Top 10 Storylines
1. CHESEREK - A year after blowing away the field in the 5,000 meters and anchoring St. Benedict's (N.J.) to a DMR victory with a 4:02.30 1,600-meter leg, Edward Cheserek comes to Greensboro looking to redeem himself after a disappointing 12th place finish in the adidas Dream Mile in New York City last Saturday. This week, the Foot Locker cross country champion is entered in the two mile and a pair of relays – the sprint medley and the distance medley. Cheserek is the New Balance Indoors champion in the two-mile, having run 8:50.53 in New York in March. He has had so few bad races since moving to the U.S. from Kenya that last week's loss may have been a momentary blip on the radar. And yet, in a two-mile field that includes Dallin Farnsworth (Idaho), Thomas Graham (N.C.), Thomas Madden (VA), Daniel Lennon (N.Y.), Sam Parsons (Del.) and Brock Baker (Tenn.) Cheserek has never seemed more vulnerable.
2. 800 - The U.S. Junior Championships has siphoned off some of the top talent because a free trip to Barcelona dangles like a very enticing carrot. But there is a high-quality race brewing in the boys 800 meters, where US#2 Drew Magaha (Penn.), US#3 Tretez Kinaird (Ky.), Zavon Watkins (N.Y.), Ben Malone (N.J.) and Ahmed Bile (Va.) are part of a loaded field. There are 10 guys who have run under 1:52 on the entry list. Magaha is the only one who has dipped under 1:49, though, but he did that (1:48.82) in April. Since then, he suffered with a bout of mononucleosis. He placed 12th at the Pennsylvania state meet in the 1,600. If he has recovered, Magaha could return to the role of favorite.
3. POLE VAULT - From all of the buzz generated during the indoor season about a possible 18-foot vault this spring no one has gone higher than Shawn Barber (Texas). He cleared 17-8 back in March and recently won the Great Southwest title with 17-5.50. Barber has Canadian citizenship and may be using New Balance as a springboard to the Canada's Olympic Trials. The New Balance meet record is 17-8.50, so he is certainly a threat to break the record.
4. DISCUS - Another US leader, Sam Mattis (N.J.), won the discus at the New Jersey Meet of Champions for the third straight year on Monday, pumping out a winning throw of 206 feet. That's a ways behind his state record 218-4, which is the number he will be trying to surpass with his final six throws as a prep.
5. CBA - Christian Brothers Academy (N.J.) has achieved much as a collective unit during the 2011-12 school year but did expectations soar out of control after the brilliant cross country season and Nike Cross Nationals title? CBA ran US#1 in the DMR and US#2 in the 4x800 indoors but then had a poor meet at New Balance Indoors. At Penn Relays, CBA had a sizable lead in the DMR but George Kelly was unable to hold off Cheserek. Perhaps he'll get a second chance this week. Plus CBA is entered in the 4xmile relay and it's possible there is plot brewing to take down South Eugene's 36-year-old national record (17:06.6).
6. MILE - Jacob Burcham (W.V.) didn't win the Dream Mile but he has to feel pretty good about coming in second at 4:02.73. If he can sustain that form for another week maybe the junior has a chance to make a run at four minutes. At any rate, after second place finishes in loaded national miles at Brooks PR, Penn Relays and adidas NY, he looks like a shoo-in to get the victory. His seed time is tops by eight seconds.
7. 5000 - Seniors-to-be Jake Leingang (N.D.) and Jacob Thomson (Ky.) were both part of the sub-nine crowd at the Arcadia Invitational in April. Could it be that both are already looking ahead at cross country season? Both of them are entered in the 5,000 meters this week and will be joined by other quality runners such as Dan Lennon (N.Y.) and Connor Rog (Ct.). All four of those guys ran at Foot Locker last December.
8. 4X800 - Westfield's boys 4x800 relay team produced one of best performances at this spring's Penn Relays, logging a US#1 time of 7:39.73. Now it is time for the Virginians to test their mettle again in hopes of winning a national championship. US#4 Carroll (Ind.) and US#5 Collegiate (N.Y.) are also in the mix.
9. STEEPLE - Fresh off of a New York state championship in the 3,000-meter hurdles, Brendan Smith is entered in the 2K event and may have an eye on the meet record. Smith ran 9:14.31 last week, good for US#2.
10. HURDLES - With the recent defection ofDonovan Robertson (Ohio) to U.S. Juniors, the hurdles races have become a land of opportunity. Newly minted New York 400-meter hurdles champion Kadesh Roberts (N.Y.) owns a best of 52.00 and is the favorite there. In the 110s, Zaza Wellington (Pa.) slides into the favorite's role.
Carl Heinz (Ill.) is one of three jumpers in the country who has cleared 7-1 but he could set himself apart and finish with the No. 1 ranking all to himself if he can get over something a little bit higher. Jake Scinto (Ct.) is tied for US#12 at 6-11. . . . Desmond Mobley (N.Y.) of aptly named Greece Olympia High School had a huge personal best jump of 25-2 last week to win the New York state title, bumping him up to US#2. . . . Jeremiah Green (Fla.) has the leading mark in the triple jump (50-6.50), but he got that in February. Multi-skilled Wellington Zaza (Penn.) jumped 50-0.50 to win the Pennsylvania state meet. . . . Joe Velez (R.I.) ranks US#2 in the hammer and Mike Shuey (Pa.) is US#3 in the javelin and leads the entrants in those events.