NEWPORT NEWS, VA - Christopher Newport University will host its second high school invitational of the season this weekend with the CNU Showcase. The two day meet held Friday and Saturday, January 7th and 8th at the Freeman Center\'s Vince Brown Track will be the start of several competitive meets after winter break with the state\'s best athletes going head to head. This weekend\'s meet will feature three of the state\'s biggest stars in Michael Morrison, Francena McCorory, and Angela Jenkins.
The CNU Showcase will be the opening meet for Great Bridge senior Michael Morrison. Last year as a junior, Morrison was an All-American pole vaulter and won the junior national pole vault title. Morrison, the current indoor state record holder (16-2) in the event, will be competing in only the pole vault at CNU with his 16-10.25 personal best.
Another All-American athlete is scheduled to compete at CNU with Francena McCorory of Bethel. McCorory will be favored to win the 55 and 300 meter dashes and possibly will run on the Bethel 4x400 meter relay. McCorory currently holds the state\'s fastest times in the 55 (7.09), 300 (38.79), and 500 (1:17.59) meter dashes.
Buffalo Gap\'s Angela Jenkins currently has the nation\'s best mark this season in the triple jump at 39-8. Jenkins also has the state\'s best mark currently in the long jump at 18-4. Jenkins will be the favorite in both events, while also competing in the high jump, 55 meter dash, and 300 meter dash. However, the long jump should be very interesting with Hermitage senior Queen Harrison entered in the event as CNU may be the meet when Harrison returns to top form prior to her broken collarbone injury last spring.
The boys 500 meter dash will pit the current state leader Russel Williams of Bethel (1:06.72) against the state\'s top returning 500 meter runner and defending state champion in Deep Creek\'s Quentin Moore with 1:05.67 personal best.
Last year\'s Group AAA indoor state runner-up in the girls 500, Kecoughtan\'s Lana McGawan (1:16.27 500 PR) will have her hands full in the event as last year\'s Group AAA outdoor state runner-up in the girls 400, Dominique Jordan (55.00 400 PR, 1:17.20 500 PR) of Woodside is also entered in the event to make for an exciting Peninsula District showdown.
The winner of the girls\' 55 meter hurdles is anyone\'s guess as four solid individual are slated to compete with Chantil Harvey of Deep Creek having the fastest time coming in at a 8.59 clocking. Meanwhile, Huguenot\'s Wynetta Kirby (8.65 season best), Deep Creek\'s Nikki Luedeke (8.68), and Huguenot\'s Tierra Brown (8.85) have all posted quick times as well coming into the meet.
In the boys\' hurdles, Huguenot senior McArthur Henley has posted the fastest time coming into the met at 7.79.
Manchester\'s Anthony Chesson owns the state\'s fastest F.A.T. time in the state for the 55 meter dash with a 6.49 clocking at the Walt Cormack Relays, but must be wary of Deep Creek\'s Quention Moore, who ran a time of 6.50 last year.
In Friday evening\'s 4x800 meter relay, the Midlothian girls will get their first crack to run a quick time on a fast track this season as they will load up their relay to hopefully get a state qualifier out of the way. The biggest threat to the Lady Trojans may come from the Great Bridge girls who will have two All-State calibers legs in Kristy Tobin and Katherine Telfeyan, but will need their other two legs to keep them in the race to challenge Midlothian.
The Hermitage boys currently possess the state\'s fastest time in the 4x800 at 8:22 with one of the state\'s top returning middle distance runners in Alex Bowman as their top leg, but should get plenty of competition Friday night with the likes of Bethel, Jamestown, North Stafford, and Midlothian in the event.
The 4x200 meter relays will kick off Saturday\'s events with some fiercely competitive races on both sides. The Deep Creek boys and girls certainly have excellent chances at winning both relays with the Deep Creek girls ranked number two in the state currently in the event, while the Deep Creek boys have a long tradition of great 4x200 meter relays. However, the Kempsville (1:32.64) boys have the fastest time this season coming in.
The girls\' 1600 meter run will kick off a day of what should be very competitive distance races at CNU. The race looks to be battle between two of state\'s best with Group AAA outdoor 1600 state runner-up Kristy Tobin of Great Bridge (5:00.35 PR) and Central Region cross country champion Kristin Wolfe of James River (5:05.11). While Tobin is a junior and Wolfe is a sophomore, another promising young star also should make things interesting with Yorktown freshmen Andrea Oaxaca, who recently posted one of the state\'s fastest times in the 1000 meter run (3:03.41).
The boys\' 1600 meter run also will showcase two of the state\'s top young distance stars with Abingdon sophomore Griff Graves and Mountain view freshmen Thomas Porter. Graves and Porter both broke onto the state scene this past fall in cross country with Graves, a transfer from Alabama, winning the AA state title, while Porter earned All-State honors with one of the top finishes by a freshmen in years.
The most exciting distance race of the day though should be in the girls\' 1000 meter run with four of the state\'s top middle distance runners facing off. Last year\'s Group AAA state outdoor 800 meter champion Christi Harsha of Douglas Freeman (2:11.72 800 PR, 3:03.33 1000 PR) and state runner-up M.C. Miller of Midlothian (2:15.86 800 PR, 3:00.94 PR) will be racing fresh against last year\'s Group AAA state indoor 800 meter champion Wolfe of James River (2:57.02 1000 PR) and Yorktown\'s Oaxaca doubling back from the 1600.
Meanwhile, the boys\' 1000 meter run will not have any studs in the race, but it should be open contest with many runners vying for the win. Hermitage\'s John Vial has the fastest time on the season coming in at 2:42, but Manchester\'s Andrew Duty has one of the faster PR\'s in the field at 2:40.
A hot race wil be found in the 300 meter dash with McCorory of Bethel being the clear favorite, but several of the state\'s top sprinters are also entered in the race including Dominique Jordan of Woodside, Crystal Roscoe of Oscar Smith, and Queen Harrison of Hermitage.
If Russel Williams can pull out the win over Quentin Moore in the 500 meter dash, the Bethel sprinter will try to earn a second win later in the meet as the top seed in the 300 meter dash.
The current state leader at 3200 meters, Amber Lussier of North Stafford (11:26.76) is entered in the event at CNU, but a new state leading time should be posted at CNU whether it be by Lussier or another runner from a strong field. With six runners including Lussier (11:07.46) with personal best times of 11:30 or faster in Brentsville\'s Becky Stewart (11:09.14 PR), Midlothian\'s Erin Stehle (11:19.63), Great Bridge\'s Katherine Telfeyan (11:20.47), Douglas Freeman\'s Meredith Cox (11:25.54), and Atlee\'s Rebecca McDowell (11:30.01), the race should be a very deep and competitive one.
In the boys\' 3200 meter run, four of the state\'s top runners will do battle in the best boys\' distance race of the meet. Racing fresh will be All-State runners Jason Witt of Midlothian and Alex Bowman of Hermitage, while Griff Graves and Thomas Porter will double back from the 1600 meter run earlier in the meet. Witt and Bowman both should run big personal bests in the events as Witt has made great improvements since last outdoor season where had a personal best of 10:05 as a freshmen, while Bowman is competing in an event which he has never competed in at an invitational. Meanwhile, Graves as a freshmen in Alabama last spring posted a swift time of 9:30. Saturday will be the first time that the state\'s top three underclassmen distance runners in Graves, Witt, and Porter will all be competing together in the same race.
The girls\' 4x400 meter relay will be stacked with many teams hoping to earn state qualifiers and push to break the 4 minute mark this season with Bethel, Oscar Smith, Kecoughtan, and Hampton all possessing strong squads out of the Eastern Region.
The boys\' 4x400 meter relay could find an exciting anchor leg battle between Deep Creek\'s Quentin Moore and Bethel\'s Russel Williams, who will both do battle earlier in the meet in the 500 meter dash. Huguenot also has a very strong relay team that should be taken notice of.
Booker T. Washington\'s Marlon Woods has best all-time mark in the high jump coming into the meet at 6-6, but several athletes entered in the high jump are not far behind including Deep Creek\'s Lamar Veale (6-5). Woods could possibly sweep the jumping events at the meet as he is also the top seed in the long jump with a personal best of 22-7.50 and triple jump at 45-6.
In the girls\' high jump, Deep Creek could take 1-2 sweep in the event with the defending state outdoor champion Jonee Artis and state runner-up Ashley Gatling as both share personal bests of 5-8.
Last year\'s indoor state champion in the pole vault, Anne Marie Gordon of Mills Godwin will attempt to better her current season best of 10-0 at CNU as she has an all-time best of 11-3.
In the boys\' shot put, hometown star thrower Ryan Gordon of Woodside is top entry coming in with a best throw of 55-3, but Great Bridge\'s Austin Lester (54-10) should make things interesting. In the girls\' event, a similar showdown between two athletes should be found with Manchester senior Jennifer Marinacci (38-6.25 season best) and Bruton senior Ashley Williams (38-6) as Marinacci just recently defeated Williams by a slim margin of one-quarter of a foot at the CVTFF Clinic Invitational over winter break.