Big Goals in the Longest Sprint: NCRunners Elite Preview

When these two get together in a race, they push each other to the limit, and to higher performances. Let the 800 take center stage in a week when miles and 3200's have been heavily featured!

For the first time ever during track season, the NCRunners Elite Invitational and the Frosh/Soph Invitational are separate events. The meets will rotate among different locations around the state, so that different teams will have a chance to attend. This year's Elite Invitational kicks off at Marvin Ridge on Saturday, while the UNOFFICIAL JV State Championship will be at Green Hope in three weeks.

Despite being on a big travel weekend, the NCRunners Elite Invitational has still been able to draw a very competitive field of teams and individual athletes to Waxhaw this weekend. Hopefully the meet will be able to shine the spotlight on some events that don't get as much recognition. Check out some of the possible highlights of the meet, and if you're in the Eastern Charlotte area on Saturday, drop by to watch!

More NCRunners Elite Invitational Coverage

Events to Watch

  • Boys 800: Current state leader Vincent Crisp (North Mecklenburg) takes on 2nd-ranked Elijah Inuwah (Central Academy of Technology) in a battle between two runners who have both openly declared a goal of breaking 1:50 this spring. Inuwa ran up in distance last weekend at Raleigh Relays, recording an impressive 9:22, while Crisp has been clocking a few 49-second 400's this spring.
  • Boys 110 Hurdles: With 4 guys entered in the high 14's, there should be a highly competitive final in this event. Corey Thompson (East Gaston, competin unattached) has an FAT mark of 14.70, with Brian Kendrick (Hopewell) clocking in at 14.91. Between them is J'Len Wilson (Bunker Hill), who has a 14.5 hand time this season. Dylan Andrade (Forbush) hasn't raced much this season, but he has ambitions about going under 15 for the first time this weekend.
  • Girls 200: the top 7 girls are listed between 25 and 26 seconds. Imani Prince-Gay (Hopewell) has the chance to back up her 24.9 hand time with a win here, but the going won't be easy for her. Cambria Shuford (Statesville) will soon be threatening the 25-second barrier herself, while sophomore Tyresha Alexander (North Mecklenburg) has an FAT PR of 25.44 from last summer. Speaking of young talent, Cox Mill freshman Akira Rhodes (competing unattached) ran in the mid-25's twice last year as an 8th-grader. The forecast is for cool temperatures, and that might not stimulate fast times, but the race should still be highly competitive.
  • Boys Triple Jump: Although there isn't anyone entered with a mark over 45 feet, this could be the most intensely contested event of the day. That's because the top three all have lifetime bests in the 44-foot range, and the top 6 are all seeded within a foot-and-a-half of each other. Chaston Raye (Providence Day) is the only one over 44 this spring, but Di'Joun Huitt (Bunker Hill) and Desmond Lindsey (Forest Hills) both exceeded that distance in 2014.
  • Boys 400: This year's top time belongs to Kaylan Love-Soles (Rocky River), who has already recorded a 48.33. The top returning time in the state from last year belongs to Ty Jaye Robbins-Lockhart (Piedmont) - he ran 47.49. They will go head-to-head Saturday, and behind them there should also be a nice secondary battle among runners seeking to go sub-50 for the first time this season. That group includes Nicholas Lawson (Hopewell), whose PR is 49.89, as well as Brandon Massey (Parkwood, running unattached) and Quashon Martin (Bunker Hill).
  • Boys Pole Vault: Tristian Shaver (Ledford, competing unattached) jumps for the first time this spring, and he will have good competition from Marshall Shank (East Rowan) and Bailey Frederick (Marvin Ridge). All three of them have been over 15 feet, though Frederick is the only one to so do this spring.
  • Girls Long Jump: Only 8 girls in the state have gone further than 18 feet so far during outdoor season, but with 5 athletes entered in the 17's here we could see that list grow. Olivia Walker (Hopewell) has to be the favorite based on her indoor work: she had a best of 18' 9.5" during the winter season. Her teammate Nicole Lawson had a solid mid-17 jump indoors, as did Cambria Shuford (Statesville). Torri Weathers (Hickory Ridge) hasn't quite gotten back to the form that had her over 17 last summer, but the potential is certainly there.

Athletes to Watch

  • Anna Cockrell (Providence Day): Here's a tip - whenever this girl is running, watch her, because you never know when she will do something that will be even more amazing than all the amazing things she has already done. She should dominate the hurdles, but don't be surprised if she pushes herself to a nationally-ranked time in the 300H in particular.
  • Mitchell Resor (Weddington): He is the top seed in the 1600 and is also entered in the 800; it will be interesting to see how he stacks up against the state's top 2 half-milers there.
  • Christopher Garrick (Marvin Ridge): He needs to jump 6' 10" to claim a share of the state high jump lead, but of course the ultimate goal is 7 feet. One of these meets, it's going to happen.
  • Juwan Crowder (Forest Hills): He has the #1 time in the 100 and 200, and he is just a hair's breadth away from breaking 22 in the second event. The 100 could be very competitive, with Fabrice Funderburk (Sun Valley) also in the 10.70's this season.
  • Kevin Alanis (Alexander Central): He has thrown the discus 156 feet this spring, earning the 6th spot in the state rankings, and has a shot put PR of 53' 1" from 2014.
  • Emma Brown (Providence Day): Coming off a strong Raleigh Relays mile that produced a converted 1600 time of 5:06, she will be the favorite in that race and in the 800.
  • Kenya Livingston (Rocky River): Currently in a three-way tie for the state lead in the high jump, at 5' 6", she cleared 5' 7.25" at indoor nationals.
  • Cambria Shuford (Statesville): In addition to the long jump and the 200, she is the favorite in the 400; her PR is 57.14, and she is coming off a winter season that saw her post a 1:18 500 time.
  • Khayla Dawson (Olympic): After throwing 47 indoors, she has seen a local rival duplicate that feat during outdoor season, and now she surely wants to get back on top of the rankings.
  • Damarius Valentine (East Lincoln): He popped a 23' 9" in the long jump (I've seen video of it, and the mark is legit), but that will always be considered a fluke unless he can duplicate the effort somewhere along the way.