Keino and Tatu are just warming up as winter sets in

NEWPORT NEWS, VA - The third annual CNU Showcase showed just why the indoor track facility at the Freeman Center is one of the fastest in the state with a large number of state best performances as well as countless other performances to make this a very deep and competitive meet. Two of the state's top distance runners, seniors Kippy Keino of Fork Union and Alex Tatu of Thomas Dale made there major invite debuts for the indoor track season and in impressive manner.

Keino, coming off a stellar cross country season where he was a Foot Locker All-American, opened up his indoor season with a bang. In the boys' 1600 meter run, Keino set a typical hard early pace as he blazed through the first 400 meters in 60 seconds and first 800 meters in 2:04. Keino then proceeded to gut in the last half in as he just had a near miss at taking down Alex Tatu's facility record (4:17.04), which Tatu set a year ago against Keino, with a state best time of 4:17.53. Green Run sophomore Steven Walters was a strong second to Keino with a time of 4:23.71.

After splitting a 1:54.9 on the 4x800 meter relay Friday night, Tatu came back Saturday to outdo that performance with his 1000 meter run. Tatu clocked a swift national leading time of 2:30.45, a mere .08 off the meet and facility record held by last year's national leader in the 1000, Richard Smith.

Lake Braddock senior Steve Hoogland got an automatic state qualifier and vaulted himself to the top of the state leaderboard in the 3200 meter run with his time of 9:32.41. Teammate Danny Howick had a strong finish to also earn an automatic state qualifier with his clocking of 9:42.51 for second place.

Atlee boys were dominant in the sprint relays as they won both the 4x200 (1:33.85) and 4x400 (3:31.60) thanks to come from behind anchor legs on both by Anthony Easter, who also individually was a winner as he won the 500 meter run in a state best time of 1:06.88.

The Midlothian boys' 4x800 meter relay team clocked the fastest time in the state as well as the fastest national time on a non-banked indoor track for the season with their time of 8:03.3.

The two horizontal jumping events had two state best performances as Reynold Smith of Forest Park won the long jump with a mark of 23-1 and Brandon Mise of Bethel took the triple jump with a leap of 46-9. Coincidentally, each was a runner-up to the other in their events with Smith in the triple jump (46-1.50) and Mise in the long jump (21-7).

It appeared as defending state champion shot putter Steve Huntzinger of Robinson might have no competition at all this season against other in-state throwers, but after First Colonial's Khalif Mitchell's performance at CNU, that all my change soon. Mitchell had his finest throw yet as he won the event with an impressive throw of 56-5.

The boys' 55 meter hurdles at the state meet appears it will be a two man showdown between Menchville's Dwight Porter and Lake Braddock's Craig Gallimore. At CNU, Gallimore came close to Porter's state best of 7.55 by winning the event in a time of 7.59.

The Kellam distance girls and Bethel sprinters were dominant throughout the meet. The Kellam girls kicked off the meet with a big win Friday night in the 4x800 by dominating a strong field with their winning time of 9:39.4, which is currently a state best time. Two members of that same relay team, Kelley Taylor and Natalie Sherbak, came back Saturday to win individual events of their own with Taylor in the 1600 meter run (5:14.97) and Sherbak in the 1000 meter run (3:03.00).

Bethel established for the time being their supremacy of having the top relays in the state for the 4x200 and 4x400 meter relays with their state best times of 1:43.53 and 4:01.21 respectively. Bethel also notched a pair of individual wins in the girls' sprints with Francena McCrory running a state leading time of 40.11 in the 300 meter dash and Charisse Bullock winning the 500 meter run in a time of 1:19.12. Bethel's success didn't stop on the track though, as Lavonne Idlette was a double winner in having the top marks in the long jump (17-6.50) and triple jump (36-6.50).

The girls' 3200 meter run saw a great race between two of the state's better distance runners in Norfolk Academy sophomore Ginna Ellis and Forest Park junior Beth Fahey. Ellis set a hard early pace with Fahey closely following, but then Fahey passed Ellis during the second mile, only to see Ellis take the lead back again. However, Fahey but on one last move and that was all she needed as she broke away from Ellis with a strong finish to close in a time of 11:08.81. Ellis took second with a time of 11:17.65 as Fahey and Ellis's times moved them up to having the second and third fastest clockings in the state this season.

The girls' pole vault showcased two of the best in the state as it was Rhian Jenks of Prince George who got the best of Jessica Clendenning of Hickory as both hit and tied the state best of 11-0.

Faraign Giles of Tallwood (7.30) won out in a close photo finish race to Jessica Thomas of Green Run (7.31) in the 55 meter dash.

Lake Braddock had two winners in the field events with Ashley Haislip taking the high jump (5-4) and Catherine Muehleib outdoing the field in the shot put (39-6.25).