The Mondo Elite High School Invitational is bringing all the star power to JDL Fast Track this weekend. State records are being hunted and the new Hall of Fame class will be inducted this weekend in Winston-Salem. Who is bringing their talents to Forsyth County?
1000m Run (Friday, 9:20pm)
Although it is not one of the listed "elite" events, the final event of the Friday session will be a loaded 1,000m race. The current U.S. No. 2 in Stella Kermes, No. 11 in Justine Preisano, and No. 16 in Alyssa Preisano are all in the field. Kermes' personal best is 2:50.37. Joining the trio is new Mount Tabor 1,000m school record holder Hannah Riley (3:00.63) and Natalia Martin (Olympic, 3:02.69).
60m Hurdles (3:50pm)
The 60m hurdles will have all eyes on Akala Garrett (Albemarle) and her quest for the North Carolina state record. Her personal best of 8.28 is just 0.10 seconds off the state record held by Anna Cockrell (8.18). Garrett is the current U.S. No. 1 in the event. NC No. 3 Aria Wegh (Marvin Ridge) is lining up next to Garrett, and a big run from her could boost her onto the national spotlight.
On the boys' side Xavier Branker (Ardrey Kell) is the defending outdoor NCHSAA 4A 110mH and 300mH state champion. He is the current NC No. 1 in the 55mH.
60m Dash (4:05pm)
Antwan Hughes Jr. (Parkland) gets the chance to make his mark on the state and prove why he might be the most talented sprinter in the southeast. However, South Carolina product and ECU commit Carlmelo Martin might have something to say. Martin has a 55m dash best of 6.35 and a 60m best of 6.76. However, Hughes Jr. has a best of 6.29 in the 55m, which sits NC No. 1. To top it off he was 3rd in the 100m at the NCHSAA 4A outdoor state meet in the 100m. Christian Dixon (Mallard Creek) is NC No. 3 in the 55m so don't be shocked to see him up there with Hughes and Martin.
South Carolina product Sharmelle Holmes (Dreamchaserz '24) holds the top seed in the short sprint. One of the biggest names in South Carolina, Holmes is bringing the heat up north. She was the SCHL AAA 100m state champion and runner-up in the 200m in the spring. She holds a personal best in the 100m outdoors of 11.81. Two of North Carolina's veterans in Ai'yana Gray-Williams and Dana Wilson will try to defend their home turf. Gray-Williams is currently NC No. 3 in the 300m and was 4th in this event at last year's Mondo Elite. Wilson won the 2022 adidas Outdoor 100m national championship on top of victories at the NCISAA Division I state meet in the 100m and 200m. The x-factor in this race, and who could very well take the win, is Union Pines' Briana St. Louis. St. Louis, a sophomore transfer from Randolph, Texas. As a freshman she placed 3rd in the 100m at the 3A UIL State Championship (and runner-up in triple jump). This season she has clocked 7.11 in the 55m and 40.97 in the 300m.
800m Run (4:20pm)
Emanuel Williams (CATA) is ready to make the 800m his event this year. He took runner-up at the NCHSAA 4A 800m state championship in the spring in an emotional race with Ryan Motondo. He won the Carolina Distance Carnival 800m in 1:53.33. Lining up with him is Mount Tabor middle distance star Andrew Burrell, who holds a best of 1:54.88. Other sub 1:57.00 seeds include Pete Pignetti (Charlotte Country Day), Zach Makemson (Providence Day School), Jamel Brown, Donald Moore (East Mecklenburg), Aaron Caveney (Durham Academy), Macaire N'Twa, Brannen Miller (Lake Norman), and Griffin Wald (Middle Creek).
Hannah Riley is doubling back in the 800m Friday. She is the top seed with her 2:14.50 best. Teammate Katie McFerrin has a seed of 2:15.99. County-rival Caroline Echols will be their top competition as she holds the top seed of 2:13.49.
400m Dash (4:30pm)
This is a big time matchup across the board. This might be the tightest field of the day. Killian Fahy (Cuthbertson/UNC signee) leads the way and looks to prove he is on more than just a hot streak. He is NC No. 5 in the 500m, however he is the defending NCHSAA 4A 400m state champion. Jordan Good (Western Guilford) is NC No. 2 in the 500m and No. 8 in the 300m. Max DeAngelo (Millbrook) is NC No. 3 in both the 300m and 500m.
Jordan Polk (Jordan) has only ran once this indoor season, but he was 5th in the 400m and 6th in the 200m last spring. Elijah Dawes (NW Guilford) has only competed in the 55m this winter, but was 7th at the state meet in the 400m in the spring.
For the girls, NC No. 4 in the 500m Megan Hatcher (Parkland) will face off with No. 7 Margaret Garner (Porter Ridge). They will also battle with Krista Silletti, Janiah Pulliam (Mallard Creek), and Madelyn Flower (Apex).
Talk about talent. In a field that could be better than nationals on both sides, the country will be buzzing after this one.
Cuthbertson's Preisano sisters will be back on the track alongside Kermes and Charlotte Bell. Led by Bell, they are the current NC No. 1-4. Nationally, Bell-A.Preisano-Kermes sit 5-7-8 in the mile/1600m.
We're only getting started.
The 2022 indoor 1,600m runner-up Mary Bonner Dalton (Myers Park) has been racing healthy since October and she has only gotten stronger. She was runner-up at the VA Showcase in the 2 mile run, is the defending indoor 3,200m state champion, and holds a 1-mile best of 4:53.97i and a 1,600m best of 4:50.94.
Hannah Rae Shaffer (Cardinal Gibbons) joins this field after dropping a crazy 2:55.53 1,000m time at the Fast Track Invitational last weekend. Shaffer is the defending outdoor 3,200m state champion, and holds a 1,600m best of 4:51.84. She was also runner-up in the 1,000m at the 2022 indoor state championship.
A name familiar to these athletes from Virginia is making the trip down to join this elite group of milers: Allie Zealand. Zealand was runner-up at New Balance Dash For Doobie back in November running 10:25. She was also runner-up at the Carolina Distance Carnival in the 1,600m running 4:50.72. She was 3rd at RunningLane Track Nationals in the mile running a best of 4:45.17.
For the boys', an out-of-state familiar face makes his return to North Carolina. New Balance Dash For Doobie winner Knox Young is the top seed in the field, having clocked 4:10.46 in the mile at RunningLane Nationals. He won the SCHSL AAAA titles in the 800m and 1,600m.
Defending NCHSAA 4A 1,600m outdoor champion Caden Townshend (Weddington) wants to build on his 4:16.80 run at the SCC Conference Championship. He also gets another crack at the newly returned Jacob Laney (Porter Ridge). Laney is the state indoor mile record holder, having clocked 4:07.34 last winter in Boston.
Also in the field is current NC No. 1 Landon Roemer (Providence Day School)
200m Dash (5:00pm)
In the final elite event, a lot of competitors from the 60m, 60mH, and 400m are doubling back and chasing the ultimate bragging rights. In the first of two heats, Wegh (60mH) competes against St. Louis and Tianna Spinks (Southerm Guilford). Spinx ran 54.65 in the 400m as a freshman.
In the second heat, Wilson and Gray-Williams (60m) get the big time matchup with Akala Garrett.
For the boys, heat one has a matchup of Joshua Goffe, Dixon, Josiah Wrice (Butler), and Caleb Timmons. While heat two features Benjamin Black (Mallard Creek), Hughes Jr., Martin, and Brunner Williams (Providence Day School).