I was really excited for this race going into the meet. The slowest seed time was a 1:52.77, and there were a few pretty big names entered, including Pennsylvania’s own Ned Willig. Unfortunately, the race didn’t play out quite as well as I had hoped it would. I think the weather played a large part in this, as well as the fact that a lot of people were doubling back from the 1500. Drew Windle ended up grabbing his second victory of the weekend in 1:49.92, taking control with just over 400 to go and never looking back. Unfortunately, Ned Willig was a no show. The results say he was a DNF, but I don’t remember ever seeing him on the start line, so I don’t think that’s the case. Behind Windle, Ethan Barnes closed well to take second in 1:51.17, and Wake Forest’s Simon Holden rounded out the top three with a 1:51.70.
The top heat of the 1500 featured some pro studs in John Simons and Tyler Pennel, as well as Ashland’s Drew Windle. I was really hoping for a fast time here, but the race turned fairly tactical, coming down to a fast last 400. In the end, Windle had the best closing speed in the field, bringing it home in 56.35 for a 3:45 and the win. Simon Holden of Wake Forest took second in 3:48.55, and Tyler Pennel rounded out the top three with a 3:48.71. John Simons was a disappointing fourth, running 3:49.26. Windle showed some really impressive speed and took down some more big names. He’s now defeated Duane Solomon, Liam Boylan-Pett, Declan Murray, John Simons, and Tyler Pennel this year, not to mention his 1:46.5 800 pb. If you’re looking for the next big name to come from D2, this is the guy you should be watching.
Not much noteworthy here. Willy Fink of Eastern Michigan takes the win in 13:51 after putting in a nice mid-race surge. He did beat Luis Vargas of Elon, who was a regional champion in xc last year, so it’s a solid win. The time isn’t really going to do much for him though. The only PA product I saw in this race was Sam Hibbs, who ran 15:00.
The 10k was really solid, as it usually is at Raleigh. The Campbell duo of Kipkoech and Terer broke away a bit with about 800 to go, and held on to finish 1-2 in 29:20 and 29:22 respectively. Not far behind them was Curtis King, as he rounded out the top three in 29:24. In all, 20 guys broke 30. PA was well represented in Zachary Hebda and Chris Cummings.Hebda ran 30:09, which is just off his pb and a very good opener. Chris Cummings ran 31:17 unattached, which is also quite solid, especially for his first 10k (I think).
Jack Tidball ran 9:26 in the boys 3200, getting his outdoor season off to a great start. I think we can expect big things from him this year. There were also several PA Alums in 4x8’s, and they dropped some pretty solid splits. Alec Kunzweiler led off for Duke with a 1:56.63, and Kyle Francis ran the third leg in 1:54.21. Those are both solid splits, especially considering the conditions. According to the relay card, Ned Willig ran on Brown’s team, although given his no show in the open 800, I’m not sure it was him. (I didn’t see the race because I was warming up for the 4x4) If it was, he had a 1:50.30 split, the fastest of the day. I would have really liked to see him go up against Windle in the open 800, especially given that split. Finally, Stratman and Caldwell doubled back from the 1500 for Pitt, running 1:58.94 and 1:59.18 respectively.
The state of New York certainly has a strong program of athletes and my friend Alex has (with only a tiny bit of bias) outlined a very well thought out post on way the great state of New York would beat Pennsylvania in a dual meet. But, unfortunately, my friend has overlooked some incredibly important details when analyzing this contenders. You see unlike New York with, to quote Bane here, "your precious Armory", we PA runners are not constantly running on the fastest track in the world during the winter. In fact half of our top notch runners completely skip the indoor season all together. Last time I checked it's spring now (although the snow seems to disagree with me) and the boys who have been slugging it up on tiny tracks like Lehigh or, I shudder to think, Glenn Mills are now on equal footing to the gangs of New York.
As another great Batman villan once said, "And here ... we ... go ..."
I'll give you the fact that the 400m is loaded this year in New York and this is a bit of a down period for the PA boys at this distance. Raj Benjamin is great and Richard Rose is a stud (not sure how you can reasonable argue for Brown over Rose and both guys in the low 46s, but I suppose that's besides the point). If Lewis were to go in this event, I believe he could hold his own and our 200m and 60m talent shows we have sprint depth, just not quite enough to get things done in this event. I think Snorweah, Tyler Whitmore (barely ran indoors at all and is just learning to run the 400m, keep an eye on him outdoors) and others could certainly hold their own and their is no way this would be a sweep 1-5. However, if I'm being fair, the NY boys take the top three spots in this event.
NY - 9, PA - 0
I'm afraid your bias was on full display during this event my friend. Unlike the New York boys who had more than one top guy just skip the state meet entirely, winning state gold actually means something to the PA kids. John Lewis ran the 800m (leading wire to wire), the 4x200m and the 4x400m, winning an impressive 3 gold medals and nearly setting a state record with one of the best individual 800m performances of ALL TIME. So when he hit nationals with tired legs all he did was go for it from the gun and split a 1:51 (his third mark of 1:51 or faster this season and fourth at 1:52 or better).
Meanwhile your boy Asselmeyer with tired legs? Ran a 1:53.1 in the national final at New Balance to finish well out of the running for the title. This race would get out hard and Lewis (who has run 1:50.01, 1:50.57 and low 1:51 3x) would take things out hard and Asselmeyer (who's open PR is sitting right now around 1:52.81, basically the same time Lewis was running all the way back in December) would have no shot at gold. Relay splits are nice at all, but when things are set up to just chase people all day with a running start it's a different story than a real, true 800m race.
Elias Graca, who ran 1:53.1 and 1:50.8 this year already, would come in to pick up the scraps on the back end of this one and get a valuable second place finish. Graca is just getting started by the way as he was a non-factor outdoors before bursting through for a 1:53 last spring. This winter could just be scratching the surface of his potential.
I'll give Asselmeyer third, but by the time this outdoor season finishes up, PA may be in line for the sweep. Domenic Perretta ran 1:52.77 at the end of a 3200m-1600m-800m triple last year as just a sophomore. Then he went ahead and won AA state titles in the 1600m and the 800m. As he makes the sophomore to junior jump, he could make a huge leap. He has still yet to be truly challenged on PA surface. Sauer is no joke either.
NY - 10 PA - 8
Burke has been great all indoors. I give complete credit to the pseudo national champ who has run 4:08 for the mile and won NY states and Millrose. He deserves credit for his fantastic running and he would probably win this state meet if things were a flat out rabbit race from the gun. That being said, all too often the races don't pan out that way and the PA boys would be chomping at the bit to run him down.
Your NY milers are mainly strength runners with solid 3200m marks, but we know in the longer stuff it's easier to follow than to lead. And Sam Ritz (1:51 PR and has also clocked 4:08 right next to Burke) as well as Zach Brehm (sub 4:10 miler as a sophomore and PA state champion at 800m) have the blazing closing speed to run down Burke or Spiezio if this thing drags int the middle or late stages. Brehm ran 4:10 last year outdoors at Nationals for a full mile (a time faster than any full mile from an underclassmen from NY a year ago) and is a tactically strong runner who basically skipped indoors for the second straight year to help him peak for the exact right moment. Ritz was right next to Burke at Nationals and was consistently improving all season long, at the very least he's in the mix if he doesn't get the win.
PA also has a recovering Jaxson Hoey (9:05ish and 4:11ish when you convert his 1500m last year as only a sophomore) who could make a big jump this spring if he is healthy. Those three would all be in the mix regardless of how the race tactics play out and I think PA ultimately will take two scorers in this event.
I'll give Burke some respect after his fantastic indoor season, but Brehm and Ritz would clean up the remaining medals with their speed and strength. They can hold on if the pace is quick and kick by the stragglers if any remain.
NY - 15, PA - 12
Fun fact: PA's best two milers were no where to be seen during indoors. Kevin James, Sam Webb and Jake Brophy are arguably the states best two milers (James ran 9:03 last year, Webb ran 9:08 and Brophy set a Hershey state record this past fall running in the 15:20s when the old record was 15:40s by sub 9 minute man Tony Russell). Throw in Matt McGoey (state champ at 3000m and 9:12 3200m a year ago) and then likely Dominic Hockenbury (cruised to a pair of state championships with a 9:17 and an XC title in AA) who was the runner up at states and PA has an excellent crop of runners ready to do battle. Keep in mind that PA would be leaving guys like Casey Comber (sub 15 5k that earned All-American honors in said event) on their bench in this scenario because they are so dang deep.
Unfortunately, the incredible depth isn't quite as valuable in a situation like this where NY has such excellent front running. The sub 9 men in Tooker and Brannigan would make things difficult for the PA boys and I know that Brannigan has wheels (although if he celebrates early PA has a 4:10 type man in KJ and a 4:12ish man in Sam Webb ready to hawk them down). PA has their own crop of guys looking to break the 9 minute barrier this year and would compete valiantly in this event, but ultimately, even though in an 8 man scoring system they would do better, I think they would have to settle for just third with likely James taking that spot.
I'm just saying, when the times start dropping this spring the PA boys will be making up ground here. But for now ....
NY - 23, PA - 13
Cheltenham. It's all Cheltenham. They can win with a hand tied behind their back. Lewis is a stud, Brissett is a stud and these guys have been kings of the 4x4 for quite some time now. They get gold. Then I feel that you are underselling some of the excellent relay depth we have in PA. There is Penn Wood, who finished 3rd at Nationals, winning one of the slower sections with beautifully even splits. If they found their way into the fast section, they likley would have cracked 3:20. Neshaminy High School "only" ran 3:22 this year, but they did it at states after some doubling and tripling with the 4x2, 4x4 and open events. Sean Conway is a stud and Dave Marrington has run 37ish for the 300m hurdles. That's a nice 1-2 punch. We also have squads like Upper Darby who have run with Cheltenham this year and the Pennsbury boys could technically compete well here (although Sauer would likely be saved for the 4x8).
The PA boys don't get the chance to run at a fast track like the Armory very often, and when they do it's usually after the doubling and tripling that comes with going all out at the state championships. The 4x4 at states in PA routinely has a slew of teams under 3:20, sometimes teams have to run under 3:20 just to get in the top 8 and make the finals. By the end of spring, I'd imagine there are least 3 4x400m relays from PA that have 3:17 or faster (Penn Wood ran 3:17.98 last year and they are better this year). But for now I will give some respect to the NY squads who get the chance to run fast all the time at the worlds fastest track and settle letting the national runner ups in Clara Barton get a point.
2. Penn Wood
3. Clara Barton
NY- 24, PA- 22
This event would surely be an exciting way to settle the events of the day. Fortunately for you Asselmeyer gets to come back with virtually fresh legs for this relay which complicates the PA title push a little bit. The New York teams really threw down at Nationals so they have the hot hand as of late, however, the statistical prowess of PA in the 4x8 over the past years can not be overlooked. Here's a look at the top times from PA teams over the last few years:
2013- 7:47ish (PA states ended up dreadfully windy and Bensalem would have run much faster considering they had a 1:52, 1:51 and 1:55 guy on their team)
2012- 7:43, 7:43, 7:44
2011- Two teams under 7:40
2010- 7:43, 7:44, 7:44 and 10 teams under 7:50
2009- 7:33, 7:40, 9 teams at 7:47 or faster, 7 teams at 7:44 or faster, 10 teams under 7:50
2008- another team under 7:40
So yeah, we've been pretty successful in this event. And Pennsbury looks like next in line to the throne. On tired legs (their best two runners were doubling off big open PRs), Pennsbury still dominated and won in 7:51. Pennsbury would certainly hold their own in this race and is just coming into their own as a relay (they improved consistently throughout the season).
As I've metioned before the depth in PA is outstanding, especially in the middle distance (5 teams in the top 31 a year ago despite O'Hara not truly running an "A" squad), but I think NY would indeed get the job done out front, just enough to end up clinching the meet.
1. Fordham Prep
NY - 30, PA - 25
So, yes I do agree that New York holds the title for now. That being said, Penn Relays is less than a month away and unlike the countless indoor meets held at the Armory Center, you New York boys will have to come into our house now and the tables certainly will take an interesting turn.
Here's a quick recap of some of the things I noticed from the first meets of "Spring" track.
Carlisle ran their first DMR of 2015 and it resulted in an 11:02 mark despite the conditions and limited competition (they won by 38 seconds in a field that only included 5 relays). That's a really good start in my opinion so hopefully they can find the right race to get another crack at it. Not sure how feasible that is for a team in the middle of the state at this stage in the game.
Neshaminy got a quality win in the 4x8, running 8:18.91, but the boys from Wilson (district 3) hung tough, running 8:22. I'll be keeping an eye on this Wilson team as, in theory, they have a great deal of potential to drop time as they had a more limited indoor season than Neshaminy. That being said, I've made it no secret that I'm on board with this Neshaminy squad. Must have been tough for Marrington to watch that 300mH from the sidelines, but I'm sure he will get his chance soon to prove himself against that group (worth noting: I believe the 400mH and the 4x8 trials are right next to each other at Penn Relays which would mean, in theory at least, that Marrington will not be able to do both. Just something to keep in mind if Neshaminy can dip down around 8 flat).
Julian Degroot-Lutzner got a solid win over Kyle Shinn with a time of 4:27 to Shinn's 4:29. Lutzner was one of my medal picks this past indoor season, but Shinn outdid at him at states pretty comfortably. This race shows Lutzner is a true talent, but also reminds how important being clutch at states is. And Shinn, with a multiple XC top 5s at the perfect moment, is undeniably clutch. Shinn's teammate, DiCintio, made a solid return winning a relatively empty 3200m against Jeff Kirshenbaum. Running sub 10 (9:58) is pretty solid in a race that was, unfortunately, practically a 1 v 1 in bad weather (and DiCintio ended up winning by over 20 seconds). I'll wait to see a good weather 3200m for these guys before making too big of a judgement.
Meanwhile, Lutzner's teammate, Previdi, won an 800m field that included Ponzo from Penn Wood and Mahon from Wilson (most likely doubling back from the 4x8). Remember that Masterman is AA and they have had success in the 4x8 before. Luztner's already broken 2 minutes in the past and Previdi (although his time was only 2:04) is showing potential that he could be a strong second leg. But Lutzner can't realistically run both the relay and the open 16 and expect to make a huge impact in both (he has struggled in his last couple state meet doubles). That will be an interesting story line to keep tabs on this season.
Altoona represented well at their home meet, winning the 4x4, 4x8, open 8 and the open 16. Brad Foust won the 1600m against Brian Hackman 4:32 to 4:33 in what appeared to be an exciting race. I like both guys potential to move up to the 16 this outdoors after big success at the 800m this past indoors. I think their past success in XC indicates they have the strength to use that speed effectively.
Brett George from Altoona won the 800m in 2:08, winning by roughly 4 seconds over Gino Nicosia of Penn Valley. The third place finisher, Joey Kalik of Kiski Area ran 2:12 to win the slower section by about 8 seconds. Combine Kalik (a sophomore) with Eric Kennedy (another sophomore who won the 3200m in 9:57) and you are looking at some solid builidng blocks for the future for Kiski Area, a school that recently had a footlocker finalist, multiple state qualifiers and team qualifiers in XC and a 4x8 down around 7:50. Hackman doubled back to take 2nd in the 3200m behind Kennedy while his teammate, Eli Urban, took 3rd. Their times were 10:19 and 10:23.
At Baldwin, we saw some strong running from Andrew Koryak of Vincentian Academy, who cemented himself among the AA 800m contenders with his 1:59 victory in the event. His 4 second win in the 800, coupled with a 7 second win over Noah Smith in the 1600m (4:34 to 4:41) made for an impressive first meet for Koryak. Top 50 finisher from XC Nick Wolk ran 10:08 to win the 3200m.
Keep an eye on this Penn Hills team this season. They have historically had great success coaching 800m and 400m talent, including Wil Bailey who won a state title in 1:51 and Bradon Bailey who ran low 48s in the open 400m. Now another Bailey, Isiah, is on the horizon for this team after running 2:07 and likely contributing to the winning 4x8. Duwon Terrell was an individual 800m qualifier at indoor states this winter and the team would normally have qualified for states as a relay if not for the gross cutbacks made to the meet schedule. Watch out for this group as contenders out of the WPIAL.
I love relay meets, even though it usually makes my job a lot more difficult because I rarely know who was on which relay. It's interesting to see teams that normal don't run big time relays try their hand at it and especially interesting when those teams produce results. Canon Mac won the 4x800m in 8:31, picking up right where they left off during indoors. This squad is one of the front runners for the WPIAL championship in the event considering how often they were at the front of meets this winter. Fox Chapel got a win in the 800m SMR (1-1-2-4) and the names listed do not include Elias Graca. That's a great sign for a team that has produced a couple 3:20ish 4x4s in recent years. In the longer SMR, Avonworth got the win over Seneca Valley 4:08 to 4:14.
Fox Chapel got themselves another impressive win, running 11:07 in the DMR and taking gold by about 42 seconds. FC clearly has some speed and some strength which makes me curious what kind of relays they will try this spring. Although I see a lot of strong teams in the 4x8 in District 7, no one has blown me away yet. Fox Chapel has a 1:50 type anchor which means, realistically, an average of 2:02ish for their other legs gets them to 7:55 and right there for the district title. Plus the DMR could be an interesting event for these guys if they can find the right competition. I'd be curious to see Graca maybe on a 1200m leg with another strong runner in Halasowski on the 16.
Big wow for Dylan Eddinger. He killed it this weekend running 1:57 and winning by roughly 6 seconds over Quentin Francis (2:03 and 53.29 in the same day). Eddinger looks great to start the season after his 1:55.00 this past indoors. Honestly, I think this guy is a 1:53 type talent this year with big potential to drop time looking ahead. He's run lots of fast times when relatively unchallenged, now he just needs to learn to race in the right spots.
Liam Galligan took a dominating win in the 1600m, running 4:32 to beat Kyuande Johnson of Wissahickon who ran 4:40. Keep an eye on Johnson this outdoors at 800m based on the kind of times he was splitting during indoors. His teammate Harmon ran 2:04 in the open 8, holding his own against some guys with 2 flat type PRs from this winter. That's a nice start to a relay for Wiss who also has Marcelis and Christopher along with some deep talent at 400m that could potential try to move up. Galligan is just a soph and looks great to start the year. Also looking good to start the year was Jon Perlman, running 9:48 for the big win in the 3200m.
Radnor's 8:25 win in the 4x8 was very encouraging as well. This team is an early sleeper in the 4x8 out of the always loaded District One, especially if Holm returns to 1:56/4:20 type form.
So ... I'm a little confused. Looks like Carlisle had a busy Saturday? Matt Wisner and Zach Brehm combined to take 1-2 in the open 800m at Tim Cook in Chambersburg on the same day that their relay ran 11:04 at PW. Take that as you will. Wisner ran 2:00 for the victory and Brehm ran 2:02 for second. Junior Thomas Nicewicz of Mechanicsburg hung nicely in 2:03 for 3rd.
Pumped to see Will Sponaugle back in action for Hershey. The near state medalist in XC has a sub 16 5k PR and has run in the low 4:20s or so. He and teammate Adam Rabon (state qualifier indoors in the mile) took 1-2 at the meet at 4:43. Those two and Aiden Demko (15:40 during cross and a state medalist) make for a dangerous relay. Demko was 4th in the 3200m in 10:15. Scroll down a bit and you can see they did just that, opening the season with a dominating 8:23 4x8 victory over Chambersburg (8:34).
The winner of that 3200m was Dan Filler of Gettysburg. Filler had a very strong XC season and gets an impressive win over guys like Gabriel Allgayer (sub 16 during XC), Demko and Joe Deangelo of Carlisle.
The home team represented well at the invite, led by super frosh Josh Hoey. He ran 1:59 to win the 800m over Sean McGinnis of Phoenixville who also broke the 2 minute barrier. Ryan Barton added a gold in the 1600m, winning in 4:29. Those times were two of the fastest we saw in those events this weekend state wide (although it's important to remember this meet was held on Friday night) and is especially encouraging for Barton. Barton got overlooked this indoors while the team transitioned in the Hoeys and Sappey continued to emerge, but don't forget that Ryan Barton was a stud during XC, finishing in the top 40 at states and providing one of the key breakthroughs in their 4th place finish. Freshman Liam Conway continues to show improvement, running 4:34 for second in that 16 and Shaun Bullock runs 7 seconds faster than his seed to clock 4:35. Adding Matt Farrell's 4:38 gives the DT West boys 3 sub 4:40s for the weekend without Sappey or Hoey. Nice display of depth for West.
Alex Knapp wins the 3200m in 9:48 with teammate Will Swart second in 9:52. Most of the Henderson guys are likely at their best over 3200m and this outdoors they should be able to focus more on that event without the DMR in play. Austin Maxwell, a solid runner from Kennent, has a nice run in 9:53 for third and another one of DTW's key XC contributors Ben Ryherd ran 9:54. Charlie Barton was next behind him in 10:04.
The 4x8 results were solid as well. Twin Valley opted for DTW instead of PW and likely made the right choice, winning with an 8:16. Bishop Shanahan continues their relay excellence, running 8:17 for second. DT East takes third in 8:21. Those are solid marks for this point in the season and all of these teams will hope to continue to drop time if they are going to be come factors in the play off picture.
Paul Power dominated the Mile at Brother Jerome, running a fantastic 4:31 to win by roughly 30 seconds. Nice start to Power's spring after an encouraging indoor campaign that included a sub 8:50 3k and a nice win in the mile at Burdette. The Easton boys had a strong dual meet and are showing nice depth at a variety of distances. An Easton 4x8 could be on the horizon for the future. The District 11 picture is going to be a lot of fun with Easton, Emmaus, Whitehall, and Pleasant Valley among others (like Wilson, D11). That should be a fun battle when things get cranking in an area that I'm quite familiar with thanks to my college days.
One final note. Some of you may heard about the t-shirts I have made. I will be giving some follow up information on the shirts sometime this week. So feel free to be on the lookout for that if you are interested in those. Also feel free to follow me on twitter for the latest updates/pictures. Hopefully they turn out ok.
Anyway, there's a great preview on let's run for the event and that also has stream information. Assuming I'm still awake (I feel asleep last night in the middle of the Zona v. Xaiver game with Xaiver leading, woke up as they were interviewing the Arizona coach after the win, I was very confused), I'll probably be flipping through my internet set of links (letsrun, watchathletics, tracktalk) and see if I can find a way to stream it live.
Pumped for the first world championships of 2015!
By Sean Collins
I don’t pretend to be as much of an expert as some of the other writers, but I wanted to give a preview of the Classic at P-W this week. If I forgot you, I apologize and hope that you prove me wrong by winning this weekend.
The Girls 100 appears to be lacking a single indoor state qualifier in the 60m and will likely not be a strong event, especially with the cold expected this weekend. In terms of guessing a winner, look to someone wearing a Norristown,Methacton, or Neshaminy jersey to cross the line first, as total 14 of the 32 competitors. I know this is weak reporting here, but this is not the event to highlight this weekend.
The 200m, however is stacked much more heavily with Taylor Chapman of Pennridge and Jayana Webb of Norristown, both state medalists from indoor. Chapman is debatably the best sprinter in the state right now and should standout but Webb will provide stiff competition in her first HS outdoor race. Another name to watch is Chapman’s teammate Ariana Przybylowski.Przybylowski is known most for being a stellar long jumper, but is a very good sprinter, and should held Pennridge this season redeem themselves after the DQ fiasco at states in the 4x100m. (Note*: The officials wrongly disqualified them after the exchange happened within the zone). Look to Chapman to come out on top.
400: If you thought the 200m had a big star, think again. The 400 stars with Springside Chestnut Hill’s Brooklyn Broadwater after her amazing runs this indoor season. I expect her to run away with the event. If Broadwater falters, expect UcheNwogwugwu of North Penn to take the gold, as she finished 4that this year’s indoor states.
100H: This race should be a dogfight between NicoletteSerratore of Methacton and Alyssa Zukowski of Neshaminy. Both of these runners advance to PSU in the 60h this winter and should contest a strong hurdle race in the cold weather. Serratorehas been on the national stage before in the heptathlon and that experience may provide a slight edge with the nerves of the first race of the outdoor season.
300H: With there being no long hurdle event indoors, I expected not to recognize too many names in this event. This combined with the lack of practice time over the intermediates should provide tough conditions for a fast time. BUT WAIT! Coming right off the 400m, Brooklyn Broadwater will also be contesting the 300h. I have no prediction for a time, but if she doesn’t win I would be greatly surprised. Would say anything 46 or above is probably a disappointment for her, even after coming off the 400.
100m: only needed to see one name to know who is going to win this race. Christian Brissett. While the Cheltenham girls are not running, the boys are and I expect Brissett to put the hammer down and set the bar high for people to get this season. Sub 11. I’m calling it.
200m: The men’s 200 is the men’s equivalent to the women’s 100m. There does not appear to be any big names here, allowing someone to really prove themselves on the big stage. That’s all I have to say here… Sorry guys. Provide a result to talk about!
400m: This race features 3 Penn Wood runners and after their 3rdplace at NBIN in the 4x4, I have to imagine that one of these guys is going to run 50.?? . Another interesting addition to the race is Billy McDevitt of Malvern Prep. He has focused on longer distances all of indoor and I expect him to only be getting some speed work in early in the season. I’d be surprised to see anything faster than 50.9 from him, and in the next couple of weeks, we should see him back in the distance races again. Sean Conway of Neshaminy is an outsider for the win as well.
110H: Kornelias Klah of Pennsbury and Malik Jefferson of Swenson Arts and Technology are the two main favorites for the title in my opinion. Swenson knows how to put out amazing hurdlers on the female side and I don’t know why that can’t transition to the men. Klah did not have the best season indoors, but he is still a fantastic hurdler. He is my pick to win the title.
300H: Of all the events, I am most excited about this one. It is absolutely STACKED. John Lewis, Cordell Richardson (both of Cheltenham), Andrew Dillon (Norristown), Malik Jefferson (Swenson), and Kornelias Klah (Pennsbury). If I am correct, all of these athletes have won a state medal at some point and this race is absolutely stacked. I just can’t get over how fast this race is going to be. I would be dumbfounded if a 38 second race isn’t run if the wind is low. My pick is Lewis for the win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these guys took the win.
By Sean Collins
It’s the #YearoftheVault! Here’s Why?
When it comes to PA track and field, the pole vault is one of the most varying events in terms of talent level. Sometimes, athletes like Chris Williams are attempting state records as the last event of the state meet (was vaulting as the 4x4s finished), while other years a height of 15-0 is far and away the best in the state. On a more general note, pole vault is possibly the most technical event of all in our sport. It requires daring, concentration, strength, body control, and technical precision. In almost all other events, someone can “out-effort” the rest to win the competition. But pole vault is different, which makes it so impressive that 2015 indoor has provided records in almost all high school and collegiate categories.
2015’s first records were set by collegiate duo Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin and Sandi Morris of Arkansas. After starting the year with the NCAA record around 4.50m (14-11 ish), Payne and Morris both broke the record multiple times during the year. Morris ended with a personal best of 4.66m (15-3.5) as the second best collegiate vaulter in history. This mark was easily overshadowed though by the incredible season of Payne. Payne broke the NCAA at least 4 times this indoor season, ending with a PR of 15-7, 4.75m. What’s even more impressive is Payne not only set the collegiate record, but she also won the USATF indoor championships beating Olympic medalist Jenn Suhr.
Payne wasn’t the only collegiate record holder at the end of 2015 though. University of Akron’s Shawn Barber became the first collegian to ever vault over 5.90m by going 5.91m (19-4.75) and becoming the first collegian ever to attempt 6.00m. While his attempts at 6.00m failed, attempting such a height stop is a huge accomplishment and is a challenge to the collegiatevaulters of the future to break the 6 meter barrier. And sadly we won’t be seeing Shawn Barber in the red, white and blue as he is a Canadian, but expect to see Barber in World Championship and Olympic finals for next 10+ years.
The next men to challenge that 6 meter barrier might just be a trio of high school vaulters. Deakin Volz of Indiana and Paulo Benavides of New Mexico who traded the National High School record multiple times this season. Early in the season DeakinVolz stole the national record from then record holder Devin King (now graduated and jumping for Southeast Louisiana) at a height of 17-10.75. A mere 3 hours later, Paulo Benavides took to the runway in New Mexico and beat out Volz’s height by a quarter inch, jumping 17-11 stealing the record away. Finally,Volz and Benavides competed face to face at the Armory at NBIN. That day, Volz got the better of Benavides and the National High School record at 17-11.25.
The final man in this high school trio is Armand Duplantis, a freshman national record holder at 16-9.5. More than Volz and Benavides, Duplantis is the future of USA pole vault. I expect this man to be the first high schooler over 18 feet. He might even do it as a junior. Talking about him as a Superman type in the vault seems extreme, but his freshman year heights are incredible. His heights, and the duo of national record holders have overshadowed the other 17 foot vaulters in a way that’s unfair to these master athletes, but deservedly for those three.
The real question might be: “What in the world does this have to do with PA track and field?”
On the surface, nothing. But, PA had Ryan Wilkes of Valley View jump 16-6 at NBIN and gain zero national attention. Wilkes’ jump appears to be #2 all-time indoors in PA, and tied #2 indoor and outdoor combined. Wilkes and the rest of the #YearoftheVault is inspiring a huge number of vaulters to pick up this sport. We may not see the results in the next year, but just wait until 2018 when the freshmen from this season take the stage as seniors with all the inspiration these athletes have given them.
Vault high. I dare you.