Greensboro NC / Indianapolis IN - New Yorkers have been making the trek to National competition this past weekend, whether it be the New Balance Outdoor Nationals or the USATF Jr. Nationals. Junior Nationals is a qualifier for Team USA, where the international competition will culminate in Barcelona, Spain. We're here to give you a one stop location to find out everything that happened on this Father's Day weekend. All photos below by Kyle Brazeil, unless otherwise watermarked.
Winkler Winks at Stardom
Rudy Winkler of Averill Park has both been flying under the radar, and been very apparent at the national level. That is because he has all but vacated his high school career to focus on his passion: the hammer. He was the New Balance Indoor Champ for the weight throw, and has been steadily increasing his marks. He capped off his season for qualifying for the USA Jr team, after winning with a throw of 232-1.5. Thats good enough for #11 All-Time, although he has throw further this year.
New Balance provides runners with a bevy of medley options. The 800m Medley Relay, which runs 100-100-200-400, brought out the best of the sprint worlds. The Bay Shore girls, whose anchor has legitimate 400m speed, paved the way towards the impressive winning time. They won with a very strong 1:44.39, to give Jessica Gelibert her first taste of the podium. It only whet her thirst for victory, as she was queued to run the next day in her better event, the 400m Hurdles.
Lennon Lifts Off
Dan Lennon of Peru had a monster race to win the 5000m indoors. As the gun went off in Greensboro, it looked as if he was perched to repeat. He led the pace early, but was having his stride eaten up by Jake Leingang of North Dakota. As the race wore on, Leingang established himself the leader, pulling Lennon with him, and eventually distancing himself. Lennon would cross the line in third, with a solid 14:37.31
Collegiate Level Performance from the Freshman
Marco Pompilj of Collegiate has been on everyone's radar as the next up and comer. He had a decent cross country season, racing his best at the NYS Federation meet, but his career began to take off once he hit the track indoors. His improvement continued through his outdoor career where he was regularly under 4:25 for the mile. At one point, he held the title as the nations fastest freshmen over the mile, as he hit around 4:17 at the Loucks Games. At NBON, Marco ran away from the crowd in the Freshmen 2 Mile, winning in 9:36.81
Mobley Moves to Silver
Dezmond Mobley had a monster leap at the Outdoor State Championships, 25-2, which moved him to USA #2 this year. However, the Rrochesterian could not repeat in Greensboro, as he only brought on a 23-11.75 The jump was good enough for 2nd however, and a silver medal as well.
Briyah Brown of New Rochelle took to the shot put circle for the girls, coming in a solid third with a toss of 43-0.5 on her second attempt. The junior has a lot more in the tank, and will be returning to the circle next year.
Walking 'This' Way
Racewalk is not an event much contested out of New York State. Indoors, where the event is more common, brought out some big competition from Wisconsin and Maine. Outdoors, it is all the Empire State. Underclassman Annica Penn of Westhampton Beach separated herself from the pack early, and maintained a lead of the top seeded Maria Gorecki of Somers. Gorecki was able to rebound to 2nd, but coming down the homestretch, it was all Penn, winning in 7:42.43.
SMR Silver For Watkins
Coming in, all eyes were on Zavon Watkins and Edward Cheserek. The duo had met before as anchors for their respective SMR's at NBIN, where St. Benedict's got the best of Liverpool. The race played out quite differently, as a dropped baton by Cheserek all but eliminated St. Benedict's from the race. Watkins managed to have the fastest 800m split by far, in 1:48.05, but Allen Eke of Union Catholic was able to maintain the lead they had accomplished in the shorter distance legs.
Its been a long time coming for Friend's Academy's Kelsey Margey. She had a bit of an off year in XC and Winter, but proved she was on her feet in the early season, with a strong leg in her Penn Relays' 4x800. She cemented herself this season winning the open 800m at the Outdoor State Championships in the 800m, going 2:09.32. Margey lead the mile from the gun, and never let anyone get close enough to challenge. She knew what she wanted, what she deserved. Margey crossed the line in a quick 4:45.84, grabbing gold.
Back in Action
State Champions Collegiate returned to the track to lower their already impressive State Meet finish. They accomplished that and more, by placing 5th overall with the State's fastest time, and US #5, with a 7:39.75
A Shot at Glory
AJ Wolf of Hackley, son of Olympian Augie Wolf, had an interesting tactic at the State Champs last weekend. He threw the furthest toss in the discus for the prelims, but left for home before the finals. At Nationals, Wolf gave it his all, as he placed second overall in two of the events premiere throwing competition. Wolf placed second overall in the discus, replicating his state meet performance of 181-0. Even more impressive was Wolf's second place finish in the shot put. On his second attempt, Wolf launched himself to the top of New York State, with a toss of 60-5.25. Impressive!
The race was a redo of the Indoor National competition, which saw Tatnall come within seconds of Saratoga's National Record. Both key players were back, as Saratoga and Tatnall were lined up side-by-side. Tatnall took off fast, and maintained a heavy lead throughout the race. Saratoga, on the other hand, was the work horse of the race, as they coped with ebbs and flows in their positioning in the race. As the anchors crossed the line, it was almost a replication of the Indoor results, as again Tatnall was just seconds away from Saratoga's record, with the current Saratoga squad in second, with a 20:22.12.
Shuttling Those Hurdles
Kellenberg Memorial, whose only other attempt at the event this year ended in a DQ at the Lions Invitational, set the marks strong in the heats of the Shuttle Hurdle Relay. Not to be outdone by New York, Uniondale followed up with an equally impressive mark in the subsequent heat. Overall, the pair finished 3rd and 4th overall, in a very stacked competition, with 59.83 and 59.89 respectively.
Long Island's Mary-Kate Anselmini was a name that was heard over the speakers in Greensboro, as they announced the meet record. Brianna Nerud of North Shore, who has now overtaken most of Anselmini's record back in home state New York, was conspicuously absent from the field that was well represented by the Empire State. That is because Nerud had bigger aspirations. She has been dominating the national scene in the steeple chase this season, both at the high school and collegiate distances. Nerud attended Junior Nationals in Indianapolis, and handily secured her spot to Barcelona, winning in a reserved 10:23.87, over 12 seconds faster than the rest of the field, which included many collegians she'll be facing while running for Syracuse.
CBA Syracuse's Brendan Smith has been unstoppable this year. With a strong XC basis to demonstrate his toughness factor, Smith has been the national leader in the event since opening day. While most steeple races in NY are 3000m, at Nationals it drops down to the 2k. Smith commented on how he was not quite as quick as he was tough, but that didn't seem to phase the senior, as he sprinted to a nice time of 5:55.79
Not Just Keelin' Over
With Nerud away, all eyes were Leila Mantilla of Penfield. She was the second place finisher at the state meet, and the odds on favorite entering the race. But it must be understood, 2000m is still a distance race, and Saratoga is known for their distance. Senior Keelin Hollowood, who has had her own success in the event by placing 1st at her own state qualifier and virtually every other attempt she has had at the event this spring, was not ready to let the seeds dictate the race. Mantilla took it out fast, forced to after Ohian Sydney Leiher pushed the pace early. Keelin responded as well, letting the taller athletes break the windy stadium gusts over the barrier. Hollowood was ready to take off in the bell lap, securing her place on the medal stand with a time of 6:50.46. Her national championship adds to the already impressive resume of Saratoga, who has 7 national titles in the event prior. And a little tidbit handed out by the very proud coaching couple of the Kranicks: all of their steeple chase national champions have been blondes! Maybe it's a sign?
Bay Shore Honors Coach With Top Marks
Moments after Bay Shore Coach Steve Borbet was awarded the coach of the year award, his two star athletes took to the track in their signature event. Jessica Gelibert, who was already a national champion for the relay, took out hard and left no doubt in the crowd as to why she is the national leader in the event. Gelibert crossed the line with a commanding lead, winning in 59.54.
Next up was US #2 Kadesh Roberts. Eric Futch had run 50.73 for the event at Junior Nationals just minutes before, but this was Roberts race. He took out hard, established a steady lead, but disaster struck on the 7th hurdle. Coming around the backstretch, Roberts clipped the penultimate hurdle, causing him to break stride and stumble. With such a sturdy lead, he was able to recover and close in second in 52.80, but there is still wonder as to how close he would have came to Futch.
NY Sweeps Up
New York is not always known for it's sprint strength. That usually is attributed to both Texas and Florida. But New York does has sprint depth, and that is what makes a successful relay, as demonstrated by the complete force that was the Empire State. First up, the girls 4x100m. The race was defined by anchor Tanaya Yarde, who took her relay from last to first with an astounding kick in lane 1. They won overall in astounding time of 46.87. The Mt Vernon girls have been battling Medgar Evers (whose relay couldn't attend due to regents) for sprint dominance, and it paid off big with their gold medal performance. Before celebrations could conclude, there was another New York powerhouse in the blocks. Uniondale, who has been an unstoppable tear since their Nassau Record State Meet run, clinched the sweep with a very strong 41.55. Double All-American for the sprinters of southern New York.
Bile By A Nose
Zavon Watkins of Liverpool was returning to the track one more time. He was in search of gold, something that has eluded him on the national level for quite some time. In his way was arguably an even tougher field that caught him at Indoor Nationals. Eventual Indoor winner Ben Malone was in the race, as well as Florida Standout Andres Arroyo and Texas Lone Star Hector Hernandez. Robert Rhodes of Boys and Girls took the pace out hard, establishing a lead of 7 meters within 20 seconds. Rhodes was in search of his coaches school record, which he eventually got. As Rhodes began to fade, it was as if he was swallowed by the pack behind, which was headlined by Watkins. Down the homestretch, it was all Watkins, but it seemed as if instantaneously, the tall build of Ahmed Bile stepped in front of Watkins to steal the title at the line. Bile would finish in 1:49.85, with Watkins in 1:49.98. Rhodes would get his school record in 3rd, with 1:50.53.
Showdown of the Year
It was the race everyone was hoping for at the State Meet. Kadecia Baird of Medgar Evers Prep had been ripping up the track downstate at meets like Loucks, while upstate belonged to senior Kyle Plante of Colonie after equally impressive runs at Eddy. The 400m stars were on a crash course for the State Meet, which never occurred as the athletes chose different events. Admittedly, Baird mentioned that she much prefers the shorter events, as any quarter miler knows, that lactic acid can be killer. But as the seed lists for NBON were released, New Yorkers got the news they were waiting for: the two would meet in Greensboro. The race lived up to expectations, as it was all Baird and Plante down the backstretch. Despite Baird's understandable nerves, she went US #1 and US #18 All-Time in her least favorite event, winning in 52.14, with Plante in second at 53.32.
Milers On Task
Its an interesting position to find yourself running for the podium in the slow heat. Zavon Watkins did it at the Indoor State Championship, against big talent like Brian Crimmins in the fast heat. It would seem like the story was the same at NBON, as the slower heat, lead by New Yorkers Thomas Awad and Eric Holt, caught Crimmins in the seeded heat, to unseat his medal chances. In the seeded heat, Crimmins pushed the pace early, on eventual winner Jacob Burcham's tail for the first 1200m. It was only in the final backstretch that Burcham broke Crimmins, and caused him to fade at the end. Thomas Awad would take 5th overall, in 4:11.84, only .30 seconds out of 2nd. Holt would take 6th in 4:11.90.
Kadecia Baird was tired by the time the 200m final came around, and it was understandably so. She had just blown the crowd away by putting out a 400m performance that defined her 2012 season. Baird herself wanted to fight the pain, and run the final, but after confering with her coach it was decided to save her legs. That doesn't take away from what Baird managed to do in the prelims, running a 23.26, which would have won the finals. But NBON isn't the last of Baird we'll see this year. She is competing for her home country of Guyana at the Junior Nationals this summer, but it is not yet decided at what distance. No matter which 2 of the 3 events she specializes in will be the events she choose, all eyes will be on NYC's standout junior.
Arlington Goes State Leading
- Written by the Arlington DMR
Leading off for Arlington was Eddie Merenda on the 1200m leg, in a competitive field he ran up front, with the pack, splitting a time of 3:07.27, putting the admirals right in the mix. Second leg was Josh Wright who held position with a 51.10 split, who then handed off to arlington's Chris Koenitzer (ChrisKo), who ran an impressive 1:53.33 putting the admirals in second place only a second behind CBA. On anchor for the 1600, was Sibby Hanson, who quickly made up ground on CBA's anchor, George Kelly. With the rest of the pack all caught up, the action really began at around 250m to go. Hanson had a great run with a split of 4:13.24, placing the admirals in 5th place with a time of 10:04.91, only 3 seconds out of first, running the fifth fastest time in the nation.
A Finish For The Ages
The final races of the meet, as is per usual for all Indoor and Outdoor track meets, was the 4x400m relay. For the girls, it was all Garden City, as they dictated the pace from the gun. Coming in the anchor hand-off, three teams had battled for the lead pack. Of them, Garden City finished second as Taylor Hennig anchored in 55.33 to finish with a 3:45.13, behind Florida's United Speed.
The boys race had some amazing undertones. On the one hand, the race saw Mt. Vernon, who had just come off a big win at the New York State Championship the weekend before. Their rivals, Boys and Girls, had been second in that race by less than .09 seconds. To make matters worse, B&G anchor Robert Rhodes had only an hours worth of recovery between his bronze medal run in the open 800m. As the gun went off, it was immediate that B&G freshman leadoff Richard Rose was holding nothing back. Mt. Vernon fell out of the race at halfway, although anchor Steven Gayle ran a very fast 46.09 to get them back in the conversation. But it was all Rhodes as they came to the line, in what almost became another upset. Knightdale had been in the hunt the entire race, and a final surge put the Boys and Girls third national title this year in jeapardy. Just check out below to see how close it really was. But it was all Rhodes as they grabbed the line, and the last title of the day came home with New York.
Cain Sure Can
It was to be the most hyped race of the weekend. Both Mary Cain and Cami Chapus have had undefeated spring seasons. Cain was the two time State Outdoor Champ, and looked posed to excel with her Olympic B Standard performance. The actual race saw another challeneger, as Chapus fell out of the race. The one-half of the Meier twins, who run for Grosse Point South in Michigan, went 4:18.44 as Hannah Meier crossed the line in second. Second to Mary Cain, who had just ran a US #2 All-Time 4:14.74. Thats another NYS Record, the National Sophormore record, and only .24 off of US #1 All-Time. She'll have another crack at it this year, as she competes for Team USA in Barcelona, and rightfully so. Only a sophomore, one can only imagine what lies in wait. Other NY standout Rachel Paul competed as well, finishing 8th in 4:31.22.
Hackley's AJ Wolf was a double winner in shot and discus
Elmont's Valencia Hannon took 4th overall in the Girls 100m, with a 11.83
NY's powerhouse 4x4's come together for an All-New York shot. Imagine what an elite team these 8 would make.
Medgar Evers' Kadecia Baird and Colonie's Kyle Plante did not dissappoint in their 400m matchup.
Uniondale lowered their Nassau Record this weekend, winning a National Championship. All-American all around.
Keelin Hollowood of Saratoga had an exhausting yet exhilirating run in the 2000m Steeplechase.
Brendan Smith simply could not be stopped this season, and he concluded with a clear National title.
The girls of Shenendehowa gave it their all on the relays, with a third in the DMR.
James Burke found success, winning the freshmen mile in 4:22.27.
The sprint stars combine, as Ky Westbrook took the 100m and 200m, while Kadecia Baird ran the fastest time in the 200m and won the 400m.
3 for 3 for the Boys and Girls National Championship attempts, after a hard fought 4x400m.
Garden City goes home with bronze medals, after an impressive run in the 4x400m.
Mt. Vernon, after a long weekend of numerous relays, take 3rd in the boys 4x400m, as Steven Gayle grabs the fastest split of the meet.