Some super national-class sprint and hurdle showdowns, plus the usual epic 3,200-meter invitational fields, are among the top anticipated highlights for the 2019 Arcadia Invitational – an NSAF Select Meet for many years running.
The invitational events at this meet are always strong across the board – especially those 3,200s – but this year’s sprint and hurdle fields match up with some of the best in the meet’s long, storied 51-year history.
Perhaps the best storyline of the meet is in the boys’ sprints, where a pair of NBNI champions and World U20 Team USA relay medalists will contest their specialties – then meet in the middle for what could be an intriguing battle. First, Micah Williams (Benson HS, OR, jr), who dashed to the NBNI 60m title with history’s #3 performance last month – 6.60 seconds – is the headliner in the boys’ 100m. For his first century of the season, he brings in a 10.37 PR from last year – which was good for 4th at USA Juniors. That earned him a spot on the gold-medal winning 4x100 at the IAAF World U20 championships.
Meanwhile, Justin Robinson (Hazelwood West HS, MO jr) won the NBNI 400m in 46.55 and is making his ’19 outdoor debut as well. Like Williams, he was 4th in his specialty at USA Juniors last year (46.20 PR) and repped Team USA on a medal-winning relay (4x4 silver) at U20 Worlds.
At 200? Robinson has run 21.18 indoors (oversized) after 21.39 outdoors last year. Williams has a best of 21.19 and 21.17w. That 200 field also includes the formidable Ashton Allen (Bullis, MD jr), the NBNI 400m runner-up and with a PR of 21.23, and rising star Christian Grubb (Notre Dame Sherman Oaks, CA sr) – the top seed in the field at 20.93.
For the girls, the most loaded sprint/hurdle event is the 100m hurdles – featuring NBNI 60H runner-up Jasmine Jones (Greater Atlanta Christian, GA jr) and 5th-place finisher Jazlynn Shearer (Silver Creek, CA sr). They also rank #2-3 outdoors nationally the spring at 13.49 and 13.52. The field also includes heptathlon national record-holder Anna Hall and NBNI 60H semifinalists Grace O’Shea (Ramapo, NJ sr) and Alexis Patterson (Parkland, NC sr).
Hall is also running the 300m hurdles, which is nearly as loaded. US#1 Long Beach Wilson, CA jr Rachel Glenn leads entries at 41.21, followed by Hall at 41.58 (40.76 last year). But how about Brooke Jaworski (Wausau West WI sr)? Her state hasn’t begun outdoor track yet, but she ran 41.40 last year and, better yet, was a 57.57 400 hurdler last year and made the World U20 finals. Hall and Glenn will also battle in the high jump, where Hall has done 6-0 and Glenn 5-11.
Meanwhile in the 3,200s, the girls’ race will feature a rematch of the NBNI 2-3 finishers in the 2-mile and the boys’ race a plethora of 8:45 to 9:00 talent. Katelynne Hart (Glenbard West HS, IL) – the defending champ here at 10:02.56 – a month ago in New York went 9:58.42 for the full 2-miles, just ahead of Sydney Thorvaldson’s 10:01.52. Hart also has a 3,200m PR of 9:52.02 from 2018. When they race here Saturday night, they won’t be chasing Katelyn Tuohy, who beat them both at NBNI. Obviously both have a legit shot at Alexa Efraimson’s 9:55.92 meet record from 2014.
The boys’ 3,200, as is most often the case, is the deepest field of any in the meet. As many as 27 boys have broken 9:00 in a single meet here in recent years. The winning time is often sub-8:50, as it was in 2017 when Cooper Teare set the meet record at 8:41.46. This race is often known for monster breakthroughs, so picking a winner can be a crapshoot. But you could do worse than picking current national leader Matt Strangio (Jesuit, CA jr) at 8:47.97 – the fastest prep outdoor mark ever run before April – and also the defending CIF state champ. Or two more Golden Staters, Liam Anderson (Redwood, CA sr) – who ran 8:52.74 here last year (5th, top returnee) and won Nike Cross Nationals this past fall – and Nico Young (Newbury Park, CA jr), who was state XC champ last fall and 4th at Nike Cross Nats.
But there are also several super elites from around the country, like Colorado’s Cole Sprout (8:49.46 2M last year and NBNI mile runner-up); NBNI 5000m champ Carter Cheeseman from Texas; 2018 Arcadia mile champ Cruz Culpepper, also from Colorado; Grant Gardner or Luke Grundvig from Utah; Drew Bosley from Wisconsin … and the list goes on.