Most of the individual state champions from the PTFCA Indoor State Championships have decided to extend their seasons by competing at the indoor national championships. One has earned an All American certificate and looks poised to earn a 2nd consecutive honor.
Emma Keenan of Gywnedd Mercy Academy held on last season to take the 6th and final All American spot in the 800 meters last season with a then indoor best 2:10.33. The US#7 runner in the event has bettered that time this season, running 2:10.28 to repeat as 800 meter state champion at Penn State. Experience will definitely help her here.
Another state champion with high hopes of making a big impact at nationals is high jump champion and T-US#1 Cyre Virgo of Fleetwood Area. At the state meet, she cleared 5-10 for the very first time to win the title. With that honor, she had the chance to see 6-0 for the very first time in competition. With a sneak peak and the intimidation of the height now behind her, she can now attack the height with a little more confidence which may help her win a national crown. Megan McCloskey of Germantown Academy and Kelley Anne Stuetz of Cheltenham make their return to the national stage looking to improve on last year's performance.
After winning the 3000 meter run with a all time state record time, Tessa Barrett of Abington Heights will be entering the national stage for the very first time in the 5000 meter run. The last couple of years, a PA athlete has come one place away from receiving All American honors. Will Barrett be able to snap that streak? Emily Maxwell of Laurel, and Paige Stoner of Pottsville will also look to achieve the same goal in the event.
Kennedy Weisner of Elk County Catholic returns to the Armory for the first time since competing at the Millrose Games 3 weeks ago and the Brooks PR Invite in Seattle a week and a half ago. Weisner still holds the best mile time in PA this season (4:54.18) but finished behind Sara Sargent of Pennsbury and Marissa Sheva of Pennridge at Millrose. Sargent will be back in the mile on Sunday looking for a big performance.
Other state champions entering to the national championships include 60 meter champ and US#6 at the distance Jody Ann Evans of Quakertown, US#12 200 meter state champion and 2012 NBIN 60 meter dash semifinalist Katelyn Jackson of Cheltenham, 2012 400 meter Emerging Elite champion and US#9 Caela Williams of Penn Wood. These champion sprinters will have rematches with the athletes they defeated at states, some of which have plenty of NBIN experience.
Swenson will enter the meet with some of the most experience running at the Armory and competing against national competition compared to most of PA. The state champions of the 4x200 and 4x400 meter relays enter the championships with both relays inside the top 6 in the country this season. They are one of only four teams to break 1:40 in the 4x200 meter relay in 2012-13. They also lead the nation in the 4x55 meter shuttle hurdles relay, running 32.73 way back in December. The team is healthy this time around and have the potential to cap off the indoor season with a big national bang!
In the 4x200 meter relay, Pennridge (running as Born to Run TC) and Penn Wood enter the meet in the national top ten with their runner up and 3rd place finishes at the state championships. Penn Wood is also in the 4x400 meter relay where they are just a shade outside of the national top ten on the season.
In the distance relays, a young Great Valley squad will compete in a small field in the 4x800 meter relay. The state champions spent most of the season on top of the state list in both the 4x800 and distance medley relays and won the 4x800 meter title in comfortable fashion. A team with nothing to lose, their biggest performance of the season may just be on the horizon.
Great Valley will also be in the distance medley relay with state runner ups Cardinal O'Hara, where they are US#10 and O'Hara are US#16. O'Hara's silver medal at states is their highest finish in the distance medley in the brief history of the state meet, and like Great Valley, they also enter the meet with young runners who are making a name for themselves this season.
Unionville will enter the 4x1 mile relay along with Downingtown West and Germantown Friends. Unionville will be led by the PA#2 All Time 3000 meter runner and Cross Country runner of the year Courtney Smith of Unionville as they will be making their first appearance on the national stage.
Triple state gold medalist Wellington Zaza of Garnet Valley will be putting all of his national championship eggs into the 60 meter hurdles basket. The state meet record holder enters with the 2nd fastest time in the country (7.79) which he achieved in the final 2 rounds of the state meet hurdles. Zaza had the unfortunate honor of missing out on the finals in the 60 meter hurdles last season by one place.
The 60 and 200 meter state champion Niager Mathis of Swenson has opted to compete in just the 60 meter dash at the Armory with runner up Cody Minnig of Neshaminy joining him. Minnig was very close to Mathis in the state finals and will have his chance to improve on that silver medal performance. Mathis is also entered in the 400 meter dash where he had great success on his school's relay team last season.
800 meter state champion Brad Rivera of Bensalem, 3rd place Jeffrey Wiseman of Council Rock South, and 4th place Joey Logue of Pennridge will compete in the open 800 meter run. The trio are coming off season best performances at the state meet. Logue had great success at this meet last year as part of Pennridge's All American 4x800 meter relay team that ran the 3rd fastest time in PA history.
Mile state champion Jack Huemmler of Strath Haven will look to improve on his mile performance the last time he competed at the Armory. At the state meet, he finished very strong with a 59 second final quarter mile. He did, however, run his best time of the season at the Armory in qualifying for the Millrose Games back in January (4:16.22). Inter-Ac cross country champion Ben Ritz of Germantown Academy will join Huemmler in the event.
PA will look to show its depth in the 2 mile run after a 2012-13 season that had PA represent more than half of the national top 16! Leading that pack is state champion Max Norris of Harriton, who sits at US#3 from his state title performance (8:28.93). The Martin brothers Colin and Ethan of Fox Chapel are both in that elite group, with Ethan sitting at US#4 from his runner up state performance (8:33.63). Foot Locker finalist Brendan Shearn of North Schuylkill will make his return to the national championships after a solid 5000 meter performance last season. Shearn and Norris will also compete in the 5000 meter run on Friday night where PA came close to medaling a year ago.
Tim Moses of Palmyra won the state championship in the pole vault despite not clearing 16 feet, something that's been rare for the senior this season. The last time he was at the Armory, he won the first ever Millrose Games high school boys pole vault competition with a clearance of 15-6, the same height he cleared at states. Moses will look to regain the form that saw him clear 16 feet on FIVE different occassions in 2012-13.
Elizae Coleman of Coatesville has been on a hot streak in the high jump of late. After adding 3 inches to his seasonal best in early February, he took his soaring confidence and took home a state championship title at Penn State. State runner up Ibn Short of Milton Hershey has a seasonal best of 6-9 which puts him amongsts the best in the contry, but hasn't reached that height since mid January.
Despite Zaza not entering the jumps, PA will still have good representation in the long and triple jumps with Cody Minnig of Neshaminy, Eric Purnell of Malvern Prep, and Chris Spadaro of Council Rock South all competing in the long jump. Spadaro will also compete in the triple jump with Corey Muggler of Lasalle and De'Lorian Day of Hempfield (7).
State champion Jason Coon of Schuylkill Valley and teammate Evan Arnott will compete in the shot put and will be joined by a strong group of PA throwers, including Max Adams of Hempfield, Luke Lewis of Hickory, the top four throwers in the state this season.
In the relays, NXN qualifiers Cardinal O'Hara and West Chester Henderson will go head to head in the 4x1 mile run. Both teams carry great depth in their teams and have geared themselves for an opportunity to have yet another big performance on the national stage.
O'Hara is also entered in the 4x800 meter relay where they have two low 8 minute performances from two completely different foursomes. Pennsbury were the 2nd team to break 8 minutes in the 4x800 meter relay this season before the state meet.
The distance medley relay will also feature O'Hara, state bronze medalists Strath Haven, and state cross country qualifiers Downingtown West. Strath Haven has a US#11 mark on the season (10:20.62).
In the sprint relays, state 4x200 meter relay champions Norristown will look to win their 3rd big meet in a row in the event. They won the Millrose Games with a wire to wire performance and then came away with the state title a week later. They sit at US#6 entering the weekend and have broken 1:30 in their last two wins.
4x400 meter relay champions Pennridge will look to earn their 2nd straight All American certificate in a national relay after finishing 6th in the 4x800 last year. Two of those legs from that team come back in the 4x400 this year. Their state winning performance of 3:19.47 is 3rd best in the country this year.