Clover Hill Invitational: Ford-Holland leaps out in front, Owusu establishes himself early

The first annual Clover Hill Invitational was held on Saturday, April 2nd at the brand new track facility located off Genito and Old Hundred Road at the new Clover Hill High School in Midlothian replacing the old school previously located on Hull Street Road in Midlothian. Strong gusts of wind and cooler temperatures truly made this an icebreaker event, but still impressive performances were recorded in adverse conditions from athletes amon the 16 schools attending.


Group AAA state indoor triple jump champion Siobhan Ford-Holland recorded a state leading mark in the long jump at 18'10", which bests her previous PR in the event of 18'7.25" from the Central Region Indoor Championships. The Thomas Dale senior knotched her second victory of the meet later in the 200 meter dash winning against a fierce headwind with a 26.79 clocking and also ran a leg on Thomas Dale's first place 4x100 meter relay (49.35).


Marques Atkinson led the Group AAA state indoor team champions Atlee to first place in the team standings (although no team awards given at this meet) as they racked up a commanding point total of 139 points. The 500 dash state champ and Oregon recruit Atkinson pulled a similar triple last weekend at the Manchester Relays with first place showings in the 110 meter hurdles (15.28), 300 meter hurdles (39.66), and high jump (6'0"). Henrico senior Maurice Green was a runner-up to Atkinson in both hurdle races.


Kodi Page also placed high in several events for the Atlee boys as an event winner in the triple jump, runner-up in the long jump, and finishin fourth in the high jump. Atlee junior Cole Stout claimed first in the discus by six feet with a mark of 129'1".



Mills Godwin junior Rex Owusu made an early season statement against some of the other top sprinters within the Central Region at Clover Hill in crossing the line first with the fastest time in both the 100 and 200 meter dash. Owusu did not race against 55 dash indoor regional champion Teshad Chambers of Highland Springs head to head in the 100 meter dash with Chambers winning the second fastest section, but Owusu's time from the final section held up as the fastest at 11.31 compared to the 11.37 run from Chambers. However, the 200 meter dash saw two of the Richmond area's swiftest match-up with Owusu coming out ontop in this encounter with Chambers by two hundredths of a second at a 22.45 clocking.



Like Atkinson, Armstrong junior Alea Stevens was the event champion in both hurdles as a decisive winner in both with times of 16.30 and 46.28 in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles respectively. Stevens, a top contender for the Central Region title in the 300 meter hurdles, is improving in the high hurdles as well and could be in the mix to become a regional champion in the 100 hurdles as well at season's end.


Riverbend's Erin Edmond has quickly taken up the high jump as new event and taken it to great heights as shown with her 5'6" clearance at the Clover Hill Invitational. Edmond, one of the state's top returning 400 meter dash runners who unfortunately had to be dormant during indoor season with indoor track being cut from the Spotsylvania County schools, also showed her range with a runner-up 12.99 clocking in the 100 meter dash.


Quanesha Wallace of Armstrong won the 100 meter dash over Edmond pulling away in the last half of the race for a 12.79 in poor weather conditions. The Capital District champion during the indoor season in the 55 meter dash and a 7.25 best in the event, Wallace unfortunately fell in the prelims of the regional meet to qualify for the finals but should be a force and challenger for the regional title in the 100 meter dash this spring. The Armstrong girls had three individual winners including Wallace, Stevens, and thrower Kiara Daniels as the only girl to put out a mark over 100 feet in the discus.


Highland Springs swept the shot put competition with Central Region indoor champ Asia Smith besting the field by nearly three feet with a field best mark of 37'3", while Alexander Moseley had the best performance in the boys' shot at 48'3". Springers senior Naria Stovall improved her all-time best in the triple jump by a foot to secure a first place medal with her leap of 35'4.50".



The girls' 400 meter dash featured two of the Central Region's top two young stars in the event in Thomas Dale sophomore April Wilson and Cosby freshmen Alex Moseley. Wilson won the Central Region outdoor 400 title last May with a time of 57.14, while Moseley was second in the freshmen 400 at the New Balance Indoor Nationals with a PR time of 58.64. Wilson and Moseley should have some great races with one another over the next three years and this past Saturday was no exception with Wilson able to hold Moseley off with a time of 58.35. Moseley was a close runner-up at 58.66 and took second again later in the 200 meter dash to Thomas Dale's Ford-Holland with a 26.89 clocking.


It was a thrilling finish in the boys 400 as well with Ajani Kingslow of Cosby and George Moore of Highland Springs battling windy conditions all around the track to post solid times of 50.56 for the winner Kingslow and 50.87 for the runner-up Moore. Both Kingslow and Moore expect to dip well under 50 seconds later this outdoor season.



The 2011 Group AAA state indoor team runners-up Cosby girls tallied 134 points as a team with Armstrong in second place (75 1/2 points) behind event champions Stevens and Wallace. One of Cosby's top individual performers was sophomore Jayden Metzger who made her debut in the open 800 with a four second win at 2:26 and anchored the Cosby 4x400 to first place at the conclusion of the meet. Metzger, a regional champion indoors in the 500 meter dash, will be doing double time this spring with track and soccer as she was integral part of Cosby's relay success during the winter with a 9:15 4x800 and 3:54 4x400.


Riverbend High School had several event winners in the distance races including a 1-2 finish from teammates Ryan Kuhns and Gabe Fisher in the boys' 1600 meter run, a late kick in a come-from-behind win for Lauren Givens in the girls' 1600, and Shaquon Wilkins racing the clock and against the wind with a large margin of victory in the boys' 3200.


Kuhns and Fisher came back later in the 800 meter run to face off against two fresh runners from the Dominion District in Huguenot's Keith Crawford and Radford recruit Jake Zimmerman of L.C. Bird. Several lead changes in the race to make it exciting, but the athlete with the fastest PR proved to also be the best on this day as Crawford with his 1:54 800 best took the lead for good in the final 800 meters for a winning time of 2:02.03.


Joining Riverbend as the only non-Central Region squad in attendance was the Colonial Forge team, who performed well as expected in their specialty of distance races as they swept the 4x800 meter relays including a 1-2 finish from their "A" and "B" relay in the 4x800. Considering the conditions, Colonial Forge teammates Frances Morales and Shaina Manuel ran great times in the 3200 with emerging top runner Morales crossing the line first in 11:34 and followed in five seconds later by Manuel. Several members of Colonial Forge's sub 7:50 boys' 4x800 meter relay showed off a little speed in the 4x400 in closing out the meet with a 3:31 win.