Elliott’s Saturday Competition Girls Report

4XMILE RELAY " Long before the multitudes arrived, most of America"s best distance teams had this one out in an 8:30 a.m. special.

Cal Coast Track Club/ Corona Del Mar took it out early and was never in danger.

CCTC"s great balance won it convincingly as senior Hilary May reeled off a 5:08, senior Sarah Cummings a 5:07.9, junior Allison Damon a 5:06, and junior Shelby Buckley wrapped it up neatly in 5:01.2.

But Suffern, NY"s national record (19:56.80) and Roxbury, NJ"s meet record (19:58.07), both in 2006, went unthreatened.

Burnt Hills/Ballston Lake, NY was a solid second in 20:34.10, with the best of the rest far down the track. It was the Arizona Blaze third (20:56.93), Newton Centre (20:58.35) fourth, Red Tide Track Club (21:01.24) fifth"and Ashley Higginson-anchored Colts Neck, NJ seventh in 21:11.55.

East Coast fans are fortunate. They"ll see a lot more of Hilary May and Sarah Cummings in the future than their West Coast counterparts. May is headed to Harvard and Cummings to Princeton.

"With a lap to go, the announcer said the national record might be in danger," said Buckley.

"But I knew I had to run a 4:36 and I"ve never run that fast. So that was OK, the big thing was winning. Winning the National title, that"s awesome. It was a long trip for us, but definitely worth it."

800-METER SPRINT MEDLEY - The National record (Long Beach Poly"s 2003 1:38.73) was in no danger. Neither was William Penn"s 2003 NON standard (1:40.95.)

But Oak Ridge clearly proved its dominance with a decisive 1:42.79 triumph over Uniondale, NY (1:43.88) with Walnut Hills, California (1:45.87 in section three) edging Spartanburg, SC (1:45.88 in race four) for third over-all.

The winning foursome: Danae Fluellen, Victoria Watson, Anjoure Teele, Odeika Bent.

Said Bent: "I was hoping the first two legs would be strong, so that I wouldn"t have to go out hard. I had confidence when I saw how our first two legs were run. It meant I could do what my coach wanted me to do " take the first 25 easy " then explode in the last 25 meters of the race."

"This is the first time we"ve ran this race together."

JAVELIN THROW - One huge throw and it was over.

When Johnstown, Pa. senior Karlee McQuillen wound up and let her favorite spear fly 45.64 meters/ 149 feet, 9 inches, in her very first attempt, the competition was effectively stifled.

While McQuillen had no more legal throws " her stats line showed five consecutive fouls " the best of the rest had no strong response. It was her second consecutive NON crown " she"d won here at 150-1 a year ago but not her 2007 best. She"d reached 157-3 pre-NON.

Newark, Delaware junior Brieanna Kennedy fliipped one 43.76 / 143-7 in the second round and it held up for the silver medal. Kennedy, too, fouled a bunch and had just one more registered toss, a final-round 43.71 / 143-4.

Senior Laura Rycek"s sixth-round 42.15/ 138-3 for Nothampton, Pa. . grabbed third. It took a 40.87 / 134-1 throw to make top eight and qualify for three final tosses.

2000-METER STEEPLECHASE " Saratoga Springs junior Hannah Davidson, third-placer here last year in 6:58.79, wasn"t about to let this one escape.

After duking it out with New York State rival/Suffern sophomore Sharon Greany much of the way, Davidson was simply too strong over the final lap and reached the line in 6:43.73, third best time in NON history.

Greany was right on her heels with a silver-medal 6:44.63 and Colts Neck, NJ senior Ashley Higginson, semi-weary after winning the two-mile in dramatic fashion Friday night, and running a 4xmile relay leg Saturday morning, snared third in 6:46.67.

Davidson and Greany reached the final bell in 5:23 , neck and neck.

"Here"s where your heart takes over," said announcer Dave Mitchell. "Come on now, ladies, let"s see who wants it most. The National record, 6:35.63 (by Reno"s Marie Lawrence here last year), it"s within reach."

Sorry folks, it didn"t turn out that way, but still had lots of quality running.

"It was exciting," said Davidson. "We (she and Greany) kind of pushed each other the whole way. I"ve been on national championship teams before, on our 4xmile relay teams, but this is my first individual national title. I never thought I"d be an individual national champion.

"I still hold the national freshman record (6:48.64 in 2005) so now maybe I can go for the national senior record (it"s Saratoga predecessor Lindsay Ferguson"s 6:36.05 in 2006) next year."

In some quarters, Higginson was favored to win and had logged a 6:50.39 in May, best qualifier of any NON 2007 entry. Third with a lap and a half to go, she seemed poised to make a move on the leaders, but couldn"t summon up the big lift needed.

"We all (she and her Colts Neck teammates) did great here (junior teammate Allison Linnell won the first of three sections in 7:15.08 with Ktisten O"Dowd sixth and Alliie Flott seventh) so this is a great way to the season. We"ve had a great year.

"Hannah and Shelby? They were terrific, they were awesome. There was no way to catch them."

Morgantown, West Virginia senior Amber Riley took section two in 7:04.70, setting the stage for the main event.

200-METER DASH " With five under 24 in the 31-runner series of five prelims, the stage was set for a super final. Leading the way: Tiffany Townsend (23.49), Chalonda Goodman (23.65), Brittany Long (23.70), Aaeron Payne and Shavon Greaves (both 23.96). It took a 24.27 to advance.

Goodman, who"d been no better than 13th " and thus a non-finalist after the 2006 prelims - was determined to let bygones be bygones. Did she ever.

With a huge closing rush, the orange-and-black clad Goodman broke it open by the 160 mark and took it all in 23.42 over Atlanta"s Long, adding the half-lapper to the 100 title she"d claimed Friday night.

Announcer Dave Mitchell called the Goodman win the completion of "a great, great double."

Like a bunch of others here, Goodman"s going to the World Youth Championships in Ostrava, with further gold on her mind.

Long was a very close second (23.44) with Texan Townsend (23.69) besting Ohioan Payne (23.94), Charlotte"s Nyosha Bryant (23.95) and NJ state champion Greaves (24.15.)

Said Goodman: "I think this was my best race of the year. When I look at who I was running against, I was competing against the best in the nation. I"ve really been working on my starts and my starts lately have been better. My start today was unreal. I couldn"t believe I got out so well. I think the way I came out today is what did it for me."

"At the last 10 meters I felt her (Long) all over me. I just had to execute my race. When you have the No. 1 200 runner in the nation on you like that, you just have to run your race. I"m surprised I was able to hold her off, so it makes it that more special. Oh and by the way, I got another (personal record), so I"m thrilled."

400-METER RUN " Just as expected, just as all the insiders knew, just as Jessica Beard knew it would work out, this was destined to be her personal victory lap.

The Euclid, Ohio senior - a 2006 World Junior Championships 4x400 relay gold medalist, who"d been slowed by injury earlier this year - lived up to every prediction, winning overwhelmingly and doing everything but erase the meet record of record of 52.04 she"d set here in 2006.

"I felt like I struggled at first, but during the last 200 meters I kind of caught my stride and started to make my push,: Beard explained."

"I thought it was an important win because it gives me confidence going into next week (USA Junior Nationals.). For some reason I didn"t have it today. I usually cross over into the seventh lane by the first turn, but I had really had to push it today to get there. I"m glad because it gives me something to work on this week."

The event required seven sections and it was Greenville, SC freshman Briana Nelson beating up on her elders by taking the silver with a 53.74 win out of section six. Another super freshman, Voorhees, NJ"s English Gardner, netted third in 54 flat, right behind Nelson. Three more broke 55.

DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY " A morning win by Westerly, RI (12:07.96) over Iona Prep/Ursuline, NY (12:15.51) and Moorestown, NJ (12:22.32) set the stage for the late afternoon seeded-section fireworks.

Hammer Track Club/Southern Regional High School coach Brian Zatorski, whose team collected Penn Relays DMR golds, again came up with the winning formula: soph Jillian Smith (2006 NON freshman mile champion) on 1200 leadoff, senior

Jessica Bergin at 400, freshman Chelsea Cox at 800, and the magnificent senior Danielle Tauro (2006 NON mile champion) on 1600 anchor.

In the final scholastic race for Bergin and Tauro, their team hit the anvil with unbeatable energy.

Smith"s 3:29.1 three laps put Hammer out front by 12 meters, but Warwick Valley and Eleanor Roosevelt High"s Blazin" Raiders moved back into contention over the 400 and 800 carries.

With good lift over final half-lap, freshman Cox closed well and set it all up for Tauro.

Set off in the chase role, the Michigan-bound Tauro closed to a share of the lead after her opening 68 400. And soon she was off on her own, and the field had no other options but to wave goodbye.

Hammer/Southern"s winning 11:40.81 now ranks sixth all-time.

"My teammates (Bergin ran 59.2, Cox 2:21.1)were just awesome," raved Tauro, who split a 4:51.4.

"They put me in such amazing position. Every one of them ran great."

Warwick Valley, NY held on for second (11:44.20) with the seemingly-ubiquitous Blazin" Raiders of Eleanor Roosevelt High, Greenbelt, Md. a resilient third (11:46.75.)

Cal Coast Track Club/Corona Del Mar, winner of the morning 4xmile, took fourth in this one (11:46.57) with five others under 12.

800-METER RUN " Check out the updated all-time national list " Kim Gallagher (2:00.07, 1982), Mary Decker (2:02.29, 1974), Robin Campbell (2:02.40, 1974), Chanelle Price (2:02.76, 2007.)

Yes, Price, the sensational Easton Area, Pa. High School junior, has run herself into truly exalted territory. In this meet of meets, the girls 800-meter final proved itself a race of all races.

Early-afternoon sectional action warmed the crowd for the big one three hours later. These early winners were Michigan"s Lindsay Gakenheimer (2:13.13), Arizona"s Sarah Penney (2:11.63), West Virginia"s Kaylyn Christopher (2:10.66) and New Mexico"s Lyndsay Harper (2:12.40.)

When the top seeds stepped to the line, Price (cover girl on the NON meet program), lost no time isolating herself from the pack. No surprise there. As astute fans knew, she"d dipped into the 2:04"s at the (Long) Island Games last Sunday and taken the Pennsylvania state crown in 2:05.85. And, yes, she was the NON defender with her 2:07.71 2006 Greensboro romp.

A little more reasonable pace might have brought Price home even faster. But who"s to fault a great young talent"s willingness to "go for it" from the opening gun and treat the fatigue factor with total lack of respect?

Price raced out to a 27-second opening 200, reached 400 in 57.1, and 600 in 1:28.7. The first sub-2 in USA scholastic history was a tantalizing half-lap away.

It just wasn"t to be as her legs finally felt the pace. But she easily wrecked the meet record (Tamieka Grizzle"s 2:04.55 in 1996) and moved to Numero Four all-time.

"She"ll be in the Olympics down the way, I promise you," declared announcer Ian Brooks.

Immediately down her way is the USA Nationals next week in Indianapolis, where she"ll run the Junior Nationals and "quite probably " the Senior Nationals, too.

Price looked at this way: "The whole time I kept telling myself, "go, go, go, push yourself, push yourself, push yourself."" I didn"t want to slow up for one second today. Last week I went 2:04, so my goal today was 2:02, 2:03."

"The crowd helped me so much. I could hear them all the way and I heard I did 57 seconds in the first lap. I knew I was on my practice pace, so I felt good about things.

"When I heard my time mentioned in the same sentence as Kim Gallagher I was thrilled. She is my idol. To be mentioned with her is like a dream come true

"The crowd today was tremendous, "They helped me so much. I couldn"t have done it without them."

This also became the fastest mass 800 event in HS history, with 10 under 2:10, three out of the earlier sections. Fairfield, California"s Dominique Jackson ran second (2:05.65), Fort Lauderdale"s Christal Washington third (2:05.83) and Brightwaters, NY"s Sarah McCurdy fourth (2:06.96.)

1-MILE RUN " With defender Danielle Tauro (4:39.25 in 2006) echoing Calvin Coolidge and choosing not to run (this one, anyway, so she could focus on the sprint and distance medley relays) the 2007 mile became a wide-open affair.

Action began with the unseeded section, with Kristie Krueger of Argyle, Texas (4:57.75) outdueling Cassandra Schenck of Mantua, Ohio (4:59.30), Camille Olson of Phoenix (5:00.10) and six more.

And then the 10-runner seeded-section selectees took over.

For three laps, this one seemed headed to Beaumont of Cleveland Heights, Ohio" s Emily Infeld. The sophomore led through 400 in 1:12.1, 800 in 2:25.0 and was still right there at 1200 in 3:36.0. But here"s where brilliant Pass Christian, Mississippi freshman Cory McGee broke out around the last turn and stayed ahead into the backstretch.

Now, though, another Ohioan, Barnesville freshman Stephanie Morgan, who"d been wisely biding her time, was ready to pounce. Moving into the second lane, she raced past both Infeld and McGee and drove onto a 4:46.31 triumph.

Infeld (4:47.96) hung on for second, with McGee (4:48.32) third and Marissa Treece, the Notre Dame-bound Maple City, Michigan senior who"d won the 5,000 meters Thursday night, fourth in 4:50.12.

Nineteen milers broke 5 and Krueger wound up 14th over-all.

Said Morgan: "I knew a lot of the big-named seniors were not going to be here so someone had to set the pace. With the seniors not here, it was anybody"s race. I got to the turn, waited it out and then went ahead and did what I had to do.

"When you win a national title so young the only thing left is your time. You always want to make sure you"re increasing your time. I think I"m done for the season. I strained a muscle last week in training, so I think I need to shut it down. Fortunately, I was able to do enough training to get me ready for today."

FRESHMAN 1-MILE RUN " After Newfield, NJ"s Ashley Deckert took the first section in 5:11.60 over NYC"s Dana Walsh (5:13.03), Emily Lipari ran off with race two in 5:04.49 and four others bested 5:11.60, relegating Deckert to fifth over-all. With Dayton, NJ"s Sophia Ginez (5:07.11), Clifton Park, NY"s Cara Janeczko (5:08.87) and Saratoga Springs, NY"s Cassie Goutos (5:10.61) just back of Lipari, the New York-New Jersey axis totally hogged the top seven places.

400-METER HURDLES " Dalilah Muhammad and Ryann Krais, the 1-2 finishers, are flying off to an exciting destination.

No, no, no, not Disneyland.

They will be USA teammates at the IAAF World Youth Championships, July 11-15 in Ostrava, the Czech Republic.

The trip was earned on 2006 qualifications, but both are obviously in even sharper 2007 form.

In one of the most exciting 400-meter hurdles races in NON annals, Benjamin Cardozo High of Brooklyn"s Ms. Muhammad fought off Eagleville, Pa."s Krais, 57.09 to 57.26.

It boiled down to strength over the 10th and final hurdle and the run-in to the line, and Muhammad wasn"t about to be beaten.

They"re both juniors and their times now rank 2-3 all-time in NON history " trailing only Krystal Cantey"s 2005 56.85 " as well as 7-8 all-time in U.S. girls track history, a list still topped by Leslie Maxie"s 55.20 in 1994.

Defending champion Leslie Njoku, who"d won it for McNair Academic of Jersey City last year in 59.28, wasn"t quite in that form and settled for fifth place in 59.83.

Just ahead of Njoku were Takecia Jameson of the Blazin" Raiders of Eleanor Roosevelt High, Greenbelt, Md. (57.93) and Jacquelyn (Jackie) Coward of Knoxville (58.23), who"d run the 100 hurdles final two hours later.

It was a huge step forward for Ms. Muhammad , who checked into Greensboro with a 59.68 best after running fourth here last year in 59.82.

4x100 RELAY " From out of lane five, from out of a tight pack on the final exchange, from a race that seemed any of four teams" chance to win it all, came Brittany Long.

Striding out majestically down the closing straight, she turned contenders into pretenders and anchored her Therrell High School team of Atlanta to a 46.25 triumph, ninth fastest in NON history.

"We felt like we won the 4x200 yesterday, but there were some problems with the times," said Long. " We came out today determined to show everyone we"re the best. When the third leg brought me the baton I knew we were going to win. She gave the baton with us leading, there was nothing to do after that but bring it home.

"The difference today is that we came out serious. We like to kid and have fun, but today all jokes were aside. It"s game time."

As the red-clad Long was raising her right arm " and the baton " aloft in victory, the others were sorting out the other places.

Florida"s Oak Ridge took the silvers (46.51) over 2006 winner Harding of Charlotte (46.67), Northwestern of Miami (46.71) and Ohio"s Collinwood (47.28.)

100-METER HURDLES " Jacquelyn (Jackie) Coward"s 2006 NON performance left her dissatisfied. The West Side of Knoxville star finished just third in 13.62 in a race many expected her to win.

But now she"s a junior and learning to put past negatives to positive use.

Displaying great reaction time to the gun, Coward was off to a blitz start, led over the first hurdle"and nine more, to win in a decisive 13.55 seconds.

Her margin of victory " all of 27/100ths of a second " was unusually wide.

Dallas senior April Williams won the silver (13.82), nosing out Knoxviller Bianca Blair (13.88), Eagleville, Pa. all-arounder Ryann Krais (13.92) with Anderson, SC freshman luminary a close sixth (13.96.)

"The 100 hurdles is my best event, it"s the event I train for, but I was disappointed in my 400 meter hurdle race," said Coward. "The good news was that I knew a lot of these girls had run in the 400 meters, so they were tired too.

"I was actually tired, so I knew I had to get over that mentally. Once I got over the final hurdle, there was nothing left to do but finish it. "

4X400 RELAY " In the penultimate windup of a stupendous NON, Northwestern of Miami registered a conclusive 3:39.99 triumph, fifth best winner in meet history,

Two schools with among the most incredible track and field archives in the nation " Boys and Girls High of Brooklyn (3:43.23) and the Blazin" Raiders of Eleanor Roosevelt (3:43.23) " simply couldn"t track down the Miamians in this one.

Florida"s Oak Ridge took the sixth of seven sections in 3:46.67 and wound up fourth over-all in the 49-team field. Thirty-four of 49 bested four minutes.

DISCUS THROW " If #here was single couldn"t-possibly-be-beaten athlete in this entire meet, a very good pick would have been Emily Pendleton, the redoubtable senior at Woodmore High School in Elmore, Ohio, who is bound for the University of Michigan this fall.

She came to Greensboro with four of the five best marks of the year " the longest an 183-3 " and did not disappoint with a victory at 50.74 meters/ 166 feet, 6 inches.

But it wasn"t the romp some expected. Pendleton did not take the lead until the fifth round with a whirl of 49,45 / 162-1. The 166-6 winner came in round six.

Ovilla, Texas sophomore Skylar White was an impressive second with a 49.38 / 162-0 heave.

Kylie Spurgeon, the Owasso, Oklahoma senior who"d reached 173-2 pre-Greensboro " only other NON entrant past 170 " settled for third at 47.11/154-7.

Sophomore Erin Pendleton, the winner"s kid sister, snared sixth at 149-3.

Fifteen of 28 all told broke 140 feet with Kristen Batts of Marlboro, NJ, tops in the second flight,eighth over-all at 147-3.l

"I"m very excited about winning this again,"said Emily Pendleton. " I didn"t feel good at the start because I fouled on my first throw. By my fifth or sixth I found my rhythm and went from there.

"I did this last year, so I knew I had a win in me. But after you get your best throw in, you just have to wait and see what happens. I"m proud my sister was able to place today. She has two more years to win this."

LONG JUMP " The pre-meet form charts predicted a tight-tight competiton.

The top-leapers list read this way: Virginia"s Shakia Forbes (19-9). Ohio"s Audra Frimpong (19-6) and North Carolina"s Ranae Nelson and LaToya James (both 19-5.)

Forbes,the Seton Hall-boundd Bethel of Hampton senior, was the pick of many, as third-placer at 2006 NON and the 2007 Penn Relays champion, and came through with a 6.15-meter / 20 feet, 2 " inch triumph, The winning leap came in round four but her opening-round 6.08 / 19-11 " would have sufficed for the win, too.

Medford, Mass. Senior Aranxta King, who"d won the 2006 NON crown at 20-1 ", settled for second in this one with a 19-8 " best.

"It took a lot of focus to win," said Forbes. " I haven"t jumped 20 feet all season and that"s what I was focused on doing today."

"My first jump was 19-11. I knew I had a good chance to pull it out there because that"s my (personal record), but you"re never comfortable in a competition like this. There are so many good athletes here; you never know when someone will go for their (personal record)."

"This is my third national title, so it feels great to get another one before going to college next year."

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