Coming Home Again
On Friday and Saturday, more than 100 universities and colleges spanning the nation will be coming to The Armory to compete in the 2013 Armory Collegiate Invitational — now 12 years old. Here are some of the women's athletes worthy of your attention:
Geronne Black — Portland State
Senior • Brooklyn, N.Y.
Black isn't just one of the nation's top 60-meter sprinters (with a 7.36 in Albuquerque this year), she is a graduate of the Armory College Prep program. A graduate of Paul Robeson High in Brooklyn, she is both a Big Sky Conference record holder and three-time indoor sprint champion.
Dezerea Bryant — Clemson
Sophomore • Milwaukee, Wis.
Bryant was among the nation's top freshmen last year, winning four individual ACC championships (two indoor, two outdoor). A 2010 IAAF World Junior champion in the 4x100m relay, Bryant is ranked second nationally in both the 60m and 200m dashes heading into the Collegiates.
Cami Chapus — Stanford
Freshman • Pacific Palisades, Calif.
A two-time Dream Mile Champion, Chapus is one of the most decorated freshmen entering the college ranks this season. She will run the mile at the Collegiates (something she did in 4:39 as a high schooler). She was fifth in the World Juniors 1,500 in 2011 (4:17.12).
Ashley Collier — Texas A&M
Junior • Fort Worth, Texas
Collier — the high point scorer at the Big XII Outdoor Championships last spring — was second at the Collegiates in the 60m a year ago and fourth at NCAAs. Expect big things from her as she has already dipped down to 7.29 this season.
Paris Daniels — Kansas
Senior • St. Louis, Mo.
Daniels is in the national top 10 in both the 60- and 200-meter dashes, running 7.32 in the straightaway and 23.62 on a flat track. She is entered to compete in both events at the Collegiates. Her outdoor best in the 200 is an impressive 22.65.
Kimberlyn Duncan — LSU
Senior • Katy, Texas
Duncan won the Bowerman Award in December after a season packed with highlights. She has won four straight NCAA 200m titles and has posted the second-fastest time in collegiate history (22.19). She isn't slated to run the 200 at the Collegiates, but the 60m instead. Last weekend at the Razorback Invitational she ran a personal-best 7.22 on the straight sprint.
Nadia Eke — Columbia
Sophomore • Worcester, Mass.
Eke had a sensational rookie season for the hometown Lions, earning All-America status by taking eighth at the NCAA Championships. She had some astonishing leaps late in the outdoor season, topping out at 43-8 1/2, but her best leaps were wind-aided. Expect her to challenge Jeomi Maduka's Ivy record this year.
Victoria Flowers — UConn
Senior • Providence, R.I.
Flowers has won three straight Big East athlete of the week honors coming into the Collegiates, so expect her to continue her roll. She has thrown the weight 69-11 1/2 this season, good for fourth nationally. That's exactly where she finished at NCAAs a year ago.
Regina George — Arkansas
Senior • Chicago, Ill.
George — who set the Collegiate Invite record in the 500m a year ago (1:09.81) — is gunning for the 400m crown this year. She ran a personal indoor best 52.26 over weekend at the Razorback Invitational. It isn't just No. 1 in nation, it is not far from the 2013 world No. 1 (52.11, Natasha Hastings).
Andrea Geubelle — Kansas
Senior • University Place, Wash.
Geubelle had some hard luck last summer. First an apparent NCAA triple jump championship was overturned on a coach's appeal. Then she finished third at the Olympic Trials, but didn't advance to London because she was shy of the A standard. She is long jumping here at the Collegiates.
Sharay Hale — Columbia
Senior • Detroit, Mich.
Hale — who is entered in both the 400m and 500m dashes — has had a long return to the track. One of the finest sprinters in Ivy League history, Hale has been sidelined for more than 18 months after a hip injury which required surgery. Although expectations must be kept in check, it will be nice to see her back on the track.
Christina Hillman — Iowa State
Sophomore • Dover, Del.
Hillman has represented Team USA at the both the World and Pan Am Games Juniors in recent years, but now she is focused on her Cyclones. She will be competing in the shot put, which she ranks third nationally (57-2).
Stormy Kendrick — Clemson
Senior • Gastonia, N.C.
A former World Junior champion in the 200m dash, Kendrick ranks first in school history in the 60 and 100 and third in the 200. Running both the 60m and 200m dashes here at the Collegiates, she has run 7.22 in the straight sprint.
Charlene Lipsey — LSU
Senior • Hempstead, N.Y.
Lipsey broke the Collegiates record in the 1k last year and she is back to compete in both the 500m and the 1,000m runs. A standout for Hempstead High, she is extremely familiar with The Armory. Last week she ran 2:03.76 in the 800m at the Razorback Invitational, the second-best time in the nation.
Jennifer Madu — Texas A&M
Freshman • Plano, Texas
A year ago Madu did something rather unthinkable. In the track-rich state of Texas, she won four individual events — 100m, 200m, long jump and triple jump. She has already posted a 60m time of 7.34 this season and will also triple jump here at the Collegiates.
Kelsey Margey — Villanova
Freshman • Huntington, N.Y.
Margey provided one of the most shocking moments at The Armory this year when she broke the building record in the 1,000m run (2:43.89) at the NYC Gotham Cup. She also ran 2:08.17 in the 800m at the Penn State Invite over the weekend. A long-time Armory vet, Margey will run the mile here at the Collegiates.
Mandissa Marshall — George Mason
Senior • Mountain Top, Pa.
An All-American in the pole vault, Marshall has cleared 14 feet for the Patriots. But she had an injury-plagued 2012 and will be looking to regain her previous form when the coaches of the Colonial Athletic Association named her as the conference's top track & field athlete.
Natasha McLaren — UConn
Junior • Stroudsburg, Pa.
McLaren cleared 6-1 1/2 in the high jump to win the ECAC indoor title a year ago, and with it, earned a trip to the U.S. Olympic Trials. She was also third at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Huskies have built quite a high-jumping force this season.
Bridgette Owens — Clemson
Junior • Oak Park, Mich.
Owens has the rare combination of finishing second in the hurdles a year ago and setting a meet record. She and teammate Brianna Rollins both ran 7.97 in the final. This year Owens is ranked third nationally (8.17) as four of the top six in the event are Tigers.
Alexis Panisse — Tennessee
Freshman • Bellerose, N.Y.
Last year's Armory High School Athlete of the Year, Panisse showed ridiculous range for Benjamin Cardozo High, from the 800m to the 5k. She also had a flair for the dramatic, winning races from far behind. Now a Vol, she will be competing in the mile at the Collegiates.
Angel Piccirillo — Villanova
Freshman • Homer City, Pa.
A two-time Penn Relays' mile champion as a high schooler, Piccirillo has stepped it up in her first year at Villanova. In fact, last weekend at the Penn State Invitational she ran 4:40.08, a national top 10 time. She ran faster than that outdoor while at Homer Center High.
Brianna Rollins — Clemson
Junior • Miami, Fla.
Rollins, who won the 60m hurdles title at the Collegiate Invitational last year in 7.97, came into the indoor season with remarkable fitness. Right out of the gate, she broke the national record in the event (7.78). Can she go even faster here this season? It will be fun to watch her try.
Francine Simpson — Kansas
Senior • Chapelton, Jamaica
Simpson has a history of being a 'big-occasion' jumper as evidenced by her Big XII Conference championship and her fourth-place finish at NCAA Outdoors (21-6 3/4). Her best leap of this season has been 20-1, but expect her to extend that this weekend.
Marlena Wesh — Clemson
Senior • Virginia Beach, Va.
Wesh was the Athlete of the Meet last year as she led her Tigers to the Collegiate Invitational title in their team debut. A member of the Haitian Olympic team in London, she won the 400m dash in 52.21 and then anchored home the victorious 4x400m relay.