Wesley Frazier always matches up well against national competition, but sister Ryen is a bit of a wild card in the two mile.
First, a brief discussion about how invitations are given out for a meet like this one (disclaimer: I was not involved in the invitation process in any way). You might look at the current indoor rankings and wonder why many of the athletes that were invited to the meet don't show up in the rankings (or, conversely, why many of the athletes in the rankings were not invited). A meet like the Brooks PR Invitational is planned months in advance, and many of the Golden Tickets were sent in November and December (keep in mind that indoor season doesn't start until January in some states). Complicating matters further is the uneven nature of indoor track in general: many states don't have an official season, and even in the ones that do there are always athletes and schools that do not participate. Finally, you must realize that Pennsylvania and Virginia have their state meets today, while New York is in the midst of sectionals, and so athletes from those states are otherwise occupied. Considering all those factors, the best information that meet management had to work with came from the 2012 outdoor and cross country seasons; when you look at those rankings, the invitation lists become much clearer.
And now, let's look at the four events in which North Carolina athletes are competing, and see how our home-grown stars stack up against the national talent in the field!
Boys 60 Hurdles
Isaiah Moore (Cummings) is part of a nine-man field for this event, with 6 guys advancing to the final. The hurdles add yet another wrinkle to any statistical analysis: some states compete in the 55 Hurdles, and some in the 60 Hurdles (for the unaware, the hurdle spacing is the same, but the 60 has a longer sprint to the finish). Here are the guys in the race that are high in the current 2013 rankings for this event:
|1.||7.76||Freddie Crittenden||MI Utica HS||2013||02/16/2013||Gazelle Sports/adidas Elite Meet|
|2.||7.80||Marlon Humphrey||AL Hoover||2014||02/01/2013||AHSAA State Indoor 1A-6A Championship|
|3.||7.88||Davon Anderson||SC Summerville||2014||01/18/2013||KYA High School Indoor Classic|
|8.||8.00||Aaron Mallett||MO McCluer North High School||2013||01/12/2013||Arkansas High School Invitational|
|12.||8.02||Isaiah Moore||NC Cummings, Hugh M.||2014||12/28/2012||NCRunners Elite Holiday Invitational|
That would lead you to believe that we will have a three-man race, and that Isaiah is facing a tough challenge. If you look at the 55 Hurdles, things shake out like this:
|5.||7.36||Aaron Mallett||MO McCluer North High School||2013||02/02/2013||USATF Midwest Zone Meet Indoor Youth Championships|
|7.||7.41||Isaiah Moore||NC Cummings, Hugh M.||2014||12/15/2012||Liberty Elite Meet|
|13.||7.45||Davon Anderson||SC Summerville||2014||01/26/2013||Clemson Youth and Masters Invitational|
In this look, it seems that Isaiah will be right in the thick of things (a difference of 0.05 is easily overcome, but a difference of 0.26 is pretty hefty in such a short race). Of course, neither of those current rankings have even a majority of the athletes in the race. To get that, you have to go back to last spring's 110 Hurdles rankings:
|1.||13.32w||Devon Allen||AZ Brophy College Preparatory||2013||06/09/2012||Golden West Invitational|
|5.||13.88p||Aaron Mallett||MO McCluer North High School||2013||06/15/2012||USATF Junior Outdoor T&F Champs|
|7.||13.94||Isaiah Moore||NC Durham Striders||2014||07/05/2012||USATF Junior Olympics Region 3 Championship|
|9.||14.02w||Derrick Willies||IL Rock Island High School||2013||05/25/2012||IHSA Boys State Championship|
|13.||14.05||Davon Anderson||SC Summerville||2014||04/25/2012||Region 8-4A|
|20.||14.12||Marlon Humphrey||AL Hoover||2014||04/07/2012||Mobile Challenge of Champions - Invite|
Do you favor current rankings that may be missing several of the participating athletes, or 2012 rankings that do not reflect the athletes' current state of fitness (not to mention offseason training and/or injury status)?
FINAL ANALYSIS: If Allen is in shape, he is the class of the field, and Moore ranks somewhere right in the middle of the field. That means he needs to have a clean run in the prelims, and making the finals sould be the main goal. If he gets there, I wouldn't be surprised to see him finish as high as third or fourth with a good race.
Girls 60 Hurdles
Mollie Williams (Clayton) will also square off against 8 other competitors for a berth in the final, and many of the same arguments made for the boys' race still apply here. However, the current 60H rankings are a bit clearer in this event, as the top three in the country are in Seattle right now:
|1.||8.17||Dior Hall||CO Unattached (Colorado)||2014||02/08/2013||CSM Twilight Open|
|2.||8.31||Sasha Wallace||CA Holy Names (NC)||2013||01/12/2013||University of Washington Indoor Preview|
|3.||8.43||Kendell Williams||GA The HEAT Track Club||2013||02/16/2013||UK High School Invitational|
|6.||8.66||Skylar Ransom||TX Langham Creek||2013||01/04/2013||Texas A&M HS Classic|
|7.||8.68||Alexis Duncan||TX Desoto||2016||01/04/2013||Texas A&M HS Classic|
|12.||8.77||Mollie Williams||NC Clayton||2013||02/16/2013|
This gives the impression that Mollie will be facing quite an uphill battle. In this case, the 55 Hurdles list doesn't help much, as only two of the entrants in the Brooks PR race have a time in that race. That leaves us with a look at last spring's 100 Hurdles ranking, which brings a startling revelation:
|1.||13.33||Sasha Wallace||CA Holy Names (NC)||2013||06/01/2012||CIF State Track and Field Championship Prelims and Finals|
|2.||13.39p||Kendell Williams||GA Kell High School||2013||05/03/2012||GHSA Girls State Championships|
|3.||13.45||Dior Hall||CO George Washington High School||2014||06/15/2012||USATF Junior Outdoor T&F Champs|
|4.||13.58||Jordie Munford||CA Rancho Cucamonga (SS)||2013||06/01/2012||CIF State Track and Field Championship Prelims and Finals|
|5.||13.59||Skylar Ransom||TX Langham Creek||2013||06/14/2012||New Balance Outdoor Nationals|
|6.||13.64pw||Mollie Williams||NC Hurdles 1st Track Club||2013||07/23/2012||2012 USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships|
|7.||13.78p||Pattriana Perry||CA Vacaville High School (SJ)||2014||06/01/2012||CIF State Track and Field Championship Prelims and Finals|
|8.||13.78||Sami Michell||MI Reed City HS||2013||04/26/2012||Hillsdale College GINA Relays|
That's right: the top 8 returning 100 Hurdlers from last spring are all in the race! Also, if you were wondering why Mollie got an invitation over the other North Carolina hurdlers that have very similar times this winter, you've got your answer above.
Final Analysis: Any way you slice it, this looks like a spectacular three-girl race up front. Mollie has her hands full just getting to the finals, especially given her history of not getting into her absolute best shape until late in the spring season.
Boys Two Mile
There isn't really even a reason to look at the current indoor rankings: you won't find any of the competitors in the top 50 right now, and it's actually Bakri Abushouk (Cary) that has the fastest current time. That's terribly misleading, though, as most of the field runs a limited indoor schedule, and the ones who have raced have run the mile. Even Abushouk's current time might undersell him a bit, as he has yet to be in a race where he was both fresh and pushed to his limit by the other runners. To get a good picture of the quality of this field, you have to start with times from the fall:
|2.||14:27.25||Bernie Montoya||AZ Cibola High School||2013||10/26/2012||Division 1 Section 1|
|6.||14:43.90||Jacob Thomson||KY Holy Cross (Louisville)||2013||09/28/2012||Great American Cross Country Festival|
|8.||14:45.50||Andrew Gardner||WA Mead Senior High School||2013||10/13/2012||Concordia Adidas Classic|
|14.||14:54.00||Aaron Templeton||TN Hardin Valley Academy||2014||10/06/2012||Wendy's Invitational|
|18.||14:56.00||Jake Leingang||ND Bismarck High School||2013||11/24/2012||Foot Locker Midwest Regional|
|19.||14:56.00||Sam Wharton||OH Tippecanoe||2013||11/24/2012||Foot Locker Midwest Regional|
|30.||15:01.50||Estevan De La Rosa||CA Arcadia High School (SS)||2014||10/26/2012||Apache Invitational|
|34.||15:03.00||Patrick Perrier||IL O'Fallon High School||2014||11/24/2012||Foot Locker Midwest Regional|
|37.||15:03.30||Bakri Abushouk||NC Cary||2013||09/28/2012||Great American Cross Country Festival|
Starting to get a feel for the talent level? Of course, 5K courses can vary wildly around the country, and minor injuries (since healed) could have limited the production of some of the athletes in this race. Let's take a look at the final rankings for the 3200/two-mile from the 2012 outdoor season to see if there is any more information to be gleaned:
|1.||8:48.25||Bernie Montoya||AZ Cibola High School||2013||04/06/2012||Arcadia Invitational|
|2.||8:51.23||Jake Leingang||ND Bismarck High School||2013||04/06/2012||Arcadia Invitational|
|4.||8:54.65||Blake Haney||CA Stockdale High School||2014||04/06/2012||Arcadia Invitational|
|6.||8:55.24||Zach Perrin||MT Flathead High School||2013||04/06/2012||Arcadia Invitational|
|10.||8:57.66||Kai Wilmot||WA North Central High School||2014||04/28/2012||Shoreline Invitational (Boys)|
|12.||8:58.12||Jacob Thomson||KY Holy Cross (Louisville)||2013||04/06/2012||Arcadia Invitational|
|13.||8:59.83||Andrew Gardner||WA Mead Senior High School||2013||05/25/2012||2A, 3A, 4A Washington State Meet|
|14.||9:01.24||Sam Wharton||OH Tippecanoe||2013||06/01/2012||OHSAA State Track and Field Championship|
OK, that's 8 of the top 15 returning two-milers in the country, all in one race. We should also note that Leingang and Gardner are the only two returners in the field, so they have an edge when it comes to experience on this track.
Final Analysis: there are a lot of big names in this field, but in distance running that doesn't necessarily mean much at this point in the year. Some of the athletes may not be in great race shape right now (especially if they have been emphasizing base training all winter), and we have no idea of most of the guys' current two-mile fitness. Abushouk has better footspeed than many in the field (he has the top mile time this winter), and he is certainly been racing very well. If he can hang with the lead pack through the middle of the race he could be a sleeper candidate for a top-three finish. I think it's reasonable to say he can go under 9:10, which should keep him in the top half of this race.
Girls Two Mile
In contrast to some of the other events above, a few of the athletes in this one have put up some impressive times during the indoor season. Using the current rankings, you can see that Wesley and Ryen Frazier (Ravenscroft) match up very well, and would seem to be contenders:
|2.||10:18.23||Erin Finn||MI West Bloomfield HS||2013||01/10/2013||MITS Meet at University of Michigan #2|
|4.||10:26.63||Wesley Frazier||NC Ravenscroft School||2013||01/05/2013||North Carolina High School Opener|
|7.||10:34.05||Ryen Frazier||NC Ravenscroft School||2015||01/05/2013||North Carolina High School Opener|
Still, with only a handful of times, it is useful to look at a wider range of times and athletes, and so let's see where some of the runners in this field were ranked at the end of this past cross country season:
|4.||16:51.90||Katie Jensen||TX The Woodlands College Park||2013||11/03/2012||Region II Championships|
|10.||17:00.00||Jordyn Colter||CO Cherry Creek High School||2015||10/18/2012||Colorado 5A Region 2 Cross Country|
|11.||17:04.00||Alexa Efraimson||WA Camas High School||2015||09/29/2012||39th Stanford Cross Country Invitational|
|16.||17:07.00||Maria Hauger||MN Shakopee High School||2013||11/24/2012||Foot Locker Midwest Regional|
|17.||17:07.90||Erin Finn||MI West Bloomfield HS||2013||11/03/2012||Michigan State Cross Country Championships - Lower Peninsula|
|23.||17:12.70||Madi McLellan||TX The Woodlands||2014||11/03/2012||Region II Championships|
|28.||17:17.00||Wesley Frazier||NC Unattached (NC)||2013||11/24/2012||Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional|
Using that set of times, the Fraziers don't look as good. However, Wesley runs a very limited fall schedule, and Ryen did not race at all during cross country. Given that information, it might be more informative to look at 3200 times from last spring:
|2.||10:09.87c||Wesley Frazier||NC Ravenscroft School||2013||06/14/2012||New Balance Outdoor Nationals|
|5.||10:17.86||Erin Finn||MI West Bloomfield HS||2013||06/02/2012||MHSAA LP Track and Field Championship|
|7.||10:20.11||Katie Knight||WA North Central High School||2013||04/06/2012||Arcadia Invitational|
|11.||10:24.70||Madi McLellan||TX The Woodlands||2014||04/12/2012||District 14-5A Meet|
|12.||10:24.76c||Maria Hauger||MN Shakopee High School||2013||06/14/2012||New Balance Outdoor Nationals|
|13.||10:24.80||Katie Jensen||TX The Woodlands College Park||2013||05/11/2012||UIL Track and Field Championship|
|14.||10:24.86||Emma Abrahamson||CA La Costa Canyon (SD)||2014||04/06/2012||Arcadia Invitational|
Once again, the danger with using last spring's times is the unknown in the last nine months that could have inhibited a runner's progress.
Final Analysis: Wesley is a strong contender to win the race, and Ryen might surprise some people around the country by finishing in the top 5.