Wakefield's girls return to the track where they posted huge times in the 4x200 and 4x400 last winter.
One of the most important indoor meets on the East Coast kicks off tonight in Blacksburg, Virginia: the Virginia Tech High School Invitational. The banked 200m track in Rector Fieldhouse, once used at Madison Square Garden, always produces very fast times (especially in the long sprints and relays). In addition, the venue features elevated wooden runways for the long jump, triple jump, and pole vault, which have long been believed to produce strong results, as well. Over the years many North Carolina schools have ventured up for the meet, and have come back with tremendous performances. Although the forecast calls for light snow flurries Saturday afternoon, that won't stop the meet from going on, and that won't stop the big marks. Take a look at the North Carolina athletes that might be in the headlines by Sunday.
NOTE: as registration for this meet is very early (closed the last week in December), often teams that are registered are not able to attend. For example, Parkland will not be at the meet. Consequently, take the performance list with a grain of salt.
Friday Night Preview
Broughton's K'Lynn Beal faces a deep field in the girls' triple jump, although the leading entry mark is just 38' 10", which should mean a very competitive event. In the boys' triple, Noah Tyson (Asheville) is the second seed and in a perfect position to threaten the 45-foot mark for the first time. Caleb Conwell (Wakefield), who jumped 6' 5" back in Decemeber, is definitely eager to repeat or improve that mark in tonight's high jump competition. Kristen Lee (Wakefield) is the top seed in the pole vault, and the venue should help her make a run at a new PR. Travis McGriff (Reagan) will be throwing the shot put against a group of throwers that includes only two plus-52 seed marks. Wakefield's girls have been seeded aggressively into a 4x800 that is always very fast, and that strategy could pay off with a sub-10 time. Wakefield is also well-represented in the 55 Hurdles, with Breanne Bygrave and Jasmine Moore both having a shot to advance to Saturday's finals. Xavier Carter (West Johnston) and Brandon Washington (Asheville) are both seeded to advance to the hurdle final against a field that lacks big-name guys at the top. Jasmine Dawson (West Johnston) is also seeded in a position to make the finals, in this case for the 55 Dash. In the boys' 55, Jakara King-Penn (Reagan) and Caleb Gabriel (Broughton) will both have an exellent chance to make the finals. To close out the night, Jake Betancourt (West Johnston) will continue his quest to recapture the fire that led to a 9:35 time in the Reagan 3200 back in November.
Hannah Dunston (Knightdale) will try to take advantage of the springy wooden runway in the long jump, which could propel her over the 18-foot mark for the first time. Jose San Miguel (Cardinal Gibbons) is looking for his first 14-foot vault of the winter season, which would put him right in the thick of the top 5 in that event. Wakefield's girls will once again try to win the bookend relays, with the 4x200 the first event of the day and the 4x400 closing out the action this evening. The Wolverines are the top seed in both races, and the banked curves could bring out a big drop in time. Wakefield's Tiana Patillo is the top seed in the 500, as she seeks to reclaim the top spot in the national rankings, and teammate Tyra Lea will hold the top seed in the 300. Jocelyn Culbreath (Reagan) and Jasmine Dawson (West Johnston) could also make some noise in the 300, and Ragsdale's Xavier Jones has the top seed in the boys' race. Jennie Cunningham (Pinecrest) will seek to break the 3-minute barrier for the second time in her career, tuning herself up for her run at a repeat state championship in the event in the process.