Vanderbilt HS Indoor Recap

Vnderbilt High School Indoor Recap

In the four years this meet has been on the indoor schedule, it's quickly become the gold standard for indoor track meets around the area.  With 4 US #1 marks set and countless others in the top 5, 10 and 20 in the nation, this was the place to be to watch talented Track & Field athletes compete.  And I said countless, but that wasn't entirely true, since all told, there were 76 top 20 performances at the meet. 

Tyra Gittens, who said she was basically just starting out in her training and was shocked herself at how well she performed set a solid 20-11 mark in the long jump.  That set the #1 mark in the country pretty quickly in this meet.  Another top national mark was set when Hope Glenn flew across the finish line at 7.41 in the 60M dash.  Niamh Schumacher rounded out the third girl to set a #1 national mark when she ran practically alone in the 2 mile dash in 10:25.44.  Brian Herron was the sole male athlete to get the top #1 at this meet when his 400M finish time was 47.24.  These athletes were incredible to watch and the most amazing thing about this, all the athletes that came in second or third or fourth or way down the line were still so very impressive and posted great times!

So those were the top performances at this meet.  Well, top for the nation but believe me, the sheer number of fantastic performances at this meet was mind boggling to say the least.  Tyra Gittens also set a #2 mark in the high jump, Brian Herron went 21.30 in the 200M that was just ahead of Charles Lewis who ran 21.42.  This is winter folks!  People aren't supposed to be running that fast this early!

Probably one of the most anticipated races was the 2 mile boys.  And those words are coming from a coach that, and I hesitate to mention this, has typically been more interested in the sprint events.  But believe me, you couldn't watch this race and take time to look at your phone or glance away, it was that exciting!  Brody Hasty, Carter Coughlin, Titus Winders, Leif Anderson, Alex Mortimer, and Taylor Vroon made up a group of guys that busted top 20 marks in this event.   I'd even say that Titus Winders put in a Super Bowl kind of comeback as he pulled in close to clinch third after being farther back in the pack earlier on in the race.  That's six guys in one event to go under the top 20 national mark!  And you know what, the boy's mile had seven.  Yea, you read that right, seven under the top 20 national mark.  Brodey Hasty set his first win with a fast 4:14.53.  Then came Taylor Vroon (4:15.15), Dustin Horter (4:16.81), Ben Ewert (4:17.39), Conner Hawkins (4:17.78), Alex Mortimer (4:18.03), and Scott Thompson (4:18.03).  Those guys were airborne!  It's exciting just thinking about the race now!

Just after the finish of that first heat of the two mile race, the competitors in that heat started gathering around this guy with a light jacket and blue striped shirt.  He was going over what they just did, and surprisingly enough he was pretty specific about how they just ran their races.  And then he started talking about what's next and how to plan to run good races.  The attention he was drawing from this young high school competitors was mesmerizing... and that's because it was Craig Virgin... this is the guy that beat Steve Prefontaine's 2 mile mark and has a huge list of success in cross country and track distance events.  Now it's no wonder he was getting the attention of these talented 2 milers.  And again, that's just one of the wonderful things the sport of Track & Field is - the athletes are always willing to give back to their sport.  Is it ok to ask you now how much you love this sport!!   

The boy's pole vault was a thrill as well.  Jacob Sabota vaulted 16-1 and second to him was Hunter Mallard with 15-9.  I happened to be watching one of the vaulters from about the start line of the 400M dash when the gun went off and a huge puff of smoke was lingering up in the air by the pole vault standards and it looked like one of the vaulters was flying through the smoke!  Very surreal.  But then, seeing so many vaulters going over the 13 foot mark in this indoor meet was a bit surreal in itself!  Oh and speaking of 13, Carson Dingler won the girls vault with a soaring 13-1 vault.  Carson and Courtney Long were giving a pretty spectacular lesson in vaulting.  I watched a few vaults as Courtney seem to have to work to get into her rhythm, but quickly just climbed that hurdle and jumped to a 12-9.  Again folks, its winter and I'm glad to see performances this strong!


If you were really paying attention to all the events going on, you would have noticed a group of guys competing in the indoor Pentathlon.  Yes, those events were wedged in between all the other events and athletes competing on this great day of competition.  This was the first ever Indoor Pentathlon held in TN!  And yes, you would be absolutely correct if you guessed it... it was a huge success!  Ten of these Pentathletes set national top 20 marks here!  That's just astounding!  Anthony Bryan set the record with 3416 points.  The top ten were over 2800 points.  This really was fun to watch.  Second place was Skyler Lester (3271) and third was Kyle Costner (3246).  All these guys that competed Saturday deserve a huge round of applause since their performances certainly proved that the Indoor Pentathlon is something we want to see stay in TN each and every year!  Thank you KYA for doing this! 

I was standing about halfway down the last straightaway watching as Kennedy Simon starting coming out of the last turn.  Or should I say coming around the turn like she was shot out of a sling-shot!  Kennedy was leaning into the turn like she had smoke coming off her shoes.  Kennedy finished in 54.56 and looked as if she could go another lap like that (well, ok, maybe not, but she looked strong!).  Gailey Lear was second, and I have to say in a scorching 55.20.  Yep, 55.20 and got second, that'll tell you how fast this field was.  As a matter of fact, third place was 55.77 by Ashton Lindley and fourth was 55.93 by Shianne Sipsey so no slouches in this meet by any means! 

The girls 800 was fast.  It was intensely fast.   The race was won by Emoni Coleman in 2:12.99 that was just shy of the meet record.  You had to be strong to race this race.  It started out amazingly fast and strung out the field quickly.  And this was a strong field to say the least.  Second place was Emma Kuntz in 2:13.62 and third was Brynne Sumner who ran a 2:14.58.  I'd like to note too that last year's runner up, Meghan Underwood, ran a 2:17 fifth place finish which was pretty amazing even though it wasn't the fastest she's ever run.  What was amazing that on Monday she had to go to suddenly go to the hospital and have surgery to remove her appendix.  Fastest TN indoor 800 time of the year and recover by getting surgery... you think this sport doesn't have some strong and awesome athletes!

Earlier we talked about Tyra Gittens getting that #1 mark for the long jump.  Well, fourth place in that event was grabbed by Michele Vickers with an 18-8.5, then third by Avery McMullen in 18-11.5, and second by Daloria Boone with another huge performance with her 19-0 leap!  That's some bounce for sure!  Deloria also had the third fastest 60M run in the meet and believe me, getting a third in this meet in that event was a huge accomplishment! 

And every year this meet has been run, the throwers have been phenomenal.  This year is no exception to that with McKenli Forest taking first in the weight throw with a 55-10.5 mark.  Actually, that was one of five throws over 52 feet in this event.  Sydnee Walker (55-7), Natasha Samp (54-8), Grace Artis (52-03.25) and rounding out that group was Kathleen Young (52-03.25).  Kathleen Young also won the shot with a 50-0 mark that I thought was going to go out of the stadium!  That throw by the way, crushed the old meet record and was more than two meters past the second place throw in the event.  These throwers were making the officials work at this meet for sure! 


In the boys throws, Sam Sikon marked a throw that was in the US top 10 with his 18.89 meter toss.  In English, that's 61-11.75.  Just behind him was Joshua Sobota with a 58-10-75.  The boy's weight throw was impressive as well with Madias Loper tossing the implement 68 feet and 9.25 inches!  Sam Wright was second with his top 20 toss of 65-8.25.  And trying not to sound too much like a skipping record, Macias's toss was a top ten national mark. 

Well I know for sure I left off a lot of talented and awesome performances.  But really, I'd be here writing for weeks talking about how much fun and how many great performances there were at this meet.  I'd challenge you now to look through all the meet results and just soak in how many great performances.  And if you were there watching, know that you saw these great athletes setting marks that were national bests and setting PR's that they will take into the spring outdoor season and hopefully, bring themselves to the next level where they want to be! 

When you become a fan of Track & Field, you have to realize that you are a fan of one of the most pure of sports.  If you watch little children as they grow up, as soon as they get to walk, they want to run... and being a parent, you know they're going to throw things as I've caught many a tossed something or other that was destined to be smashed... and yes, if it can be jumped, they'll jump it or try their hardest to jump it!  So just come out to a Track meet and watch, you'll be amazed at how these athletes give it their all at each and every event!  This past Saturday, we got to see some of the best athletes around the nation compete.  And really, does it get any better than that!! 

See you on the track,

Coach Ted