Last year, Megan Sullivan posted one of the best 800 times in state history; this year, she's in a loaded 1600 run under the lights.
Featured Event: 1 Mile Run
This race could feature at least 3 sub-5 minute runners, led by Malia Ellington (Community School of Davidson) and her 4:56 PR. Blake Dodge (West Carteret) has switched over from the 800; in this race and with someone who will push the pace early, we might finally see the full potential she has. Add in Megan Sullivan (Broughton), who lit up the 800 last year, and you have a fearsome front three. Sullivan has a PR of 5:07.50, but it's not hard to see how this could be her breakout race: she was the 4A state champion (and state leader) in both the 800 this spring and and the 5K during cross country season. As a bonus, there should also be an extremely competitive second group in this race, composed of girls that have run right around 5:10 and are looking to move closer to the 5-minute mark. Emma Brown (Providence Day), Cardinal Gibbons teammates Mary Grace Doggett and Sophie Ebihara, and Carmen Hilliard (South Brunswick) all fit in that category, and several others will certainly try to tag along with them. The big question of the race could be, "How many girls will break 5:10?"
With seven runners whose best times are within only one second of each other at the front of this race, expect tight packs and the potential for some jostling. Oh, and if someone is prepared to take it out hard, you can also expect some times in the 4:15 range, which is the mark on the mind of several of these guys. Ben Huffman (Providence Day) has the top time coming into the race, with A.J. Tucker (Cedar Ridge) and Ryan Speer (North Raleigh Christian) very close behind. Keep an eye on Nik Kreiling (Jordan), who hasn't run a competitive mile since late April; if he has been putting in some speed work he could be a contender. David Hager (Woodlawn School) ran 4:19 while defeating Huffman at an invitational in April, and Broughton's John Dalton Rohr and William Roberson cannot be counted out of any race. There should also be a group of young men aiming to break 4:20 for the first time in this race, including Grant Rodgers (Heritage), Ben Fielder (Asheville School), and Andrew Fea (North Lincoln).
The boys 200 should be very strong, with James Drummond (Lexington) and Trentavis Friday (Cherryville) defending North Carolina's turf against two from our neighbor to the South: Kenny Fenton-Griffith (Fort Dorchester, SC) and Davon Anderson (Summerville). Friday will also battle Xavier Jones (Ragsdale) in the 400, while Anderson will take on the Cummings duo of Isaiah Moore and Thomas Jones II in the 110 Hurdles. John Crossley (West Carteret) will be aiming for the 1:50 mark in the 800, which was broken by Craig Engels in this meet last year. Crossley will be pursued by Christian White (Charlotte Latin), as well as David Yang (Providence) and Ryan Speer (North Raleigh Christian). Winston Craig (Ragsdale) and Marcus Abraham (Metrolina Christian) should be able to push each other in the throws, although less so in the discus where Craig is a 30-foot favorite. We will see a trifecta of strong high jumpers, with Samuel Allen (West Wilkes) taking on Myles Lazarou (Platinum Sports) and Grant Rivers (Hendersonville). Ian West (Fike) headlines a solid group of pole vaulters, with five who have cleared 14 feet. Jose San Miguel (Cardinal Gibbons) and Matt Layne (West Wilkes) will be the chief competition for West. The 100 Dash features four guys with times under 10.70: Drummond, Xavier Jones, Maurice Eaddy (Jordan-Matthews), and Jakara King-Penn (Reagan). South View's Xavier Brown, the 4A state champion at 300 Hurdles, will get to prove himself in the 400 Hurdles against some athletes with more experience there: Christopher Gaddist (Woodland, SC) and Thomas Jones II.
If you're coming to watch the meet, come early for the girls' shot put! The top three throwers in the state will square off: Hailey Cook (Hendersonville), Bre'anna Warren (Western Guilford), and Khayla Dawson (Olympic) in both the shot and the discus, with Alexis Dickerson (Western Alamance) adding to the competition. Dickerson's teammate, Lydia Laws, will be all over the meet. First, she takes on Courtney Crawford (McMichael) in the long jump, then later she will have to contend with Mollie Williams (Clayton) in both hurdle races. In one of the more intriguing events of the evening, Laws will compete in her first triple jump against a strong field that includes Chlesey Hargrave (Williams) and three 36-foot jumpers. The girls' high jump should also be fun to watch, with veterans Elizabeth Olesen (Hickory Ridge) and Libby Florence (Cedar Ridge) taking on relative newcomer Christal Molnar (Platinum Sports). The girls' 800 has some really strong talent, although some of the runners might decide to focus on the 1600 later in the night. Ellington, Gina Daniel (Providence), and Eliza Dekker (Durham Academy) are all capable of going under 2:15, as are Mattie Blue (Broughton) and Emma Brown (Providence Day). This is a perfect race for Casey Greenwalt (TC Roberson), as she continues to impress with her improvement over last year. Sydnei Murphy (Apex) will compete in both the 100 and 200, though she will have strong competition from Sloan Williams (Winston-Salem Prep) and Crawford. Layla White (Cary), who has fought through some nagging injuries that limited her at the end of the spring season, is in the 400 and looking to get back into 54-second shape in time for nationals.