Girls 200m - Shana Cox in 2003
Shana Cox is the daughter of British-born parents and was born in Brooklyn and attended Holy Trinity high school in Hicksville, Long Island, from which she graduated in 2003. She started making news in the NY circuit in her freshman year when she captured wins in some 300m races in January 2000 and finished the season at NY #3. In her sophomore year she stepped up the pace to run the US #2 time in the 300m while winning at CHSAA Indoors, and she also had an NY #1 time in the 200m when she won her first States title in June.
Early in her junior year Cox set NY Indoor records of 38.00 in the 300m and 23.85 in the 200m, but her season was cut short by injuries, leaving her with US #2 and #3 ranked times. Her outdoor season was much fuller as she won the States 200m race and a week later finished 2nd in the 200m and 1st in the 400m at the Adidas Outdoors Championship (AOC Nationals at that time). She finished off the year in July with a 4th in 200m and 2nd in the 400m at the USATF Juniors meet.
In December of her senior year Cox set a then NY 300m record of 37.59 at the Bishop Loughlin Games, still second fastest ever and a mark that lasted until Kadecia Baird ran 37.54 in 2013. Cox went on to win the 2003 Indoor States 300m by almost a second at 39.44, and then a week later at the Scholastic championships at the Armory, she won her first national title with a US #2 ranked 23.51 in the 200m, taking .48 off the NY record and setting a state mark that still stands #2, passed only by Whitney Fountain in 2010.
Cox's senior outdoor season in 2003 was spent prepping to win more national championships as she headed south to run in big invitationals such as the Taco Bell in SC and Golden South in FL with promising results in the 100m, 200m, and 400m, including a new PR outdoors of 23.63 while winning the the 200m at Taco Bell and the then NY #2 time of 52.43 in a 2nd during an all-time classic battle with Stephanie Smith of Northeast HS in GA in the 400m at Golden South. There was no NY States for Cox that June as she readied for the Adidas Nationals a week later for attempts at winning both the 200m and 400m.
2003 was a momentous year for the girls 200m in the year before the Athens Olympics. Los Angeles Baptist senior Allyson Felix had been running under 23.00 and had posted a new national record of 22.11 at high altitude in Mexico City in May. Cox and Felix would not be running on the same track until a week later when the AOC opened on June 14, 2003. Late in the day, Cox ran in the seeded fifth section of the 400m and won comfortably with her second fastest time of 52.94. A short time later, Cox lined up for the 200m finals. Blasting away from a field that included Stephanie Smith, Cox won by .29 with a new state record of 23.24. No one in NY has gone faster since.
Cox raced at the USATF Juniors a week later and finished 2nd with a 23.67 to Shalonda Smith of Long Beach Poly and also finished 6th in the 400m. At the same meet, Felix who still holds the national record in the 200m ran a 22.59 among the Seniors runners to qualify for Worlds and cap off an extraordinary year for the 200m for high school girls. Cox's 2nd at US Juniors qualified her for the Pan American championship in Barbados where she placed 3rd with a 23.69. For Cox that season, not only did she set the 200m mark that would still be standing in NY 17 years later, but her 54.73 at Golden South is NY's 4th fastest all-time.
Heading on to Penn State, Cox had a spectacular career earning 11 NCAA All-American awards, 15 Big Ten championships either in individual or relay events, and she holds a slew of her college's records. In her senior year she was the NCAA champion in the 400m and anchored the undefeated PSU 4x400m squad to the national title. After graduation she competed at a high level professionally for a few years and then changed her national sports affiliation over to her parents' birth country of Great Britain. She helped the British 4x400 team capture the gold medal in the World Indoor championships in 2012 and then place 5th later that year at the London Summer Olympics. The next year she married fellow sprinter Michael Bingham, also an American who competes for Great Britain.
Before Cox broke the 200m state record, Amityville's Randy Givens had held the top time of 23.56 for 23 years, though she also had a wind-assisted 23.25 mark that was just .01 behind Cox's state record. Givens wrapped up a great career at FSU by winning a combined four individual and relay team golds at the 1984 NCAA outdoor championships, and she was also a finalist in the 200m at the 1984 Olympics.