Indoor Preview: 4A Boys

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If the momentum developed during a spectacular fall season can be carried over to the winter, fans of distance running are in for a treat.


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Sprints/Hurdles  |  Field Events  |  Distance Events


4A Boys Returning Indoor Rankings



Brandon McRae (Hoke County) has the best returning time in the 55 dash, but there will be some contenders hard on his heels.  Jakara King-Penn (Reagan) reportedly dropped football this fall to concentrate on his track training, and that could pay off with a championship; Khairee Lewis (Sanderson) was only 0.01 behind King-Penn last winter.  Nyheim Hines (Garner) had some breakthrough races in the 100 during the late spring and summer, and Quashwan Cunningham (Mallard Creek) also emerged as a sprinting force.  We're all still waiting for Bryce Love (Wake Forest) to realize the potential he showed in setting age-group national records, but so far it appears that injuries have held back his high school career; wouldn't it be great if he could rediscover that immense talent this winter?  Kimani Hoffman (Knightdale) leads the returning 300 list at 35.38, but with four other sub-36 runners coming back he is far from a lock to win it in 2014.  Out of those five that broke 36 indoors, only two went under 22 for the 200: Hoffman and Kaylan Love-Soles (Rocky River), although Cunningham and Love also made it into the 21's.  North Carolina is absolutely loaded with long sprinters, and the top 4 all come from Wake County - Knightdale's Marquavious Johnson, Henry Keidy, and Marcell Johnson are 1-3-4 in the 500 coming into this season, with Southeast Raleigh's Jamaree Murray tucked between them as the #2 returner.  Johnson and Murray both broke 48 in the spring, and could be headed for some titanic battles this winter.  In contrast to all the sprint talent, though, this classification is pretty thin in male hurdlers.  Behind Drew Barker (TC Roberson) and Xavier Carter (West Johnston), there are no returners that broke 8 seconds for the 55H; if you include 110H times from the spring, you can include Hines, Marcus Krah (Hillside), and Chris Hodge (Broughton) in the conversation.


Field Events

The high jump might be the most wide-open of all the 4A boys events this winter.  Three returners cleared 6' 2" last year - Chase Edwards (East Forsyth), Daryl Napper (Glenn), and Jamie Brown (Knightdale).  Brown upped that to 6' 4.75" when spring rolled around, and K.J. Webb (Mallard Creek) jumped 6' 4".  Kory Jones (Hoke County) went 6' 6" out of nowhere at his outdoor regional, but there's no telling if he will compete this winter, or if he can carry that performance over to this year in any case.  McCrae, the state's top 55 runner last winter, also posted a 22' 3.25" to lead all 4A long jumpers indoors.  While he upped that to 22' 10" outdoors, he was edged out in the rankings by 3 guys who passed 23 feet: Marcus Krah (Hillside), Jeremy Brown (Ben Smith), and Tevin Quick (Ragsdale), who didn't compete indoors.  Hoffman, the top returner in the 300, also led the state indoors and out when it comes to triple jumping.  His biggest challenge could come from Krah, who struggled just a bit in his transition to high school, but who definitely has the experience and talent to push the upper 40's.  Darryl Shaw (Jack Britt) and Michael Jenkins (Garner) jumped 46' and 45' respectively outdoors, but neither competed in the 2013 winter season.  Elijah Mallory (Wakefield) threw almost 3 feet farther than the next best indoor returner, but Ryan Davis (Pine Forest) made incredible improvement through outdoor season.  The two of them both broke 52 feet in the spring, with Davis throwing over 53, and they should battle for the title this year.  Luke Ward (Mount Tabor) had the best indoor season of any 4A vaulter last year, getting close to 14 feet (he did clear 14' 1" in the spring).  Apex has a pair of 14 foot returners in Michael Utecht and Joe Devries (plus Drew Pederson at 13' 6"), while cross-county rival Kevin Schmidt (Cary) is right there at the same height.  



How could we have known that the 2013-2014 school year would be such a great one for boys' distance running?  After all, only 27 guys broke 16 minutes during the 2012 cross country season, followed by 13 boys under 10 for the 3200 indoors.  The first signs of the upswing came in the spring of 2013, when 34 boys broke the 10-minute barrier.  This past fall, we had 67 sub-16 runners, which could be a harbinger of one of the greatest distance-running seasons in state history.  How does this all relate to the 4A indoor preview?  Well, 41 of those 67 were in the state's largest classification, including 8 at 15:30 or faster.  Simply put, there are too many talented runners here to name them all, but a few do stand out.  William Roberson (Broughton) led all returners in the 3200 last winter, though he was edged out by Nik Kreiling (Jordan) in the spring.  Roberson had the fifth-fastest 5K time of the fall season, and also ran 9:06 for 3200 a little less than a month ago.  Lurking throughout the 2013 indoor and outdoor season, Ian Milder (Mount Tabor) burst to the forefront first with a 15:09 in August, then with an 8:58 for 3200 at Reagan in November.  This weekend, he will be in San Diego for Foot Locker Nationals, completing a tremendous cross country season.  The big question is, will Ian be able to get back into track fitness after such a late end to the fall, not to mention the recovery period that follows?  The same could be said for Patrick Sheehan (Lake Norman), who is also headed to Foot Locker after running 14:54 and 9:13 this fall.  Keep an eye on Asher Smith-Rose (Broughton), who ran 9:19 last spring and, like all his Caps teammates, could be extremely motivated this winter.  Ditto for teammate John Dalton Rohr, one of six returners that ran 4:17 or 4:18 for the 1600 last year (counting winter and spring).  Ariel Shores (Southeast Guilford) has the top returning indoor time in that event, though he is currently healing a minor injury.  Milder is a strong miler, as is his good friend Wyatt Maxey (Providence) - and Maxey clocked 15:08 and 9:14 during cross country.  Ryan Brady (East Chapel Hill) took a quantum leap forward this fall, getting to 15:10 and 9:07; however, he skipped indoor season last year.  Maxey and Shores are the top returners in the 1000, although there were several strong 800 runners from the 2013 outdoor season that could be much improved at the slightly longer mid-distance race this winter (Pine Forest teammates Dakota Schaub and Walter Johnson come to mind, as does Corey Aikens of Knightdale).  And even with all of that information, we still haven't named everyone who could make waves this winter!  Mihret Coulter (Apex), Grant Rodgers (Heritage), Dustin Sneed (RJ Reynolds)...the list goes on and on.  If you're a fan of distance running, brace yourself for a truly epic season!

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