Erin Hannon has won a US title, but never the state variety. She chould get at least two. Ryann Krais has a shot at two US sophomore class records, let alone two or three state titles. Liz Costello is atttempting the Mile-3000 double, with a 4x800 anchor as dessert... and could pull it off. And watch the battle between West Catholic and West Chester Henderson in the relays. It will be electric, and could decide the day.
Just as with the boys' 60 Meter Dash, the girls' race is going to be too close to call. There are contenders in each of the prelims, beginning with Tierra Flowers of Coatesville, and including Charelise Davis of Oakland Catholic, Breehana Jacobs of Laurel Highlands, and West Catholic's Simone Carter. But don't count out Channing Richardson of Penn Hills, her teammate Taelor Fowler, Clarenchell Tate of Simon Gratz, Jasmine Russ of Ben Franklin, or Kristina Royster of Lower Merion.
The 60 Meter Hurdles are also like the boys' race. There is a clear favorite. Sophomore Ryann Krais of Methacton has been knocking off all comers all season, and Saturday should be no exception. Her 8.67 seed is fast, and within reach of the 8.52 US Sophomore Class Record. She could also challenge another US Soph Class Record, but more on that in the field preview. Anyway, only one other athlete, Jazmin Hunt of Reading, is under 9 for the event. Others who should make the finals include Center's Lindsay Dolan, Strath Haven's Kerry Kelly, and Bradford senior Erin Hannon.
The 200 Meter Dash has the makings of a classic. The current state leader, Breehana Jacobs of Laurel Highlands, will be coming off the 60 Dash along with 2nd seed Charelise Davis of Oakland Catholic. And 3rd seed Ryann Krais of Methacton will be coming off the 60 Hurdles. West Catholic's Kneshia Sheard will have run the 400... so the only rested athlete will be Mercersburg's Whitney Matthew. This one will come down to the top three seeds, and youth may very well win.
Racing fresh in the 400 Meter Dash, West Catholic's Kneshia Sheard is the top seed by a lot. Krais, who ran sub-56 last weekend in New York, has opted for other events. Sheard's competition will come from Penn Hills' Jasmine Cottle, Council Rock South's Ijeoma Iheoma, and William Tennent's Alli Diepeveen.
The state record in the 800 Meter Run is held by West Catholic senior Latavia Thomas at 2:07.10. She'll have all the competition she needs in Chanelle Price of Easton and Shaniel Chambers of Chester. Price is the fastest so far this season... but this is the race that counts.
Just like the 2003 XC Champ Foot Locker Finalist, and 2004 Millrose Mile Qualifier before her by the name of Frances Koons of Allentown Central Catholic, Conestoga's Liz Costello will attempt the distance double of the Mile Run and 3000 Meter Run. Koons pulled it off, barely hanging on in the 3000 to hand St. Hubert's Amy Kelly her 2nd second of that day. Costello is just as talented, just as focused, and just as capable as Koons. Her 4:56.09 is over nine seconds ahead of the 2nd seed in the Mile, Sarah Morrison of Chambersburg. Only Strath Haven's Lisa Vienneau is in the same area. In the 3000, four girls have been running well enough to challenge Costello should she falter... Sarah Simonetti of Pennridge, Diana Filtz of Penn-Trafford, Kassie Meholick of Cedar Cliff, and Kathleen Davies of Saint Basil. But should they let the race go strategic, then Costello's 400 and 800 speed will make the final portion of the race all her's.
The West Chester Henderson girls are the top seed in two of the three relays, and the 3rd seed in the other. if they race to their talent, they could get a ton of team points in these events. The top seed in the 4x200 Meter Relay is West Catholic. They are almost a second a lap better than second seed Coatesville, and in this short race of fury, that is a lot. Both Henderson and Penn Hills are within a half-a-second of Coatesville. West Catholic is capable of a 1:39 in this race, and that would certainly seal the deal. They are the defending champs in both the sprint relays.
In the 4x400 Meter Relay, Henderson is the only one under 4 minutes this season (3:58.31), a race they pulled off last Saturday in New York. While that makes them the top seed, there are several other teams that will have something to say in the final outcome. Downingtown East is the 2nd seed at 4:00.48, followed within a second-and-a-half by West Catholic, Engineering & Science and Methacton. West Catholic is the one to watch, because this race could be for the team title. And if the first three runners for Methacton can keep it close, anchor Ryann Krais could make the final outcome very interesting. A 55-low would make it interesting.
The 4x800 Meter Relay will feature five teams who have gone under 9:34 this season, led by West Chester Henderson with their 9:23.27. Most significantly, that time was run on the same day last Saturday in New York when they posted the state's best 4x400 time. They say practice makes perfect, and that was a pretty good practice. Watch for Conestoga, anchored by Liz Costello. It'll be her last indoor state meet race, and even though she'll be coming off the Mile - 3000 double, she is still capable of something under 2:18. That'll hunt down a lot of runners… if they're in front. Also in the mix will be North Penn, Cardinal O'Hara, and Archbishop Prendergast.
Erin Hannon, the multi-sport talent who will compete in the Pentathlon at the Nike Indoor Nationals in two weeks, is only the fifth seed (like "only" is a bad thing) in the 60 Meter Hurdles. Well, she's the top seed in one field event, and the 2nd seed in two others. Expect her to have a great meet. Again, it could be a case of senior-itis motivation, or maybe erasing the three 2nd's she took to now-graduated Nicole Smith of McDowell. Either way, watch for her on the infield all day long.
Hannon does not yet own a state championship title, even though she has won a national one (2005 Nike Indoor Nationals High Jump). Her best shot at filling that spot on her resume will be in the High Jump. She is a clear favorite, having cleared 5-08 this season, narrowly missing at 5-10 at a meet in Ohio this season, and owning a PR of 5-10, which got her into a jump-off at the 2005 meet where she took one of her 2nds vs. Smith. Three jumpers are within four inches – Conestoga's Emily Moles, Butler's Kendall Butch, and Henderson's Meghan Horne.
The state record-holder in the Pole Vault, Lindsay Regan of Easton, has been nursing an injury for the past few weeks, but comes into the meet as the top seed at 12-10, just two inches shy of her PR and state record 13-00, set at this meet in 2005. Four competitors are within 13 inches of that mark – which is considered spittin' distance in the Pole Vault – including Whitehall's Brooke Borso at 12-3, Latrobe's Caitlin Hewitt at 12-1, Liberty's Beki Finn at 12-0, and Regan teammate Abbie Schafer at 11-09. Hewitt took 3rd in 2005 after clearing 12-7, the same height cleared by the 2nd place finisher. Also in the field is McDowell's Alexandra Acker, who is seeded at 11-6, but took 4th in 2005, clearing 12-0.
Hannon set a PR of 18-07.50 this season for indoor or outdoor in the Long Jump. Only Hallahan's Shanae Thomas or Upper Darby's Bintou Dibba are over 18 feet... but there is one competitor now over 19, and that is – you guessed it – Ryann Krais of Methacton. At the DVGTCA MOC last Saturday, she went 19-02.50, and was well beyond that in another attempt in which she fouled. Those who know say she is already capable of threatening 20'. The meet record is two decades old at 20-01.25. And the US Sophomore Class Record is 19-11. Watch this event closely. Hannon won't let any event go easily, and the competition could push both to big PRs.
With Smith gone in the Triple Jump as well as the Long Jump, you might expect Hannon to be the top seed. But then up comes another talent by the name of Shanae' Thomas of Hallahan, making the most of her senior year. With her 38-06.50 seed, she has an inch-and-a-half on Hannon… on paper. But Hannon's PR in this event also occurred indoors, at this meet to be exact, when she leapt 39-06 in taking 2nd to Smith. Expect this to be a great competition.
One of the best events of the entire meet will be the girls' Shot Put. For those of you who keep their eyes glued to the track and infield, just glance to the right on occasion. When you see the girls warming up behind the protective net, you may want to start paying more attention. This is a big-time year in PA, with seven girls over 40', and three ranked in the top six in the country... including 2005 outdoor AA champ Allyn Laughlin of Center at 47-06.50, defending indoor and AAA outdoor state champ Karen Shump of Penncrest at 46-05.25, and outdoor AAA runner-up Samantha Fetter of the western PA Hempfield, at 45-02. Just two weeks ago, Laughlin and Shump went head-to-head, and the competition was fierce. This is bigger... so the throws should be bigger.
It doesn't get any better than this... and I'm talking the entire PA state meet. So forget the predictions and enjoy the competition.