What a season we're expecting for a pair of Pennsylvania's top athletes, Kyle Garland and Ayden Owens. The two specialize in the multis and will likely battle it out for pentathlon gold at New Balance Nationals Indoor. But before that both Garland, a Georgia recruit that attends Germantown Academy, and Owens, of North Allegheny and signed to USC, will square off in the hurdles this season.
Garland enters as the defending state champion in the 60 meter hurdles. In the final at states last year, Owens was better out of the blocks, but Garland closed very well to run him down and take the state title. This year, the pair will chase sub-8 times and all roads will likely lead to a matchup in the state final once again.
Both Garland and Owens will likely be busy at the state meet with other events, so this battle could come down to a war of attrition, one that these decathletes are more than ready for.
Photo by Abby Huber
Who else could contend for state medals this winter? Penn Manor's Taraje Whitfield (above) had a strong season in the hurdles last year. After transferring from Manheim Township, Whitfield took third at indoor states. He ran a best of 8.15 and should be in line for a big senior year.
Two other state final qualifiers and medalists from last year are Harrisburg's Richard Gilchrist and the Haverford School's Sam Lindner. Gilchrist was sixth at states, while Lindner took seventh. Gilchrist was fifth at outdoor states in AAA, while Lindner was third in the PAISAA in the high hurdles. Look for both to make a push for the final and maybe more this season.
Pennsbury's Nasan Robbins, Chester's James Jackson, and Coatesville's Jared Elters make up a strong contingent of District 1 area hurdlers that could make a splash this year. Robbins ran 8.31 last season, while Jackson posted a best of 8.33. Elters, meanwhile, was the District 1 champ in the high hurdles last spring and made the outdoor state final. All three have the ability to make the indoor state final this year and go home with medals.