Sunday, 16 July 2017 07:51

Hackensack track athletes successful in college ranks

Gideon Achirem, Carlos Coronado and Demar Stewart, all graduates of Hackensack High School, were members of the Rowan University (Glassboro) men’s outdoor track and field program this past spring season.

Coronado, a senior distance runner, placed second for Rowan in the 800 meters at the Oscar Moore Invitational (hosted by Rowan). Achirem, a freshman middle-distance runner, placed fourth in the 800. Stewart, a freshman listed as a competitor in throws, placed second in the shot put and third at the Danny Curran Invitational held in Widener, Pa.

The Profs hosted and won the New Jersey Athletic Conference Championships. Rowan placed in a tie for seventh place at the NCAA Division III Championships in Geneva, Ohio.

Dana Lynch (Hackensack) was a sophomore sprinter/hurdler for the Monmouth University (West Long Branch) women’s track and field team. Lynch is listed as a psychology major.

The Hawks won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championship held in Lawrenceville.

Kwadwo Banahene (Hackensack) was a senior who competed in jumps and running events for the New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark) men’s track and field program. Banahene, listed as an electrical engineering major, was the first-place finisher in triple jump at the Brick City Track and Field Classic (Newark). He set a record at the event with a jump of 13.84 meters. Banahene was a member of the NJIT 4-x-100 relay team that placed third at the A-Sun Outdoor Championships held in Jacksonville, Fla.

Jaimie Parisi (Hackensack) was a freshman utility player for the Felician University softball team this spring. Parisi, listed as a nursing major, played in 22 games and had a .229 batting average. She had 11 hits which included a double and a home run. Parisi also tallied four RBI and scored two runs.

The Golden Falcons posted an overall record of 22-27 and were 9-5 on their home field. In the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC) they had a mark of 13-13. Felician advanced to the CACC Tournament in Lakewood where they lost to Dominican and Philadelphia University. Both losses were by the score of 3-2.

Marcelo Lugo (Hackensack) was a freshman distance runner for the Bloomfield College men’s track and field squad this year. The Bears placed second in team scoring at the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Championships held in New Haven, Conn.


2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Track and Field Team

The 2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Track and Field teams are coordinated by Fred Baer, the founder of Track and Field Writers of America. Girls selections are made by Mike Kennedy, high school editor of Track and Field News.

Criteria included ranking on USA TODAY Sports and Track and Field News national lists and the number of top performances along with head-to-head competition during the regular season and in major postseason meets.

The honorees are divided based on event. Follow the links below for each group; athletes are listed alphabetically. Races in meters unless noted. Field events are listed in feet and inches.

YEAR IN REVIEW

Before Sydney McLaughlin arrived, the national record in the 400 hurdles was 55.20 by 1988 Olympian Leslie Maxie of Mills (Millbrae, Calif.) and had lasted 32 years — since 1984.

The hurdles, in 2017, featured the fastest ever high school times in all three events.

Tara Davis of Agoura (Agoura Hills, Calif.) ran the fastest high school 100 meter hurdles, a slightly wind-assisted 12.83, as part of her individual triple (including the long and triple jumps) at the California CIF state meet on June 3. Davis also had the second longest high school long jump under all conditions, 22-3 3/4.

The Georgia-bound senior placed fifth in the USATF championships at 21-9 1/2, missing a World Championships berth by 2 1/4 inches and one place. The USA has a wild card and three regular qualifiers (that include the last two Olympic champions).

Together, McLaughlin and Davis topped the 2017 high school lists in six regular individual events. (More on McLaughlin is in her Athlete of the Year profile).

UCLA-bound Alyssa Wilson of Donovan (Toms River, N.J.) set high school shot put records both indoors (57-5 1/2) and outdoors (57- 1 1/4). She was also the season leader in the discus throw (182-0), ranking No. 11 on the all-time list.

The other high school record breaker was Cal-bound Brie Oakley of Grandview (Centennial, Colo.), who ran two miles in 9:51.35 (the fastest time in the world this year by anyone — for a race contested primarily in the USA).

Two previous year high school record breakers returned to the ALL-USA team:

Tia Jones, Walton (Marietta, Ga.) who set the 100 hurdles record of 12.84 in 2016;
Madison Wiltrout, Connellsville, Pa., who set the javelin throw record of 185-8 in 2015 to make the team as a sophomore.
Others who made a dent in the all-time high school lists for their events included:

Samantha Watson, Rush-Henrietta (Henrietta, N.Y.), No. 3 at 800 meters, 2:00.78;
Rachel Baxter, Canyon (Anaheim, Calif), No. 3 in the pole vault, 14-4;
Alexandra Harris (North Rockland (Thiells, N.Y.), No. 5 in the 3000 steeplechase, 10:25.80
Markalah Hart, Northwestern (Miami), No. 6 in the 300 hurdles, 40.28;
Jaimie Robinson, Homewood-Flossmoor (Flossmoor, Ill.), No. 7 in the triple jump, 43-10 1/2;
Jasmine Moore, Grand Prairie (Texas), No. 8 in the triple jump, 43-7 1/4;
The best “wind-legal” marks by Tara Davis ranked No. 3 all-time for the long jump, 22-1, and equal to No. 4 in the 100 hurdles, 12.95.
OFF TO PERU

High school athletes won nine women’s events, competing against college freshmen, at the USATF Junior Championships for athletes under age 20 in Sacramento, June 22-24.

The top two finishers in each event (aged 16-19) earned U.S. team berths for the Pan Am Junor Championships in Trujillo, Peru, on July 21-23.

Tara Davis was a double winner in the 100 hurdles and long jump.

Wilson won the hammer throw, also was second in the shot put, and fifth in the discus throw — where runner-up Pamela “Obi” Amaechi of Lincoln (San Francisco) was the top high school placer.

Symone Mason of Southridge (Miami) won the 200 meters and was second in the 100.

Other prep winners:

      • Baxter in the pole vault (with Carson Dingler, First Presbyterian of Macon, Ga., second);
      • Robinson in the triple jump (with Moore second);
      • Caitlin Collier, Bolles (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the 800 meters;
      • Jelena Rowe, Bloom Township (Chicago Heights, Ill.) in the high jump;

Taylor Ewert, Beavercreek (Ohio) in the 10,000 meter walk. At age 15, however, she could be too young to compete in Peru. Ewert had earlier set a freshman class record in the 3,000 walk, winning the New Balance Nationals.


 After pro career, former Olympian Walter Dix continues his love of track at Masters Championship

Walter Dix gave a wave to the crowd as the PA system at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium listed his long rèsumè of accomplishments. The small crowd responded with a round of applause for the man who is one of the more successful former athletes competing on LSU’s campus this weekend.

Dix won two bronze medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics for team USA, the only U.S. track athlete to win multiple medals in the games. He owns three gold medals in the USA Outdoor Championships. At Florida State, Dix was an outdoor national champion in the 100 meters.

He’s raced against the best in the world, including Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay.

But on Friday, Dix began a different chapter of his career, when he ran in the 100-meter dash prelims at the USA Track and Field Masters Championship, an event that allows athletes 30 years and older, amateur and former professionals, to compete for the rest of their lives. There is no qualifying standards to enter.

It was the first time Dix competed in such an event, and while there was no threat of broken records or Olympic golds on the line and his competition wasn’t the world-class athletes he was used to, it still gave him the same rush and excitement he’s felt his whole career.

For Dix, Friday was about nothing more than the love of the sport.

“I love track and field. It’s a part of me,” Dix said. “This is just something I always want to be a part of. This is here for people who love track and field. At 31 years old, why would I not run this race?”

Dix posted a time of 10.32 seconds in the 100-meter prelims Friday, far ahead of his next closest competitor. Lawrence Trice Jr. finished second with a time of 10.70.

Dix’s career best — 9.88 seconds — came in 2010. Only 24 sprinters, eight of which are Americans, have ever run a faster time.

At the Beijing Olympics, he ran a time 9.91 seconds, finishing third behind Bolt and Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago.

“(Beijing) was definitely a life-opening experience to get to compete for your country,” Dix said. “It’s definitely a once- in-a-lifetime experience. I’m glad I was able to do it.”

His best event, though, is the 200 meters, where he set a personal best of 19.53 seconds in 2011, making him the fourth fastest man in the event. He also finished third behind Bolt in the Olympics in the 200 meters.

Dix is scheduled to compete in the 200 meters at the Masters Championship with the prelims Saturday and the final Sunday at 11:03 a.m. The finals of the 100-meter dash will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

“It was fun,” Dix said. “You can only stay at that level for so long. You try to make it last as long as you can and then you have to continue to come down and continue being a great american and live your life.”

Dix said he’s had a wonderful experience in Baton Rouge getting to know other people from around the country who are as passionate as he is about the sport.

And even if there aren’t many who can push him in a race the way he has been in the past, it’s nice to see the same drive and determination Olympic athletes show.


“They take it just as serious as the Olympic athletes,” Dix said. “You see some of the competitors here, and the fun they’re having is just like Olympic athletes. There’s no different except for maybe the age and the level. As far as human beings competition, it’s all the same.”


Rare Olympic gold medalist duel set for Rabat; Diamond League preview

A rare, perhaps unprecedented, matchup of Olympic women’s 400m and 800m champions headlines a Diamond League meet in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.

Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo and South African Caster Semenya are both entered in the 400m. Coverage begins on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA and NBC Sports Gold at 2 p.m. ET.

It’s the first time in recent history, perhaps ever, the reigning 400m and 800m gold medalists go head-to-head in an individual race. The comprehensive track and field statistics website Tilastopaja.org shows no other instances since the women’s 400m was added to the Games in 1964.

Savor it now, because Miller-Uibo and Semenya will not race each other at worlds next month. Semenya is contesting only the 800m there. Miller-Uibo is going for the 200m and 400m.

A number of sprint stars line up in Rabat, including Elaine Thompson, Andre De Grasse and Yohan Blake.

Here are the Rabat entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

1:02 p.m. — Men’s Shot Put
1:10 p.m. — Women’s Triple Jump
1:50 p.m. — Men’s High Jump
1:52 p.m. — Women’s 400m Hurdles B
1:55 p.m. — Men’s Pole Vault


2 p.m. — Women’s Javelin
2:03 p.m. — Women’s 400m Hurdles A
2:13 p.m. — Men’s 100m
2:22 p.m. — Men’s 800m
2:30 p.m. — Men’s Long Jump
2:32 p.m. — Women’s Steeplechase
2:50 p.m. — Men’s 200m
2:58 p.m. — Women’s 1500m
3:12 p.m. — Women’s 100m
3:20 p.m. — Men’s 3000m Steeplechase
3:37 p.m. — Women’s 400m
3:46 p.m. — Men’s 3000m

Here are five events to watch:

Men’s 100m — 2:13 p.m.
Yohan Blake, the joint-second-fastest man in history, can win his first Diamond League race in five years on Sunday. He is the class of a field otherwise lacking world championships medal favorites.

Last time out, Blake swept the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican Championships, posting his fastest times since 2012 to rank Nos. 2 and 5 in the world this year. In the years since 2012, Blake went from legitimate threat to Usain Bolt to the walking wounded, tearing his right and left hamstrings in 2013 and 2014. He’s inching closer to his old form.

Men’s 800m — 2:22 p.m.
Like Blake, Nijel Amos was once the man pushing a legend in this event. At 18 years old, he took silver to David Rudisha in the memorable London Olympic final, shattering the world junior record.

But the Botswana runner missed the 2013 Worlds due to injury and failed to make the final at the 2015 Worlds and 2016 Olympics. He came back strong, winning his first Diamond League race in two years and then posting 1:43.18 in London last Sunday, the fastest time in the world this year by four tenths of a second.

Rudisha has lost two of three 800m races this year, so he may be vulnerable next month. The world-record holder isn’t in Sunday’s race, but other world medal threats are — U.S. champion Donavan Brazier and Kenyan teen phenom Kipyegon Bett.

Men’s 200m — 2:50 p.m.
Interesting mix here. There’s Andre De Grasse, the Olympic silver medalist in Rio. There’s Warren Weir, the Olympic bronze medalist in London contesting his first Diamond League race in three years. There’s U.S. champion Ameer Webb. There’s U.S. 400m champion Fred Kerley. And then Brit Zharnel Hughes, the former teen phenom and longtime Usain Bolt training partner.

Nobody in his field has broken 20 seconds this year (six other men have), but look for De Grasse and Webb to chase 19. They’ll need to in order to be considered threats to Wayde van Niekerk at worlds.

Women’s 100m — 3:12 p.m.
Elaine Thompson should extend her 100m winning streak to 17 meets here. The field lacks her top rivals — American Tori Bowie and the Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers.

It does include two of the other top six women in the world this year — Michelle-Lee Ahye and Kelly-Ann Baptiste, two veterans from Trinidad and Tobago. If they can push Thompson, the Jamaican 100m record of 10.70 seconds may be in jeopardy.

Women’s 400m — 3:37 p.m.
Shaunae Miller-Uibo has won the 400m at nine straight meets since her loss to Allyson Felix at the 2015 World Championships. That streak is very much on the line here.

Caster Semenya chopped 2.14 seconds off her 400m personal best last year, while focusing on the 800m. She even won the Diamond League finale in Brussels in a time that would have placed fifth in Rio.

Miller-Uibo was easily faster than Semenya’s personal best in her two 400m races this year, but she is not the fastest woman this year in the Rabat field. She trails Quanera Hayes, who won the 400m at the USATF Outdoor Champs in the second-fastest time in the world this year.

An interested onlooker will be Felix, ranked No. 1 in 2017.


Blake plays down groin injury fears

Jamaican Yohan Blake, the 2012 Olympic 100 and 200 metres silver medallist, is downplaying the seriousness of a groin problem which ruled him out of Sunday's 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco.

"It is not an injury, I felt some discomfort in the groin area," Blake told Reuters from the North African country on Saturday.

"With three weeks to go to the World Championships I am being cautious," added the youngest world 100m champion from 2011.

Blake, who posted 9.90 and 19.97 seconds to win the sprint double at Jamaica's national trials last month in Usain Bolt's absence, is among the medal contenders for the sprint events in London.

The second fastest man of all time, with 9.69 and 19.26 seconds respectively, is scheduled to get an assessment from German doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller Wolphart in Munich on Tuesday.