2/24-Leach, Thomas lead West Catholic. It\'s Smith vs. Hannon x4 for girls at PTFCA Indoor Champs


You\'ll want to make sure you\'re paying attention for the 60 Hurdles finals. While there\'s a lot of talent in the prelim races, the final should come down to four girls. Only one athlete is under 9 seconds for the race this season, and that\'s senior Chanel Williams of Plymouth-Whitemarsh. Her 8.95 is just .05 better than the 2nd seed, Nia Ali of West Catholic. The other top contenders come from western PA, and both know how to win. Mycaiah Clemons of Valley has a 9.04 on the books, while Nicole Smith of McDowell has run a 9.11 Smith is also competing in three field events at this meet. Of note: Clemons ran four times under 9 seconds at this distance in 2004, with a best of 8.67. This race will be fun. Clemons is the defending champ.

The race for the 60 Dash championship should feature Janessa Murphy, Great Valley, Clarenchell Tate, Simon Gratz, Tierra Flowers, Coatesville, Breehana Jacobs of Laurel Highlands and Jessica Forrest of Reading. Others in the mix could be Saquenda Dallas, Girls High, and Jewel Daye of Central, Philadelphia. Murphy was 2nd in 2004.

Tate will need all her energy for the hot heat of the 200 , as she will be facing Nicole Leach of West Catholic, and Krista Simkins of Wissahickon, who has been improving the last month. Also in that race are Dallas, and frosh Ryann Krais of Methacton. Tate is the top seed coming into the race. Leach won in 2004.

When you\'re racing against the #2 all-time prep 400 runner, an defending champ, you\'re probably in a race for 2nd. Anything can happen, but Nicole Leach\'s greatest challenger, Krista Simkins, will need the perfect race, from start... to finish. Third seed Ryann Krais will get some more great experience in this race, probably continuing to lower her PR once again.


Only one girl in the hot heat of the 800 didn\'t break 2:20. There is a good chance she will in this race. Led by West Catholic\'s Latavia Thomas at 2:12.73, there\'s over a four second drop to the next seed. But Thomas is #2 in the US, and this is her best race. And 2:12 isn\'t her fastest. She holds the PA indoor record of 2:08.47 set at this meet just a year ago.

There is only one athlete under five minutes in the Mile this season, and she is the top seed in the 3000. So that opens this race to the person with the best race on Saturday. It should come down to Lauretta Dezubay, Freedom, Gwynedd Mercy\'s Kate Vernon, Strath Haven\'s Lisa Vienneau, Upper Perkiomen\'s Kristen Reed, or Conestoga\'s Liz Costello.

That 4:59.59 miler, Lynn Morelli of St. Basil, has also gone 10:17.84 for the 3000. Dezubay will be doubling, but her 10:18.53 puts her in the mix. Also looking strong in recent weeks have been Lauren Bowles of Upper Dublin and West Chester East\'s Alycia Woodruff. State AAA Cross Country champion Katie Thaeder of Unionville is also in the race, and if she\'s closing on near peak condition, she should challenge for the win as well.


The 4x200 is the first of two relays that will most likely go to West Catholic. Penn Hills has run within three seconds of the Burr\'s 1:42.72 on a flat track, while Simon Gratz knows the competition they face and what they have to do to challenge for the win. West Chester Henderson and Norristown will have their hands full, but will give it everything they have. Both will be mentally prepared.

The 4x400 is a virtual lock for West Catholic. 3:48.57, banked or not banked, is still fast. Oh, and it is the #1 time in the country. When faced with the Burrs at the DVGTCA Meet of Champs, Engineering & Science was in the race for awhile. This time though, West Catholic adds Nicole Leach to the line-up.

Hatboro-Horsham isn\'t doing a lot of individual races, and senior Caitlin Klaas is veteran enough to know how to race an open 800 and anchor her squad\'s 4x800. Long way of saying it looks like Hatboro isn\'t messing around with this race. They are defending champs, and want to erase the memory of their outdoor race where they were hit with illness. They saw one of their challengers at the DVGTCA Meet of Champs in Engineering & Science, and now know what they have to do. North Penn, St. Basil and Villa Maria will also be near the front.


Nicole Smith of McDowell is tied for US#1 in the High Jump after her PR of 5-10.50. She and her main rival, Bradford junior Erin Hannon, have seen each other a lot this season. Both are doing four events, the same four events. This is one of two in which they are the top seeds. Hannon has cleared 5-08. It\'ll take every bit of that and maybe a bit more to beat Smith. Smith won last year with a jump of 5-07.

Lindsey Regan of Easton didn\'t start training for indoor until later than usual, but she\'s catching up fast. She is the defending indoor champ in the Pole Vault, and has cleared 12-06. Latrobe junior Caitlin Hewitt has cleared 12-00, and should be there in the final few jumps.

In the Long Jump, five girls have marks better than what won indoor states in 2004. Nicole Smith set a PR of 19-01.75 recently, and is now tied for US#5. She could be pushed aside by big PRs from Brehanna Jacobs of Laurel Highlands, who has gone 18-07.50, Janessa Murphy of Great Valley, 18-06.75, Erin Hannon at 18-01.25 or that frosh you\'ll be hearing a lot about in coming years, Ryann Krais, at 18.00.25.

Just as in the Long Jump, the top two seeds in the Triple Jump have gone substantially further than the 2004 champs. And once again, the top two seeds are Smith and Hannon. Smith has a PR this season of 39-07.50, while Hannon is within 8.5 inches at 38-11.

If you like seeing stars of the future who are stars today, you\'ve been waiting for Penncrest\'s Karen Shump in the Shot Put. Her 43-01.50 is one of her five throws this season of over 40\', which include that last three meets. Cedar Crest\'s Becky Eisenhauer (41-09.50), Harrisburg\'s Brianna Flagg (40-07.50), and Baldwin\'s Jordan Veney (40-07), are in the neighborhood should the opportunity to win, arise. Defending champ Tayvon Gray of Coatesville is also in the top flights, as is her talented frosh sister, Kaleenna.