The Russell Blunt East Coast Invitational is being this weekend down at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina and the meet has attracted some of Virginia's top sprint and jump stars as the summer heats up for those competing onto the USATF National Junior Olympics next week in Greensboro. A trio of Virginia girls have went under 12 seconds (the most in any meet this season) this past weekend at Russell Blunt with Keilah Tyson at 11.89 in her preliminary round, while Tania Minkins of Menchville at 11.93 and Shakeela Saunders of Great Bridge at 11.97 ran their fastest in the semifinal heats with personal best clockings. The girls' triple jump has produced some strong marks as well with Menchville's Chaneka Perry (pictured right by Ted Plunkett) besting several accomplished athletes to win the young women's triple jump in her first mark over 40 feet at 40'1.25". Perry is headed to VCU in the fall. Tanisha Carney just completed her freshmen year of high school at St. Catherine's and came out with a significant PR of 38'4.75" in the triple jump at Duke to place second in the intermediate girls division. Grassfield's Jazmen Townsend has been Virginia's top performer in the 200 meter dash and long jump at the event as the rising senior was the fourth fastest heading into Sunday's 200 meter dash finals at 24.98 and also won the long jump earlier in the meet with a mark of 18'11.25. Taylor Sykes of Great Bridge, a Nike All-American at 400 meters, will be going for gold in Sunday's finals of the 400 meter dash after running a solid opener of 47.69 in the prelims to advance on as the fastest qualifier.
The final day of competition on Sunday at the Russell Blunt East Coast Invitational in Durham had some stellar performances by Virginian preps. Taylor Sykes (pictured left by John Herzog) won the young men's 400 meter dash with one of his fastest times of the year in 47.45. The Eastern Region champion has posted his fastest two 400 times of the year after the state meet as he ran a lifetime best of 47.25 to earn All-American honors at Nike Outdoor Nationals. His Great Bridge teammate Shakeela Saunders ran a stellar time for a high school freshmen in the 400 to drop two seconds from her prelim time for a personal best effort of 55.47 as a runner-up in the intermediate girls' division. Saunders also won the intermediate girls 100 meter dash in a 12.03 clocking after running sub 12 in the qualifying rounds. Booker T. Washington's Champagne Bell placed third in the young women's 400 finals with a time slightly slower than Saunders' at 55.72. Keilah Tyson nearly eclipsed the state leading time in the 100 meter dash from earlier in the spring by Marlena Wesh with a swift 11.73 clocking for the rising junior and defending Group AAA indoor state 55 meter champion. Cydney Robinson, a third place finisher in the 800 meter run at the AAA State Meet this past spring, ran her second fastest time of the year only to her state meet performance to take first in the young women's 800 meter dash with a time of 2:14.55. Green Run's Edward Hurley had a successful meet in the 200 meter dash making the finals of the event in which he finished as a runner-up in a PR clocking of 21.51. Russell Blunt East Coast Invitational Complete HS Results