NCHSAA 4A State Meet Preview: Team Titles Completely Up In The Air!




Girls Distance

800m

Monzerad Creary (High Point Central) comes in with the top time on the year with a 2:15.14, but will possibly be doubling back from the 400 that just a few races before. The question will be if she will forego the 400 finals to focus on her stronger event in the 800 in hopes for her first individual crown.  Last weekend she battled with Madeline Kraft (Mt. Tabor) at the 4A Midwest Regional where both clocked 2:16.  Janay Hall (South View) was the indoor 1000 champion, and I wouldn't be surprised if she scratched the 1600 to focus on the 800 Friday.  Elise Wright (T.C. Roberson) has run 2:16 this year as well and is also qualified in the 1600 and her teams 4x800 is one of the top in NC.  Alessandra Rodriguez (Green Hope) was the 4A Mideast Champion and showed some strong finishing speed last weekend at 4A Mideast running a PR of 2:18.   

1600m

Isabel Zimmermann (Reagan) is the only girl sub 5 minutes in this field with a 4:59.76 from earlier this season.  But there are plenty of talented girls in this field and someone could certainly battle it out with her up front.  Zimmermann was the indoor 1600 champ so certainly comes in as the favorite in her main event.  Alessandra Rodriguez (Green Hope) does have a 5:02 seasons best mark and she's one I certainly think will challenge Zimmermann.  If Janay Hall (South View) runs the 1600 she certainly will be in the mix as well.  Shannon Sefton (Panther Creek) and Calli Parlier (Apex) have had stellar seasons both running 5:08 and certainly could have another break through on Friday.

3200m

Isabel Zimmermann (Reagan) still holds this top time in the 3200 from when she won Raleigh Relays earlier this season.  But Natalie Tyner (Laney) comes in as a massive wildcard.  Tyner hasn't seen many big fields this year, but has run 10:48.69 all by herself.  She could certainly have a big breakthrough on the big stage as I don't think she's truly been tested this season.  Sloan Walter and Marissa Bishop (Cardinal Gibbons) have both narrowly been over 11:00 a few times this season and I believe both would love to have a time under 11 minutes this weekend.  Another wildcard is Lila Peters (Sanderson) who is a sophomore in her first year of running track.  She's went undefeated in her outdoor campaign and won the 4A Mideast regional running 11:21.97.  Could she have a lot left in the tank as well?



Boys Distance

800m

Similar to the boys 1000 this indoor season, the boys 800 seems to be wide open, but Christian Pigues (Rolesville) defined himself as the one to beat after winning the indoor 1000 and the 4A Mideast regional last weekend running a 1:54.95 off a 58-59 first 400!  Andrew Brooks (Broughton) holds the top time in the 800 in NC this year with a 1:53.3 from two weeks ago.  Brooks is on Broughton's 4x800 and qualifier in the 1600.  I think he'll certainly run the 1600 and expect him to not run on Broughton's 4x800 in hope for two strong individual performances.  Canoy Tyree (Mallard Creek) has a big win under his belt after taking the Bojangles Classic 800 that held a loaded field in 1:54.11.  You also have Ian Delgado (Green Hope) who will double back from Green Hope's 4x800, but he's got the wheels to go 1:52!  Joel Shores (Southeast Guilford) and Juan Rodriguez (Parkland) battled it out in the 4A Midwest 800 last weekend in what was a major breakthrough race for Rodriguez.  Also Evan Harris (Lake Norman) certainly is capable of much faster than his 1:56 seasons best and has a 4:16 1600 PR, so he's certainly got the strength to hold onto a fast pace!

1600m

Cameron Ponder (Mt. Tabor) and Connor Lane (Cardinal Gibbons) have a big rematch on there hands from this indoor season.  Lane edged Ponder, but eventually was DQed for an infraction earlier in the race making Ponder the 4A State Champion.  Once again they're the top 2 in this field, and have converted 1600 seasons best of 4:10 for Ponder and 4:14 for Lane.  There are also plenty of studs in this field that have the potential for a breakout race in Finn McBride (Green Hope), the 4A Mideast Champion, Andrew Brooks (Broughton), Hayden Blalock (Providence), the 4A West Champion, Sam Grelck (Cardinal Gibbons) and Ares Epps (Green Hope).  We should see the majority of this field under 4:20 if the pace goes out honest and possibly even a sub 4:10 effort to take the win!  

3200m

This field is LOADED with some of North Carolina's best All-Time distance runners in Connor Lane (Cardinal Gibbons), Ian Shanklin (Page) and Cameron Ponder (Mount Tabor) who all ran sub 9 minutes at Arcadia running 8:47, 8:50 and 8:56 respectively.  Both Lane and Ponder will double back from a 1600 battle and Shanklin will come back from a 4x800 leg earlier in the day.  You also have John Tatter (RJ Reynolds) and Ben Savino (Apex) who certainly are capable of running sub 9 minutes and are not afraid for the challenge.  Tatter actually beat Shanklin and Ponder at 4A Midwest last weekend.  Savino has run 9:12, but just hasn't gotten the right race recently to run fast.  His 9:19 effort at 4A Mideast was solo last weekend.  Will the 4A Midwest prove to be dominant, or will anyone be able to break up their strong 4 and repeat a Midwest podium sweep?

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