Last year the girls' 800 was the highlight of the meet--and this year the dame race sports and even stronger field.
(Performance List, Schedule)
Events to Watch
Boys' 800m Run: The 800 will undoubtedly be the biggest highlight of the night, for both boys and girls. In the boys' race, open athlete Paris Reddick-Simmons, formerly of Southeast Raleigh, ran 1:48.58 last weekend. He will undoubtedly set a strong pace, and it will be up to Craig Engels (Reagan) and Nate Gordon (Spartanburg SC) to try to go along; both won their respective state meets in this event. Richard Miller (Millbrook) will also get the chance to show what he can do on fresh legs, as he has run the 1600 before every recent 800 in which he has competed. Ditto for freshman star Philip Hall, who will be looking to follow Miller into the sub-1:55 range.
Girls' 800m Run: Does the boys' 800 look good? Check out the headliners in the girls' race: Jennie Cunningham (Pinecrest), fresh off her first sub-2:14 race at the 4A state meet; Sammy George (Millbrook), stepping down to the 800 for only the second time this year (she ran 2:16 as a sophomore); Megan Sullivan (Broughton), who split 2:10 on several watches while anchoring her 4x800 team to victory at the state meet; and Eliza Dekker (Durham Academy), who is looking to break through the 2:16 barrier after hitting it once last year and once this year. Against this field, Gina Daniel (Providence) is an underdog despite having finished 4th at the 4A state meet! It will be interesting to see what Ashley Brubaker (Reagan) can run on fresh legs, after focusing on the mile at the end of the spring season.
Boys' One Mile Run: Although it might lack the headliners of the 800's, this race could be the most tightly-contested of the four listed here. Sam Roberson (Broughton) is getting in a little speed work by coming down from his best event, the 3200; he is certainly no slouch here, having broken 4:20 for the 1600 in April. Chris Reeder (Chapel Hill) should be right on his heels, and might have extra motivation after contact in the 3A state meet 1600 caused him to fall. Jeremy Gower (West Johnston) is another runner know for his two-mile prowess, and like Roberson he is also a strong miler. Forsyth County will be well-repped in this event, as Macon Gambill (Mount Tabor) and Reagan's Perry Cabean and Jordan Marsh will be in the lead pack. Don't be surprised to find Mitch McLeod (Chapel Hill) and James McAlister (Charlotte, home-schooled) in there, as well. Finally, John Dalton Rohr (Broughton) ran 4:22 at his regional, which didn't get him into the state meet; if he has stayed fit, he could be approaching this meet as his championship, and could have a solid chip on his shoulder to help him go out and race hard.
Girls' One Mile Run: for the 4th consecutive week (and who knows how many more times this year), Carmen Hilliard and Jentzen Jones will duke it out in the mile. For the record, Fike's Jones won two (3A state meet and NCRunners Elite) while Hilliard also won two (3A east regional and Meet of Champions last weekend). If the alternating pattern holds, then it's Jentzen's turn to win this weekend, and both girls want to hit the 5:04 standard for the Emerging Elite at New Balance Nationals. Pegah Kamrani (East Chapel Hill) really came on strong this spring, and she ran 5:12 back in late April; if she is still fit, it will be interesting to see how much she improved in over a month, after focusing on the 3200 during the championship season. An intriguing entry: Blair Ramsey, 8th-grader from Greensboro, who ran 5:22 for the mile way back in the winter at the JDL. If she has trained well this spring, her 5:13 projection seems well within her grasp.
Athletes to Watch:
Harvey McSwain and Demonte Wilson (both from Crest) will headline the sprints and hurdles, respectively. McSwain will run the triple, looking to sharpen up his 200 (in preparation for New Balance Nationals) and expand on his foray into the 400. He will meet up with Kwame Donyinah (Myers Park) in the 100 and 200, but it's a shame they won't meet in the 400 where Donyinah has run 47 this year. James Drummond (Lexington), recovering from a hamstring injury this spring, is also scheduled to run the 400. Abby Snyder (Pinecrest) and Rebecca Elliott (Polk County) should have a good duel in the girls' 400.