The weekend focus for us was at the indoor national championships and there were multiple competitors at both the Nike Indoor Nationals in Boston, MA and the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in New York. We'll recap all the performances, starting with the boys first and saving the ladies for last.
Connor Sheryak (St. Xavier) and Zac Garrard (Owensboro) opened up the weekend in Boston running in the Freshman Mile. Both brought in competitive PRs to battle the field, but weren't really expected to be among those contending for the title. Based on that, it was very impressive to see Sheryak finish 6th overall, running a PR of 4:35.75, and Garrard 8th in a new PR for him, hitting 4:39.68. With Jacob Thomson of Louisville Holy Cross and Tre Kinnaird of Butler already having dropped times of similar impressiveness, we may find ourselves among the best freshman distance class in years.
Ryan Smith of Dixie Heights was also in action on Friday night in New York, scorching a 15:32.08 PR en route to placing 16th overall. Smith has been a warrior in postseason races such as these, compiling more and more PRs to add to his resume as he starts his senior track season. Smith wasn't done, though, as he unloaded a 4:25.54 to finish 32nd overall in the mile, another PR for the Northern Kentucky harrier. It was mentioned on the message board that Smith's time was the 2nd fastest among Kentucky high schoolers this indoor season and that is no small matter. He's definitely showed over the course of the last 9 months, that he is among the top tier of distance athletes in the state. Hopefully, when he decides on a college, he has options like those among whom he should be considered.
Matt Hillenbrand of St. Xavier and Marcus Winstead of Owensboro also made the trip up to New York to compete this weekend. Hillenbrand had a rough go in the 800, struggling through another slow heat and running 2:00.88 to finish 65th overall. Winstead finished frustratingly as well, running 7.22 in the 60 meter dash to finish 39th overall after entering with a 6.87 seed time. Both will chalk this performance up as big experience and look to outdoor season now to get back on track.
The ladies of Assumption were in action up in New York, running in both the Distance Medley Relay and the 4xMile. Caroline McCaslin, Allison Riedling, Ellen Marko, and Ashley El Rady combined for a 13:05 clocking in the DMR, placing 22nd overall before the combination of McCaslin, Riedling, and El Rady joined with Sara Davis to run 23:05 in the 4xMile and place 12th overall. Coach Haworth talked about how the ladies haven't focused on the indoor season as much this year, but was glad they competed well against a strong group of national-caliber squads.
As for the rest of the ladies this weekend, it was all about their ability to raise their game. Anna Bostrom of Woodford County led off on Friday night, ripping a scorching 17:29.70 PR and the fastest prep time on the books for a female Kentuckian indoors while earning ALL-AMERICAN HONORS by placing 4th. The time was a surprise to many, but the performance was something that was foreshadowed in her dominating performance at the Mason-Dixon Games just a week ago. The UK signee is clearly ready to battle with the best Kentucky has to offer outdoors and may be able to do some more damage at this distance outdoors.
Next, Liz Anderson of duPont Manual continued her impressive indoor season in the two-mile. Her 2nd place showing in the 2nd-fastest heat led to a big PR of 10:43.15 and an overall 7th place finish. Anderson closed out last outdoor season just a step away from a state championship at this distance and after a race like this, she may be ready to put herself in position to win this year.
Finally, Sunday was Emma Brink's chance in the mile again, but her entry time wasn't good enough to get her into the fastest heat either. Brink put everything into her race, lowering her season-best performance to 4:53.40, but it was only good for 8th place on a day when the meet record went down. Brink's time is clearly the fastest by a Kentucky prep this spring and sets her up nicely for another impressive outdoor season. Be sure that she will be pushed by the two ladies discussed in the last two paragraphs, though, and it should make for a very competitive outdoor season.
Things are just starting to heat up now, and if the temperature cooperates, we will have meets to cover in the next two weeks. The excitement is high, as is the talent clearly, so stay tuned as we try to keep up with the latest in all the outdoor action this spring.