Brooks PR Invite: Deep Girls' Preview
By Steve Underwood
The Dempsey Indoor track, sporting its 307-meter oversized oval, has been a go-to venue for distance runners wanting fast times since it opened in 2001. Major U-W invitationals hosted there, such as the Husky Classic a few weeks ago, typically sport great fields in events ranging from the 800 to the 5,000. Those meets, on the other hand, are not known for attracting masses of top-notch field event athletes or sprinters – though fast long-sprint times can be had on the track.
When the Brooks PR meet was established two years ago, it was undoubtedly with the prep distance runner in mind, offering a big opportunity to set a personal record (hence the meet’s name). In 2012, however, arguably the top performance came in the boys’ 60 hurdles – an event which is unaffected by whether the track is 300 meters or long or half of that. Donovan Robertson shocked the hurdle world with a 7.57 USR, taking down Wayne Davis’s 2009 standard. The girls’ 60 dash (7.21 by Shayla Sanders) and boys’ 400 (46.06 and 46.07 by Najee Glass and Aldrich Bailey) also produced marks in the all-time top three (the 400 marks being all-conditions, all-timers) and, if it wasn’t already clear, proved that this meet is a destination for the sport’s super elite runners, regardless whether they sprint, hurdle or run distances.
So it’s not a big surprise for the 2013 Brooks PR Invite that while the distance events are as loaded as ever, the event to watch above all others could be the girls’ 60 hurdles – featuring Dior Hall and Sasha Wallace.
Hall is the defending champ at 8.28 and is the current US#1 at 8.17, just .01 off the USR set by Jackie Coward four years ago. The George Washington (Denver, Colo.) junior really announced her arrival among hurdling’s top shelf performers when as a frosh at Great Southwest outdoor, she set a national class record at 100H. One of last winter’s stunners at New Balance Nationals Indoor was when she toppled the reigning queen of the event, now-graduated Trinity Wilson, to win the 60H there at 8.19. Hall also ran for Team USA in the 100H at the World Juniors last summer and her mother, Yolanda Johnson, still ranks #2 all-time at 55H indoors.
Hall was considered the hurdler to beat this winter, but you couldn’t discount Wallace, the Californian who has transferred to Castro Valley. She has twice made trips from the Oakland area to Seattle already this season and came away the last time with a sterling new PR of 8.24, #4 all-time. Wallace was fifth in the USATF Junior 100H last June and saw Hall get second to earn the WJ trip to Barcelona. They haven’t met this indoor season yet as Hall took the Great Southwest Indoor last weekend while Wallace was triumphing at Simplot. This will be the Brooks PR meet’s greatest showdown.
But it will be far from the only great event. National champions, US leaders and record-holders like Hannah Meier, MaryBeth Sant, and Erin Finn are among the other stars that will be in Seattle Sunday.
An event-by-event breakdown, with analysis and detailed stats:
(in parentheses: last year’s finish (or DNR if not), 2013 best at distance and all-time best at distance, if better. Performances at similar distances are used if athlete has not run exact distance.)
(boys preview coming)
Girls 60m dash
Along with the USR by Donovan Robertson, the girls’ 60 was another monster here in 2012, with Shayla Sanders rocketing to a 7.21 victory - #2 on the all-time list. Sanders is now at U of Florida, but – like the boys’ short dash – this field is absolutely loaded with talent that includes this winter’s top performers as well as returning outdoor starlets. Those returnees include Sanders’ former teammate at Lauderdale Lakes, Florida’s Boyd Anderson – Kali-Davis White. She was fourth here last year in 7.44, and is one of five returnees from last year’s Brooks 60.
If anyone has to be favored to top Sanders’ meet record, though – and maybe threaten the USR of 7.19 – it has to be MaryBeth Sant. The Coloradoan blasted a nation-leading 7.30 (#13 all-time) at the Tony Wells meet, won the Simplot 60 last weekend, and has several other sub-7.50 marks.
Several could challenge Sant if she’s anything less than top-notch, including Aaliyah Brown from Illinois, Hannah Cunliffe, and Kennadi Bouyer. Cunliffe and Bouyer, both from the Evergreen State, should get a lot of local support; Cunliffe ran her 7.44 PR on this track last month and Bouyer is coming off a runner-up finish to Sant at Simplot (7.45). Brown, though with a season’s best of just 7.60, ran 7.42 last year, a still-US-leading 6.94 55 back in December and is a super veteran in championships. Jada Martin from Georgia also ran 6.94 for 55 in December, though she ran “just” 7.58 at Kentucky last weekend for 60.
Interesting to watch: Ariana Washington, who starred in a Simplot 200 win last year (and outdoors big time at 11.45 100 and 23.81 200, plus Penn Relays 4x1 anchor for Long Beach Poly), but has not raced indoors this year.
Aaliyah Brown, Lincoln-Way East HS (Frankfort IL), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#16 7.60 (7.42 PR ’12)/US#1 6.94 55)
Kali Davis-White, Boyd Anderson HS (Lauderdale Lakes FL), 2013
(4th in ’12, no 60 in ’13 (7.44 PR ’12)/US#6 7.04 55)
Ariana Washington, Long Beach Poly HS (Long Beach CA), 2014
(DNR in ’12, no 60 or 55 in ’13)
Kennadi Bouyer, Curtis HS (University Place WA), 2013
(9th in ’12, US#3 7.45)
MaryBeth Sant, Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch CO), 2013
(5th in ’12, US#1 7.30)
Rushell Harvey, Westside (Richmond TX), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#12 7.54)
Hannah Cunliffe, Federal Way WA, 2014
(6th in ’12, US#2 7.44)
Chyna Ries, George Washington HS (Denver CO), 2014
(DNR in ’12, US#14 7.59/7.48 PR ’12)
Deanna Hill, Lake Highland HS (Orlando FL), 2014
(10th in ’12, no 60 in ’13 (7.74 PR ’12)/7.36 55)
Jada Martin, Martin Luther King HS (Lithonia GA), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#13 7.58 (7.55 PR ’12)/US#1 6.94 55)
Girls 60m hurdles
As mentioned above, this should be an epic showdown between US#1 and defending champ Hall and US#2 Wallace, last weekend’s Simplot champ. Ready to pounce if anyone falters should be Kendell Williams, third last year with her PR of 8.39. While the Georgian is an amazing, do-everything star who owns the heptathlon USR outdoors and is the two-time New Balance pentathlon champ, the 8.10-20 level that the co-favorites should be performing at will be difficult to reach. Similarly, the rest of the field – with PRs above 8.60 – won’t have an easy time getting into the top three, though it should be a good battle between the likes of California’s Jordie Munford, Canadian Deshaunda Morrison (third and fourth at Simplot last weekend) and Skyler Ross-Ransom of Texas.
Dior Hall, George Washington (Denver CO), 2014
(1st in ’12, US#1 8.17)
Sasha Wallace, Castro Valley HS (CA), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#2 8.24)
Kendell Williams, Kell HS (Marietta GA), 2013
(3rd in ’12, US#3 8.43 (8.39 PR ’12)/US#1 7.93 55H)
Jordie Munford, Rancho Cucamonga HS (CA), 2013
(5th in ’12, US#5 8.62)
Mollie Williams, Clayton HS (NC), 2013
(DNR in ’12, no 60H in ’13/US#11 8.11 55H)
Skylar Ross-Ransom, Langham Creek (Houston TX), 2013
(4th in ’12, US#8 8.66(8.50 in ’12))
Samantha Michell, Reed City (MI), 2013
(DNR in ’12, 9.05 (8.79 PR ’12))
Pattriana Perry, Vacaville (CA), 2014
(no indoor results, 13.78 100H in ’12)
Deshaunda Morrison, Calgary (CAN), 2013
(8.64 4th at Simplot)
The long sprint doesn’t have the star power of the top events here, but you still have two of the nation’s current top four. Shamier Little from Illinois came within a few hundredths of the national lead last weekend in Kentucky on their similarly oversized 291m oval. She’s best known, however, for her long hurdling. She represented Team USA at the World Juniors last summer after her US#1 57.44 400H won the USATF Juniors. Don’t be surprised if she threatens the national record later this year.
In this flat race, though, she’ll be pushed by a pair each from Connecticut and Florida. From the former, Precious Holmes and Sydnee Over were second and sixth last year here, and Holmes has continued to impress this winter with a US#3 55.22 best and strong marks over other distances. Over’s schedule has been more limited, but she’s had a few strong ones as well. From the Sunshine State, Deja Parrish and Kendall Ellis have less indoor experience, but each has run in the 53s outdoors.
Precious Holmes, Hillhouse (New Haven CT), 2013
(2nd in ’12, US#4 55.22 (53.53i/52.67o PRs ’12))
Deja Parrish, American Heritage (Plantation FL), 2014
(DNR in ’12, 57.23 (53.20o PR ’12))
Sydnee Over, Windsor HS (CT), 2013
(6th in ’12, US#12 56.66 (53.62o PR ’11))
Shamier Little, Lindblom Prep (Chicago IL), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#2 55.04 (53.46o PR ’12))
Kendall Ellis, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale FL), 2014
(DNR in ’12, no 400 in ’13 (53.22o PR ’12))
Hannah Derby, Bellarmine Prep (Tacoma WA), 2015
(DNR in ’12, no 400 in ’13 (55.51o PR ’12))
If you went purely based on 2013 indoor 800 action, you’d have a hard time getting a read on this race since just one of these entrants is in the current top 10. As it turns out, however, this race could be a battle of talented runners who are best known at other distances. Exhibit A is Hannah Meier, the 2012 champ in the mile here, who also has won the past two New Balance Nationals Indoor mile crowns and is a two-time Team USA member at IAAF World Youths and Juniors in the 1500. The Michigan star is going for the shorter race this time, a distance which she has run 2:06.80 for outdoors in 2012. With a 4:44.76 mile season best last weekend, she’s clearly in shape.
Similarly, comebacking Californian Nikki Hiltz (injured last fall) is best known for the longer distances, having traversed 1,600 last spring in 4:42.45 during her state title run. She has a 2:09.71 800 best and fans will recall another Golden State mile star – Cami Chapus –getting the 800 win here last year. Meanwhile, soph sensation Emma Gallagher from New York has a 800 PR of “just” 2:09.30, but is the fastest 10th-grader ever over 600 with a US#1 1:30.35 this winter. Can she beat the milers?
There’s also some good talent in this race that just hasn’t really been tested yet in 2013. Texan Katie Willard, the 5A champ as a soph last spring (2:10.01), will make her debut. Courtney Clayton from Illinois is just revving it up, but she was the state 3A titlist last spring in 2:08.48. She and Jamie Morrissey from Michigan (just 2:21 so far this year but 2:09.29 last spring) were each in the top eight at the 2012 USATF Juniors.
Ersula Farrow is part of the talented Grosse Pointe South contingent here – led by the Meier twins and owners of the US#1 DMR – while Kellie Davis teams with 400 co-favorite Precious Holmes at Hillhouse CT for a killer SMR (defending NBNI champs).
Hannah Meier, Grosse Pointe South (GP Farms MI), 2013
(1st in ’12 mile, no 800 in ’13 (2:06.80o PR’ 12))
Therese Haiss, Solon (OH), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#6 2:11.28 (2:08.05o PR’ 12))
Nikki Hiltz, Aptos (CA), 2013
(5th in ’12 mile, no 800 in ’13 (2:09.71o PR’ 12))
Stefanie Kurgatt, Maclay (Tallahassee FL), 2013
(DNR in ’12, 2:17.62 (2:10.49o PR ’12))
Emma Gallagher, Garden City (NY), 2015
(DNR in ’12, 2:16.36 (2:09.30o PR ’12))
Ersula Farrow, Grosse Pointe South (GP Farms MI), 2015
(DNR in ’12, no 800 in ’13 (2:10.18o PR ’12))
Reagan Anderson, Tatnall (Wilmington DE), 2013
(6th in ’12, 2:18.11 (2:09.85o PR ’12))
Kellie Davis, Hillhouse (New Haven CT), 2013
(DNR in ’12, 2:18.08 (2:10.57o PR ’12)
Katie Willard, The Woodlands (TX), 2014
(DNR in ’12, 2:16.01 (2:10.01o PR ’12)
Courtney Clayton, Hononegah (Rockton IL), 2013
(DNR in ’12, no 800 in ’13 (2:08.48o PR ’12)
Jamie Morrissey, Rochester Adams (Rochester Hills MI), 2013
(DNR in ’12, 2:21.95 (2:09.29o PR ’12)
Will the third time be the charm for Amy-Eloise Neale? The Washington standout was second in 2011 (4:49.48) by just a tenth of a second to Ajee Wilson, then was outkicked again last year by Hannah Meier – despite improving to 4:44.03. Meier isn’t trying to defend her title, but going for the 800 instead. But Neale will still have to contend with Hannah’s twin Haley, who was third last year at 4:48.10.
Both Neale’s and Haley Meier’s storylines go deeper. Neale is coming of an XC season where she completely dominated all fall and was ranked US#2 going into the national meets. For the second straight year at NXN, though, she didn’t have the finish she wanted – taking eighth in the mud in December. Neale, who’s all-time mile best is 4:43.67 outdoors from 2011, has run 4:53.28 for the mile and a 2:09.15 800 on this track so far this winter and a victory here would mean a lot.
Haley Meier has always been a step (or a lot of steps) behind her highly decorated twin; sometimes well behind or, like last fall, on the sidelines with illness. But other times Haley has been breathtakingly close and never more so than the big invite at Grand Valley last weekend where she lowered her mile PR to 4:45.24 – less than a second behind Hannah. This could be Haley’s chance to shine like never before.
Neale and Meier are hardly the only contenders. The next biggest threat could be Carmen Carlos, fourth here last year and coming off a monster state-meet triple in Alabama two weeks ago. Maddy Berkson is coming off her own state meet triple in Rhode Island and while she is “just” a 4:58 miler, she has a 4:27.92 PR for 1,500 and brings mad 2:50 1k/2:08 800 speed to the table. At least 10 girls in this field have proven capable of 4:50 or better, though some like Californians Anna Maxwell and Kelly Lawson haven’t raced yet this winter.
Maddy Berkson, Classical (Providence RI), 2014
(DNR in ’12, 4:36.23 1500 (4:27.92o 1500 PR ’12))
Amy-Eloise Neale, Glacier Peak (Snohomish WA), 2013
(2nd in ’12, US#9 4:53.28 mile (4:43.67o mile PR ’11))
Haley Meier, Grosse Pointe South (GP Farms MI), 2013
(3rd in ’12, US#3 4:45.24 mile)
Sydney Leiher, Beavercreek (OH), 2013
(DNR in ’12, 5:05.76 1600 (4:49.61o 1600 PR ’12))
Anna Maxwell, San Lorenzo Valley (Felton CA), 2014
(DNR in ’12, no mile in ’13 (4:48.11o 1600 PR ’12))
Kelly Lawson, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad CA), 2013
(11th in ’12, no mile in ’13 (4:48.20o 1600 PR ’11)
Kennedy Weisner, Elk Co. Catholic (St Mary’s PA), 2014
(DNR in ’12, US#10 4:54.18 mile (4:48.69o 1600 PR ’12))
Rebekah Topham, Griswold (IA), 2015
(DNR in ’12, US#19 4:55.99 mile (4:28.92o 1500 PR ’12)
Carmen Carlos, McGill-Toolen (Mobile AL), 2013
(4th in ’12, US#2 4:49.17 1600 (4:48.28i mile PR ’12)),
Heather Bates, Pine Creek (Colorado Springs CO), 2013
(7th in ’12, 5:13.64 mil (4:54.18i mile PR ’12))
Courtney Kriegshauser, Carroll (Southlake TX), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#17 4:55.28 mile (4:53.43 1600 PR ’12)
Paige Rice, St. Mary’s (Portland OR), 2014
(DNR in ’12, 4:48.80 1500 (4:25.28 1500 PR ’12)
Girls Two Mile
Fans have to remember that while an otherworldly talent like Mary Cain might be able to break 9:40, that for the rest of the country’s outstanding (if mortal) prep distance girls, anything close to 10:10 or better is still pretty darn good. 2011 Foot Locker champ Molly Seidel set the meet record last year at 10:13.45, but at least a couple girls have a great chance to beat that.
You have to start with Erin Finn and Wesley Frazier, two girls who are each making their third appearance in this race. Frazier won in 2011 (10:17.47) and was fourth (10:21.47) last year, while Finn was third both years (10:19.28 and 10:18.82). Both are absolutely on a mission after disappointing conclusions to their cross-country seasons.
Last fall was painful for Finn, ending with a 12th at Foot Locker Midwest while she battled the flu (and that after taking second in the Finals in 2011). But the Michigan star already done well to put that memory in the past when she won the NACAC cross-country meet in January, then earned a Team USA singlet for the IAAF World Junior champs with her runner-up finish at USATFs. And remember, Finn LOVES indoor track; how could she not after setting the 5,000 USR last winter at NBNI? Besides her XC exploits, Finn has also already run 10:18.23 for 3,200 and 4:47.74 for a mile this winter. She could scare 10 flat, for sure.
And so could Frazier. The senior from North Carolina also has had great success on the track at times during her career, including New Balance Nationals Outdoor titles in the 5,000, the mile (both in 2011), and the 2-mile (2012). Like Finn, her XC season ended badly (68th at NXN), but she’s also shone already this winter with 4:48.33 mile and 10:26.63 3,200 bests. And if that wasn’t enough, she scored a major victory with a 4:48.94 to take the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix mile in Boston.
On the other hand, it’s possible the victory won’t go to Finn or Frazier, but rather one of the studs from the home state in contention – who have already run blazing times on this very oval this winter. Almost overlooked during Cain’s 9:02 3,000 last month was the very good 9:36.23 by Katie Knight. The Washington senior had an outstanding conclusion to her XC season in December with a third at NXN. She hasn’t had great outings here, though, finishing ninth and sixth the past two years. Then there’s super soph Alexa Efraimson, the fellow Evergreen Stater who has run even faster here at US#2 9:31.18 and also has a 4:51.30 mile victory in another Dempsey meet. Efraimson also has the best mile speed of anyone in the field, given her 4:42.41 for fourth at the Adidas Dream Mile last spring.
The field also features Foot Locker third- and fourth-place finishers in Maria Hauger of Minnesota and Jordyn Colter of Colorado – who have done little indoors this winter – and talented Texans Madi McLellan and Katie Jensen. And don’t forget about Massachusetts’ Julie McConville, who is US#2 over the 2M distance at 10:27.1h, or Frazier’s younger sister, Ryen, who has run 10:34.05.
If Finn wants to win, she’d be best not to leave it to a kick, as Frazier has been known for a crazy last 100 and Efraimson has the best 800 speed in the field.
Madi McLellan, The Woodlands (TX), 2014
(DNR in ’12, no indoor in ’13 (10:24.70 3200 PR ’12))
Erin Finn, West Bloomfield (MI), 2013
(3rd in ’12, US#1 10:18.23 3200 (10:18.82i 2M PR ’12))
Wesley Frazier, Ravenscroft HS (Raleigh NC), 2013
(4th in ’12, US#2 10:26.63 3200 (10:13.43o 2M PR ’12))
Katie Knight, North Central (Spokane WA), 2013
(6th in ’12, US#4 9:36.23 3000 (10:15.02o 3200 PR ’11))
Chandler Olson, Woodinville (WA), 2013
(8th in ’12, US#11 9:59.41 3000 (10:33.69o 3200 PR ’12))
Maria Hauger, Shakopee (MN), 2013
(DNR in ’12, no indoor in ’13 (10:28.40o 2M PR ’12))
Jordyn Colter, Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village CO), 2015
(DNR in ’12, no indoor 2M in ’13 (11:01.95o 3200 PR ’12))
Emma Abrahamson, La Costa Canyon (Carlsbad CA), 2014
(9th in ’12, no indoor in ’13 (10:24.86o 3200 PR ’12)
Katie Jensen, College Park (The Woodlands TX), 2013
(DNR in ’12, no indoor in ’13 (10:24.80o 3200 PR ’12))
Ryen Frazier, Ravenscroft (Raleigh NC), 2015
(DNR in ’12, US#3 10:34.05 3200)
Julie McConville, Hingham (MA), 2013
(DNR in ’12, US#2 10:27.1h 2M)
Kelsie Schwartz, Grosse Pointe South (GP Farms MI), 2014
(DNR in ’12, 11:04.28 3200 (10:39.26o 3200 PR ’12)
Alexa Efraimson, Camas (WA), 2015
(DNR in ’12, US#2 9:31.18 3000)