The high school 3,000-meter runs promise to be great duels at Penn Relays this year, for both boys and girls.
In the boys’ race, two U.S.-leading American runners, Alex Hatz of New York and Jake Hurysz of North Carolina, will face Kemoy Campbell of Jamaica, the winner of numerous titles at the Jamaican Champs at various distances. No Jamaican high school runner has ever won an individual distance race at the Relays.
In the girls, Chelsey Sveinsson of Texas, the reigning Relays champion in the mile, is moving up to the 3,000 to take on two outstanding New York runners, senior Emily Lipari and junior Aisling Cuffe. Cuffe was the fastest prep in the country this indoor season in the 3k; Lipari holds that distinction outdoors.
The 3,000s are two of numerous individual events contested by the high school athletes at the Relays. The others on the track are the mile and the 400-meter hurdles, plus the seven traditional field events.
In the 3,000, Sveinsson, the brilliant junior from The Greenhill School (Dallas), has already run twice at the Relays, finishing 4th to Stephanie Morgan in the mile in 2008 as a freshman, then winning that event a year ago as a sophomore. Morgan, in turn, stepped up to the 3k a year ago and won, becoming the first girl to accomplish that double. Sveinsson, by winning here, could match that achievement with one year to go. Sveinsson, who was born in Iceland to parents of mixed heritage, already has career bests of 4:40.24 for a mile and 10:04.85 for 2 miles. She won this year’s Texas Relays 3,200 in 10:07.15.
Lipari (Roslyn, L.I.) was 5th a year ago at Penn. This winter she had the fastest indoor mile by a high school girl (4:42.64), and over the weekend she took the national lead for the 3k outdoors (9:46.74), winning the New York Relays. She has a PR of 9:44.85.
Cuffe (Cornwall) won the NY state indoor meet at 9:36.95, the fastest time in the country, and was U.S. Junior champion at 5,000 meters last spring at age 15. She ran 10:11.65 for 2 miles indoors this winter, again a U.S.-leading performance.
Others in the race include Katie Kinkead (Central Bucks East, Pa.) and the Saratoga Springs (N.Y.) trio of Molly Pezzullo (10:06), Cassandra Goutos (10:06) and Sydney King (10:11).
The girls’ mile appears to be wide open among such contenders as Angel Piccirillo (Homer Center, Pa.), 4:56; Joelle Amaral (Randolph, N.J.), 4:56; Chloe Schmidt (State College, Pa.), 4:57; Meg Ryan (Fairfield Warde, Conn.), 4:53; Hannah Neczypor (North Royalton, Ohio); 4:55; Madeline Chambers (Magnificat, Ohio), 4:51; Haley Pierce, from The Tatnall School, Wilmington, Del., the school that won last year’s championship DMR; Alaine Tate (Bayside, Queens, N.Y.), 4:52 1,500, and Lillian Greibesland (Warwick Valley, N.Y.), a senior who is returning from injury. As a sophomore, Greibesland ran anchor on the Warwick Valley team that set the national high school record in the DMR.
In the 400 hurdles, Ristananna Tracey (Edwin Allen, Jamaica) will attempt to win the event her older sister, Nikita, won a year ago. Ristananna won the Carifta Games this year at 58.58.
Her challengers include Shana-Gaye Tracey (Manchester, Jamaica), who ran 57.74 3 years ago; Amber Allen (Passaic Vo-Tech, N.J.), 58.44 in 2009; Miata Morlu (Providence Day, Charlotte, N.C.), who won the Junior Olympics last summer in 59.24; Whitney Fountain (Columbus, NYC), a 23-second sprinter who ran 60.73 in the IH over the weekend, and Sade-Mariah Greenidge (Springer Memorial), a Carifta veteran from Barbados.
Peter-Gaye Reid (St. Elizabeth Tech, Jamaica) goes for her 3rd straight win in the high jump. Reid has a best of 5-10 ¾, while Emily Kianka (Hopewell Valley, N.J.) was U.S. leader this indoor season, clearing 5-11. In the LJ, Chanice Porter (Manchester, Jamaica) jumped 21-1 ¼ this spring as a 15-year-old. She will face New Yorkers Jen Clayton (Suffern), 20-5 ¾ indoors, and Nicole Cummings (Peekskill), 19-6 ½. The triple jump favorite is Jamaica’s Rochelle Farquharson (St. Elizabeth), who has jumped 43-3 3/4w, against Americans Melia Cox (Long Beach Poly, Calif.), 41-2 ½, and Desmonae Gay (Western Branch, Va.), 40-10 indoors. The vault features Emily Urciuoli (Clifton, N.J.), 12-6 ½; Brooke Hamscher (Whitehall, Pa.), 12-5 ½; Lauren Terstappen (Phoenixville, Pa.), 12-5 ½, and the LaChance sisters from Cornwall Central, N.Y., Adrienn (12-7 ½) and Ariel.
In the throws, Jamaicans dominate this year’s discus competition, led by Candicea Bernard (St. Hugh’s), 159-9; Vanessa Levy (Vere), 150-5, and Sasha-Gay Marston (Edwin Allen), 149-9. Another Caribbean athlete, Brenda Oyola (Alberque Olimpico, Puerto Rico), has thrown 129-1. The javelin favorite is the defending champion, Deloma (Fawn) Miller, of Lakeview, Pa., best of 157-8, and the shot favorite is Vanessa Stewart (North Babylon, N.Y.), 47-4 ¾ best.
The 3k pits Americans Hatz (Fayetteville-Manlius, N.Y.) and Hurysz (Eastern Alliance, Mebane, N.C.) against the Jamaican star Campbell (Bellefield Comprehensive). Hatz was the nation’s fastest indoor schoolboy miler, running 4:05.50, while earlier this month Hurysz won the Arcadia Invitational 3,200 in California in 8:49.76. Campbell has bests of 3:42.57 for 1,500, 8:33.7 for 3,000 and 14:18.55 for 5,000.
The mile looks wide open. The field includes Pat Schellberg (Delbarton Prep, N.J.), 4:12.43 indoors; Anthony Kostelac (Albemarle, Charlottesville, Va.), 4:12.90 for 2nd place at Arcadia; John Bleday (Xaverian, Mass.), 4:12.70; Colin Mearns (Jamestown, Va.), 4:13.08; Tom Kehl (Father Judge, Philadelphia), 4:13.48; Tom Mallon (Central Bucks South, Pa.), a 1:52 halfmiler, and Mark McCauley (Greely, Maine), a 1:54/4:15 runner who has not run outdoors yet this year. Kostelac, who has run 1:50.96 for 800, anchored Albemarle’s record-setting 4×8 team at last year’s Relays.
There is a heavy favorite in the 400 hurdles. It’s not often that a veteran of the IAAF World Championships is young enough to compete in the High School section of the Relays, but that is the case this year, where Jehue Gordon (Queen’s Royal College, Trinidad) will be running the IH. Last summer Gordon, at age 17, finished 4th in Berlin at the Worlds and ran 48.26, well under the American national high school record of 49.38. Earlier this month he demonstrated early-season fitness, winning the Carifta Games in a meet-record 49.76. No runner has broken 50 seconds at the Relays in this event; the meet record is 50.47, by Dwight Ruff, of Camden, N.J., in 2001. Gordon is expected to return later in the meet to run on QRC’s 4×4 team.
All attention will again be paid to the boys’ shot put, where Nick Vena (Morristown, N.J.) will be going for his third straight title. Vena, a junior, has been Outstanding Competitor both of his years at the meet. A year ago he pushed the meet record out to 72-2 ½, 5 feet farther than the previous record. Vena has put 70-0 ¾ so far this outdoor season.
The other throwing favorites are Kyle Smith (Lancaster Catholic, Pa.) in the javelin, with a best of 216-9, and Chad Wright (Calabar, Jamaica), a best of 207-0 in the discus. The DT meet record is 190-11, set in 1999 by Nick Welihozkiy (West Springfield, Va.). Also in the discus are fellow Calabar thrower Travis Smikle (195-3) and defending champion Matt Hickabee (Timber Creek, N.J.), 182-11.
The defending champion is also back in the long jump. Carlton Lavong (Methacton, Norristown, Pa.), who jumped 24-11 indoors this winter, won the Relays in 2009. He will face Kamal Fuller (Wolmer’s Boys, Jamaica), who has gone 25-0 ½. The triple jump field includes Damon McLean (Campion College, Jamaica), a best of 50-8 ¾; Ramone Bailey (Wolmer’s), 49-7 ¼; Kendrick Smith (Western Branch, Va.), 49-5; Marquis Dendy (Middletown, Del.), 50-6 ¾, and Olukayode Owolabi (Midwood, Brooklyn), the PSAL champion at 47-3.
The top entry in the HJ is Jonathan Reid (Kingston College, Jamaica), best of 7-0 ¼, and in the PV it is Cory Duggan (Monsignor Farrell, Staten Island, N.Y.), 16-0. Cory’s older brother Brian won the event in 2005.