Jake Freeman goes for title in men

By Jack Pfeifer


PORTLAND, Ore. Jake Freeman, long a bridesmaid, goes for his first-ever national championship in the men’s hammer at the USATF meet this weekend in Eugene, Ore.


Freeman, who won the NCAA championship for Manhattan College five years ago, had the best throw of his career, 252-2, at Princeton in April. It is the leading throw by American this season.


He finished 3rd at last year’s Olympic Trials, also at Hayward Field in Eugene, but failed to make the trip to Beijing because he had not met the minimum Olympic standard.


The hammer will be contested Saturday afternoon. The Juniors and Seniors nationals run Thursday through Sunday. The first three finishers in most of the Seniors events will qualify for the U.S. team that will compete at the World Championships later this summer in Berlin.


In the Juniors meet, for athletes under age 20, New Yorker Dalilah Muhammad is the favorite in the women’s 400 hurdles. Muhammad, who graduated from Cardozo H.S. in Queens last year, finished 3rd at the NCAA Championships 2 weeks ago for USC. She has a best of 56.49.


In the hammer, one of Freeman’s challengers will be Walter Henning, the St. Anthony’s H.S. graduate who just completed his sophomore year at LSU. Henning was NCAA runnerup and has thrown 235-11.


Freeman, 28, competes for the New York A.C. and lives on Long Island with his wife, a medical student. He was fourth at the nationals in 2003, 6th in 2004, 2nd in 2005 and 3rd in 2006-7-8. Prior to this season, his lifetime best had been 244-1.


Also in the hammer are Kevin Becker, of the Shore A.C. (223-5); Alex Pessala, a recent graduate of Princeton (226-7), and Jake’s younger brother, John Freeman, a student at the University of Georgia (215-1).


A number of New York-area runners are in contention in the men’s middle distances. Sean Tully, who just finished his college days at Villanova and who ran 1:46 at the NCAA meet, is in the 800 along with Albany grad Gered Burns and UConn redshirts Michael Rutt and Brian Gagnon. Running the 1,500 are Lopez Lomong, Binghamton’s Erik van Ingen and Columbia graduate Liam Boylan-Pett.


Jesse Carlin, a graduate of Penn as well as St. Joseph-by-the-Sea on Staten Island, will be running the women’s 800. She ran a lifetime best of 2:03.42 this spring.


In the women’s 400, two New Yorkers, Natasha Hastings and Shana Cox, have a chance to make the U.S. 4x400 team, just as they did a year ago in the Olympics.


In the Juniors meet, Clayton Parros of Seton Hall Prep will take on Mississippi prep Tavaris Tate in the 400. Tate defeated Parros in New Mexico in May, when both ran in the 45s. Sean Halpin, the 1:51 half-miler from Iona Prep, is entered in the Juniors 800.


Other NYC-area entries:



James Blocker (CPTC/hj), Rory Quiller (Asics/pv), Michael McCadney and Nasim Siddeeq (Albany/tj), Gary Jones and Muhammad Halim (Cornell/tj), Rhuben Williams (Shore AC/sp), Delilah DiCrescenzo (steeple), Jillian Schwartz (pv), Joe Greene (Albany/ih), Priscilla Frederick (St. John’s/hj), Nicole Blood (Oregon/5k)



Roland Graves (Iona/10k), Michael Kiley (NYHS/steeple), David Slovenski (Princeton/pv), Albert Johnson (Manhattan/lj-tj), Charlene Lipsey (NYHS/800), Joan Kanarkiewicz (NYU/3k), Aisling Cuffe (NYHS/5k), Charrise Bryant (Seton Hall/100H), Katie Sullivan (NYHS/steeple)