdlers in the Mid-Atlantic area in Aaron Shepperd of Gonzaga College at 14.22. Shepperd has been beaten by several competitors in the field though including Jeff Lewis, a senior at Western Branch, indoors in a 55 meter hurdles race as well as Potomac Senior and AAA indooor 55 meter hurdles state runner-up Anthony Williams of Potomac Senior. Williams was unable to go for his first state title in the 110 hurdles last week after false starting. Southeast Raleigh’s Malcolm Nunley was a North Carolina 4A state runner-up in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles.
Girls 100 Meter Dash - Three of North Carolina’s best will be featured in this event with 4A state runner-up Ebony Scott (11.76) of Southeast Raleigh, 3A state runner-up Bryana Wyatt (11.87) of South Central, and Dominique Weathers (11.62) of Vance. Weathers starred in the 2008 Gala winning the 100 and 200 meter dash. Weathers last month the North Carolina 4A state title in the 200 meter dash.
Boys 100 Meter Dash - Track Eastern track club is bringing a whole lot of speed and filling up the fast section of the boys 100 meter dash including Nike Indoor Nationals 60 and 200 meter dash national runner-up Fuquwan Greene from New Bern High School. Greene has a personal best of 10.39 and certainly can challenge the meet record of 10.56 with favorable wind. Greene, who ran great legs on New Bern’s stellar relays last year with the Hendrix twins, will not be able to breeze through to a win though with Delaware state champion Leshon Collins, a sophomore at Glasgow High School with a personal best of 10.55.
Girls 1500 Meter Run - Race winner will be pressing to run a sub 5 minute mile equivalent for the first time with Eleanor Roosevelt’s Amirah Johnson seeded at 4:39, Cosby’s Megan Moye at 4:42, Herndon’s Carolyn Hennessey at 4:43, and Princess Anne’s Lizzie Cornell at 4:46. Cornell won an AAU Junior Olympics national title last August in the 1500 meter run while finishing 10th last week at the AAA State Meet in a PR 1600 meter time of 5:07. Cosby sophomore Megan Moye slipped into the top 8 All-State with a all-time best performance of 5:03. Herndon junior Carolyn Hennessey was a surprise All-State finisher in a loaded girls 3200 meter field last week in the AAA State Meet with her first sub 11 performance of 10:59.54 for fifth place. Two state champions are in the field with Group A state champion Clare Moretz of Madison County and private school state champion Taylor Clevinger of St. Catherine’s.
Boys 1500 Meter Run - North Carolina 1A/2A 1600 meter state champion Scott Morgan of Calvary Baptist in Winston-Salem is the top entrant at 3:57 converted from his 4:15 1600 meter victory at his state championships, but despite being the top seed by four seconds should see a very stiff challenge from a group of runners ready to roll out equivalent 1500 times at 4:15 or faster for the mile. In particular, Kevin Bennert of Woodberry Forest who clocked a 4:18 PR at the private schools state meet and Grant Pollock of Mills Godwin who has only gotten stronger each week of racing coming off a stress fracture injury. Pollock really stepped up at the state meet to run a PR of 4:18 in only a month of racing under his belt for fourth place in Group AAA. Germantown Friends Academy of Pennsylvania will have a pair of race contenders in Gus McKenzie and David Waterman with 1600 PR’s under 4:20. Their old teammate Max Kaulbach still holds the meet record from 2008 at 3:54.48.
Girls 400 Meter Dash - With four girls having run low 56s or faster in the open 400, one of them might break through to break the meet record of 55.30. Archbishop Carroll (DC) sophomore Kiah Seymour is the top entrant having run a swift time of 55.73 as an underclassmen. Emmy Fraenk, a Caribbean import from St. Marteen, dominated the Virginia private school state meet in winning state titles in the 400 and 200 for Hampton Roads Academy. Roshel Bygrave from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina was a 4A state runner-up in the 400 meter dash last month with a personal best time of 56.29. Riverbend’s Erin Edmond had to roll out a fast time to make the finals of last week’s AAA State Championships with a 56.18 prelim performance but this week will only have to worry about one 400 meter race to give her max effort.
Boys 400 Meter Dash - It is pretty apparent how great the fast section is for the boys 400 meter dash when looking at who is positioned in lane one and lane eight as the seventh and eight fastest seeds in Salem junior Walter Mitchell (49.21) and New Bern senior Fuquwan Greene (49.35). Both could steal the win from those lane positions, but the lanes to the inside of them are pretty loaded to keep them starting from the outside. Leading entrant is North Carolina 4A state champion Jarrett Samuels of Vance, who won his state title in a personal best performance for 48.12. Next to him in lane five is the state runner-up to him in Ben L. Smith junior Demari Boswell (48.49). Varina senior Anthony Finney is the hometown favorite and second in the Central Region Meet with a best performance of 48.87.
Girls 400 Meter Hurdles - Kiah Seymour will have a short time to recover from the 400 meter dash to come back as the top seed in the 400 meter hurdles at 1:01.72. Seymour, a sophomore at Archbishop Carroll in DC, earlier this season ran a personal best of 43.16 in the 300 meter hurdles and also won in her last race at Sports Backers Stadium with a 43.59 victory at the Southern Track Classic. With her tough double, others with fresher legs might take advantage and be ready to rise up for the win including Allie Johnson of Athen Drive (NC) who was a North Carolina 4A state runner-up with a personal best 43.41 performance. Four others have ran 300 meter hurdles around the 45 to 46 second range in Armstrong sophomore Alea Stevens, Osbourn Park junior Fredsal Walker, Atlee senior Ann O’Toole, and Stafford senior Kierra Butler.
Boys 400 Meter Hurdles - One of Pennsylvania’s top hurdlers in Brandon Thompson of Germantown High School and one of North Carolina’s best in Malcolm Nunley of Southeast Raleigh are featured in the rarely contested 400 meter hurdle event. Thompson had posted the top time in the prelims at the Pennsylvania State Meet and has a 300 meter hurdles best just over 38 seconds. Nunley has went under 38 and was the North Carolina 4A state runner-up in the 300 meter hurdles. Top competitors from the home state of Virginia include three 3A all-state performers in Rachad Davis (4th) of Ocean Lakes, Marques Atkinson (6th) of Atlee, and Anthony Williams (8th) of Potomac. Cosby’s Josh Rymer did not make the state meet finals but has ran a faster 300 hurdles time than Davis or Williams at 38.30 as the Central Region runner-up to Atkinson. Great depth in this event with the potential for an entire fast section running 56 seconds or faster in the 400 hurdles.
Girls 800 Meter Run - Traditionally the meet winner at the Gala in the girls 800 has hovered around 2:12 to 2:13, but few of the top seeds will settle for that time and will look to PR down to 2:11 or even 2:10. Eleanor Roosevelt’s Amirah Johnson will attempt to double back from the 1500 meter run as a top seed in both as her 2:12.47 personal best leads the 800 field. Close behind and entering the race fresh with likely stronger chances to win are North Carolina 4A state champion Jocelyn Keen of Fuquay-Varina who clocked her best of 2:12.79 at the state meet in mid May. Defending Gala champion Kayla Tyrrell of Osbourn Park still holds her all-time best of 2:13.42 from last year’s race and has brought along her teammate Ariel Karabinus who split 2:13 on their Penn Relays 4x800 and won the Virginia 3A state indoor title in the 1000 meter run. Blacksburg sophomore Hannah Brown was the Virginia state leader for much of the outdoor season after her 2:13.09 performance at the Volunteer Track Classic and recently won the Group AA state 800 meter title in another 2:13 run.
Boys 800 Meter Run - Georgetown Prep’s Russell Hornsby almost stole the 800 meter title at the 2009 Gala from the last second, but he will not have to worry about running for time from a slower section this year as he enters with the fastest time at 1:53.31. The boys 800 at the Gala has always been one of the featured events and this year’s race is no exception with a total of eight athletes entering with personal best times of 1:55 or faster. A 1:56 mid time will not get you into a fast section over a dozen athletes. John McGowan of Sidwell Friends School in DC ran 1:54.67 indoors and dominated his private school competition this spring, while Huguenot’s Keith Crawford is the local favorite after winning the Central Region title then running a personal best of 1:54.67 to finish fourth at the AAA State Championships. Late entrant Blake Theroux of Western Branch anchored his sprint medley relay indoors to a Nike Indoor Nationals title with a 1:54 low split, while Cabell Willis of Collegiate is primed to run a fast open 800 time to match his 4:12 1600 meter effort in his Virginia private school title race.
Girls 200 Meter Dash - The Track Eastern club trio of Dominique Weathers, Ebony Scott, and Bryana Wyatt from North Carolina take the top 3 seeds and inside lane preferences in the 200 meter dash as they do earlier in the 100 meter dash. They should see a bit more competition in the 200 than the 100 with several of the top entrants from the 400 meter dash coming back in the 200 including Emmy Fraenk, Erin Edmond, and Roshel Bygrave. Qualitra Brown of King’s Fork High School in Suffolk joins the Track Eastern top 3 and Fraenk with a sub 25 clocking under her belt at 24.78. Weathers will be attempting to become the first two-time champion in the 200 meter dash after winning this event at the 2008 Gala.
Boys 200 Meter Dash - Without a doubt, the best field ever assembled in meet history for this event with the Group AA state 200 meter dash champion Jaquan Dickson of James Monroe just barely making it into the fast section in lane 8 with his best time of 21.74. Fuquwan Greene will be competing in his third race of the meet and see if he can roll out a fast time on tired legs in the 200 meter dash as the New Bern senior has been knocking on the door of a sub 21 time. Greene, a Nike Indoor Nationals 200 meter dash runner-up, has an all-time best of 21.08 while running a time of 21.16 in April this spring. Knightdale (NC) junior Mar-keo Jones is the North Carolina 4A state champion in both the 100 and 200 meter dash as he rolled to strong times in the state championship competition and looks to run a FAT time to match his hand-held best of 21.0. Salem junior Walter Mitchell from Virginia Beach focused primarily on the relays last week at the AAA State Meet, but ran great in his lone individual event of the 200 meter dash to take runner-up to Darrell Wesh in the finals with a season best clocking of 21.62 in the prelims.
Girls 2000 Meter Steeplechase - Green Hope junior Olivia Enright from Cary, North Carolina is returning to defend her steeplechase title from a year ago, but will be pressed with her teammate Lauren Colberg and the Lee-Davis senior duo of Amanda Lineberry and Stephanie Cario for all four to potentially run under the USATF Junior Nationals qualifier of 7:25.14. Lineberry and Cario are running the steeplechase for the first time, but with Cario and her 3200 best of 11:00 and Lineberry as a sub 5:10 1600 meter run, both should be very competitive in their debut of this event.
Boys 2000 Meter Steeplechase - A popular event necessitating the race broken up into two sections, a lot of newbies as well as veterans to the 5 lap event with barriers and a water jump. Top seed Paul Yuan from Laurel, Maryland ran a quality time of 6:18 in the 2000 meter steeple earlier this season, which is only three seconds off the meet record and seven seconds below the USATF Junior Nationals qualifier. A total of eight entrants have ran under 4:30 for 1600 meters, which also means they are all capable of running under 6:30 in the 2K steeplechase. Kyle Masterson might be traveling the furthest to get to the Gala from Alliance, Ohio as he is seeded third overall at 6:25. Atlee’s Andy Hesse finished second earlier in the season at the steeplechase at the MileStat.com Track Classic with a time of 6:28.78 despite only having a 1600 best of 4:37 proving technique and form can allow runners with inferior PR’s in the 1600 and 3200 to beat runners with faster times in those events in the steeplechase.
Girls 5000 Meter Run - Expect a top three breakaway group in Ashley El Ready from Kentucky, George Mason sophomore and Group A state 3200 meter champion Natalie Young, and Group AAA All-State 3200 indoor Kaila Blackburn of Monacan. El Rady has a 3200 personal best of 11:10, while the sophomore Blackburn ran 11:08 indoors and won the 3200 slow section last week at the AAA State Meet. Young missed virtually of the cross country season due to injury, so she is anxious to run a 5K again as she ran her personal best last year the Gala with a 18:34 runner-up finish.
Boys 5000 Meter Run - Atlee junior Andrew Catanese will be the race favorite as the top seed with his 15:32 performance indoors at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships and ran an exceptional 3200 meter race last weekend to finish seventh with a personal best time of 9:32 in the AAA State Meet. Catanese’s top competition figures to come from John Handley junior Thomas Delaney, who is ready to knock off significant time from his 16:07 5K best. Delaney just missed All-State honors in a deep Group AA 3200 state race with a personal best time of 9:36 for ninth place. Delaney won the Region II title two weeks ago in 9:38.