Some of the very best prep athletes from around the country have converged on the first Dunamis Super Meet to be held in Atlanta this weekend, February 8-11, at the LakePoint Champions Center. Many of them already have a great NSAF pedigree.
They include five current or former New Balance Nationals champions, numerous other NBN All-Americans, six athletes who have represented Team NSAF at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational, and three who competed for Team USA last summer at Pan American Juniors. There are also four athletes who are current national leaders and many others ranked in the top 10.
Here are nine of the top individual entries and events to watch this weekend:
1. Boys’ 60m hurdle showdown
Eric Edwards (Langham Creek, TX sr) and Kyle Garland (Germantown Acad., PA sr) were teammates for Team NSAF at the Caribbean Scholastic Invite last summer and each hold national leads in the boys’ hurdles this weekend. But they’ve never met in this event. Edwards was 5th in the 60H at NBNI last winter and is the current 60H U.S. leader at 7.66. In between, he was the USATF and Pan Am Junior at 110H last summer with the nation’s best time. Garland, meanwhile, is the nation’s top decathlete and defending NBNI pentathlon champ – but the hurdles are one of his best events and he’s run a US#1 7.25 over 55H. At least three other boys are sub-8.00 and potential All-American talents, making this a national championship-caliber field.
2. Girls’ 60m hurdle could be even better
Arguably the top entry from the state of Georgia in the whole meet is Tia Jones (Walton, GA jr) – the national record-holder in the 100m hurdles (12.84 from ’16) – but she might actually be the underdog in a super loaded field here. Jones has run 8.45 this winter for 60H, with an 8.30 PR from last year (3rd NBNI), but Emily Sloan (FK Elite, CO) has clocked a US#2 8.33 (with an 8.34 backup) to earn top billing. Right on the heels of both is another Georgian, Darci Khan (Stockbridge, GA jr) at 8.51 (8.43 last year). That’s the #2-3-4 girls in the country – and there are several others under 9 seconds should they falter.
3. Moore leads loaded girls’ triple jump
Another event at the highest level is the girls’ TJ, led by 3-time NBN champion Jasmine Moore. In June of 2016, Moore won the NBNO triple as a freshman and has been almost unbeatable since, capturing last winter’s NBNI TJ and then defending her title outdoors. She has a US#1 42-9.5 best this winter. But hot on her heels this winter are Sydnee Larkin and Alonie Sutton. Larkin (Cherokee Trail, CO sr) is part of the FK Elite crew and has exploded in the event this winter, with six meets over 40 feet including a US#3 PR of 41-10. Sutton (Smiths Station, AL sr) leapt 42-2 outdoors in ’17 and is close to that now with a 41-5.75 indoor best. That’s three of the nation’s top four.
4. Garland also battling Patterson in HJ
Between his multi-event competitions and individual high jumps, Garland occasionally has days when getting beyond 6-8 is a challenge; others, he’s soaring over 7-feet or better. Saturday he could be pushed to the max by Nate Patterson from Indiana. The Plymouth HS senior is competing in his first meet of the year, but twice leapt 7-2 outdoors last spring after clearing 7-1 indoors. He was also NBNO runner-up at 7-0.25.
5. KC Lightfoot chasing 18 ft. in pole vault
It’s incredible to think that we could have not one, not two, but FOUR 18-foot pole vaulters in high school this year. Mondo Duplantis, of course, has set the bar unspeakably high, with his 19-foot-plus U20 world records. But now there are three others this winter between 17-7 and 18-0, including Lightfoot. The Lee’s Summit, MO senior hit 17-7 last week and 17-8.5 for his PR last summer at Great Southwest. He was the NBNI runner-up behind Duplantis last winter. If anyone can push him here, it might be fast-improving 16-footer Brian Hauch of nearby Parkview HS in Lilburn, GA.
6. EE champ Killebrew favored in tight 60
The girls’ short dash could be pretty special with three entrants under 7.5 seconds. Semira Killebrew has been one of the nation’s best young talents since she was a pre-teen and made headlines last March when she won the NBNI Emerging Elite 60 at 7.49. Now she’s at 7.45, tied for 2nd on the national list. Sydnee Larkin, best known for her triple jumping, is also a 7.49 talent in the 60 – tied for US#5. Then there’s Vivette Green, the Alexander HS (GA) senior who was part of Team NSAF in Cuba last year, who is at 7.71 this year but ran 7.46 in ’17.
7. Godwin makes banked track debut
All eyes will be on home-state sprint star Elija Godwin in the 200 prelims as he makes his debut on a banked track in just his 2nd indoor meet ever. The Newton HS senior hit 20.71 last spring in the furlong, just .20 off the national lead. He also ran 45.83 for 400 as a soph in ’16, then 46.23 last spring. He was the Georgia 7A champ in both last year, beating Brian Herron in a pair of epic showdowns. He’ll be up against a deep field of sub-22.00 dashmen, including two from Michigan who have recent PRs in the high 21s.
8. Jones leads 60-foot trio in boys’ shot
One of the furthest-traveling athletes to come to the Super Meet is Tyson Jones – the Desert Edge HS from Goodyear, Arizona who competed for Team NSAF in Cuba last spring. Jones threw the shot 67-6.5 last year in winning his D2 state title and is the nation’s #2 outdoor returnee. This is just his 3rd indoor meet and 1st this year and outside of Arizona. The other 60-footers are from the region and been active this winter. Joshua Soboto is the current US#3 at 64-4.5, a Bearden, TN senior who was 3rd at NBNO (65-11 PR) and 8th at NBNI in ’17. Jermain Anderson is a Chapel Hill, GA senior who competes for Peach State Throwers and has a 61-6.25 best this winter, 63-8 outdoors last year.
9. Western Branch, Motor City TC clash in relays
The relay entries are highlighted by two of the best programs in the country: Western Branch HS out of Chesapeake, VA and the Motor City Track Club – consisting of Oak Park HS athletes. Western Branch is the current US#2 with 1:38.97 in the 4x200 and #3 in the 4x4 at 3:47.44. Motor City has a US#5 3:49.06 to their credit and has sub-1:40 capacities for the shorter race. Motor City has run 3:20.79 in the boys’ 4x4, which will include several teams under 3:25.