Girls Team Preview
Photo by Ryan Kelly
The indoor state team champions South County will be strong favorites to become outdoor state champions as well with one of the greatest and most versatile athletes in Virginia high school track & field history on their squad in Felecia Majors able to win the state meet by herself as she did during the indoor state championships back in February. Majors is slated to compete in 7 events over the two day meet between four field events in the pole vault, high jump, long jump, and triple jump along with the 100, 200, and 400 meter dashes. Majors is a defending state champion in the pole vault, long jump, 400, and 200, while she is definitely capable of being All-State and challenging for first in the high jump, triple jump, and 100 meter dash. South County has other individuals and relays qualified for the meet (but all their relays will be without Majors now maxed out with 3 individual running events). Athletes with the best chances to possibly add a few more points for South County will be Morgan Knight in the pole vault and 100 meter hurdles as well as Mary Cate Scully in the 1600. Majors scored 49 points among 6 individual events at the 2013 VHSL Group AAA State Indoor Championships and added a few more points as leg on the 4x400 meter relay. Entered in 7 individual events for this weekend's 2013 VHSL Group AAA State Championships, Majors is likely to shatter any existing record of most points scored by any individual in one meet in AAA state meet history.
The indoor state meet looked to shape up to be a two-battle between two Patriot District squads in South County and Lake Braddock as Lake Braddock had three superstar distance runners in Sophie Chase, Hannah Christen, and Katie Roche all state champion contending runners. However, after winning the 4x800 meter relay on Friday, Sophie Chase discovered a hip injury which forced her to pull out of her remaining events and dashed any chances of them seriously challenging Majors and South County for the statem team title. Chase was able to get healthy again for the outdoor season and successfully defended her Penn Relays 3K title last month, but the injury bug bit her again just before the district championships as it was learned that she had a hip stress fracture which would completely end her outdoor season. Lake Braddock's 4x800 meter relay takes a major loss losing a sub 2:15 leg in Chase and Chase figured to be a favorite to win the 1600 and 3200. Her teammates Christen and Roche will attempt to pick up the slack as they did during the indoor state meet in winning state titles, but the best that Lake Braddock may be able to finish is top three which would be a great accomplishment without Chase.
The Woodbridge girls also have a strong relay of athletes from their 4x400 meter relay which is one of the state's fastest ever at 3:44.41 who also branch out and can score points individually in their specialties. Their top athlete is Farrah Suber, who had a great regional meet triple in winning the 400 meter dash in a swift 54.93 clocking, a runner-up 44.17 clocking in the 300 meter hurdles, and finished her day with another PR with a 24.55 victory in the 200 meter dash. Ten points is almost guaranteed for the Woodbridge girls in the 4x400 with their relay being 10 seconds faster than the next fastest squad in the state but Suber can pick up double digit points herself as the second seed in the 400 (53.99 season best) and third seed in the 200. Suber might be the best bet to knock off Majors in the 400 and 200, while teammate Olivia Coopwood is eyeing the state title in the 300 meter hurdles as she is seeded second with a 43.51 season best behind only Cosby's De'Nisha Smith (42.95).
Photo by Scott Reid
The Central Region champions from Patrick Henry are a well rounded team and their lack of complete reliance on one individual puts them in great position to make a top 3 state meet trophy push. Their 4x400 meter relay is second fastest in the state behind only the Woodbridge girls at 3:54.75. Featured on their 4x400 is one of the state's best young sprinters in freshmen Tiffany Harris, who was the Central Region runner-up last week in 55.98 and will be seeded fourth in the event at the state meet. Thrower Shania Williams will likely be their biggest point contributor as the slight favorite and top seed over indoor state champ Galissia Cause of Battlefield in the shot put with her 44'3" season best. Patrick Henry then has two more All-State caliber individuals with Jessica Shelton in the hurdles and Lynell Fisher in the horizontal jumps.
The Osbourn Park girls will be riding their relays hopefully to the team awards and top 3 finish at Todd Stadium. Osbourn Park has a relay seeded among the top 5 fastest times in both the 4x100 (2nd, 47.58), 4x400 (5th, 3:57.26), and 4x800 (5th, 9:24.62) to allow them to score nearly 20 points from the relays alone. The next critical events for them will be in the 100 meter dash and 200 meter dash prelims with their two sub 12 second (in the 100) and sub 25 second (in the 200) sprinters in freshmen Alexys Taylor and junior Kiana Hairston, who will both look to make the finals of those events and score points for their squad. One of their sprint relays will be expected to not be loaded as Taylor and Hairston will be able to only run on one of the relays.
With Chase's injury, the West Springfield girls become the favorites in the 4x800 meter relay, especially after setting a Northern Region meet record last week at 9:08.98. Their team almost might be the distance school now capable of a top 3 team finish with their 4x800 meter relay and Foot Locker finalist runner Caroline Alcorta leading the way. The Group AAA 3200 state indoor champion from this past season, Alcorta is seeded second in the 3200 at 10:32 and fourth in the 1600 at 4:57 and will be in the hunt for wins in both races. Other 4x800 legs Katie Kennedy in the 1600 and Maddie Wittich in the 3200 are also capable of scoring points in their individual distance races as both are seeded among the top 8 in those events.
The Eastern Region girls suffered a rare shut out from the top 3 state meet trophies at this past winter's indoor state championships at Boo Williams and a second shut out is very possible again looking on paper and entries. The two teams with the best chances of not allowing that to happen come from the Southeastern District between the Western Branch and Great Bridge girls. The Western Branch girls are the defending state outdoor champions, but are down from last year's squad in terms of All-State caliber individuals. Milan Parks is their team's top individual as she is one of the top entrants in both the long jump and triple jump and can also place in both the 100 meter hurdles and 200 meter dash. The Lady Bruins will then look to the relays to step up even more for points with their third seeded 4x100 meter relay at 47.78 and 8th seeded 4x800 meter relay at 9:29.
Great Bridge has to be suddenly respected as a potential top 3 state finisher with the emergence of Kierra Brown, who won the Eastern Region 200 meter dash title in a 24.94 PR clocking, while placing second to Carolyn Brown of Phoebus in the 100 meter dash finals with a sub 12 second. Great Bridge also has the defending state champion in the 300 meter hurdles in Heather Smith, who teams up with Brown and two others to make up the Great Bridge 4x100 meter relay, which has the fifth fastest time in Group AAA currently at 47.84. Smith has her work cut out for her to defend her 300 meter hurdles state title as she is seeded 5th with a season best time of 44.24, but has improved in the 100 meter hurdles this spring to find herself ranked 3rd on the performance list in the 100 meter hurdles at 14.41. Great Bridge is certainly capable of scoring over 30 points between Brown, Smith, and their 4x100 meter relay, which might be enough for a top 3 overall team finish this year.
Girls Sprints Previews
Sub 11 seconds in the 100, sub 25 seconds in the 200, and 55 seconds in the 400 are becoming just another number in Virginia and not just rare and one of a kind for the girls sprints. In Group AAA alone, there are 6 girls who have ran under 12 seconds in the 100 meter dash, nearly a dozen girls who have dipped under 25 seconds in the 200, and nearly an entire section could be comprised of girls who have clocked 400 times under 56 seconds. All three races have their defending state champions from 2012 with Phoebus sophomore Carolyn Brown in the 100 and South County senior Felecia Majors in both the 400 and 200. Both will have plenty of challengers and competition in each event to make no easy repeat.
Photo by Mary Ann Magnant
Brown is coming off a narrow Eastern Region victory over Great Bridge senior Kierra Brown, who is one of the newest members of the sub 12 second club this spring. Brown clocked her state leading time of 11.85 at the Southern Track Classic in early May at Sports Backers Stadium. Todd Stadium has not been the fastest track for sprinters when it enforced an 1/8 inch spike only rule in prior years that it hosted the state meet, but this year will mark the first year in some time that the facility will allow quarter inch spikes, which could see much faster times than usual in the sprints from past state meets at Todd Stadium. Mountain View's Meshala Morton was second to Brown in that fast and tailwind benefted race at the Southern Track Classic with a 11.91 clocking and was able to improve upon her state meet seeding with a 11.90 district meet performance. Morton did not compete at the Northwest Regional, but is entered for this weekend.
Photo by Steven Pham
During the indoor season, Felecia Majors skipped the 55 meter dash and ran the 4x400 meter relay as her coaches figured her to score more points for her team in the latter event. However, her short end straightaway speed or range appears to be get better in the spring for the 100 meter dash as shown with her 11.91 season best which she comes into the state meet owning. Majors ran two sub 12 clockings early on in the season at the Beach Run Invitatoinal in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and at the Gojekian Twilight Classic in Woodbridge before winning the Northern Region title in the event as well last week.
Photo by Arnel Gonce
Osbourn Park has a pair of sub 12 second sprinters in freshmen Alexys Taylor and Kiana Hairston. Both were rolling last week at the Northwest Regional in cool conditions to run personal bests of 11.92 for the regional champ Taylor and 11.99 for the regional runner-up Hairston. Very few instances in Virginia high school state history has a team had two girls run under 12 seconds in the same race. They will try to do it again this weekend by qualifying for Saturday's finals. Coming in under the radar with her lack of races this spring but the 55 meter dash state champion from this past indoor season is Heritage junior Asonya Anderson. Anderson is seeded way back in 20th place with a 12.34 seed time, but is capable of much faster with PR's of 11.99 in the 100 meter dash and 6.97 in the 55 meter dash.
Photo by Brandon Miles
The 400 meter dash is so incredibly deep this year. It will be interesting to see who will be the runners who do not make the cut and miss the finals after Friday's prelims as there are likely to be some quality quarter milers who are unable to be among the 8 fastest qualifiers after day one. Felecia Majors of South County leads the way with her US #7 season best time of 53.73. Her best time of the season came in an exciting race between herself and Woodbridge's Farrah Suber at the Southern Track Classic. Suber had run two 53 second relay splits at the Penn Relays on the Woodbridge 4x400 meter relay which qualified for the Championships of America finals. Suber gave Majors all that she could handle for nearly 390 meters before Majors was able to pull away and Suber settled for second in a 53.99 victory.
With Majors having at least 4 races and many jumping and pole vault attempts prior to the 400 finals, Suber and others including state indoor 500 meter champion Mackenzie Kerr of Douglas Freeman are in great position to try and knock off the top seed Majors. Kerr knows all about that as she was able to chase down Majors on the final straightaway for the indoor state 500 meter title in a 1:13.50 victory. A state runner-up in the 400 meter dash last year as a freshmen to Majors, Kerr was able to lower her PR down to 55.24 in a third place finish at the Southern Track Classic race with Majors and Suber.
Photo by Mary Ann Magnant
If Majors is able to withstand Suber and Kerr in the 400 meter dash finals, the 200 meter dash finals are going to seem a lot easier for her with her personal best time of 23.92 making her the only sub 24 second girl in the field. She still has to contend with the Northwest Region champion Suber (3rd seed at 24.55) again in the 200 as well as many of the top girls from the 100 meter dash. However, the toughest challenger for her to achieve another state outdoor meet sprint double in the 400/200 would be from 2013 Group AAA state indoor 300 meter dash champion Andrea Wright of Indian River. An All-American indoors in the 200 meter dash and one of the nation's fastest on a flat track in the 300 meter dash (38.85 at state meet), Wright ran a season best time of 24.16 earlier in the season down in South Carolina at the Taco Bell Classic when she won both the 400 and 200 meter dashes. At the Eastern Region Championships, Wright focused only on the 400 meter dash which took first in the finals with a time just off her season best at 56.78.
Girls Hurdles Preview
Photo by Mary Ann Magnant
In the hurdles, technique cannot be ignored, but confidence is critical as well. Both Hampton's Chantel Ray in the 100 meter hurdles and Cosby's De'Nisha Smith in the 300 meter hurdles have to both be feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the state meet after their spring so far with some dominant races, many victories, and fast times. Ray is coming off a season best clocking of 13.84 in the finals at the Eastern Region Championships and appears to be sharpening up to get closer to her 13.82 personal best from a year ago when she claimed the AAA state outdoor 100 meter hurdles title as a sophomore. She has gone the entire outdoor season undefeated in the high hurdles. Her time last year at the state meet was a sophomore class state record in the event and she looks to continue her progression as a junior and senior to become one of the state's fastest ever in the hurdles. She is currently ranked among the top 20 in the United States in the 100 meter hurdles and was ranked US #2 in the 55 meter hurdles.
The All-American hurdler's last defeat against in-state competition came at the end of the indoor season from Landstown senior Leah Lott, who is seeded 7th at a season best of 14.60. Lott, the reigning indoor 55 meter hurdles state champion over Ray, has a personal best of 13.98 and would appear to be the only hurdler in the field with the capabilities of defeating her. Lott has only competed in the 100 hurdles once in the last month as she skipped out on the event at the regional meet to delay another expected thrilling battle between herself and Ray until the state championships finals. Lott is looking to erase the disappointment of last year's outdoor state meet when she clipped and fell on a hurdle early in her prelims race and failed to make the finals. She will try to recall her stellar state indoor 55 meter hurdles victory over Ray for assurance into her outdoor state meet weekend.
Ranked between Ray and Lott on the performance list are five other hurdles with season best times ranging from 14.38 in Northwest Region champion Yaa Agyepong-Wiafe of Forest Park to 14.58 in Western Branch's multi-event leader Milan Parks, Any of these girls are capable of putting together the dream race to surprise both Ray and Lott. Great Bridge's Heather Smith last year surprised a few in winning the 300 meter hurdles state title and has worked on improving her times in the high hurdles this year as reflected with her current season best time of 14.41 to rank herself 3rd.
Photo by Arnel Gonce
Agyepong-Wiafe failed to make the finals in both hurdles races or earn All-State in last year's races, but it would be a shock for the Forest Park junior to not finish top 8 or better in both races as she is coming off a sweep at the Northwest Region Championships in the hurdles with a 14.53 victory in the 100 meter hurdles and new PR clocking of 44.16 in the 300 meter hurdles. The Forest Park junior defeated two tough competitors from Woodbridge in Olivia Coopwood and 53 second 400 meter runner Farrah Suber for the Northwest Region 300 hurdles title.
Photo by Tom Veazey
Cosby senior De'Nisha Smith would have been seeded right among the best in the 100 meter hurdles with her season best time of 14.42, but will keep her focus individually on the track in the 300 meter hurdles as she owns the second fastest time in the state of Virginia behind only Lisa Meneau of John Handley from Group AA. Smith was the state leader earlier in the season and has held the top time in Group AAA for much of the season after winning the 300 meter hurdles at the MileStat.com Elite Track Classic in late April with a 43.15 meet record performance. She lowered that time at the Dominion District Championships with a 42.95 clocking to firm hermself up as the top seed for the state meet.
Photo by Jacqueline Justice
Smith will likely need to stay under 43 seconds to win her first state title in the hurdles with two others in the 43 second range this season in Woodbridge senior Olivia Coopwood (43.51 season best) and Central Region champion India Lowe (43.82 season best) of Atlee as well as several others due for a time drop in Northwest Region region champion Agyepong-Wiafe and the two defending outdoor hurdles state champions in Hampton's Ray and Great Bridge's Smith.
Girls Distance Preview
The best of the Northern Region will be on display on Saturday morning in the 3200 meter run with two Foot Locker finalists in Oakton's Allie Klimkiewicz and West Springfield's Caroline Alcorta and All-American two miler Hannah Christen. During the indoor season, Christen won the 1600 state title, while Alcorta won the 3200 state title and the youngster in the group in the sophomore Klimkiewicz is still seeking her first state title but has plenty of time to achieve that.
Both Klimkiewicz and Christen's seed times are actually converted 3200 times from their 3K races at the Penn Relays when Klimkiewicz was able to move ahead of Christen in the final stages of the race to grab 7th place in a time of 9:48.34 (which would convert to a 10:31 3200 PR for her), while fell off her early pace when attempting to go 1-2 with teammate Sophie Chase and finished 11th in 9:50 (converts to 10:33 3200).
Photo by Steven Pham
All three of the top 3200 seeds raced against each other last week in the Northern Region Championships, but in the 1600 meter run. Alcorta, who traded wins with Christen at the Patriot District Championships one week earlier in a 1600 loss but 3200 win, took Christen, Klimkiewicz, and the field out to lead through the first 3 laps before Christen made her move to claim the 1600 regional title in a season best time of 4:54.77. Christen and Alcorta have a long history of going back and forth with wins and losses between one another as neither one has been able to establish an extended period of wins over the other.
Sub 11 minute looks to be required to be top 8 All-State this year as has been the case in many of the past few years in the state indoor and outdoor girls 3200 races. Beyond the Northern Region star trio of Alcorta, Christen, and Klimkiewicz is five more girls seeded under 11 minutes and several others who have either broken 11 minutes in past seasons or on the verge of dipping under the time barrier. With the exception of the injured Chase, all of the top 7 All-State finishers from last year's outdoor state meet are back in Christen, Alcorta, Washington-Lee's Sarah Angell, Robert E. Lee's Bailey Kolonich, Ocean Lakes' Nikki Park, and Midlothian's Kara Dickerson. Joining the sub 11 minute club for the first time this spring were Eastern Region runner-up Abby Motley (10:49) of Kellam, Northwest Region runner-up Megan Rebholz (10:54) of Colonial Forge, Central Region champion Katie Sperry (10:58) of Glen Allen, and Northern Region champion Maddie Wittich (10:59) of West Springfield.
Many of the same players in the 3200 will come back as favorites in the 1600 as well including top seeded and indoor state champion Hannah Christen (4:54.77 season best) of Lake Braddock and Caroline Alcorta (4:57 season best) of West Springfield as well as Eastern Region 1600 champion Abby Motley (4:58) of Kellam.
Photo by Steven Pham
Two athletes in great position to take advantage of the fatigued runners doubling back from the 3200 and potentially 4x800 relay legs the night before are James Robinson junior Macey Schweikert and Chantilly senior Kendall Cowne. Both sub 5 milers from the Concorde District had a thrilling finish to the line two weeks ago in their district championship meet to produce season best times for both as Schweikert at 4:57.38 held off Cowne barely at 4:57.52. Both are seeking their first state titles after strong finishes at the state indoor championships with Schweikert as the 1000 meter state runner-up in the 1000 at 2:54, while Cowne placed 3rd in the state indoor 1600 at 5:04.
With the absence of Sophie Chase due to injury again (she missed day 2 of the AAA State Indoor Meet due to a last second injury), the door has been opened sooner for many of the state's top tier distance runners to claim their first state titles or second in the case of indoor champions Alcorta, Christen, and Lake Braddock junior Katie Roche. Roche won the state title indoors in the 1000 meter run with a swift time of 2:52.84. She then finished 11th at the indoor nationals with an 800 meter personal best effort of 2:12.44. Roche has yet to best the time this spring, but was close last week at the Northern Region Championships as she defeated a strong field including Washington-Lee's Sarah Angell, Schweikert and Cowne with a season best performance of 2:12.87. Roche was the fastest split for the Lake Braddock girls 4x800 meter relay for much of the year including at the Penn Relays when they competed in the Championships of America finals.
Photo by Tom Veazey
Ranked ahead of Roche is the top returnee from last year's state outdoor 800 meter race in Battlefield junior Ellison Grove as well as Central Region 800 meter champion Tessa Riley of Midlothian. Grove finished 3rd in last year's AAA State Outdoor Meet with a personal best time of 2:10.74. She comes in as the top seed for this year's state meet from her 2:11.38 victory at the Southern Track Classic. In her only head to head race with Roche on her home track at Lake Braddock in the Hall of Fame Invite, Grove was able to finish ahead of her for second place behind only Sophie Chase.
At the Southern Track Classic, Grove also got a head-to-head victory over Midlothian's Tessa Riley. Riley is finishing her first and last year in Virginia after moving for her senior year from Kansas. The Wake Forest recruit ran her season best time of 2:12.48 in a third place finish at the Southern Track Classic and is coming off an outstanding regional meet double with wins in both the 1600 (5:13.09) and 800 (2:16.38) meter races. Riley was 3rd in the state indoor 1000 meter race with a time of 2:55.65.
Girls Relays Preview
The Northern Region's depth in the distance will be on display in the 4x800 meter relay on Friday evening with the top four seeded teams all from the region in West Springfield (9:08.98), Lake Braddock (9:13.54), Washington-Lee (9:20.02), and Oakton (9:21.68). The Northern Region went 1-2-3 in the indoor state meet with Lake Braddock winning in 9:11.35 followed by West Springfield (9:15) and Oakton (9:18). The order may be different this weekend as it will be tough for Lake Braddock to win after losing Sophie Chase for a season ending injury despite having two sub 2:15 legs in Hannah Christen and Katie Roche.
Photo by Steven Pham
West Springfield made a huge time drop at the Northern Region Championships last Thursday with a state leading time of 9:08.98 to assert themselves as the favorites for this weekend. Their relay has three potential All-State individuals on Saturday with Caroline Alcorta, Maddie Wittich, and Katie Kennedy. The West Springfield girls have seemed to have kept a great tradition of producing strong 4x800 meter relays on the state level for the past half dozen years or beyond as Wittich is the last remaining member from their state record 4x800 meter relay from several years ago when they ran 9:03 at the 2010 outdoor nationals. Could this year's group of Lady Spartans reset their school's own state record?
Washington-Lee made a 17 second drop in their regional runner-up race to West Springfield with a 9:20.02 performance. Sarah Angell with a 2:13 open 800 PR is their only sub 2:20 leg, but their squad has three other legs in the low 2:20's. Oakton is due for a time drop and should close up the current 13 second spread separating them and West Springfield based off time drops with three girls who have ran between 5:02 to 5:05 this spring for 1600 meters in Allie Klimkiewicz, Briana Stewart, and Hailey Dougherty.
The teams with the best chances at breaking up the Northern Region squads include the Northwest Region champions from Osbourn Park (9:24.62) and Central Region champions from Douglas Freeman (9:25.64).
Photo by Arnel Gonce
A handful of 47 second relays in the 4x100 will make for a tightly contested fast section led by King's Fork as the top seed at 47.46, but closely followed by Osbourn Park (47.58), Western Branch (47.78), and Great Bridge (47.80). With only 2 girls with 100 meter dash times under 13 seconds, it must be a testament to great handoff exchanges for the King's Fork girls to be entering this weekend as a state meet favorite. King's Fork ran their state leading time of 47.46 at the Penn Relays to finish third in the small school finals, while Osbourn Park ran their best time of 47.58 just last week at the Northwest Regional featuring their top sub 12 second 100 meter dash sprinters in Alexys Taylor and Kiana Hairston.
The Western Branch relays are always fine tuned and in peak shape for state championships and should be considered as a strong threat in the third seed spot, while two other Southeastern District squads in Great Bridge featuring Eastern Region 200 meter champion Kierra Brown as well as Nansemond River, the indoor state 4x200 meter relay champions are formidable as well.
Photo by Scott Reid
Currently sitting #6 on the Virginia high school all-time outdoor 4x400 meter relay list with their sixth place finish of 3:44.41 from Championships of America 4x400 finals at the Penn Relays, the Woodbridge girls are hoping to continue to move up that all-time list on Saturday. Their quartet only includes one senior in Olivia Coopwood with one junior in Jewel Christian and two sophomores in Farrah Suber and Kady Badham. Suber is one of the state's best in the open 400 with a 53.99 PR, while Christian (56.57) and Badham (57.23) are not too bad themselves. Meanwhile, Coopwood is the second seeded 300 meter hurdler in the meet with a 43 second best time. Relays loaded with this kind of talent do not come around too often.
A 10 second gap currently exists between Woodbridge and the next fastest squad in Patrick Henry from the Central Region at 3:56.75. It is a rare year to see that the top entrants in the 4x400 meter relay are dominated by squads from regions other than the Eastern Region with South County (3:56), Cosby (3:56), Osbourn Park (3:57), South Lakes (3:57), and James Robinson) as the next five fastest relays coming into the state meet before Grassfield as the 8th seed in 3:57 pops up to be the lone Eastern Region squad in the fast section. No Eastern Region relays in the fast section would have likely been a first for a region which has traditionally dominated the event on an annual basis.
Girls Throws Preview
Photo by Brandon Miles
Battlefield junior Galissia Cause is trying to pull off a state meet sweep of the throws as the second seed but defending indoor state champion in the shot put and the top seed and favorite in the discus. The Northwest Region champion last week in both the shot and discus including a new personal best mark of 138'4" at UVA, Gause won the state indoor title in the shot put back in February with a mark of 42'0.75". Earlier in the outdoor season, Gause threw for a new personal best mark of 43'10" at the Prince William County Championships.
Photo by Tom Veazey
Standing in her way of trying to win both events starts in the shot put with another junior in Patrick Henry's Shania Williams, who defeated Cause in their last encounter at the Southern Track Classic with a 43'3.75" victory. Williams has gone undefeated all season including wins at major invites like Southern Track Classic, MileStat.com Elite Track Classic, and Dogwood Track Classic. She has been consistently well over 40 feet in each meet including a new all-time best mark of 44'3" to win the Central Region title last weekend. Williams has to be considered the pre-meet favorite despite Gause having won the state indoor title over her 3 months ago when Williams threw a mark of 40'8.25" for second place at Boo Williams.
Williams and Cause are two of five throwers over 40 feet entered including three from the Eastern Region in Kempsville senior Deandra Doyle (41'5.25"), First Colonial sophomore Phontavia Sawyer (40'3.50"), and Nansemond River sophomore Zakiya Rashid (40'1"). Doyle won the Eastern Region title last week with a lesser mark of 38'11.50", while Rashid is the top highest returnee from last year's outdoor state meet including ahead of Cause and Williams when she placed fourth in the state finals as a freshmen.
Photo by Scott Reid
In the discus throw, Cause becomes the slight favorite after her big regional throw to make her the top seed for the state meet, but there are several other girls in the field who have been consistently at or under 130 feet this season who have great opportunities to have the best throw of the day at Todd Stadium. Central Region champion Denise O'Rouke of J.R. Tucker might be the best example of a consistent performer in the discus. O'Rouke has won 6 invitationals this season including first place showings at some big meets in the Lee-Davis Invite, MileStat.com Elite Track Classic, and Dogwood Track Classic. She was third at the Southern Track Classic with a PR mark of 130'3" as Battlefield's Cause was 6 inches farther than her in second place at 130'9".
Photo by Jacqueline Justice
A sophomore may be the one to steal this event from the upperclassmen seeking their first state titles though in Nansemond River's Zakiya Rashid. Last week at Todd Stadium, Rashid improved her season best by over 13 feet with a new personal best throw of 134'10". Rashid was 7th for All-State honors last year as a freshmen in the Group AAA State Championships and behind only Cause (4th) and O'Rourke (6th) as top returnees for this year's state meet.
Photo by Jacqueline Justice
Last Saturday at Todd Stadium was also a good day for Eastern Region runner-up Elizabeth Johnston of Hickory who threw for a personal record mark of 131'6.50". Earlier in the season at the Virginia Beach Invitational, Johnston also threw another big mark at 130 feet even.
Girls Pole Vault Preview
Photo by Tom Veazey
Defending indoor and outdoor state champion Felecia Majors of South County will probably look to the pole vault as the easiest of the 7 events that she is competing in this weekend in trying to win. The University of Tennessee signee is coming off a season best clearance of 12'6" to establish a new Northern Region meet record last week, which is not far off her personal best of 12'7". The event was actually contested indoors at James Robinson with the decision to move the pole vault inside to avoid potential of severe or wet weather. Her highest clearance actually outdoors this spring would have been at the Gar-Field Invitational when she went over cleanly at 12'3".
Photo by Andrew Kicinski
It will not be that easy and foregone conclusion for Majors to take first in the pole vault as she found out at the indoor state meet when Patrick Henry (Roanke) senior Caroline Brailsford challenged her by clearing a new PR height of 12'0", while only earlier misses by Brailsford gave Majors the state title who also cleared 12 feet. The UNC recruit Brailsford is in top form for this weekend to challenge Majors after 12 feet at both her district meet and last Friday at UVA for the Northwest Region title.
Other top vaulters include Northern Region runner-up Rachael Fasana of Lake Braddock (11'9" season best) and Eastern Region champion Jacqueline Meeks of First Colonial (11'6"), who have both have been well over 11 feet this season. Fasana will try to help her squad stay in top 3 team contention despite the loss of their All-American distance runner Sophie Chase and improve upon her 6th place state indoor meet finish from 3 months ago. South County's Morgan Knight (10'9" season best) will try to back up her teammate Majors and score some points in the pole vault, while Westfield freshmen Katie Freix (10'9") has an interesting state meet double between the pole vault and the 3200 meter run.
Girls Jumps Preview
Gathering again together for an expected three way jump off for a Group AAA girls' high jump state title this weekend will be defending outdoor state champion Crystal Jones of Colonial Forge, defending indoor state champion Brianna Hayes of Matoaca, and Eastern Region champion Chenera Lacey of Cox.
They have all traded wins with each other over the past year. Lacey defeated Hayes at the MileStat.com Elite Track Classic in late April with a personal best 5'8" clearance. Meanwhile, Hayes edged Jones at the Southern Track Classic on a tiebreaker with both clearing 5'7". Both Hayes and Lacey have cleared season best heights of 5'8", while the New Balance Indoors Nationals All-American Jones cleared a state leading height of 5'8.50" at the Gojekian Twilight Classic in Mid-April.
Lacey had the best regional performance last week clearing 5'7" to win the Eastern Region title, while Hayes was the Central Region winner at a height of 5'4". Jones will be looking to bounce back from a no height showing at the Northwest Regional.
South County's Felecia Majors is the fourth seed with a season best of 5'7" from her district meet and the high jump might be considered her "weakest" field event. Grassfield has a pair of underclassmen over 5'6" in freshmen Jade Smith and sophomore Tamadja Fisher, who will be factors on the state scene of years to come.
Photo by Steve Lee
Two Penn Relays champions from the Northern Region lead the fields in the long jump and triple jump between Majors and Thomas Edison's Anna Williams. At last week's Northern Region Championships, Majors was able to not only win the long jump (18'3"), but also defeated the indoor state champ Williams in the triple jump with a personal best mark of 39'2.75".
Majors will be expected to jump even farther in the long jump at the state meet with her 20'3" season best, while Williams looks to definitely do the same in the triple jump and reach for her current PR mark of 41'1.50" from her Penn Relays win last month. The Columbia University signee Williams was an All-American indoors at the New Balance Nationals with a third place finish.
Western Branch's Milan Parks and Henrico's LaChyna Roe are two talented sophomores ranked as the second seeds respectively in the long jump for Parks (19'4.75" season best) and in the triple jump for Roe (40'1"), who are looking to bounce back from disappointing regional meet showings with big rebound jump marks at the state meet.
Still adding event by event previews. Check every hour or so to see additional event previews to be added. Field event previews still remain to be posted.