That agonizing stretch of school after Thanksgiving and before Winter break has come to a close, so it\'s time for another Jois Report. Of course, we\'ll need to wait a few more weeks for Indoor to get serious, and we missed out on a few potentially high quality meets due to rough weather, including the Episcopal Relays and a FUMA meet. Nevertheless, some athletes have already put forth noteworthy performances this indoor season.
Fork Union started off their indoor season on December 3 at the LATFC Invitational, an interesting meet that offers athletes an increasingly rare opportunity to race at Imperial distances. Juniors Jaime Reichlan, Steve Palmer, and Neil Dodson led the Blue Devils in their opening meet this season as their top distance studs sat out to recover from long cross country seasons. Reichlan, who flew under the radar this fall as FUMA\'s 6th man, finished 2nd in the 600 yard run with a 1:21.40 and appears to be well on the way to becoming one of the best mid-distance runners in the VIS. Palmer qualified for the finals in the 60 yard dash and finished in 7 flat, and Neil Dodson placed 7th in the 60 yard hurdles with a 9.17.
Greenbrier Christian Academy and Norfolk Academy met up at the CNU Winter Frolic on the weekend of December 9th/10th. On the recently rededicated Vince Brown Track, Greenbrier Christian\'s Trevor Bray and Zipporah McCann each put forth marks that currently lead the VIS rankings. Bray threw the shot 53\' 1.5\", closely followed by teammate Ashton Muslimani with 51\' 6.25\", good for 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Zipporah McCann\'s 4th place 16\' 3\" long jump has her at the top of the VIS list as well. Matt Thames of Norfolk Academy took 2nd place with his 5\'10\" high jump.
On the same weekend, Paul VI brought the whole crowd to the GMU High School Invitational. The Lady Panthers had an outstanding showing, setting top VIS marks in all 3 relay events (including a victory in the 4x800 with a 10:00.20) as well as several strong individual performances. Abby Clement and Eleia Marshall led their team as Clement ran 3:15.56 to place 5th in the 1000 and Marshall threw the shot 31\' 8\" to place 6th and top the VIS chart. All-Jois cross country runner Kelsey Budd\'s 12:43.65 3200m places her on the VIS leaderboard as well. On the boys\' side, the Panthers presented a strong contingent, but a duo of sprinters from Episcopal High School stole the show. Willie Harris placed 2nd in the 300m (35.95) and 3rd in the 55m hurdles (7.82), both of which currently lead the VIS. His teammate, Will Braswell, finished 5th in the 55m flat in 6.63.
Virginia Episcopal made their presence known at the Wally Gilbert Invitational with 2 VIS-leading performances. Matt Abatecola took 3rd in the 1600 with an outstanding 4:34.86 for what may be his first indoor race ever, showing that he is ready to make up for a lackluster State cross country race. Fellow Bishop Trae Watkins completed a strong triple, placing 7th in the high jump (5\' 8\"), landing 18\' 1.5\" in the long jump, and claiming the top VIS spot in the triple jump with a 38\' 3.5\". Jamie Perry completed a respectable jumping double as well with a 13\'10.75\" long jump and a 30\' 4\" triple jump.
On December 13th, Fork Union hosted the Hardy Invitational, which provided some quality Central VA competition. During this meet, the Fork Union boys put forth top VIS marks in 4 different events, completing a near sweep of the distance events. The Polish duo broke onto the scene as each took a win and top VIS mark in events in which they rarely compete (Szymon Rola, 2:40.34 1000m; Axel Mostrag, 9:53.54 3200m). Also, Reichlan ran 1:13.14 in the 500m, and Jonathan Foote debuted by clearing 6\'4\" in the high jump.
The strongest team performance we have seen so far this season is the St. Catherine\'s girls placing 5th at the Liberty High School Christmas Invitational. Top performances include Carrie Wortham\'s 8\' 6\" pole vault, Virginia Ginn\'s 5\' high jump, Glennis Lofland\'s 1:23.84 500m, Casey Jordan\'s 44.76 300m, and Katie Doswell\'s outstanding double win in the 1000m and 1600m. Her times of 3:05.83 and 5:05.82 not only lead the VIS lists, but are currently the best in Virginia. Roanoke Catholic sent a few good boys: Andrew Nordhaus ran a 4:42.86 1600m to place 6th, and Angelo Fuller placed 6th in the 55m with a 6.81.
The pre-Winter Break portion of the indoor season came to a close this past Tuesday night in a small tri-meet at the Arthur Ashe Center. This meet was quite emotionally charged, since it is the last one that will take place in the Ashe Center before the opening of St. Christopher\'s School\'s new indoor track. Many of the top athletes sat this meet out, but a few good performances came out of this meet in spite of a debacle involving the results. I\'ll be careful what I say about these results, as I\'m still not sure what is and is not accurate, but I know for sure that Kiernan Lofland of St. Christopher\'s cleared 14\'6\" in the pole vault, matching his best in that event and establishing himself as the leader of both the VIS and the state of Virginia.
This edition of the Jois Report ended up being a lot more information than I had intended it to be. These are going to be more frequent in the future. In any event, Happy Holidays, everyone, and don\'t get lazy over break!