By Christopher Hunt
You may not recognize the name Sadiki White. You should. But it’s understandable if you don’t. He doesn’t compete for his high school team which throws him into the unknown abyss and away from track stardom.
But White, a senior at Allentown High in New Jersey, holds the fastest time in the United States in the 800 meters this season. He popped a 1:52.4 to win that event at Thursday Night at the Races at the New Balance Track and Field Center Jan. 22. Choosing not to running for his high school team may have kept him out of the spotlight but he’ll showcase his talent in the Junior boys 1,000 meters Friday night at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, a race that includes Robby Andrews of Manalapan, who won the Millrose Games high school mile last week.
White has also committed to competing in the 800 meters at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships March 13-15.
“He’s very, very aggressive as a runner but he’s a very laid back person,” his coach Derrick Thompson said. “Nothing seems to faze this kid. I think it’s a good thing because then there’s no highs and lows.”
The 17-year old is 6-4 and 170 pounds and the soft tone in his voice suggests an even keel that doesn’t necessarily translate in his racing style. He’s not afraid to be a front-runner, like he did when he clocked the US #1 mark two weeks ago. Thompson says that White, who is considering Georgetown, North Carolina, Kansas and Virginia, is deceptively fast because of his size.
“The thing with Sadiki’s running is that it doesn’t look like he’s running fast,” said Thompson, who White travels to Philadelphia a few times a week to train with. “He eats up a lot of ground so it gives you a lazy-looking stride. My thing is that if he’s way out in front he must be running faster than everyone else.”
White does also have range. He won the 1,500 at the USATF Junior Olympics last summer in 3:57.56. His coach compared him to Oregon’s Andrew Wheating, the 6-5 junior who burst onto the scene by finishing third in the 800 at the Olympic Trials last July. White started training with Thompson in the summer of 2007 and Thompson totally revamped his training style. White was used to tons of speedwork and Thompson introduced longer, steady runs to build strength.
“Training with Derrick has made me a whole lot more disciplined,” White said. “Before I went with him, going out for a 60-70-minute run was unheard of. That wasn’t even a thought in my mind.”
But since then White has become more friendly with the roads and cozier with his IPod too, enough so that his personal best in the 800 felt more like a tough training run.
“Actually it felt pretty easy,” he said. “I wasn’t really tired at all.”
Purvis among top athletes to commit to NSIC
Reigning 200-meter national champion Ashton Purvis of St. Elizabeth’s in northern California has agreed to defend her title at the National Scholastic Indoor Championships March 13-15 at the New Balance Track and Field Center.
Purvis finished third last year in the 60 meters. The junior holds national freshman (23.55) and sophomore (23.43) class record in the 200. She is currently the national leader in the 55-meter dash (6.96) and the 200 (24.00).
“She’s starting off OK,” said her coach Curtis Taylor for the East Oakland Youth Development Center track club. “She’s run fairly well early. But we still have a lot to work on. Hopefully, we can fix all those things before we get to New York.”
Taylor said he’d be able to better assess her fitness level after the Simplot Games next weekend. But Purvis has worked heavily on her technique this season, especially in the latter part of races, which Taylor says has held her back from running to her full potential so far this season.
“I know that’s she’s shown flashes of being able to run some brilliant times this year,” he said. “But it’s a matter of her being able to execute all the facets of the race.”
Meet organizers announced that Morgann LeLeux of Catholic High NI in Louisiana, the national leader in the pole vault, as also committed. LeLeux cleared 13 feet, 2.5 inches at the LSU High School Indoor Classic earlier this month. Californian Trinity Wilson will compete in the 55-meter hurdles. The freshman at St. Mary's High in Berkeley, is the national leader in the 55 hurdles after clocking 7.94 at the Run For The Dream Invitational Jan. 19. Wilson is also the USATF Youth National Record holder in the 100-meter hurdles.
James Taylor of Virginia’s Nansemond River, currently ranked third nationally at 500 meters (1:04.33) and second at 300 meters (33.88) will also compete.
Among New Yorkers, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, one of the top cross country programs in the country, will compete in the distance medley relay.
Burnt Hills, NY after last years winning 4xmile relay, which they won in 20:14.14, US#3 All Time