If you're looking for someone who really has the potential to rewrite the state records this winter, look no further than Blake Dodge.
Nikolete Hurrinus (Cuthbertson) is the top returner in both the 300 and 500, and she followed that up by posting the fastest returning mark in the 400 outdoors. Right behind in the 300 were Courtney Crawford (McMichael) and June Lisa Foster (North Forsyth), who also holds the #1 preseason ranking in the 55 Dash. Delaney Dunkley (Marvin Ridge) and Lauren West (Hunt) both broke 1:20 for 500 meters last year, and both should be podium contenders in that event. Tamilia Wright (Williams) is best known for her field event expertise, but she is also the #2 returner in the 55. Finally, the 55 Hurdles could come down to a battle between Lydia Laws (Western Alamance), who made a big jump between her sophomore and junior years, and Kylie McMillan (Southern Guilford), who had her breakthrough this past summer.
This classification is loaded with jumping talent, and might have the best high jump duel of the three state meets. Elizabeth Olesen (Hickory Ridge) has cleared 5' 6.5", and Qizeah Jackson (Westover) is just behind at 5' 6". A third 3A girls went 5' 6" outdoors, Julia Scoles (South Iredell), but it isn't known whether she will compete this winter. Three sprinters listed above jumped over 17 feet last winter: Laws, Wright, and Crawford. Crawford and Laws went on to put up mid-18 marks during the spring season, as did Scoles, Kacia Vines (Cedar Ridge) and Toya Anding (White Oak). If all of them show up for indoor track, then the long jump competition could be spectacular. Wright is also the top returning triple jumper from indoor season (although her teammate, Chelsea Hargrave, jumped farther outdoors). Scoles and Laws should also be contenders (do you sense a pattern here?), as should Mikaela Siebert (Cuthbertson). Lindsay Bren (Swansboro), Mariel Finger (North Gaston), and Liz Wood (Cuthbertson) all return with identical 10' 6" marks in the pole vault, making it possibly the most contentious of the field events. The shot put is also wide open - there aren't ANY returners from last winter that have thrown 31 feet, the qualifying mark for the state meet. However, Alexis Dickerson (Western Alamance) threw over 35 in the all-comers meet at JDL last month, which seems like a signal that she is competing this winter. If so, she is a heavy favorite, as her PR of 40' 11.5" is more than 5 feet further than any other returner from outdoor season.
Blake Dodge (West Carteret) established herself as the state's top mid-distance runner when she clocked 2:08.84 for the 800 to conclude her outdoor season. She also posted a 4:59 in the 1600, running solo with a nearly 100 meter lead on the second-fastest girl in the race. At the 3A outdoor state meet. Since then, she's actually gotten better, as demonstrated by her 18:18 PR in the 5K this fall. The sky is the limit for Dodge in the 1000, and you find yourself thinking that even the all-time state record of 2:53 may be in range; in the 1600, Wesley Frazier's 4:46 might be a bit too much to ask, but she could become the seventh NC girl to break 5 minutes indoors. We even hear a rumor that she might try her hand at the 3200 this winter; if true, that will bring her into contention with Mary Grace Doggett (Cardinal Gibbons), who has a 10:43 PR and is the only girl in 3A to break 11 indoors last winter. Doggett is no slouch in the 1600, either, having run 5:07 last spring. Her teammate, Sophie Ebihara, clocked 5:08 and 10:48 outdoors, putting her right in the mix as well. Keep an eye on Caitlin Potter (North Lincoln), who emerged last winter with a 3:08 in the 1000 and then proceeded to drop an astonishing 1:32 off her 2012 PR during cross country season; she could be a force on the track this year.<p style="text-align: center;"> <a href="http://nc.milesplit.com/calendar/2014/indoor/noduals/all" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="http://cache.milesplit.com/user_files/36369/94467/2014_calendar_banner.jpg" /></a></p>