Watch the meet live on scrunners.com. Direct link: http://sc.milesplit.com/articles/150795.
“As the sun rises over Harry Parone Stadium and the gentle breeze passes through Crumpler's Corner we can hear the echo of legends. Such names as Raven Saunders, Alan Webb, Xavier Carter, and Reece Hoffa have all etched their names into the record books. This spring, a new class of athletes are ready to use the proverbial eraser to pencil in their own names. The question this year isn't who, but how many? Hello friends, I'm Paul Lockwood (2015 announcer) and this is the 23rd annual Taco Bell Track Classic."
Finally, our track season is under way! Coaches, athletes and fans you're in for a treat this weekend at Harry Parone stadium for this years Taco Bell Track Classic. You can thank John Jones for the great weather this Saturday, but if we get a storm on Friday he will pass Kevin Shaw's email along for all complaints. This years Classic has the potential to be the best one yet with how deep the talent pool is this year. This year's Classic has 228 teams, 2,450 athletes, from S.C., N.C., Ga., W.Va., Va., Md., N.Y., Ky, Tenn., Fla. and Washington, D.C.
Rick Crumpler moved his famous shot put wall back on Monday! It's safe to say we will see some HUGE throws this weekend. Rashid Manning (Riverdale Baptist, Md.) is seeded four inches better than our meet record held by Olympian Reece Hoffa. Manning threw 63'11" earlier this year and placed third at New Balance Indoor Nationals (NBIN) last month. Defending West Virginia outdoor champion Christian Buckley (Poca, W.Va.) is seeded 59'10" and Marcus Abraham (Victory Christian, N.C.) seeded 59'1.50." Abraham placed ninth at NBIN and will try to catch the throwing bug to make this one heck of a final.
These guys will also compete in the discus, but keep your eye on Kenneth Brinson (Marist, Ga.), defending state champion that is seeded 189'2," well over a foot from the rest of the field.
Over in girls shot put we will get to see a rematch of the North Carolina Class AAAA state meet. Khayla Dawson (Olympic, N.C.), defending Class AAAA champion, placed eighth at NBIN and Alycia Springs (Mallard Creek, N.C.), Class AAAA state runner-up, will try to out “put" each other as they make there way to the finals. Springs, the clear favorite in the discus, has already thrown 150'8" this season. If she has a big day she has potential to break Saunders' (Burke) meet record. Watch the record throw here.
You may see some lightning this weekend and I'm not talking about the weather. My first lock of the meet goes to the boys 100-meter dash. Make sure you're in your seat for this two heat final. University of Florida commit Ryan Clark (Banneker, Ga.) and Darryl Haraway (DeMatha Catholic, Md.), a Florida State commit, are in the house. Clark ran a 10.38 last month and a week later won the 55-meter dash at NBIN. Haraway, defending Classic 100 champion, will want some redemption from NBIN after placing third in the 55. If Haraway has a big day he is capable of running 10.20 and looks like the start of a college rivalry. Oh and one last thing; they're both in the 200-meter dash.
There's a deep 100 and 200 girls field this weekend at the Classic. Honestly, take your pick. I like future East Carolina commit Cedrina Singletary (Paxon, Fla.) in the 200, but I'll give the nod to Tori Ray (Hampton, Va.) in the 100. Can Singletary become another gem for the ECU crew?
Remember the name Anna Cockerel (Providence Day, N.C.). She's only a junior who came in third last year at the Classic. She is fresh off her second-place finish in the 55-meter hurdles at NBIN. Chinyere Njoku (Fayette County, Ga.), the Georgia state champion, has a chance to help push both of them to a new meet record.
Michael Dickson (Beaufort) has a chance to become an instant legend, if he can break the oldest meet record set at the very first Classic in 1991. Now for you North Carolinians, it's pronounced BEW-fert, not Bo-fort, say it with me BEW-fert.
Peter Seufer (E.C. Glass, Va.), Jacob Slann (Daniel), Scott Gulizio (Huntington, N.Y.), and Daniel Glick (Rome, Ga.) are all seeded 4:20 or faster. Does Slann, our home-state guy, have what it takes to win this event? He's proven his toughness the last two weeks by placing seventh at Pepsi Florida Relays, a S.C. no. 1 time. The week before he won the Bob Jenkins SCTCCCA Coaches Classic 3,200-meter run. Speaking of the 3,200, Logan Poteet (Kell, Ga.) just ran his seed time of 8:57.97 three weeks ago, a current U.S. no. 3. Can he push himself to a new meet record and take U.S. no. 1 this week?
Libby Davidson (E.C. Glass, Va.), seeded 4:57.51 in the girls mile, just missed her automatic bid for the (Adidas) Dream Mile. She placed second two weeks ago at Raleigh Relays against Malia Ellington (Comm. School of Davidson, N.C.), who has opted to run the 3,200 and 800 this weekend. Davidson has a chance at redemption because she will also race in the 3,200 this weekend. The favorite in the 3,200 will go to Logan Morris (Spartanburg Christian), who will make her big meet debut for the 2015 season. Morris' last big meet situation was during cross country, where she placed 32nd at Foot Locker Nationals.
No that's not legendary Summerville (My alma mater) football Coach John McKissick yelling splits at the start/finish line. That's Hall of Fame coach Jim Kilbreth just getting excited for our favorite event of the day. Connor Peeples (Cardinal Gibbons, N.C.), Devin Dixon (Eagle's Landing, Ga.), Joe Graham (DeMatha Catholic, Md.), Cooper Metzler (St. Pius, Ga.) and Henry Pehr (Green Hope, N.C.) are all seeded 1:56 or faster.
This will be an epic battle as the three juniors take on the two seniors in this race. That brings me to my second lock of the meet. I like Peeples chances, but I'm going to have to give a shout-out to Pehr. This kid had a great end to indoor and a fantastic start to his outdoor season. At NBIN he went 1:55 on the sprint medley relay. Last week at Apex Relays he split 1:57 in the sprint medley relay, 1:55 in the 4x800, and then came back in the 4x400 splitting a 49 point.
Terry Conwell (Southwest Dekalb, Ga.), Wilber Garcia (St. John's, D.C.), William Hoffmann (Green Hope, N.C.) and Deandre Daniels (Goose Creek) are all seeded right around 48.00. My pick this weekend will be my boy from the Low Country. Daniels has the most experience out of the group, being the defending South Carolina Class AAAA state champion and defending Taco Bell Classic champion.
Layla White, Layla White, Layla White (Cary, N.C.) looks like she is ready to throw down in the 400-meter dash. Another Wake County kid who had a stellar meet last week at Apex Relays will get a chance to focus on some individual events. Did I mention she is seeded faster than the oldest female record at the Classic? Her teammate Julia Brown (Cary, N.C.) and Alyssa Shupe (Jefferson Forrest, Va.) will push the pace with Malia Ellington (Comm. School of Davidson, N.C.) and try to go sub 2:10.
In the boys pole vault top seeds Drew Pedersen (Apex, N.C.), defending North Carolina Class AAAA outdoor champion, and Michael Utecht (Apex, N.C.), Class AAAA indoor champion, are both looking break the 16-foot barrier. Looks like the weather will be close to perfect and both have the potential to have a big day.
Anna Eaton (Apex, N.C.), defending Class AAAA outdoor champion, and Kathryn Tomczak (Lafayette, Va.), defending Virginia Class AAAA and AAA champion, both went 13'0.75" during NBIN last month, but Eaton would beat Tomczak based off jumps. The one that clears 13 feet and wins will hold the Classic record!
Sydnei Murphy (Apex, N.C.) will compete in the long jump and triple jump. She went 42'0.75" at NBIN this year and that will seed her over the current meet record. The future Duke athlete is really pushing to go 20 feet in the long jump and will be challenged by Taylor Woods (Riverdale Baptist, Md.) and Autumn Robinson (Elizabeth Seton, Md.) who placed fifth last year at the Classic.
The boys long jump will be a battle of the state champions. Denzel Harper (Stephenson, Ga.), defending Georgia Champion, Desmond Anderson (Broome), defending state champion will go toe to board to claim which state has the best long jumper! Andre Wright (Seneca) had an OK day two weeks ago when he placed fourth at Coaches Classic. This week with great conditions Wright will try to push closer to the 50 foot mark.
I'm really excited to see Keon Howe (Mallard Creek, N.C.) jump on the big stage outdoors. Howe had a great indoor season this year winning the North Carolina Class AAAA indoor title. I know he would love to finally clear seven feet before heading back to North Carolina. I hope Coach (Calvin) Hudgins has Quanterious Cladwell (Northwestern), defending Taco Bell Classic champion, ready for the main event on Friday night.
Kenya Livingston (Rocky River, N.C.), the freshman, yes freshman, has seen the big stage as she won the NBIN Emerging Elite High Jump this year. The question is does she have what it takes to beat Quamecha Morrison (Battery Creek), defending Class AA champion?
What happens when you mix three fast guys with a defending 100 national champion? You're seeded at 40.50. Bring your sunglass because the DeMatha Catholic, Md. team will light up the Harry Parone in the 4x100. I think the girls 4x800 will set the tone of the weekend as three girls teams are seeded under 9:30. Cary (N.C.) Bullis School (Md.), and Mauldin will all try to put their names in the top 10 list at the Classic.
The boys 4x800 has seven teams that can push to go under the eight-minute mark. The North Carolina teams have a chance to go one, two, three in this event.
Ridge View and Bullis School (Md.) are both seeded 3:47 in the 4x400 this weekend. Both will push each other, but only one will win with a chance to break the Classic record that dates back to 2007.
Southwest DeKalb (Ga.) and Banneker (Ga.) will battle to see who gets to bring back bragging rights to the Peach State.
On behalf of the entire Taco Bell Track Classic staff we hope you have a exciting, fun, and safe weekend.
“Putting on the best meet anywhere and making it a little better each year."
Watch the meet live on scrunners.com. Direct link: http://sc.milesplit.com/articles/150795.
*The views of this preview are those of Paul Lockwood.