Loads of talent. Loads of potential record-breakers, Loads of superb racing and field-event confrontations on the agenda. Loads of excitement coming up. No wonder loads of track and field's most dedicated enthusiasts can't wait for the action to begin in Greensboro.
100 - Meter Dash - Ogechi Nwareni of Chatham, NJ ran fourth in 11.65 last year and is the top returnee this time around. But she's not the favorite, either. The pre-meet choice to win it all is the sensational Ridgeland, MS.junior, Bianca Knight, who checks in with the USA-leading time of 11.45.
Two others own national Top Five times and figure to be right in the hunt - Elizabeth Olear of Canoga Park, CA at 11.46 and Kenyanna Wilson of Glendale, AZ at 11.48. Other most-likelies include Jessica Gregory of
Richmond, TX with an 11.42 credential, Gabby Mayo of Raleigh, NC at 11.46 and Breehana Jacobs of Uniontown, PA at 11.47
200-Meter Dash - Again, it may turn out to be Bianca Knight's day. The Ridgelander was fourth in 23.41 in 2005, comes in as just one of two returning finalists and owner of a 2006 best of 23.14, clearly the fastest in the 45-runner field. Considered her most likely challengers are two Californians, Sa'de Williams of Fontana, seventh last year and 23.36 performer
in 2006, and Eliabeth Olear of Canoga Park, who has a 23.36 of her own.
On paper, Knight figures to win by a stride or two, but races are never decided on paper. Just as in the 100, Gabby Mayo of Raleigh, NC (23.61) and Kenyanna
Wilson of Glendale, AZ (23.70) expect to contend.
400-Meter Run - With three of 2005\'s top four back in G reensboro, this should be an eye-opener. Jessica Beard of Euclid, OH ran third as a sophomore and comes in with a 52.16 as a junior. But Sa'de Williams of Fontana, CA (who doubles in the 200) was a strong second as a soph last year and owns a 2006 52.56.
Brandi Cross, the Missouri City, TX senior, fourth in 2005, checks in with a 52.46 this spring. Just one other one-lapper in the 43-runner field has broken 54 - Elan Hilaire, the sensational Eleanor Roosevelt, Md. freshman running for the Blazin' Raiders, with a 53.84 to her credit.
800-Meter Run - The top three in 2005 were seniors, so that opens the door wide open. Who will step right in?
It figures to be an underclassman with Katie Doswell of Richmond, VA the fastest senior here at 2:10.02. But she's outranked by three juniors, Boulder, CO's Sarah
Cocco (2:08.45), Fairfield, CA's Dominique Jackson (2:09.49) and Sayville, NY's Kristy Longman (2:09.49) along with three sterling sophomores, Easton, PA's
Chanelle Price (2:09.58), Brightwaters, NY's Sarah McCurdy (2:09.59) and Columbia, MO's Lauren Borduin (2:09.98.)
The highest-placing returnee is Strafford, PA senior Liz Costello, 11th in 2:12.30 last year and a 2:12.00 performer this spring.
1-Mile Run - This may be THE RACE of the entire meet. Greensboro will welcome the sensational freshman, Jordan Hasay of Mission Prep, San Luis Obispo, CA to the national track and field stage,
Of course, she's already the Footlocker National XC champion. With her 4:42.21 mile triumph at the Golden West Invitational, she ranks as the fastest frosh in 33 years. Not since Mary Decker's hand-timed
4:42.0 in 1973 has any first-year runner turned in a performance this scintillating.
With all that going for her, Hasay will still have to run the race of her young life to win, such is the strength of the competition. There's Danielle Tauro of NJ's Southern Regional HS, NON third-placer at
4:43.07 in 2005 as a sophomore, and already the champion of the Millrose Games
and Penn Relays in 2006. There's Newport Beach, CA senior Anne St. Geme, who checks in at 4:43.20,
Valley Stream North, NY's Theresa Rush at 4:49.06, and Hiram, OH's Bridget Franek at 4:50.01.
Don't think the meet record - Sarah Bowman's 4:36.95 last year - is out of reach. If the pace is right and the atmospherics mild, be prepared for something
2-Mile Run - No HS school girl has ever broken into the 9\'s and don't expect it to happen here. But do count on some great racing. With Warwick Valley, NY's Aislinn Ryan (10:18.21), Colts Neck, NJ's Ashley
Higginson, the Penn Relays champion (10:22.07), Eureka, MO's Merideth Snow (10:23.71), Sioux Falls, SD's Allison Eckert (10:23.74) and Claremont, CA's Christy Adamyk (10:23.83) bunched on the charts, the eight-lapper is considered wide open. Ryan (second at 10:20.02 in 2005) is the top returnee,
100-Meter Hurdles - Seniors snared the first six spots in 2005, making seventh-placer Nia Ali the top comebacker.
Moving from Philadelphia to Pleasantville, NJ for her senior year, Ali has run 13.78 this year. But four others sport faster credentials - Raleigh, NC's Gabby Mayo (already a leading NON sprint candidate) at 13.60, Knoxville, TN's Jacquelyn Coward (13.73),
Douglasville's Kristi Castlin (13.74) and Evanston, IL's Shalina Clarke (13.75.)
400-Meter Hurdles - Winslow Township, NJ's Krystal Cantey took the 2005 NON gold, stunning Philadelphian Nicole Leach, with a meet-record 56.83 to Leach's 57.26. No others broke 1 minute.
With Leach now a collegian, Cantey should figure to win in a breeze. But hold it. Three others have gone under 60 seconds this year while Cantey's best is 1:00.05.
New Jersey has come up with another super talent in McNair Academic of Jersey City's Leslie Njoku atop the national list at 59.48. Then there's Menchville, VA's
Nicole Saunders at 59.65 and Houston, TX's Sandra Iwunze at 59.74.
Three others have gone under 61.
2000-Meter Steeplechase - When Saratoga Springs, NY senior Lindsey Ferguson won the New York State Championships final in 6:36.05, it represented her second National record in the event this season and emphasized her virtual "ownership" of the five-lap barrier race.
She won the NON title as a sophomore in 6:45.69 and as a junior in 6:39.60, each of them, like the 6:36.05. a class record. If anyone is to challenge Ferguson's dominance in Greensboro, it may be Reno, NV's Marie Lawrence, with a 6:40 seed time, or East Syracuse, NY's Leah Andrianos, at 6:52.08.
But don't count on anyone being close to Ferguson at the end.
1-Mile Racewalk - When Heather Buletti steps onto the track, all the national racewalk records go on the endangered list, The Long Island, NYer is already a veteran of the USATF national and international circuits.
In May, she represented the USA in the IAAF World Cup of Walking in LaCoruna, Spain and placed a quality 24th place in the personal best time of
51:25. That was in the Junior Women's World 10K, so one-mile becomes a breeze.
Look for Buletti to get under Maria Michta's 2004 7:16.02, time that represents both the National and US senior class records.
Jennifer Monahan of Holbrook, NY (7:52.71 in 2005) is back as defending champion and a strong, deep field of 21 is signed up to walk.
HIGH JUMP - Nearby Durham, NC's Patience Coleman is the only 6-0 jumper in the 32-leaper field and thus the clear choice. A 5-7 got her fourth place as a sophomore in 2005 and she plans to soar at least five
inches higher this time around.
Two 5-10 jumpers, Austin, MN's Tressa Beckel and Memphis, TN's Jessica Merriweather, loom as major threats.
POLE VAULT - The event continues in its developmental stages with hot prospects emerging all over the nation.
The National and NON records - 14 feet even - date back to Tiffany Maskalinski of Elma, NY's clearance here a year ago.
Katie Veith of Fort Wayne, IN, a junior, is the gold medal pick and has 14-foot credentials of her own. Much improved, she went 12-5 ½ for fifth at the
Just three others have reached 13 - Brittany Parker of
McKinney, TX (13-4), Rachel Laurent of Houma, LA (13-3) and Allison Stokke of Newport Beach, CA (13-0.)
LONG JUMP - Medford, MA's Arantxa King outdueled Columbia, MD's Tiffani Long at the 2005 NON, 19-9 ½ to 19-4 ½.
King, still a junior, is back, and so is Long, a senior, but any kind of repeat perfomance along those lines is no cinch.
The three longest leapers coming into Greensboro are Eagleville, PA's Ryann Krais and Colorado Springs, CO's Nyeisha Wright (both at 20-3) and Fort Lauderdale, FL's Deandra Doyley (20-2.)
TRIPLE JUMP - Arantxa King of Medford, MA is the TJ defender, too. The 2005 winner at 41-10, she's been up to 42 even this spring.
Just three others have plus-40 seedings: Colorado's Nyeisha Wright (41-3 3/4), Bradford, PA's Erin Hannon (40-2) and Mechanicsville, VA's Rachel Butler (40-0.)
SHOT PUT - Charlotte, NC's Kamorean Hayes, 2005 NON titlist at 51-1, is poised for a title defense - and she's still a junior.
Hayes has raised her sights in 2006 and reached 52-2. With just one other 50-footer in the field - Monaca, PA's Allyn Laughlin at 50-10 3/4 - Hayes is
the strong favorite.
Two rising sophomores represent the coming-on-fast younger generation. Karen Shump of Media, PA has reached 47-6 and DeAnne Hahn of Lakewood, NJ has one out to 46-2.
DISCUS THROW - Again, this may be a Kamorean Hayes show. The Charlotte, NC junior took third at the 2005 NON (147-7) behind two seniors and heads the lineup of returnees.
Then again, Hayes may have a huge battle on her hands.
Emily Pendleton, a Lindsey, OH junior, has wnged one out to 172-8, for a big gap on Hayes' 2006 best of 162-10.
They are by far the class of the 43-thrower field with just two others up to the 155 line - sophomores Natalie Baird of Sterling, VA (157-7) and Rachel Deloney of Bloomington, IN (155-0.)
JAVELIN THROW - They don't send their spears out to the distances they used to. The meet record (168-4 by Warwick, RI's Emily Carlsten) is 10 years old and appears safe at NON 2006.
Longest throwers coming to Greensboro are Johnstown's Karlee McQuillen (162-4), Chambersburg's Lorraine Hill (157-4), Russell's Elisha Jones (146-4)
and Palmyra's Meghan Briggs (142-2.) They're all Pennsylvanians.
Briggs (132-8) and Jones (131-8) went 1-2 in 2005.
HAMMER THROW - Once upon a time, Rhode Islanders ruled the HT world, but no longer. The 2006 NON ball-and-chain event is going south, and
five Georgia athletes come north with the best throws on the entry list.
Emily Bernhardt of Marietta was fourth at 152-1 in 2005 but is top seed in Greensboro at 180-9.
Then there's Allison Horner, also of Marietta, second in 2005 with a 166-6 and up to 167-5 in 2006.
Other members of this power-packed Georgia cast include Patrice Gates of Villa Rica (160-1), Kristin Smith of Marietta (150-0) and Jessica Irizarry of Acworth (145-11.)
100 meters: Two sub-10.4 performers highlight this year's field. Sophomore Harry Adams (Dillard, Ft. Lauderdale, FL) comes in with a 2006 best of 10.33 while junior Brandon Saine (Piqua, OH) checks in at 10.37. Saine, an outstanding running back in football, has already committed to Ohio State for the fall of 2007.
Others to watch include Charles Clark (Bayside, Virginia Beach, VA), a 10.47 performer this year, and Baylor-bound Trey Harts (Barbe, Lake Charles, LA), whose season best is 10.49.
200 meters: Charles Clark (Bayside, Virginia Beach, VA), last year's fourth-placer, is back. Clark has a wind-aided 20.91 this year. He'll contend with junior Brandon Saine (Piqua, OH), Trey Harts (Barbe, Lake Charles, LA), Jeffrey Smith (Silver Lake, Kingston, MA) and Darrin Conley (Middletown, OH).
Saine's got a wind-aided 20.74 this seaspn. Harts comes in at 20.82. Smith, who is headed to Boston College on a football scholarship, is a 20.89 performer. Conley's best is 20.94.
400 meters: Last year's second-place finisher, LaJerald Betters (Waco, TX), returns. Betters, this year's Texas 5A champ, has a season best of 46.94. The top seed time, 46.23, belongs to J.T. Scheuerman (Littleton, CO). Scheuerman, runnerup at the April 8 Arcadia (Calif.) Invitational, won three sprint titles (100, 200, 400) and anchored the winning 4x2 at the Colorado state meet. Betters and Scheuerman will be teammates next year at Baylor.
Others in the mix are junior Brandon Saine, Piqua, OH) at 46.69, junior Nevin Gutierrez (J.W. North, Riverside, CA) at 46.79, Virgin Island native Tabarie Henry (Hallandale, FL) at 47.11, and junior Charles Cox (Monmouth Regional, Tinton Falls, NJ) at 47.10.
800 meters: The field includes the top two performers on the current prep list. California state champ Cory Primm (Westlake, Westlake Village, CA), a junior, leads the nation at 1:50.53. Oregon recruit Ryan Waite (St. Helen's, OR) has a best of 1:50.67.
Don't count out Karjuan Williams (New Bern, NC), last year's runnerup in this event when he ran for St. Augustine in New Orleans. The Texas Tech-bound Williams is this year's Nike indoor 800m champ. Bothered by injuries outdoors, Williams' season best is 1:51.75. UNC-Charlotte signee Aaron Kauffman (Red Land HS, Etters, Pa) could be a factor.
Mile: California recruit Michael Coe (Cabrillo, Lompoc, CA), the Nike Indoor two-mile champ, is a solid contender. His 1600m best this year converts to 4:06.27. Coe won the Arcadia mile with a time of 4:08.13 and took second at the California state meet in Sacramento earlier this month.
Coe's no shoo-in. NIN mile winner Ayalew Taye (Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, MA), a junior, has a 2006 1500m best of 3:53.01. Oregon signee Kenny Klotz (Central Catholic, Portland, OR) is even faster with time of 3:49.99 for 1500m. Four more juniors – Evan Jager (Jacobs, Algonquin, IL), Craig Forys (Colts Neck, Howell, NJ), Ben Hubers (McEachern, Powder Springs, GA) and Andy Weatherford (Greencastle, IN) – should be in the hunt.
2-mile: A.J. Acosta (El Camino, Oceanside, CA), sixth in the mile a year ago, comes in as the favorite this year in longer distance. Acosta's converted 3200 best (8:55.30) tops the current 2-mile prep charts. A future Oregon Duck, Acosta won this year's Arcadia 3200 title and finished first in the 1600 at the California state meet.
He'll have his hands full in Greensboro. Junior Mike Cybulski (Royal, Simi Valley, CA) bested Acosta in the 3200m at the California state meet. Cybulski and another junior, Matt Tebo (Eldorado, Albuquerque, NM), are in the 8:56 range this year. Illinois recruit Jeremy Stevens (Winnebago, IL) and juniors Mark Mirault (Xaverian, Westwood, MA), Evan Jager (Jacobs, Algonquin, IL) and Matthew Centrowitz (Broadneck, Arnold, MD) could surprise. Matt Centrowitz, Matthew's father, was a 1976 Olympian (1500m) and won a gold medal at the 1979 Pan American Games in the 5000m.
110m hurdles: National high school leader Johnny Dutch (Clayton, NC) has a 2006 best of 13.55. Dutch, a junior, is the North Carolina 4A champ. Another junior, Texas 5A winner Oscar Spurlock (Carter, Dallas, TX), comes in at 13.62. There's also
Daryl Reynolds (New Bern, NC), a 13.72 performer this season, and Cordera Jenkins (Dickinson, TX), whose best is 13.78. Jenkins, a Texas A&M signee, won a gold medal last year at the IAAF World Youth Championship. His cousin, Robert Taylor, was a double medalist at the 1972 Olympics (gold 4x100, silver 100).
Others to weatch are junior Jeffrey Julmis (Fort Lauderale, FL) and Josh Hembrough (Forest Hills Northern, Grand Rapids, MI).
400m hurdles: Shaquan Brown (Kennedy, Paterson, NJ) and junior Johnny Dutch (Clayton, NC) appear to be the class of the field. Brown's season best is 51.6 while Dutch – the North Carolina 4A 300m hurdles champ – has a 52.37.
Daryl Reynolds (New Bern, NC), runnerup to Dutch at the North Carolina state meet, has a 52.61 seed time. Junior Emanuel Mayers (Lakewood, NJ) comes in at 52.78.
2000m steeplechase: Maryland-bound Greg Kelsey (Saratoga, NY), the nation's top prep 3000m steeplechaser at 9:16.25, goes against last year's third-placer, junior Ryan McDermott (Chaminade, Mineola, NY). A.J. Savoia (North Rockland, Thiells, NY) and Taylor Morgan (Portland, OR) should finish near the top.
Mile walk: University of Maine at Orono recruit Ricky Michaud (Caribou, ME) comes to Greensboro with the fastest seed time, 7:15.00. Taylor Burns (Scarborough, NE) and Michael Boucher (Ellsworth, ME) round out the top three on the form chart.
4x100m relay: Eisenhower HS (Houston, TX), competing here as Team Texas, leads the entry list with a 40.05 time from the Lone Star State 5A championships. Garland (TX), runnerup at the Texas state meet in 40.30, comes in bent on revenge. Eisenhower and Garland are 1-2 on the current prep charts.
4x200m relay: Team Texas, a.k.a. Eisenhower HS (Houston, TX), is the national leader at 1:24.10 after a win at their state meet. Elsik (TX) and Garland (TX) are second and third on the prep charts with times of 1:24.47 and 1:24.61. The Elsik and Garland times also come from the Texas state meet.
4x400m relay: J.W. North (Riverside, CA) is the national high school leader with a 3:10.36 time from the California state meet on June 3. The West Des Moines Valley foursome ran 3:13.80 by themselves at the Iowa state meet and hope to challenge.
4x800m relay: Warwick Valley (NY) is the national leader with a time of 7:38.3.
4xMile relay: Royal (Simi Valley, CA) comes in with the year's top prep time, a 17:19.31 from the Arcadia Invitational. Kroy TC (better known as York HS, Elmhurst, IL) has run 17:15.00. Monsignor Farrell (Staten Island, NY), with a seed time of 17:25.50, should contend.
800m medley relay: Northwestern (Miami, FL) tops the entry lists, followed closely by DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD). The Floridians have run 1:30.02 while the Maryland quartet has a time of 1:30.20.
1600m sprint medley relay: The Bulldog Striders (better known as Simon Gratz HS of Philadelphia) come in at 3:26.79. Right behind them on the form chart is Warwick Valley (NY) at 3:26.91.
Distance medley relay: Kroy TC (York HS, Elmhurst, IL), Fayetteville-Manlius (Manlius, NY) and Warwick Valley (NY) are all under 10:10 this season. Kroy's 10:05.00 leads the way.
High jump: Donte Nall (Chapel Hill, Douglasville, GA), the lone seven-footer, is the class of this year's field. There are six entries at 6-10 – South Florida recruit Michael Kursteiner (Nature Coast Tech, Weeki Wachee, FL); Jerome McKenzie (Marietta, GA); Daniel Averso (Providence Christian, Lilburn, GA); Princeton signee Justin Frick (Freehold, NJ); Marlon Woods (Booker T. Washington, Norfolk, VA); and Justin Oliver (Pennsauken, NJ).
Pole vault: A year ago, the top three places in this event went to Scott Roth (Granite Bay, CA), Mike Morrison (Great Bridge, Chesapeake, VA) and Jordan Scott (Oconee County, Watkinsville, GA).
All three are back this year, and it gets even better. There are six 17-foot performers entered, topped by Morrison's 17-6.5. The Florida-bound Morrison is the current national leader.
Defending champ Roth, a two-time winner at the California state meet, is next on the U.S. list at 17-5. Junior Spencer McCorkel (Bryant, AR) has cleared 17-2 while Scott has gone 17-1 this year.
Air Force Academy recruit Phil Hanson (Pontiac, IL) and Nick Frawley round out a lustrous field. Hanson has a best of 17-1.75 and Frawley (Midlothian, TX) won the Texas 4A title with a 17-0.25 mark.
At the Nike Indoor Nationals, Roth – who's headed to Washington – took first with Morrison and Scott tied for second.
Long jump: Last year's third-place finisher, Keith Graham (West Ashley, Charleston, SC), returns. Graham comes in this year at 24-5.75. The best seed performance, 24-6.5, belongs to Keenan Hall (Ben Davis, Indianapolis, IN). Also in the 24-foot range this year are Christopher Dollinger (North Penn, Lansdale, PA), and Marlon Woods (Booker T. Washington, Norfolk, VA).
Triple jump: Kali Jackson (Cahokia, IL) and Gary Jones (Webster-Schroeder, Webster, NY) hold down two of the top three spots on the national prep list. Jackson, who'll attend Wallace State next year, is the leader at 52-5.75. Jones is third at 51-5.25. Keith Graham (West Ashley, Charleston, SC), who checks in at 48-11.25, was third in this event last year.
Shot put: Four of the nation's five best high school performers will lock horns in Greensboro. Eric Flores (Custer, SD) owns the top three prep marks on the current prep charts, including a season best of 67-4.5. Flores, who also played goalie on a state championship soccer team, was this year's Nike Indoor winner. Flores will attend Concordia Portland this fall.
Missouri recruit Andy Oaker (Steelville, MO) is third on the prep charts at 66-3. Right behind him is Indiana-bound Eric Werksey (Seymour, IN) at 65-6, followed by junior Benjamin Stephen (Union County, Liberty, IN) at 65-5. Werskey and Stephen took the top two spots at their state meet in Bloomington, Ind., this month.
Discus throw: UCLA signee Bo Taylor (Newport Harbor, Newport Beach, CA) and sophomore Geoffrey Tabor (Ardmore, OK) top this field. Taylor's 213-7 from the qualifying rounds at the California state meet is the national leader. He claimed the Golden West title this month in Folsom, Calif.
The prodigious Tabor is a real thoroughbred. Phil Tabor, his father, and his uncle, Paul Tabor, were football stars at Oklahoma. Phil was a member of the NFL's New York Giants while Paul played for the Chicago Bears. Geoffrey, who ranks first in his class, is also an accomplished cellist.
Hammer throw: Junior Walter Henning (St. Anthony's, South Huntington, NY) stands out in this field like King Kong atop the Empire State Building. Henning, last year's runnerup, has the top five prep marks this season – including a best of 247-6, a junior class record. In Greensboro, he could challenge the meet record of 242-9 by Jacob Freeman in 1999.
David Schiedt (Lassiter, Marietta, GA) owns the next-best performance, 219-3.
Javelin throw: The best two seed marks belong to Michael Davis (Kings, Lake Forest Park, WA) and Preston Chatham (St. Paul's, Covington, LA). Davis checks in at 210-8 while Chatham, an LSU recruit, has a best of 210-2. Princeton-bound Mark Paski (Delbarton, Chester, NJ) and Steve Pierce (Ridgewood, NJ) are over 200 feet this year.