Jeep, thanks for posting the link to the meet results. It was an interesting meet. Big fields in most events. Very competitive events. However, you could also tell that every Tech athlete (and the athletes from other schools as well) are smack in the middle of their hardest workout schedule of the year. The entire spring will be built on top of how hard kids work during January/February building a base. The general fatigue of the kids was evident many times during the meet. That said, it is particularly notable when a kid excels when they are tired. That tells me they are headed for a good season.
An extra treat for me to get to chat with Matt Stewart the former Red Raider at the meet. Matt is doing a superb job as track coach in Giddings, which is a strong track power in 3A and also where Bill Lawhorn and Michelle Guzman prepped. Matt was a kid who got the most from his talent as a Red Raider and he is transferring that great work ethic to his kids. Also, it is always fun to talk with Shawon Harris,Jonathan Johnson, and Jason Young. It is good to see that Tech is being represented on the national/international track scene by kids of this high caliber - both athletically and character.
I thought I would talk about who did not compete at all, who looked great, who looked good, and who looked okay.
WHO DID NOT COMPETE
First of all, LaVorick Williams did not and WILL NOT compete for Tech. He transferred in and worked out a week and quit. Disappointing, out of kid with a lot of potential and from a kid who Tech was willing to give a 2nd chance, after he quit football at NMSU.
Lamont Adams - I think he did get injured running the 4X400 last week. He did not look good in that race (after he looked GREAT in the 600y).
Timothy Foster - had some hamstring tightness in warmups and was held out as a precaution.
Aaron Greer - not sure if he will run this year, since he was there and helping in all kinds of ways at the finish line.
Rashad Hawk - not sure if he will try to run indoors. Last year, he only ran outdoors and that only after the football spring game.
Lyle Leong - hated that he did not compete this week, because it was at this meet last year that he jumped 7-2.
Zach Plinario, Brian Porter, Waylon Randolph, Clay Smith (who is redshirting), Julius Walker, and Jamar Wall (not sure if he will jump this year or not.)
D'Andra Carter - I saw her working events at the meet, but she did not throw.
Brintney Green - had a terrible first meet last week and the coaches must have decided she needed to work through this meet.
Kelsey Lloyd - ran well last week in the 55H. She was entered in the 600y, but did not run. I heard from some of the team members that Kelsey is training in the heptathlon, which makes sense. She is an excellent sprinter, a great high jumper and she is a strong kid. If so, she will probably try the indoor pentathlon this next week in Albuquerque.
Ifeatu Okafor - the freshman thrower is redshirting.
WHO LOOKED GREAT
Not surprisingly, the list begins with Sally Kipyego. Sally ran the 5K at the meet, which she usually does not do at home meets. However, the coaches wanted her to run here and pace LILLIAN BADARU as well. Well, she did her job very well. Sally time of 16:07.12 was a new ATC record, it was an automatic qualifying time AND she pulled Lillian to a very strong provisional time of 16:34.35. That time is 1:15 faster than Lillian ever ran the 5K in JC. I expected Lillian to be a nice addition, but her rapid improvement has made her a national contender!
Trudeane Clark - if you look at her time in the 600y, this ranking will befuddle you, since her time was terrible. In the race, Trudy did not run as comfortably as last week, THEN she misread the finish line and quit 10 meters from the end of the race. When she realized her mistake, she screamed an expletive and fell to the ground. When she got up and walked off sobbing, she crossed the finish line and the timing crew recorded that time (which explains that pathetic time in the results.) However, it is what she did later that tells you why Trudy is a contender! Trudy came back to run a brilliant 53 second anchor lap on the 4X400, catching 2 other schools who had decent anchor legs themselves. Tech has not had anyone who could run a 53 in a few years. Trudy is getting better and better and could be a huge contender for points at conference.
Patience Knight threw terrifically in the SP - 54-9, which is a strong provisional mark. She looked much more explosive this week.
Ozie Okolie - speaking of explosiveness, Ozie stepped her game up a notch this week, breaking her PR/school record by 2.5 feet and putting herself in the national contending picture in the WT with her throw of 66-3.75. This puts Ozie in the big time and makes me think for the first time that she could threaten 70 feet this year.
Tori Smith looks like a new person for Tech. Redshirting last spring outdoors looks like was the best decision that Tori ever made. She looks 100% percent better than prior to the injury and she was all-conference even before the redshirt year. Watch for Tori to make big waves this year in the 60H indoors and 100H outdoors.
Harrison Benjamin - a new PR and school record in the indoor SP with his throw of 59-7. Tank still needs to add about 2 more feet to guarantee he goes to nationals, but he is heading in that direction.
Anthony Flemons - looked very good in his 2009 debut with a LJ of 24-3.75. He looks ready to jump 25 feet SOON.
Gilbert Limo - ran a very strong race in going 4:06.04 in the mile. Gilbert does not have a graceful running style, but he runs with power and grit and never appears to be out of a race.
Justin Turner - his best meet as a Red Raider, high jumping 6-11 and barely brushing the bar 2 times at 7-1. Justin has had two year of unrealized potential. Hopefully, 2009 is the year that potential is realized.
Omo Osaghae looked great in the 55H prelim and good in the finals. He happened to run up against the best JC hurdler in the country in the finals. Omo looks powerful over the hurdles and is ready to followup on last year's breakout season.
Gil Roberts only ran the anchor of the 4X400 (no individual event this week), but what an anchor. He was running against the best JC quartermiler in the nation from Barton and he whupped him. The Henry kid pulled up on Gil's shoulder and Gil just threw it into overdrive and pulled away.
The men's 4X400 only had 2 returnees from last week (Gil Robert and Markus Henderson - Lamont Adams was injured and Bill Lawhorn ran on the B relay this week. But this group looked good, with Brandon Washington running a good 3rd leg. The B relay also looked very good running a 3:14 with Bill Lawhorn, Jamaal Butler, Brandon Tucker and Jamele Mason.
WHO LOOKED GOOD
-Janell Appelhans with a 18-9 in the LJ. -Jonisha Boleware with a PR of 24.58 in the 200. -Asia Diaz just off her PR in the 1000 with a 2:55.33. Plus, she ran a strong anchor leg in the 4X800 relay. -Amanda Dowdy - the volleyball player looked good in her first meet, clearing 5-4.25 easily in the HJ. Nice addition to the team. -Terra Evans - she is just hundredths of a second away from being GREAT. Very impressive freshman. -Michelle Guzman ran a new PR in the mile of 5:06. She is poised for a huge season. -Gladys Kipsang ran a terrific first leg of the 4X800 and then came back to run a PR of 2:58 in the 1000. -Sage Lasater - I am very impressed with this freshman vaulter. -Jamie Simanek is a walkon hurdler from Plano West who is threatening to make the traveling team. She looked really good in both heats of her 55H race. She is aggressively attacking the hurdles and shows promise. -NOTE: I am also got to chat with Sandra Iwunze, who is trying to shake off a minor injury. She will run in the next 2 weeks. -Katie Westervelt is a walkon kid who has run 2 good 3K races in a row. She has put herself into the conference mix in 2 short weeks. -Jamaal Butler looked good in the open 400 and on the 2nd team 4X400. His time of 48.63 could get him more looks in th future. -Zach Dawson is proof that it takes 1-2 years for young distance runners to make their mark. Zach's 4:20 shows that he has promise, but is probably a year or two away from making a big mark on the team. -Markus Henderson ran well on the 200 and the A 4X400 - well, but not great. He was probably the kid who showed the effects of hard workouts the most, but you can see that vast talent just around the corner. -Jeremy Kight was the rankest walkon in recent memory, but he just keeps getting better and improved on his PR in the 3K again. -Jamele Mason looks very sound on the hurdles and he also ran a very good anchor leg for the B 4X400. Lots of potential. -Tyler Menges also had a good meet in the SP - 54-3.75. He makes a very solid 2nd shot putter for Tech. -Nathan Milles ran a solid 4:21 mile. He is a nice addition to the team this year, after a transfer from Alabama-Huntsville. -Rodney Mims only ran the relay, but he looked strong in leading off the A 4X400. -Darrell Roddick cleared 6-7 easily in the HJ, but I was distracted by the other events and did not see his other jumps. He cleared 6-7 son easily, I am frankly surprised he did not come much closer to 7 feet on the day. -Jake Szot has lowered his PR in the mile about 15 seconds in the past 2 weeks and ran a 4:25 this week. He is right on the edge of being conference-competitive. -Brandon Tucker looked strong in his first meet. Looked solid in the 55H and ran a nice leg on the B 4X400. Another kid who you can just see the potential. -Brandon Washington continues rounding into shape from his 2007 injury. He was in an incredibly fast race in the 600y (former Red Raider Andrae Williams set a new ATC record in winning the race), but Brandon hung in there and ended up with a nice time.
OTHER KIDS WHO LOOKED OKAY
Women - Devin Bailey in the 600y, Veronica DiLullo in the LJ, Tori Epperson in the mile (a PR for the walkon), Jessie Gibbs in the PV, Roxie Greve in the 55H, Kearci Jobe in the 1000 (a long race for her), Clair Jones in the PV, Addison Lemaster in the 4X800, Amanda McKeehan in the 3K, Caroline Mueller in the 55H and the 600y, Katherine Priebe in the 3K, Kylee Singleton in the PV and the women's 4X400.
MEN - Logan Culotta in the 3K (actually won this race, but his time was slower than last week), Matt Davidson in the 800, Nick Green in preparation for a multi, Cory HIggins in the mile, Travon Hill-Chadwick with a PR in the LJ, Silas Kemboi in the 4X800 and the 1000, Bill Lawhorn in the 400, Zach Quinones in the 3K (running unattached - set a PR by a large margin), Kelly Wilson in the PV and Chuck Zavala competing in 3 events in prep for next week's multi.
I have very high hopes for this team in 2009. The team looked pretty good this week. This next week will also tell us a lot, since they will go out of town for the first time. The next time I will see them live is in 2 weeks and I really expect to see a team with a little more energy and with a lot more national qualifiers.