The Hampton Roads Elite High School Invitational turned out to be the most elite meet so far this season with a total of 99 MileSplit US elite performances over the course of the two day meet at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Virginia. There were a total of four VA state leading performances from the meet and numerous US top 10 performances.
Photo by Jacqueline Justice
- Douglas Freeman sophomore Mackenzie Kerr has not only taken over the state leaderboard in the 500 meter run with her swift 1:15.40 performance at the Hampton Roads Elite Meet, but is now the new national leader in the event to surpass previous US #1 Layla White from Cary, North Carolina (1:15.42). Kerr as a freshmen won the Central Region 400 meter outdoor title and eventually finished as a state runner-up in the event in Group AAA with a 55.42 personal best. She is running some remarkable times already in her first two years of high school.
- In the 1600 meter run, Sophie Chase and teammate Hannah Christen went to work together to try and run fast times under 5 minutes in the event. After last week running a 10:32 3200 in a home polar bear meet, the Foot Locker South champion Chase won the 1600 meter race at Boo Williams in a US #4 time of 4:53.18, which is an indoor personal best for her. Teammate Christen was able to dip just under 5 minutes in second place at 4:59.02 to join 20 others nationally who have posted sub 5 minutes this indoor season.
- Runner-up to Kerr earlier in the 500 meter dash with a personal best time of 1:17.73 was Tabb senior Brittni King, who is emerging as one of Group AA's best in the sprints. King later came back in the 300 meter dash to record her second PR of the meet in a US #8 40.05 clocking as Tabb swept the top two places in the event with King and teammate Micah Hanks (40.86).
- The other star distance runner for Lake Braddock, who often runs in the shadows of her teammates Chase and Christen, but has really made a name for herself over the past couple of months is junior Katie Roche. Roche rocked the 1000 meter run field which featured Foot Locker finalist Allie Klimkiewicz (2nd, 3:00.42) and 2:10 half miler Ellison Grove (3rd, 3:01.93) with a dominant four second victory and US #7 performance of 2:56.32, which is a 3 second improvement from her previous personal best earlier this winter.
- In only her second hurdles race of the season against one of her toughest rivals and competitors in Landstown's Leah Lott, Hampton junior Chantel Ray looked very sharp with a decisive 8.08 victory over Lott (8.40). Her finals time would rank her #4 in the United States, but she is already ranked US #2 from her season best 7.97 performance at the Boo Williams Winter Break Invitational last month.
- The Oakton girls were one of the deepest cross country teams this past fall and were the eventual Group AAA state runners-up. They only needed four from their deep distance squad on the track for the 4x800 meter relay on day one with a US #6 time of 9:29.43, which ranks behind only Lake Braddock (9:29.43) in the state of Virginia this season.
- South Lakes flirted with a sub 4 minute time in the 4x400 meter relay as the Northern Region went 1-2-3 at the home track for the Eastern Region at Boo Williams in the event with South Lakes (1st, 4:01.61), Lake Braddock (2nd, 4:04.12), and James Robinson (3rd, 4:06.18).
- Gabrielle Snipes of King's Fork clocked a new PR of 7.29 to take first in the finals of the 55 meter dash on Friday. On Saturday, she teammed up with three other sprinters on the King's Fork squad to win the 4x200 meter relay in a time of 1:47.25.
Photo by Jacqueline Justice
- Oscar Smith senior Michael Cherry ran his first 300 meter dash race of the season and the result was a US #2 clocking and state leading time of 34.10, which was just fractions of a seconds off his VA #11 indoor all-time 34.08 personal best. Cherry is already the state leader in the 500 (1:03.84) and 400 (48.08). His 300 season debut race was so dominant on Saturday as he won by over 1.5 seconds. Put Cherry on a banked track and a sub 34 second time is certain.
- The Lafayette boys had a great overall team performance over the two day meet to claim the team title with 73 points. Their 4x800 meter relay team got them off to a great start on Friday with VA #2 victory of 8:04.91. Two of their relay legs came back on Saturday with individual wins in Derek Holdsworth and Kurtis Steck. Holdsworth, who doubled last week with a 1:06.65 500 and 36.17 300, showed off his range with a breakthrough race at 1000 meters to run away from the field with a PR time of 2:33.91. He may have a tough decision deciding on whether to focus on the 500 or 1000 at the Group AA State Meet now. After warming up with a third place finish in the 1600 (4:25.03), Steck nearly ran a new personal best for himself in the 3200 meter with a VA #2 performance of 9:21.41.
- Finishing ahead of Steck in the 1600 meter run were Kellam's Billy Boros and Oakton's Jack Stoney as they battled to the end to determine the winner with Boros winning his third invitational 1600 meter race of the season and just off his season best with a final time of 4:22.58. Meanwhile, 2012 Group AAA All-State cross country runner Stoney is now state qualified after his 4:22.94 runner-up finish to Boros.
- Douglas Freeman senior Zachary Campbell is raising his game as a state champion hopeful this season. After winning the Central Region outdoor title last spring and finishing third in the Group AAA State Outdoor Meet, Campbell cleared 14'6" last week at St. Christopher's before clearing a new personal best height of 14'9" this week to tie Woodbery Forest's Joe Zweng as the state leader in the event and ranks first among Group AAA vaulters.
- Nathan Schulte of James Robinson was slowed down during much of the past cross country season during injury, but the 1:55 half miler looked fast in the 500 meter dash at Boo Williams as he clocked a personal best time of 1:06.53 to edge out Andrew Gould (1:06.74) of King's Fork. Schulte last week ran a 1000 PR (2:36) and 1600 season best (4:26) at Liberty University, so he appears near his top form as one of the Northern Region's best returning middle distance runners.
- The first winner of the meet for the Robinson boys was not Schutle, but Ayo Raymond on Friday night in the 55 meter dash finals. Raymond was a national leader for several weeks last year in the 55 meter dash with a 6.42 personal best, but had yet to venture under 6.50 until this weekend when he was able to post a season best clocking of 6.47, which is just off a US top 10 performance.
- Ocean Lakes has a talented young talent in the hurdles in sophomore Quincy Watts, who clocked a personal best 7.57 to claim first place in the finals of the 55 meter hurdles. Watts was also a runner-up in the long jump (20'5.75") and 300 meter dash (35.67) on Saturday with new personal best performances.
- Sweeping the horizontal jumps was Ocean Lakes senior Racheed Davis, who leaped to a winning mark of 45'3.50" in triple jump on the first day and then reaching out for a new season best mark of 21'5.75". Davis will attempt to be a double All-State performer in both the long and triple jump later this season.
2013 Hampton Roads Elite High School Invitational: