Elliott’s First Day Competition Girls Report

ONE MILE RACE WALK Jenna Monahan, the third-placer in 2006, moved up to the top spot in a walkaway 7:38.60 triumph, regaining the crown she took in 2005 in 7:52.71. The Sachem East (Long Island, NY) senior won in a breeze, crossing the line as walker-up Chelsea Conway of Rochester, Ny (8:11.12) was rounding the far turn. One more New Yorker, Sara Meade of Pearl River, snared third in 8:18.57. NIN champion Sara Adams of Lisbon Falls, Maine, was ill and a late scratch.

Last year was a rough year for me, said Monahan, whod been a victim of her own overeagerness.

I double practiced every day, and it was just too much for me, she said. And then I didnt have enough of a taper coming into this meet.

But my 2007 season has been going pretty well. I planned to win by a lot. My goal was just to see how much I could win by.

Unbeaten in the scholastic ranks, she heads to Indianapolis next week to walk the 10K at Junior Nationals, aiming for international spots in the Pan Am Juniors and USA-Canada dual meet.

In the fall, she heads to CW Post College to major in physical education, work toward a career in adaptive physical ed, and work even harder on her racewalking, her eye on a bid for a spot on the 2012 London-bound Olympic team.

HAMMER THROW Thanks to Coach Mike Judge, Marietta, Ga. Is becoming a hub of hammering.

Mariettas Emily Bernhardt won it at 169-1 in 2006 and Allison Horner kept the crown in Marietta with a 166-11 heave Friday afternoon.

It wasnt close Providence, RIs Victoria Flowers took the silver from a distance with a 158-3 best. Just one other heaver got it out past the 150 mark Patrice Gates of Villa Rica, Ga. at 155-0.

Horners a junior and so is Flowers; Gates is just a freshman and fourth-placer Lauren Chambers of Acworth, Ga. (147-11) a sophomore. Fact is, six of the top seven are underclass persons, so theres plenty of hope for great throwing ahead.

With Harold Connolly, the four-time Olympian and 1956 gold medalist (last American hammerman to strike gold at the Games), these throwers had plenty of inspiration.

It wasnt my best I could have done, but thats all right, I did what I had to do, said Horner, whose 2007 best is 177-9 and was second to Bernhardt here last year at 158-5.

It was on my third turn, I kept over-placing it (a foot) every time, she said. And it was great having Harold Connolly here. Hes just an awesome man.

One more Mariettan, Juliana Smith, led the first-flighters at 133-5.

100-METER DASH The biggest names made the biggest splashes in the heats Gabby Mayo (11.62), Tiffany Townsend (11.68), Chalonda Goodman (11.75), Nyosha Bryant (11.78), Brittany Long (11.80), Shataya Hendricks (11.99.),

Late-entry Shavon Greaves joined them in the final with the eighth and final spot going to Breanna Hubbard (11.9223) over Breehana Jacobs (11.9230) by the slimmest of margins.

Anyone who didnt notice English Gardner, though, was making a very bad mistake. The Voorhees, NJ freshman was a just-out-it third in her heat at 11.94 and 10th over-all.

But trials form went out the window in the final, run two and a half hours later.

Goodman, the scintillating orange-clad sophomore out of Newnan, Ga., blasted ahead past the midway mark and held on for the biggest and fastest win of her life in 11.56 seconds.

The celebrated Gabby Mayo, Raleigh senior whod won the 2006 NON crown in 11.42, nearly got it all back in the final strides before accepting relegation to second in 11.58.

And two more were within breathing distance Atlanta junior Brittany Long (11.63) and Killeen, Texas senior Tiffany Townsend (11.65), whod come to Greensboro atop the NON leader board at 11.21.

A race of their own separated the 5-6-7 finishers Charlotte soph Nyosha Bryant (11.81), North Lauderdale, Florida senior Shataya Hendricks (11.86) and Jonesboro, Ga. sophomore Breanna Hubbard (11.89.) Lakewood, NJ senior Greaves never got up into the hunt (11.98.)

Goodmans blazing talents will now help her see the world. She is bound for this summers World Youth Championships in the Czech Republic.

It really felt great to beat someone as good as Gabby Mayo, Goodman said post-race.

I really admire her and running against her really inspires me. I try not to get nervous when Im running against great competition, but its tough.

This has really been a great season for me. I ran my personal best today and my high school season gave me so much confidence. I started running 4x4 in high school and it really built my strength.

110-METER HIGH HURDLES TRIALS - The third-placer in 2006, Knoxvilles Jacquelyn (Jackie) Coward leaves no doubts that she plans to do a lot better in 2007.

The Tennessee junior totally outclassed the 18 others who turned out for the three heats with a sizzling 13.56 victory in race three.

The other heats went to multi-skilled Pennsylvanian Ryann Krais (13.80) and Texan April Williams (13.88.) It took a 14.54 to make the eight-runner Saturday final, the last spot narrowly going to New Jerseyan Racquel Vassell (14.54) over Georgian Jasmine Edgerson (14.55.)

1600-METER SPRINT MEDLEY RELAY Announcer Doug Speck was in top form. He had to be, because this was one of the best 200-200-400-800 races youll ever want to see.

Great, great, great, this is truly spectacular, Speck declared. And with every one of his superlatives, the crowd really got into it.

To huge applause, senior Marika Walkers 2:06.7 anchor carry lifted the Blazin Raiders of Eleanor Roosevelt High of Greenbelt, Md. to a national-record clocking of 3:51.90.

Freshman Afia Charles and sophomore Doris Anyanwu got it going with top half-lap stints, senior Takecia Jameson ran a solid 400, and Walker did all the rest.

Walker came through in 61 and added to the lead as the best of all the rest gave vain chase.. Knocked out of the top spot on the all-time charts was West Catholic of Philadelphias National (and meet) record of 3:52.22 here in 2004. The 2006 Blazin Raiders had won here in a just-miss 3:52.38.

With 2006 NON mile champion Danielle Tauro on anchor, Southern Regional HSs Hammer Track Club of Manahawkin, NJ delivered a 3:54.37 for the eighth-best time ever. Tauro got the baton from soph sensation teammate Jillian Smith in third place, moved decisively into second but her 2:07.1 two laps , fastest of her life, still lost ground to Walker.

Said Walker: Weve been after a lot of national records, it feels good to finally get one.

I just pushed it all the way to the end because when I looked up at the scoreboard I knew exactly how fast I needed to run to break the record. I knew I had to run the fastest Ive ever run. I didnt want to miss getting the record this time. We missed by (little over) a tenth of a second last year. I knew the competition in the last leg was going to be tough, so I gave it all I had.

Oak Ridge of Orlando, Fla. also broke four at 3:59.71 while Rhode Islands LaSalle Academy (4:00.40) and New Yorks Benjamin Cardozo (4:00.52) were just over four.

You saw something very special today, field announcer Ian Brooks told the crowd at the awards ceremony.

And one more round of applause rained down from the stands.

TRIPLE JUMP Penn State-bound Gabriela Baiter of Greenlawn, NY saved her best for last and turned into a 12.35 / 40 feet, 6 -inch gold medal performance.

Everything was on the line as Baiter sprinted down the runway one final time.

She hit the board cleanly and executed perfectly.

The deed was done Rachel Brown of Mechanicsville, Va. , whod led ever since her second-round 12.06 / 39-7 performance was passed and beaten.

Just one centimeter separated second and third - Penn Relays and New Jersey state champion Stephanie McIntyre of South Brunwick settling for the three spot at 12.05 / 39-6 .

I won on my last jump because I finally put it all together, said Baiter.

I approached the board cleanly and getting to my jump phases. That s been my trademark. I usually put it all together in terms of my phases on the last jump.

I knew to win a national championship I had to jump 40 feet. I knew I had not done that yet and if I didnt do it on my last jump, I wasnt going to win it.

I wanted to go hard on the last jump, but I didnt want to get too aggressive where I messed up and fouled. I knew All my phases were perfect, so I knew the jump was good.

"Today's a gift, why else would they call it the present?"

POLE VAULT When Shade Weygandt sailed up and over 13 feet, 2 inches, and top rivals Stephanie Duffy and Rachel Lauent failed to squirm over, this one was history.

Weygandt, the celebrated Mansfield, Texas sophomore, took this Nike Outdoor title after falling just a tad short at Nike Indoors at Landover in March, settling for the silver.

Keep this up and some people will soon start calling Weygandt - maybe, just ,maybe a future Stacy Dragila.

Weygandts 13-7 in May set the national sophomore record. Her 13-2 here equaled the meet record set by Katie Veith here in 2006.

Next years first target Veiths junior-class national record set in 2006.

Monroe, NY senior Duffy claimed second over Houma, Louisianas Rachel Laurent whod beaten Weygandt at Landover after both went 12-10 . It took a check of the cards Duffy clearing 12-4 on first attempt while Laurent needed a third attempt to separate these two.

I really thought I had things under control during warmups, but I struggled after that, said Weygandt.

Toward the end, I started getting my rhythm back, but I think all of our jumps were affected by a strong head wind.

Its always harder for me to get used to the colder weather because Im from Texas. Last year I didnt bring in sweatpants and I paid for it. This year I brought sweats, but I still struggled getting used to the weather.

Im happy with winning today. I really got through the conditions so Im happy with that. I bailed out on some of my jumps, I just need to come back strong for Nike Indoor (iMarch 2008.).

4x800 - Order of runners, Tasha Stanley, Takecia Jameson, Dominique Lockart, Marika Walker

Walker: I know how hard it is to get out fast on your first lap and then come back with a strong second lap. She got out real fast and it was hard for her to keep up that pace. When we got down to the last 200 meters and I saw her starting to slow down, I knew I good catch her.

"Today's a gift, why else would they call it the present?"

HIGH JUMP For the fifth straight year, the winning height began with a 5.

Not since Chaunte Howards 6-1 leap in 2002 has a NON champion gone 6 or better. And the meet record of 6-2 by Amy Acuff back in 1993 looks as permanent as ever.

Three jumpers Stafford, Pa. senior April Sinkler, Durham, NC senior Patience Coleman and Sergeant Bluff, Iowa sophomore Megan Glisar cleared at 1.75 meters / 5 feet 8 inches and then missed three cracks apiece at 1.80/ 5-10 .

So the officials started counting misses on the way up and thats what determined all. Sinkler went 1.75 on her second try but Coleman and Glisar on their third. So, checking back to the previous height, 1.70 meters/ 5-7, Coleman took the silver because she cleared at first attempt but Glisar on her third.

The misses rule took a lot more checking in this event, before a two-way tie for fourth and fifth, and a four-way tie for 6-7-8-9 (all six of them at 5-7) were finalized.

Coming in I really didnt think 5-8 would win it, admitted Sinkler. Im really surprised, but you never know how everyone else is going to do. So for today, I jumped well enough to win because there were some girls who came in whod jumped six feet this season.

I wanted to jump 5-10 before this year was over. I did it a couple of times in practice, but I havent been able to do it in a meet yet. Im not going to be able to do that, either, because Im not going to Indianapolis (for Junior Nationals) next week because I have orientation at (her college destination of) Clemson. But I am content with my performance. It is all about getting better. If you can win while you do it, its even better.

4X100 RELAY TRIALS - The trio of teams in the 46s - Northwestern of Miami (46.43), Therrell of Atlanta (46.56) and Harding of North Carolina (46.62) figure to run a barn-burner in the Saturday final.

But dont overlook Oak Ridge of Florida (47.00) or Withrow of Cincinnati (47.09), either.

Completing the eight-team final will be Uniondale of Long Island (47.39), Medgar Evers of Brooklyn (47.52) and Collinwood of Cleveland (47.57.)

4X800 RELAY As Marika Walker of Eleanor Roosevelts Blazin Raiders sprinted down the home straight to the finish line, Warwick Valley, NYs Claire Pettit could only wobble the final meters.

This was high drama.

Warwick junior Pettit held at least a 20-meter lead coming around the final bend but simply ran out of gas. She lagged, then sagged. From first place, with 80 meters left, she dropped to fourth at the line, then dropped to the track in exhaustion.. All these teams deserve a ton of credit, lauded announcer Doug Speck. This is one of the finest 4x800 races youll ever see. This is a great, great race.

It sure was.

Intent on yet another national-record performance, on top of their earlier sprint medley best-ever ,the Blazin Raiders settled for an 8:55.50 triumph, fifth best in NON annals.

Tasha Stanley, Tameka Jameson and Dominique Lockhart did the early work and Walker did the rest.

Rushing past the flagging Pettit in the final meters, too, were Pope Paul XXIII (8:56.45) and Xavier Prep (8:57.81.)

Carmel, NY, was a not-close fifth in 9:04.28.

Analyzed Walker: : I know how hard it is to get out fast on your first lap and then come back with a strong second lap. She (Pettit) got out real fast and it was hard for her to keep up that pace. When we got down to the last 200 meters and I saw her starting to slow down, I knew I could catch her.

SHOT PUT All the form charts held up.

Charlotte senior Kamorean Hayes came in as the the only 50-foot thrower in the field and had no trouble maintaining that status.

Becoming one of the few athletes to win a NON event for a third consecutive year, moved into the lead with a toss of 14.99 meters /49 feet, 2 inches in the third round and stayed right there.

She unloaded a bomb of 15.41 / 50- 6 , which proved the eventual winner, in round four, went 15.09/ 49-6 with her fifth toss, then fouled her sixth. Ironically, Hayes fell short of her 51-1 winner at NON 2205, and her 50-10 performance here in 2006.

Juniors went 2-3. Becky OBrien of Cumberland, Maine was a distant second at 14.76 /48-5 , with Media, Pa.s Karen Shump a silly centimeter back at 14.75 / 48-4 .

Showing immense potential was Frederick, Md. sophomore Emil Vannoy, fourth at 14.60 / 47-11.

The gold still left Hayes dissatisfied.

I didnt come here to win this year, I came here to break a record and Im upset I didnt get that done, she said.

Its all right to win it three in a row, but that really wasnt my focus. My focus was to throw 54 feet, which is what I have been throwing in practice.

I wasnt worried about losing my focus when trying to break the record. Im always focused, I just wanted to do what I have been doing in practice. You always want to take yourself beyond where youve been before.

2-MILE RUN Can Ashley Higginson register what would be an absolutely staggering Nike Outdoor Nationals triple?

After the Colts Neck, NJ seniors 10:17.44 victory in the 2-mile Friday night, the answer becomes hey, why not?

She returns to the track Saturday morning to run the 4xmile relay with her Colts Neck buddies, then calls it a wrap in the early afternoon with the 2,000-meter steeplechase.

Three golds seems a very definite possibility.

Oh, her 10:17.44 clocking in the 2-mile doesnt even make it to the NON all-time top five list, but its the way she did it that will be long remembered.

Biding her time as the lead pack dwindled from four to three to two, Higginson unleashed an unbeatable kick to blast past Neely Spence, the Shippensburg, Pa. junior whose dad, Steve Spence, was a past USA World Championships marathoner, and win it by 15 meters.

Spence settled for second in 10:20.05, leaving Mary Kate Champagne of Plattsburgh, NY (10:25.78), the tiny Ashley Brasovan of Melbourne, Florida (10:27.09) and Kristen McGlynn of Bailey, Colorado (10:28.11) to scrap over the 3-4-5 spots.

I guess Im not technically a kicker thats not my style but I knew I had to have a great 200 meters if I wanted to win, said Higginson, a furure Princeton Tiger. I didnt expect the pace to be as fast as it was, but I knew when the other girls started coming, I needed to compete with them.

I loved the spirit of the race. When the crowd is into like that it motivates you to do your best. Ive come here for four years and really didnt run well. I came in here today with a little more confidence.

4x 200 RELAY Solid stickwork and too much talent proved Therrell to a 1:38.37 victory, a sweet.

Improvement on the Atlantans 1:38.62 silver medal performance here in 2006.

The winners came of section four, with section three leaders Oak Ridge of Florida settling for second over-all in 1:39.07.

The 3-4-5 placers all tracked home Therrell in the fourth race -- Uniondale, NY (1:40.02), Withrow of Cincinnati (1:40.20) and Collinwood of Cleveland (1:40.29.)

Therrells winners were Deanna Lee, Jawanda King, Santeria Moses and Brittany Long

We really didnt want to leave without a ring, Long told interviewers. We knew coming here and losing would really be a disappointment after all the hard work weve put in. I really had an advantage because my teammates had pretty much pulled away. It would have been nice to have someone running with me to reduce my time, but it was all about the ring.

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