2016 NBNI Athletes of the Meet: Grant Holloway and Tonea Marshall

by Steve Underwood

Photos by Vic Sailer, Photorun.net

The 2016 New Balance Nationals Indoor Boys’ Athlete of the Meet award went to Grant Holloway (Grassfield, VA senior) after he won the pentathlon Saturday and set a national record in the 60H (and 55H en route) Sunday.  A Caribbean Scholastic Invitational alum from 2015, he started his first 5-eventer with a 7.78 60H triumph, then spanned 24-5 in the long jump (where he’s US#1) – also a win.  He was 4th in the shot put with a 41-3.25 PR, then soared a season’s best US#5 6-10.25 in the high jump.  Needing 2:44.70 to break Gunnar Nixon’s 4,307 HSR from this meet in 2011, he settled for 2:52.21 (2nd) for a total of 4,230 – the U.S. leader and #3 all-time.

For the 60-meter hurdles – where he entered the meet as defending champ and #2 all-time with his meet-record 7.59 from 2015 – he started Saturday with an easy 7.90 prelim, qualifying 5th overall into Sunday’s semis.  There he upped the ante to a nation-leading 7.69.  Then in the final, he blasted a 7.53, taking down Donavan Robertson’s 7.57 from 2012.  He was also timed at 7.00 for 55H, surpassing his own mark of 7.05 from last year.  Holloway, a Florida signee for track and football, now has 3 NBNI championship titles, plus 2 other wins from the 2013 freshman 60 and 400 (then-meet records 7.02 and 49.18) and the 2014 emerging elite 200 (then-meet record 21.64).  He was also 2nd in the 2015 championship high jump.

The 2016 New Balance Nationals Indoor Girls’ Athlete of the Meet honor went to Tonea Marshall (Arlington Sequin, TX senior) – thanks to two stellar days of hurdling that produced 3 national records.  In an girls’ 60m hurdles event considered to have the deepest field ever for an indoor hurdles championship – and a true showcase event for this 2016 championships – Marshall quickly established herself as the favorite Saturday with an 8.16 prelim – a big .12 PR that made her =#2 all-time and erased the memory of a pair of losses she suffered to Anna Cockrell and Brandee’ Johnson in recent weeks leading up to NBNI.

In Sunday’s semis, Marshall rocked The Armory with her first HSR – an 8.08 – that took down Dior Hall’s 8.11 from this meet in 2014.  With a 7.51 55H split en route, she missed the HSR by .01.  A few hours later in the final, Marshall was even better, with a devastating 8.02 – nearly becoming the first girl under 8 seconds.  This time she did break the 55H on the way with a 7.46 (first under 7.50), surpassing Candy Young’s converted 7.50 from 1980.  This was future LSU Tiger’s first NBNI, but she was 2nd in the 2015 NBNO 100H and also competed in Greensboro in 2014.

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