AAA GIRLS PREVIEW
By Jayson Jackson
Chester's Rayiana Johnson is the defending champ in the 100 Meter Dash, and has the season’s best time of 11.69. But she lost at the District 1 Championship to the only other AAA athlete to break 12 seconds on the year, Radnor’s Lydia Ali. Plus, Jordan Hoyt, Abington Heights, Jessica Whitmore, Chambersburg, Jody Evans, Quakertown, and Iman Wilkerson, Penn Hills have all dipped under 12.1 on the year, making the 100 Meter Dash a tight field once again.
In the 100 Meter Hurdles, Abington’s Leah Nugent is the only athlete to break 14 seconds this season with her 13.92 at the District 1 Championship. District 2 Champ and #2 seed, Coughlin’s Shelley Black, is her closest rival with a time of 14.14. It looks to be a two-way battle, with plenty of girls in chase the lead by District 1 runnerup, Upper Darby’s Georgia Mason. Ten other girls have broken 15 seconds on the year including last year’s runnerup, Oakland Catholic’s Taylor Doaty.
Last year Don Rich said, “As the distance goes up, but the barriers remain, Nugent gets faster.” Well it still holds true for this year as Nugent once again leads the state in the 300 Meter Hurdles with a 42.90 at District 1 Championships. Nugent is the defending state champion and co-record holder with Methacton’s Ryann Krais. Her closest rivals are a group of nine girls who have broken 45 seconds on the year, including last year’s runnerup, Central Bucks East’s Ali Gillen 44.26 and her 100m Hurdle rival, Black (44.43).
Last year’s top two finishers return in the 200 Meter Dash, Johnson and Hoyt, but they are the number two and three seeds in the field. The top seed belongs to Wilkerson , who sped to a 24.67 at the District 7 Championship. Wilkerson’s top time on the year is 24.33. Wilkerson’s teammate, Jordan Lee, is the fourth seed and one of only six AAA girls to break 25 seconds on the season.
When last year’s top returner in the 400 Meter Dash, Norwin’s Shannon Abraham, is this year’s 11th seed, it’s very obvious the 400 Meter Dash is loaded. Quaketown’s Alicia Evans is the top seed and has the state’s best time with the 55.46 she ran at the SOL Continental Conference Championship. Lee, Villa Maria’s Emily Cable, and West Perry’s Morgan Sheaffer (5th in 2009) will be in hot pursuit as they are the only other athletes in the field to crack 57 seconds on the year. Also of note, the #5 seed is Ali (see 100 Meter Dash), who has run 57.01 (Girls Delco Championship) this season.
PTFCA Indoor State Champion, last year’s runnerup, and top seed in the 800 Meter Run (2:12.79), Chloe Schmidt of State College, will look to ascend to the top of the podium for the first time outdoors. Four other girls, Hopewell’s Elise Farris (2:13.40 & 5th in 2009), Conestoga’s Kacie O’Neil (2:13.73), Seneca Valley’s Erin Lopresti (2:14.60 &10th in 2009), and Gwynedd Mercy’s Emma Keenan (2:14.64), have gone sub-2:15 in the 800 Meter Run this season and will look to challenge Schmidt. Two other girls to watch are last year’s bronze medalist, Grove City’s Hana Casalnova (2:16.97 SB) and Sheaffer (2:16.63) who scored (6th) last year and is doubling back from the 400m.
With five of last year’s scorers graduating in the 1600 Meter Run, several new faces will grace the podium in 2010. Last year’s runnerup, Eastern Lebanon County’s Kayleigh Perry, is the top returning finisher and this year’s fourth seed. Margo Malone of North Hills was the only AAA girl to break five minutes in the final at her district meet (WPIAL) making her the top seed. The number two seed, Pennsbury’s Sara Sargent, owns the state’s top time of 4:51.64, which she ran in the prelims at the District 1 Championship. For most of the field in the final, it will be the first race of the day, but it will be Sargent’s second (see 3200 Meter Run), which will impact the race. The other two returning scorers are Schmidt (5:04.99 SB & 6th in 2009) and Hempfield Area’s Amber Valimont (5:00.29 & 8th in 2009). The field is loaded and it probably will take sub-5 to score.
Sargent leads the way in the 3200 Meter Run with the 10:33.80 she ran at the District 1 Championships. Of note is Sargent's faster pace at 3,000, when she took 3rd in the Penn Relays when she ran 9:39.26. Seven other girls in the field have cracked 11 minutes this season. Hampton’s Elaina Balouris is the next closest challenger with 10:43.90 (District 7 Championship). Balouris finished eighth in 2009, but is not the only returning scorer. Cumberland Valley’s Leigha Anderson (10:53.06 SB & third in 2009) and Central Bucks East’s Katie Kinkead (10:49.70 SB & seventh in 2009) will also look to make a repeat trip to the podium in 2010. North Penn’s Meghan McGovern (10:50.38), Owen J Roberts’ Nicole Oliver (10:55.05), Wilson’s Maggie Lawrence (10:58.58), Boyertown’s Elizabeth Simpson (10:58.58), and Central Bucks East’s Jenny Guidera (10:59.58) are the others in the field to dip under 11 minutes this year.
After not making last year’s 4x100 Meter Relay final, Penn Hills looks to get back to the medal stand as they lead the field with a 47.69 clocking at the District 7 Championships. Six other teams have season bests under 48.5, led by Coatesville’s 48.20.
4x400 Meter Relay defending champion Abington leads the way with the 3:49.76 they ran at the Penn Relays. Both Villa Maria (3:52.18) and Penn Hills (3:52.35) look to be hitting their peak at the right time and will challenge for the title. With the top 12 seeds all breaking 4:00, it will be a tight race to make the finals.
Seven 4x800 Meter Relay squads are under 9:21, including Central Bucks West - who has clocked 9:15.58 - and West Chester Henderson (9:16.60), North Allegheny (9:19.25), Warwick (9:19.56), Norwin (9:20.57), Downingtown East (9:20.81), and defending champion Conestoga (9:20.83). The 4x800 is usually a battle, and this should come down to the wire.
In the High Jump, Ambridge’s India McCoy is the top seed with a height of 5-6, but she is not the only girl to clear that this year. Pennridge’s Annie Holland, Upper Dublin’s Taylor Morgan, and Kelly Anne Stuetz of Cheltenham also have soared over the height.
Three girls are over 19 feet in the Long Jump with #2 seed Abington’s Jordan Matthews leading the way with a leap of 19-7.5 at the SOL National Conference Meet. Dominque Best (#1 seed) and last year’s runnerup, Brittany Howell (#3 seed) are not far behind as they both have jumped 19-1.5 on the year.
#1 Seed and defending Triple Jump champion, Ashley Corum of Carlisle, has the season’s best jump of 40-9.5. She leads #2 seed Baldwin’s Brittney Edwards (39-2) by over a foot. Seeds 3-12 are separated by 13 inches, so expect a tight battle for the podium spots.
Brooke Hamscher (12-6), Larissa Debich (12-6), and Lauren Terstappen (12-0) look to fill the void in the Pole Vault as last year’s top three finishers all graduated. All three cleared 12-0 at their respective district championship to remain as the top three seeds in the event.
Six girls have thrown over 40 feet in the Shot Put and PTFCA Indoor State Champion Rachel Serafin of Hempfield Area has the season’s top throw at 42-10.5. She has a one-foot advantage over #2 seed, Elizabeth Forward’s Tori Paterra. The next four girls have thrown between 41-1.5 and 40-0.
Serafin (131-2) is the top seed and returns to defend her 2009 title in the Discus, but will face some tough competition from District 3’s top two throwers. Greencastle-Antrim’s Katrina Wright (139-11) and Muhlenberg’s Brianna Dugan (135-5) have the top two AAA throws this season. District 3 has five of the top ten seeds.
Paterra leads the way in the Javelin with her monstrous PA #2 all-time throw of 162-9 at the District 7 championships. District 6 boasts the next two seeds with Indian Valley’s Laura Loht (154-11) and State College’s Lauren Kenney (146-7).