No suprise with the amount of competiton and quality of track found at the Freeman Center\'s Vince Brown Track for the CNU Showcase that many of the state\'s best season times were turned in at the two day event in Newport News. In all, 14 state best peformances were recorded at the meet.
Kicking off the first day of events on Friday evening, seven of those 14 performances were recorded.
In the 4x800 meter relays, the Hermitage boys and Midlothian girls established themselves as early front runners for the AAA state title in the event as they posted quick state leading bests of 8:08.96 and 9:43.53. The Panthers had a 1:57 anchor leg split from senior Alex Bowman, while the Lady Trojans anchor leg M.C. Miller posted a 2:19 split. Both teams got early state qualifiers out of the way with their performances.
Francena McCorory of Bethel simply toyed with the 55 meter dash field on Friday as she easily advanced to the finals where she blew out the field with a 7.01 clocking. The time was her second fastest all-time in the event as she posted a 6.97 clocking at the Eastern Region Meet last February. McCorory is currently the national leader in the 300 meter dash.
Huguenot\'s Wynetta Kirby came into the meet sharing the high jump state best with several other athletes, but after this weekend she has sole possession of the top mark as she won the event at CNU with a successful clearance of 5-5. Kirby made it two wins on the day as she took first place in the 55 meter hurdles as well with a 8.36 clocking over Chantil Harvey of Deep Creek (8.47).
Friday was a great start of the meet for Phoebus senior Corey Vinston as he set two state best performances this season in victories in the 55 meter hurdles (7.55) and long jump (22-9). The CNU Showcase was the start of Vinston\'s first season of indoor track as he came out for the Phoebus track team last outdoor season as a junior.
Michael Morrison of Great Bridge had a rusty start for him, but not for any other vaulter in the state as his clearance of 15 feet was not only good enough to win the event at CNU, but also place him as the current state leader in the event. However, with a 16-10.25 personal best, Morrison will definitely be reaching greater heights in his future meets.
With Ashley Early absent from the meet, it was Ann Marie Gordon of Mills Godwin\'s turn to shine as the defending Group AAA state champion pole vaulter won the event with a season best clearance of 11-0.
Angela Jenkins was dealt an upset in the long jump as the current national leader in the triple jump (39-8) as she finished second in the event with a mark of 18-1.50. However, event winner Great Bridge\'s Janet Brown should not have been under anyone\'s radar coming into the meet as her winning leap of 18-5 was not far off her outdoor best last spring of 18-5.75. Brown transferred from Salem High School in Virginia Beach after last spring.
Another transfer doing very well this season is Indian River\'s Toriano Moody, who previously attending Sussex Central as one of Group A\'s top sprinters. Moody showed he could mix it up with some of the top sprinters from the Group AAA ranks in his new classification as he won the 55 meter dash in a close finish over Manchester\'s Anthony Chesson (6.47) with a 6.45 clocking.
The Peninsula District is definitely loaded with some of the state\'s best throwers as Denbigh\'s Jaymes Brooks posted the still leading state mark of 55-9.25 in the event at the first CNU high school meet in December and at the CNU Showcase, Woodside\'s Ryan Gordon had a throw not too far behind his district rival of 54-8.50. Gordon currently holds the second best mark in the state with his toss of 55-3 at GMU back in December.
On the second day of events, the performances only got better and more exciting.
First and second place finishers from the boys\' 55 meter dash the evening before in Moody and Chesson got to do battle again to start things off on Saturday morning as Moody\'s Indian River (1:33.05) boys got the better of Chesson\'s Manchester boys in the 4x200 meter relay (1:33.8).
Meanwhile, the Bethel girls took both sprint relay events on Saturday with first place finishes in the 4x200 (1:47.48) and 4x400 (3:56.87) meter relays. With McCorory on anchor, the Lady Bruins posted the state\'s fastest time in event as Kecoughtan (2nd, 3:59.90) as two of only three teams that have broken four minutes this season. The third team happens to be another Peninsula District school in Menchville, which clocked a time of 3:56.96 at the GMU Invitational and also currently holds the state\'s fastest time in the 4x200 meter relay (1:44.87).
McCorory would win her second individual event of the meet prior to the 4x400 meter relay as she bested a strong 300 meter field with the likes of Dominique Jordan of Woodside (40.73) to win in a time of 39.01. However, Jordan\'s top performance of the day came earlier with a 1:17.97 win over Kecoughtan\'s Lana McGawan (1:21.06) in a race between returning state runner-ups in the 400 and 500 meter dashes respectively.
Great Bridge junior Kristy Tobin picked up a decisive win in the 1600 meter run as she seized the lead early and pushed the pace in which no one would follow as she won by little under five seconds over James River sophomore Kristin Wolfe (5:24.60) with a time of 5:19.95. After finishing runner-up at last year\'s outdoor state meet in the event, Tobin will be hoping to take a crack at winning her first state title in the 1600 this indoor season.
Great Bridge distance girls had an impressive meet as not only did they take runner-up to Midlothian in the 4x800 meter relay on Friday night in a time of 9:54.01, but had their second individual event winner in Great Bridge senior Katherine Telfeyan as she overtook Midlothian sophomore Erin Stehle (11:35.45) to win in a time of 11:34.87 as seven runners would run under 12 minutes in the hotly contested race.
While Stehle had a strong performance in the 3200 meter as the primary race leader throughout, the top performance of the day from Coach Morgan\'s Midlothian crew came from junior M.C. Miller as the 2005 800 meter state runner-up led wire-to-wire against one of the stronger fields that could be assembled for the event within the state to win with a state leading and personal best time of 3:01.25. Picking up her second place finish on the day was defending 1000 meter state champion Kristin Wolfe of James River at 3:05.19, while last year\'s 800 meter outdoor state champion Christi Harsha finished fourth in the race at 3:06.84 behind Kecoughtan\'s Marlene Belizaire (3:05.94). The state meet 1000 meter race can expected be an exciting one as CNU was Wolfe\'s first indoor race of the season and Harsha continues to work herself back into form after an injury-ridden cross country season.
The boys\' 1600 meter run pitted two of the state\'s top underclassmen distance runners against each other in Mountain View freshmen Thomas Porter and Abingdon sophomore Griff Graves. Graves would lead for the majority of the race, but Porter would make a decisive move around 400 meters to go to come away with the win in a state leading time of 4:29.88. Graves would finish up not far behind in second place at 4:31.78. Another bright distance star finished third overall out of one of the slower heats in Atlee freshmen Ben Dejarnette as he broke 4:40 for the first time with a 4:38.38 clocking.
Porter and Graves would race against one another again later in the meet in the 3200 meter run as they would double back to face off with fresh runners in Hermitage senior Alex Bowman and Midlothian sophomore Jason Witt. Bowman, primarily considered a middle distance runner, showed his range is much stronger than that as he dictated a solid race pace throughout as race leader and pulled away strong at the end to win in a state qualifying time of 9:39.40.
Witt would overtake Graves (9:47.58) on the final lap for second in a time of 9:44.32, while Porter finished fourth in 9:55.36 for solid times for a bunch of underclassmen.
Another wire-to-wire win was found in the 1000 meter run as Andrew Duty of Manchester held on for the win in a time of 2:42.29 over Liam Arocho of Ocean Lakes (2:42.84) after setting the pace throughout.
Last year\'s 500 meter state champion Quentin Moore established himself once again as the man to beat in the event as he topped previous state leader Russel Williams (1:07.21) of Bethel to win the event with a clocking of 1:06.50.
Western Branch senior Courtland Marriner record a state leading time in the 300 meter dash as his 35.33 easily bested the field by a full second.
In the triple jump, Booker T. Washington\'s Antoine Thompson leaped to the state\'s top mark in the event with a mark of 45-5. Meanwhile, teammate Marlon Woods denied Corey Vinson of Phoebus his third win of the meet as he topped Vinson in the high jump as both athletes cleared 6-4.
Buffalo Gap\'s Angela Jenkins would even the score on Saturday with Great Bridge\'s Janet Brown as she won the triple jump with a mark of 39 feet as Brown took second in 37-4.
As predicted, the girls\' shot put saw a closely contested battle between Manchester\'s Jennifer Marinacci and Bruton\'s Ashley Williams as Marinacci took her second close win over Williams (37-6) with a winning toss of 37-8.75. Great Bridge\'s Brown showed her great versatility from the jumps to finish third in the throwing event at 35-3.50.
Despite the many points contributed by Brown and their distance duo of Tobin and Telfeyan, the Great Bridge girls (52 pts) fell just short of knocking off Bethel (54 pts) in the team standings by two points. Francena McCorory and the rest of the Bethel girls\' sprint crew were simly too much to overcome for any team.
The Manchester boys had one sole individual event winner in Andrew Duty in the 1000 meter run, but had competitive individuals and relays in nearly every event to pick up enough points (49 pts) to withstand the Corey Vinson-led Phoebus squad\'s plans (42 pts) to take them down.