Our 19th New Balance Nationals Indoor (NBNI), our renowned championships for the country's best prep track and field athletes, is underway! We had more than 3,600 athletes from 40+ states and Canadian provinces in 2016 and we are expecting similar numbers this weekend -- all of them looking to run, hurdle, jump, throw and walk their way to titles and All-American honors in 46 boys' and girls' Championship events -- plus 40 more Emerging Elite and Freshman events.
We couldn't do it without our special partners and friends at New Balance; we thank them for again working with us (7 years now indoors) to make these three days the best in prep indoor T&F. We also think our Eastbay, our Presenting Sponsor; plus all of the great staff, officials and volunteers who work tirelessly with the NSAF here at NBNI every year.
National record-setters Sammy Watson, Armand Duplantis, Sydney McLaughlin, Tyrese Cooper, Tara Davis, Trey Cunningham, Alyssa Wilson, Jordan Geist and Lauren Harris. Photos by Vic Sailer, Photorun.net
There have been 9 individual prep national record-setters indoors this winter and ALL of them will be at NBNI! Here's a quick look at each.
Record-setting hurdlers Tonea Marshall and Grant Holloway. Photos by Vic Sailer, photorun.net
As has been the case more often than not in recent years, the performances at the 2016 New Balance Nationals Indoor earned it the title of "greatest indoor track meet of all time." There were 11 national records set, plus 16 national class records and 35 meet records: 18 championship, 16 Emerging Elite and 1 Freshman. 3,650 athletes from 43 states and four Canadian provinces put on a show that will never be forgotten.
The 11 national record-setters:
Some of the above-mentioned record-setters accomplished even more: Holloway also won the pentathlon (with the #3 score ever), while Kelati finished off a distance double with the 2-Mile crown (#5 all-time). And McLaughlin and Lyles were each part of jaw-dropping relays, both ranking #2 in prep history: McLaughlin anchored Union Catholic, NJ's girls' 3:40.28 4x400, while Lyles and brother Josephus (60m dash champ in 6.65) led T.C. Williams, VA's boys to a 1:26.11 4x200.
The historic efforts weren't limited to the track: Both long jumps saw meet records and the #3 efforts in HS history -- Rayvon Grey (Beacon, NY) leaping 26-0.25 and Samiyah Samuels (Cypress Springs, TX) soaring 21-3.25. Grey's was the best boys' prep LJ since 1989, while Samuels reached a distance not achieved for girls since 1981!
Here are some links:
Again, a special thanks to the greatest partners we could hope for -- our friends at New Balance who worked with us to make this the most fantastic weekend of high school track and field ever; to Eastbay, our Presenting Sponsor; and all of those who worked tirelessly for us here at the NSAF all weekend long.
Our NBNI competition bibs were provided by Athlete Race Numbers, now the Official Bib Printer of the NSAF. You can see what the bibs looked like in the photo at right. Meet Directors: Be sure to check them out for your own meets and use the handy NSAF16 code to receive a discount.
Another big highlight of our NBNI weekend was a tribute to our late NSAF co-founder, F. Michael ("Mike") Byrnes. Mike's wife, Joan Byrnes, and several local and out-of-town guests joined us on the infield at The Armory during our opening ceremonies -- most of them former athletes of Mike's who he coached during his long, successful career at Wantagh High School on Long Island.
This was our first NBN meet since Mike passed away at his home in Virginia this past December 26. Mike and Jim Spier, having worked together since the late 1970s, founded the NSAF in 1989 and everything we've done since then has so much to do with all of the great qualities he brought to our organization. Many thanks to Gordon Peterson, who ran for Mike in the 1960s, wrote the tribute (and this STORY shortly after Mike passed) and invited and brought all of the special guests together. Thanks also to the Armory staff and our announcer David Mitchell, who gave voice to what Gordon wrote | VIDEO OF OPENING CEREMONIES (Youtube)
Four NSAF honorees -- We were also thrilled to present at NBNI Sunday the following individuals with these respective annual NSAF awards:
The Championship races are for those who have made the qualifying standards for those events. The Emerging Elite is for those who have not quite made those standards. The Emerging Elite Division is open to any high school athlete who has made the Emerging Elite standards, whether they be Freshman, Sophomores, Juniors or Seniors.
The idea is that, eventually, an Emerging Elite athlete will join the elite ranks, but has not yet attained that status. We have had this division in place for several years now in the outdoor version of this meet. A prime example is that of Kyle Merber. He won the Emerging Elite mile as a junior in 2007 in 4:15.95 (The championship mile was won in 4:03.33). The next year he was New York State 1600m Champion. And in his Sophomore year at Columbia U, he ran 3:58.62 for a mile! Similarly, Megan Goethals was the Emerging Elite mile champion in 2008 in 4:59.26. In 2009, she became the Foot Locker National Champion in cross-country.