B&G By A Nose
Athletes from New York and New Jersey headed south in droves to compete in the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., and they are coming north with plenty of hardware. It's hard to find a place to start since there were so many national titles won by locals.
Perhaps the performance of the meet would go to Kadeica Baird of Medgar Evers who won the 400-meter dash in 52.14. After dropping down to the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the N.Y. State Champs last weekend she jumped back up and beat a tough Kyle Plante of Colonie (N.Y.), who was second in 53.32. Armory regular Olivia Baker of Columbia (N.J.) was third in 54.83.
Maybe the best performance came from Kelsey Margey of Friends Academy on Long Island. The senior won her first national title in the mile when she stopped the clock at 4:45.84 — beating Wesley Frazier of Raleigh (N.C.) who was second in 4:48.28. Margey looked so good at last week's N.Y. State Champs she was bound to win one event this weekend.
New Yorker Jessica Gelibert won two events on Saturday. In the morning Gelibert anchored Bay Shore's 800-meter sprint medley relay, which ran 1:44.39. She then came back and won the 400-meter hurdles where she ran a season best 59.54. Kiah Seymour of Washington (D.C.) was second in 59.99. Two wins is pretty good. Should she be considered the local performer of the meet?
A pair of runners from upstate won the steeplechases as Keelin Hollowood of Saratoga Springs won the girls' in 6:50.46 while C.B.A-Syracuse senior Brendan Smith won the boys' in 5:55.79. Almost every competitor in each race was from New York State — one of the only states in the country to contest the event at their state championships.
Tatnall (Del.) ran 20:02.90 to win the 4xmile relay, which was almost the exact same time it ran to win the indoor national title. With three juniors on the squad they'll have a chance to defend the crowns next year.
Ridgewood (N.J.) came back to win the distance medley relay on Saturday — a day after winning the 4x800-meter relay — beating in-state rival Lenape, 11:50.73 to 11:53.73. Armory regular Pearl River (N.Y.) ran 12:01.43 to earn fifth place.
The three 800-meter stars from The Armory this winter couldn't quite bring home the title. Zavon Watkins (1:49.98), Robert Rhodes (1:50.53) and Ben Malone (1:50.70) placed 2-3-4 in championship section — losing only to Ahmed Bile of Annandale (Va.), who ran 1:49.85.
Boys & Girls High capped a remarkable year with a win in the 4x400-meter relay in 3:14.95 — just edging Knightdale (N.C.) by .04 seconds. Robert Rhodes anchored the team to victory with a 47.50 carry. Knightdale's anchor split 47.53. The race seemed like a 4x200-meter relay final at the Hispanic Games with Mount Vernon third in 3:15.92, Trenton (N.J.) fourth, Union Catholic (N.J.) fifth and West Orange (N.J.) sixth. For the second straight week, Newburgh (N.Y.) was disqualified for a lane violation.
Armory regulars swept the 4x100-meter relays, too. The Mount Vernon girls took home gold medals when they ran 46.87 while Uniondale ran 41.55 to win the boys' crown.
One of the only locals to win a field event was Sam Mattis from East Brunswick (N.J.), who tossed the discus 203-2 to win by more than 20 feet. He beat A.J. Wolf from Hackley (N.Y.) who was also second in the shot put yesterday. Jess Woodard from Marlton (N.J.) won the shot put with a heave of 45-4 while Armory regular Briyah Brown was third with a throw of 43-0 1/2.