by Pete CavaBOYS 60-METER HURDLES — PRELIMINARIES: Wayne Davis Jr. (Raleigh, N.C.) led all qualifiers for Sunday's semifinals with a 7.73 clocking in the fifth of eight heats.
Forty-one hurdlers took part, with the top eighteen times advancing to three semis.
BOYS 60 METERS — PRELIMINARIES: Joseph Morris (Golden, Colo.) and Marquise Goodwin (Rowlette, Texas) blazed their way into Sunday's semifinals, posting the fastest qualifying times in the morning prelims.
Morris won Heat 3 with a time of 6.84 while Goodwin equaled that performance in Heat 4.
Fifty-one sprinters competed in ten heats, with the top 18 times advancing.
BOYS 60-METER HURDLES — SEMIFINALS: Wayne Davis Jr. (Raleigh, N.C.) reached Sunday afternoon's final with a 7.79 performance in the first semifinal. The six fastest times advanced from three semis.
Rounding out the six-man final are Booker Nunley (Garner, N.C.), winner of the second semi in 7.81; Michael Hancock (Denver, Colo.), first in the third semi with a 7.86 clocking, along with Keare Smith (Garner, N.C.), Jamele Mason (Spring, Texas), and Kevin Newsome (Chesapeake, Va.).
Smith was second to Nunley in the second semi with a time of 7.90, while Mason and Newsome placed second and third in the third semifinal. Mason's time was 7.91 while Newsome ran 8.01. Newsome had squeaked his way into the semis, tying for the seventeenth-fastest time.
Davis and Newsome are the only underclassmen in the final. Both are juniors.
BOYS 60-METERS — SEMIFINALS: Devon Smith, Marquise Goodwin, Torry Womack, Darryl White and Lamaar Thomas reached Sunday afternoon's final.
Smith (Waldorf, Md.) was the fastest qualifier with a 6.75 in the first semifinal. Goodwin (Rowlette, Texas) won the second semi in 6.90, while Morris (Golden, Colo.) won the third semi in 6.78.
Thomas (Fort Worth, Texas) was second in the first semi in 6.89; Womack was runnerup in the second semi with a time of 6.84 and White (Romulus, Mich.) was second in the third semi in 6.88.
BOYS BOWERMAN MILE: "Is the season over yet?" joked an out-of-breath Kyle Merber after Sunday's convincing mile triumph.
"This has been a magical season," he added. "It's been incredible. Every week or two, winning a big race or running a PR."
Merber, the talented senior from Half Hallow Hills West High School in Dix, N.Y., left nothing in the tank as he held off Patrick McGregor (Hoover TC) toward the finish. Turning on the jets over the final 220 meters, he held off McGregor's rush down the homestretch to win in 4:16.47.
"I'm confident in my kick, so when a race comes down to a kick, I just need to pour my heart into it and hope it works out, said Merber, a Columbia University recruit. "I had to dig down deep for that."
Merber was content to let Joseph Thompson (Howard High School) and then Tyler Stutzman (Albermarle, Va.) set the pace. He hung back in second or third place most of the way, with McGregor not far behind.
With two laps to go Merber flew into the lead and McGregor went with him. Merber picked up the pace on the final turn with McGregor right on his tail. "I was so scared," admitted Merber. "I was ruining for my life."
A grimacing Merber held off McGregor's last charge to finish first in 4:16.47. McGregor was second in 4:16.79 with Bill Matthews (Birmingham, Ala.) third in 4:20.13.
"After the cross country season, where I failed to make Footlocker Nationals, I came out really motivated," said Merber. "I wasn't going to lose it on a kick. A national championship tops everything off."
BOYS LONG JUMP: Marquise Goodwin opened with a career-best leap of 24-9, a mark that stood up for the Nike Indoor Nationals title.
Goodwin, a junior from Rowlette (Texas) High School, came to Landover with a personal best of 24-7, the season's No. 2 prep indoor mark.
Goodwin was never challenged. James Taylor (Suffolk, Va.), another junior, popped a 23-6.25 in the fifth round, good for second place.
Brian Richards (Toronto, Ontario) nailed down third place with a 23-2.75 measurement on his final attempt.
BOYS 400 METERS: The top items on Ja-Vell Bullard's To-Do List this week were: (1) win the Nike Indoor Nationals two-lap title, (2) anchor his school's 4x4 relay and (3) pick out a college.
Bullard (Hampton, Va.) completed the first task Sunday afternoon, winning the 400 in 48.81. He had to come from behind to do it.
Russell Dinkins (Philadelphia, Pa.) got off to a quick start and led at the halfway mark with Varick Tucker (Bellevue, Mich.) right behind him. Meanwhile, Bullard seemed to dawdle behind, content with third place.
Coming around the final turn, Bullard moved into high gear and took the lead. Tucker went with him, but to no avail. Bullard rose home first in 48.81, followed by Tucker in 48.93 and Dinkins in 49.32.
"I had to relax in the first 100," said Bullard. "I was just worried about what my time would be. I hadn't run a 400 since last year."
The wiry 5-10, 149-pound Bullard was scheduled to anchor Bethel High School's 4x4 relay team later in the day. After that, he plans on picking a college to attend in the fall. "I'm doing the choosing process this week," he said."
BOYS 60 METERS: Joseph Morris (Golden, Colo.) had a great start but had to survive a very close finish to emerge victorious — and unscathed.
After a false start charged to the field, Morris came quickly out of the blocks in Lane 3. To Morris's right in Lane 4, junior Devon Smith (Waldorf, Md.) also got out well.
Morris appeared to have the advantage coming toward the finish, but Smith made a furious rush. Morris and Smith were very close at the finish, Smith stumbled and fell after crossing the line, tumbling to his left. Morris had to leap over him to avoid a collision.
The scoreboard showed Morris in front by the narrowest of margins — 6.76 to Smith's 6.77. Third was Marquise Goodwin (Rowlette, Texas) in 6.80. Goodwin won the long jump title earlier in the day.
BOYS 60-METER HURDLES: Running in Lane 4, Wayne Davis Jr. looked cool, calm an unconcerned about the final.
Looks, however, can be deceiving. All the way to a first-place finish in 7.62, the junior from Southeast High School in Raleigh, N.C., was churning inside.
One lane over to Davis's right, Michael Hancock (Denver, Colo.) was very close. Coming off the final hurdle it looked like anyone's race until Davis put on a final burst to win in meet-record time.
"I was pretty concerned throughout the whole race," said Davis. "My mind was on the race itself. I just have a calm look. But inside, it's like a fire."
Hancock took second in 7.67 with Booker Nunley (Garner, N.C.) third in 7.78.
BOYS 800 METERS: Joseph Franklin (Godby, Tallahassee, Fla.) got the win over junior Jason Walton (Hillsborough, N.J.) and Andrew Perkins (Watertown, Wisc.) for the victory.
Franklin, fifth at the 2007 Nike Indoor Nationals, won the fast section in 1:54.09. Walton finished close behind in in 1:54.65, but wound up third, courtesy of Walton's time of 1:54.38 in an earlier section.
BOYS 2-MILE: From start to finish, willowy Luke Puskedra and Colby Lowe, his shorter, persistent rival, waged a duel for the 2-mile title. Puskedra (Judge Memorial Catholic, Ogden, Utah) and Lowe (Carroll, Southlake, Texas) changed places at least half a dozen time during the first mile before Puskedra settled into the lead.
Puskedra managed to stay in front of Lowe, but just barely. As the rest of the field melted away, the two kept pace until the final lap. At the bell, Puskedra bided his time. When he reached the backstretch, the 6-5, 150-pound Oregon recruit kicked. Lowe tried to keep pace, but couldn't match Puskedra's long strides.
Puskedra raced home first in 8:49.58. Lowe settled for second in 8:50.79 with Brian Leung (Plainsboro, N.J) third in 8:59.66.
"I ran pretty solid," Puskedra said afterwards. "We didn't go crazy on the first 800. I just tried to keep it rolling. I'm pretty happy with the time".
About the pesky Lowe, Puskedra said: "Me and him were back and forth at Boston Indoors, too. He's a top gun. He's racing well right now."
BOYS 200 METERS: Peripatetic Fuquawn Greene (Track Eastern Carolina, New Bern, N.C.) seemed to pop up everywhere during his first Nike Indoor Nationals. And whatever event the lanky sophomore ran in, he seemed to excel.
Sunday, he won the one-lap event by the slimmest of margins, edging Dominic Smith (Bloomfield, Conn.) 21.98 to 21.99.
Saturday, Greene ran the lead leg for Track Eastern Carolina's triumphant sprint medley. He also ran in one of the preliminary heats of the 4x4 Sunday, turning in an impressive 49.9 for the final 400.
The soft-spoken Greene told reporters he had no plans to rest on his laurels. "This is my first nationals," he said. "It's been successful and it's been fun, too. I'm excited I won, but now I want to work harder."
Third place went to Curtis Campbell (Grassfield Boys) with a time of 22.12.
BOYS HIGH JUMP: Erik Kynard cleared 7-0.25 on his first try to put away the Nike Indoor Nationals crown.
The junior from Rogers High School (Holland, Ohio) was one of three men left at the height, along with Tomarris Bell (Rochester, N.Y.) and Chris Copeland (Suffolk, Va.). All three had made 6-10.25
Kynard cleared the bar right off the bat, while Bell and Copeland struggled. And when neither cleared the height, Kynard had the win.
Kynard came to the NIN with a best of 7-3.75 and had four of the year's top five prep indoor marks. Copeland came in with a 7-0 clearance.
BOYS SHOT PUT: Michael Barbas (Jersey Village, Houston, Texas) upped his career best to 66-3 to finish first in the shot.
Barbas bested a pair of better-publicized contestants, Michael Carter Jr. (Red Oak, Texas), and Brandon Pounds (Indianapolis, Ind.),. Carter's father was the 1984 Olympic shot put silver medalist, while Pounds led the nation's preps earlier this season with a throw of 64-9.5.
Barbas took over the lead in the second round with a 62-8.75 effort and improved to 64-6.75 on his fourth throw. His big heave came in the fifth round.
Carter's best mark, 62-5.25, came in the fifth round while Pounds had a 62-3.75 in the third round.
BOYS 4x800 METER RELAY: Track Eastern Carolina (New Bern, N.C.) and Chaminade High School (Mineola, N.Y.) slugged it out over the final 400 meters before the Carolinians claimed victory.
The Carolina crew, consisting of Andrew Hendrix, Ronald Barnes, Rodney Stewart and Anthony Hendrix, pulled ahead on the first leg and stayed there most of the way.
Edison High School (Alexandria, Va.) took the lead on the third leg and was ahead with about 400 meters to go when Anthony Hendrix and Michael Schieck, Chaminade's anchor, made their moves. Hendrix took command, followed closely by Schieck, who had been in third place.
The two began to leave the rest of the field behind, and Hendrix brought the stick home first in 7:58.18. Chaminade's time was 7:58.75, with Edison third in 8:00.74.
BOYS 4x400 METER RELAY: Ja-Vell Bullard already had a Nike Indoor Nationals championship ring after winning Sunday's 200.
Yet when he crossed the finish line in the meet's last event, he held his right fist high, his index finger pointing toward the ceiling. "That was for my friend," said Bullard, pointing to Bethel (Va.) High School leadoff man Earl House. "He wanted to win this race so bad. He wanted a ring so bad, that this race was for him."
House had given Bethel the lead by the first exchange, and the Virginians never looked back. House handed off to Sherrard Marrow, who passed to Austin Cuffee, who gave the baton to Bullard. Bethel's winning time was 3:20.79.
Second place went to Track Eastern Carolina, author of a 3:22.12 in the second section. Pleasantville (N.J.) Track Club, second to Bethel in the fast section, wound up third in 3:24.15.
Bethel won the NIN 4x4 title for the second consecutive year.