For more than a decade, the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation (NSAF) has been creating teams of outstanding prep track and field athletes from around the country to compete as Team NSAF in international late-spring meets in the Caribbean.
Now, for the first time, the NSAF will be doing the same during the winter season – with a unique European indoor event providing the competitive opportunity.
A team of eight elite high schoolers – including U.S. leaders and record-setters like Marcellus Moore (Plainfield North HS, IL), Ashton Allen and Leah Phillips (both Bullis HS, Potomac, MD) – will be traveling to Reykjavik, Iceland next Friday, February 1, to participate in the Reykjavik International Games. The RIG (https://www.rig.is/en) is a two-week, multi-sport winter festival which includes a 1-day indoor track meet on Sunday, February 3. The multi-nation meet, held on the 200m banked Mondo track in Iceland’s national indoor arena, is a European Athletics Permit Meeting and has both Senior- and Junior-level (Under-20) events.
The team will be coached and chaperoned by NSAF staff making the trip. In addition to Moore, Allen and Phillips, the roster also includes South Lakes HS (Reston, VA) teammates Hannah Waller and Megan Gregory, a third Bullis HS athlete in Nia Frederick, Malcolm Johnson (St. Stephens & St. Agnes School, Alexandria, VA) and Mordecai McDaniel (St. Johns College HS, Washington DC). See full bios below:
“Four or five years ago a person from the event contacted me about bringing athletes over, but that all fell through at the time,” said NSAF Executive Director Jim Spier. “I did some research later, though, and thought it might be a good idea to bring a small team. I contacted the head of the Iceland Athletics Federation in early 2018 and arranged to bring these eight in 2019. Our board approved the funding and we proceeded.”
Waller, Phillips, Moore and Johnson will all be running the 60m dash in the meet, while Allen, McDaniel and Gregory will be contesting the 400m, and Frederick the 800m. The events offered for Juniors at RIG are mostly sprints, hence the makeup of the roster.
“In addition to the individual events, Iceland wants to have ‘US vs Iceland’ 4x200m relays for both for boys and girls, which will include all of our kids,” said Mr. Spier. The NSAF contingent will then return to the U.S. on Monday, Feb. 4.
The NSAF started its bigger spring Team NSAF event, the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational, back in 2006. From the start through 2013, that meet – which included 28 preps selected from around the country in most track and field disciplines – was contested in Puerto Rico through 2013. Then in 2015, the NSAF worked with the athletics federation of Cuba to hold the CSI meet there (that year basically a USA-Cuba dual) – thanks to a long-standing relationship between NSAF board member Tracy Sundlun and Cuba’s Olympic legend Alberto Juantorena. Then in 2016 and 2017, Team NSAF competed as part of the Memorial Barrientos – a major international meet in Havana – then in 2018 competed in a meet in Freeport, Bahamas (due to construction on the Havana track and conflicting dates with NBNO).
Here are the bios of each Team NSAF athlete for the Reykjavik International Games, with current statistics through last weekend.
Plainfield North HS, Plainfield IL
Junior, Class of ’20 (DOB: 6/30/2002)
PRs: 55m-6.34, 60m-6.75, 100m-10.31(+0.2w), 200m-20.88(+1.8)/21.23i, 400-48.41
Notes: With impressive early-season performances Texas A&M and Arkansas Invites, Moore is the current U.S. indoor high school leader at 60m and #3 at 200m with new PRs of 6.75 and 21.23 … he is the U18 World Leader (IAAF.org) in both events … he was #2 on the World U18 list last year in the 100, where he ran 10.31, part of his Illinois state meet 100/200 sweep … that 10.31 is also the top returning mark among U.S. preps … Moore was 4th in the 200 and 7th in the 60 at last winter’s NBNI, then 6th in the 100 final (10th 200 qualifying) at the USA U20 champs outdoors.
St. Johns College HS, Washington DC
Junior, Class of ’20 (DOB: 8/21/2002)
PRs: 55m-6.53i, 60m-7.16i, 100m-10.86(10.81w), 200m-21.85/22.43i, 300m-34.33i, 400m-48.25/49.93i, 500m-1:07.96i
Notes: McDaniel is a rising star, including a new indoor 300m PR of 34.33 at the VA Showcase for 3rd place in an elite field … he also has new indoor PRs at 400m and 500m, while also racing as short as 55m … his best showing outdoors last spring came in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) meet where he won the 400 and was 2nd in the 200m, setting his 48.25 and 21.85 (nwi) PRs … he was 8th in the Emerging Elite 400 at NBNO last spring.
Malcolm Johnson, Jr.
St. Stephens & St. Agnes School, Alexandria, VA
Sophomore, Class of ’21 (DOB: 10/17/2001)
PRs: 55m-6.42i, 100m-10.62, 200m-21.96/22.46i, 300m-36.35i
Notes: Johnson is really making his mark as a young sprinter this winter, highlighted by a new 6.42 55m PR for 3rd at the VA Showcase … he also lowered his 200m indoor best there to 22.46 … his previous most notable effort came last spring when he set the New Balance Nationals Outdoor (NBNO) freshman 100m meet record with his 10.62 victory – also the top mark by a 9th-grader for the entire 2018 season.
Bullis School, Potomac, MD
Junior, Class of ’20 (DOB: 3/25/2002)
PRs: 55m-6.62i, 100m-10.85, 200m-21.23, 300m-35.01i, 400m-47.53/47.83i, 500m-1:04.60i
Notes: Allen’s role with his school is as much as a lethal relay anchor as an individual long sprint star – and he proved as much last weekend at the VA Showcase anchoring Bullis to staggering U.S. national prep records of 3:12.53 4x400 (auto-timed 46.57 anchor) and 1:25.60 4x200, beating a pair of 10-year-old marks … earlier this winter, he set new PRs of 47.53 and 1:04.60 in the 400m and 500m, currently #2 U.S. prep in both events … injury issues slowed his 2018 outdoor season, but he actually ran 47.53 and 21.23 PRs for 400 and 200 in 2017 as a 15-year-old freshman.
Bullis School, Potomac, MD
Junior, Class of ’20 (DOB: 8/14/2002)
PRs: 55m-7.03i, 200m-24.25i, 300m-38.67i, 400m-56.35i, 55H-7.89i, 60H-8.49i, 100H-13.68, 400H-59.50.
Notes: Like Allen, Phillips is a huge part of Bullis School’s monster relay legacy and a versatile sprinter/hurdler with 7.03 55m/59.50 400mH range … she was part of the team’s indoor national record 4x200s last winter, as well as 2019’s U.S. prep-leading 3:42.06 4x400 … her biggest improvements this winter have been in the short sprints with her new 55m (US#5) and 200m PRs … she also ranks US#2 with her near-PR 7.93 50H this winter.
Bullis School, Potomac, MD
Junior, Class of ’20 (DOB: 12/15/2001)
PRs: 200m-25.79w, 400m-57.94i, 500m-1:17.37i, 800m-2:14.19
Notes: Frederick’s sweet spot is probably the 800, where she’s been a consistent sub-2:20 performer with a best under 2:15 … she was also part of the U.S. prep-leading 3:42.06 4x400 mentioned above … but she can also rip a solid 400, as well as indoor distances like 300m, 500m and 600m.
South Lakes HS, VA
Junior, Class of ’20 (DOB: 12/19/2001)
PRs: 55m-6.87i, 60m-7.51i, 100m-11.76, 200m-24.10i/23.97, 300m-38.50i, 400m-55.46, LJ-18’8”i
Notes: Waller is a versatile all-around sprinter and jumper, with perhaps her biggest highlights coming in her state championship last winter when she swept the 55m and 300m titles with her 6.87 and 38.50 PRs … she’s been winning at both distances this winter, showing signs she can beat those PRs by March … also a big part of South Lakes’ strong relay crews.
South Lakes HS, VA
Junior, Class of ’20 (DOB: 1/18/2002)
PRs: 200m-25.46, 300m-40.52, 400m-57.55i/54.91, 500m-1:14.81i,
Notes: Gregory is a versatile long sprinter from 200m to 500m, with a major highlight coming last spring as she powered under 55 seconds for a 54.91 PR and 2nd in her state championships … she was also 3rd in her state indoor 500m last winter at 1:14.81 … she joins Waller on South Lakes’ outstanding relays.