Penn Relays, April 22-24, University of Pennsylvania, Franklin Field
4x800: Loses some of it’s New York edge since Liverpool opted to race in the distance medley instead, but consider this the grand debut of Warwick Valley, who ran 7:51.24 as a club team indoors. Though the New York contingent in the field is led by indoor national champs Shaker, which clocked at 7:48.45 at the Nike Indoor Nationals. St. Joseph’s by the Sea, led by senior Danny Zaccariello, ran 7:49.15 at Arcadia two weeks ago, which is the fifth-fastest time in the nation this outdoor season. Shaker is led by senior Matt Conti (1:55.76, indoors).
Bayport-Bluepoint, North Rockland, St. Anthony’s and Kellenberg are among the sub-8-minute teams that will compete as well.
4x100: Sheepshead Bay took a major hit when junior Richmond Ahadzi injured his hamstring but the Sharks always seem to pull out a competitive relay. Medgar Evers with rising sprinter Andre Jordan, is the top relay in New York State alongside Midwood, which beat them at New York Relays Saturday. Jamaican teams perennially rule the 4x100 at Penn Relays and California teams Long Beach Poly and Rio Mesa have both run 40 seconds this season.
Of the New Yorkers, Half Hollow Hills West and Newburgh have all shown strong performances this season. A race at Penn could do some shuffling in the state leaderboards, Boys & Girls, Mount Vernon and Roosevelt have all looked ready to run fast.
4x400: The top teams in the area will be Boys & Girls, St. Anthony’s and Newburgh. Boys & Girls already 3:21.50 Saturday at King Relays. The team says they believe they can run 3:17. Newburgh is always a force when it comes to the 4x400 and behind Fred Locklary and Randy Patterson, this will be the first meet of the season where they venture beneath 3:20. With St. Anthony’s on the track, watching senior Patrick Farmer is a must-see. Farmer clocked 47.25 at New York Relays in the first outdoor open 400 of his life. He said after that he hopes the can split faster than 46 seconds at Penn. Also watch out for Medgar Evers, which ran 3:22.00 at King Relays three weeks ago as well.
Distance Medley Relay Championship: Liverpool chose to run the DMR which makes them the top area team in the event. Liverpool always shows consistency and poise and are a threat in this race behind sophomore Zavon Watkins and senior Colin Savage. The team has run 10:08.52 to finish second behind Warwick Valley, which opted for the 4x800, at Nike Indoor Nationals. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake will also be a contender in the race led by Otis Ubriaco. Shenendehowa and Chaminade both ran 10:16 indoors and will be competitive. But New Jersey’s Haddonfield and Hamden of Connecticut will be the favorites. Haddonfield, behind anchor Jon Vitez, won the NSIC DMR title in 10:09.78. Hamden, with Chris FitzSimmons ran 10:07.58 to win at NIN.
Mile Championship: Port Washington’s Marco Bertolotti is the lone New York representative here. But the field includes Millrose mile champ Pat Schellberg, who had a breakthrough race at the Armory at the Millrose Trials. Tom Kehl of Father Judge ran 4:13.48 at the Hispanic Games. Runners like Anthony Kostelac of Western Ablemarle (Va.) and Tom Mallon of Central Bucks South(Pa.) make the race interesting. Then there’s Colin Mearns of Jamestown (Va.), who had a breakthrough when he won the NSIC mile in 4:13.08 and John Bleday (Xaverian) who clocked 4:12.70 indoors. Kostelac has posted the best outdoor mile so far this season, runnig 4:12.90 at Arcadia.
3,000 Championship: One has to consider Alex Hatz of Fayetteville-Manilus when looking at this field. Hatz has steamrolled competition since returning from his appendix surgery and bout with shingles in the fall. Hatz state the state mile record indoors (4:05.50). There’s no telling what he’s capable of running for 3,000 in a competitive race. Eastern Alamance’s Jake Hurysz (N.C.) could be considered the favorite in this race. He leads the country in the 3,200 meters after running 8:49.76 at Arcadia. Jeramy Elkaim of Livington (N.J.), the NSIC 2-mile champ, will also be in contention along with Jamaican Kemoy Campbell of Bellefield Comprehensive.
400 Hurdles Championship: Sean Collins of Molloy has the fourth-fastest time in the country after he won New York Relays in 54.46. Curtis senior Kareem Crawford is ninth in the country at 55.04. But most eyes will be on Trinidad’s Jehue Gordon (Queen’s Royal College). Gordon finished fourth at the Berlin World Championships last year at age 17 and finished in 48.26. He has already run 49.76 this season. No high school has ever broken 50 seconds at Penn Relays.
Field events: Cory Duggan of Farrell is the top local drawn in the field events. The senior cleared 16 feet indoors and could likely to be on the medal stand. Mount Vernon’s Kaydon Davis and Joe Fox of Clarkstown South will compete in the shot put but the class of the field will be Nick Vena of Morristown (N.J.) who has earned the Outstanding Competitor award twice at Penn Relays. Last year he broke the meet record in 72-2.50. Shane Smith of Fonda-Fultonville will join Wheatley’s Josh Haghighi in the discus. Oneil Sandiford of Robeson will be in the high jump. Although he’s struggled with a new, more aggressive approach this season, Sandiford cleared 6-10 indoors. In the jumps, Carlton LaVong of Methacton will be the top American in the long jump. He cleared 24-11 in the winter. Bay Shore’s Brandon Hutchinson will highlight the triple jump for New York. He jumped 49-1 at Nike Indoor Nationals. Olukayode Owolabi of Midwood, Marquis Dendy of Middltown, Victor Drew of Amityville and St. Francis Prep’s Jason Matthews are also competing.