2013 NB Nationals: NRs by Williams, Union Catholic Highlights Day Two, by Chris Lotsbom, note by Larry Eder

Edward Cheserek, FL 2012, photo by PhotoRun.net

Edward Cheserek ran a 1:52.2 for his 800 meter leg on Day two of the New Balance Nationals, one of the many highlights of the day. Two national records on day two with Williams and Union Catholic. Read the story below, from Chris Lotsbom on the second day of the 2013 New Balance Indoor Nationals....

By Chris Lotsbom

NEW YORK, NY, USA (09-MAR) -- Records were broken in droves here on the second day of competition at New Balance Nationals in New York City. A pair of national high school marks and four meet bests fell to the wayside, as athletes from all across the country came to compete at The Armory. Leading the way was Kendell Williams in the Girls Pentathlon and Union Catholic of New Jersey in the Shuttle Hurdle Relay, both of whom are now national record holders.

For the third year in a row, Georgia's Williams won the Pentathlon gold, scoring a national record of 4,068 points. Thanks to key performances in the hurdles, high jump, and long jump, Williams solidified her spot in the history books, finishing more than 300 points ahead of runner-up Alexa Harmon-Thomas. 

"It feels really good to be national champion again," said Williams, who is undecided on where she will attend college next year.

After winning the 60m hurdles, the 17-year-old turned her attention to the high jump -- the same event in which she placed second on Friday evening. Clearing 5-11.5 feet, the senior was able to add 1003 points to her total. 

"High jump I was really happy with," she said. "It makes up for not winning last night, because I really wanted that one."

Finishing third in the shot put and runner-up in the long jump, Williams knew she had a very good chance of taking Shana Woods's national record of 3,924 points. Adding 673 points to her total in the 800m, Williams became the first prep athlete to earn more than 4,000 points in the Pentathlon. 

"My mind wasn't geared on points at all," she said. "I was just so thankful and happy to break it; I want to go and celebrate!" 

Williams wasn't done competing, though. In the evening, she finished second in the Championship Long Jump. Tomorrow, she plans to contend for the 60m Hurdle national title.

In the first Championship running event of the day, Union Catholic of New Jersey set a national high school record of 29.20 in the 4x55m Shuttle Hurdle Relay. Obafemi Animashaun, Christoffe Scott, Tyrell Gibbs, and Zach Ghizzone not only broke the mark -- they demolished it, shaving a full quarter second off of the previous best of 29.45 seconds. The former record, set by Westside, SC, had stood since 2004. 

Leading off was Animashaun, the team's fastest hurdler. Cleanly going over the barriers, the junior sprinted through the exchange zone just before Scott took off. 

"I went a little late, I think I could have gone a little bit faster but everything worked out for the better," said Scott.  

Despite the ever so slight delay, Scott began to extend the team's lead once he reached top speed. Gibbs would do the same before Ghizzone sealed the national mark. 

"Crossing the line, I knew we ran fast, and then I heard someone say we might have broken 29.45," said Ghizzone, the anchor. "Christoff came over and hugged me and I looked up and it said 29.20. It's our dream, we are just so excited."

Since the first day of practice, the quartet had been focused on the national mark.

"At the begining of the year, I took a piece of paper from my notebook and wrote down the national record," recalled Ghizzone. "I put it on the first hurdle so every day at practice our first hurdle had the national record on it. It actually says Union Catholic's National Record. I can't believe we actually did it."

Union Catholic's success didn't end with the hurdles, though. In the 4x200m prelims, the team of Jordan Jimerson, Ghizzone, Animashaun, and Taylor McLaughlin set a meet record of 1:27.80. Tomorrow they will return to the oval in hopes of lowering their mark.

In the Girls Shot Put, Minnesota's Magdaylin Ewen set a new meet record of 16.48 meters (54-01.00 feet). Ewen's mark was more than two meters beyond runner-up Antonella Taylor, and ranks second all-time among prep athletes.

"I definitely wasn't expecting to take the meet record, but I'm honored to be able to do it," said Ewen. "It means a lot."

Stepping into the ring for her second throw, Ewen was calm and ready to extend her lead. That's when the monstrous throw came.

"I was trying to stay chilled and relaxed the whole time," described Ewen, 18.

For the next four rounds, Ewen watched closely as the twelve others in her heet tried to take over the top of the podium. She wouldn't have to worry, though, as no athletes would come within seven feet of her mark.

"I was crossing my fingers hoping nothing extreme happened," she said with a smile.

Both Sprint Medley Relays saw repeat champions, with St. Benedict's Prep (NJ) winning the Boys title and Hillhouse TC (CT) taking the Girls championship. Edward Cheserek anchored St. Benedict's with a 1:52.22 800m leg.

Cheserek, who has won numerous New Balance Nationals titles as an individual, said he believes winning as a team was something special.

"To me, I like being a team together, to win as a team," he said. "I think it's good to win as a team."

Also defending his title was New Jersey's Braheme Days in the shot put, who threw 20.27 meters. 

Many teams approached meet and national records in the distance relays.

Utah's Davis TC won the Girls 4x800m in 8:56.57, the third fastest high school time ever in the event. On the Boy's side, New York's own Kellenberg TC timed a US#1 of 7:45.24.

In the 4xMile, the distance team of Grosse Pointe RC (MI) -- made up of Kelsie Schwartz, Ersula Farrow, Haley Meier, and Hannah Meier -- won their second national title in as many years. In 2012, the quartet captured the Distance Medley Relay crown.

This year, they won the 4xMile by more than 40 seconds, timing 20:02.80.

Brothers TC (NJ) made up for a dissapointing runner-up finish in the Distance Medley Relay on Friday by taking the 4xMile crown in 17:22.67.

A surprise highlight of the day came when 2011 IAAF World Championships gold medalist and two-time Olympian Jenny Simpson starred in a Harlem Shake video featuring numerous competing athletes. Over the past month, the Harlem Shake has been a YouTube video sensation, capturing millions of views online. 

This video, which can be viewed here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKJX8GaiqVk) shows Simpson dancing at first by herself. Once the beat 'drops,' all of the high school athletes dance alongside and rub elbows with the miler, making for a fun dance party scene. 

On Sunday -- day three of New Balance Nationals -- fourteen Championship disciplines will be contested. Among the athletes to watch out for are Edward Cheserek in the Mile and Two Mile, as well as Dior Hall in the 60m Hurdles.

Stay connected with New Balance Nationals by visiting Facebook.com/newbalancenationals, following @nbrunning on Twitter, and checking www.nbtracklete.com.


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