Alex Ostberg, New Balance Outdoors, photo by Chris Lotsbom
EXCITING DAY ONE OF NEW BALANCE NATIONALS IN THE BOOKS
By Chris Lotsbom
GREENSBORO, NC, USA (13-June) — Day one of New Balance Nationals Outdoor 2014 here in Greensboro, North Carolina, was filled with thrilling finishes and fast times, kicking off the three-day competition in style.
In the first championship event of the day, it was Union Catholic of New Jersey sweeping both the boys and girls Swedish Relay. With legs of 100, 200, 300, and 400 meters, the Swedish Relay tests a team’s sprinting depth and determination, two qualities that Union Catholic proudly boasts.
For the girls, it came down to a ferocious finish by freshman Sydney McLaughlin. Watching teammates Taylor Gardner, Imani Beauliere, and Jordan Coverson pass the baton, it soon was McLaughlin’s time to shine. Starting her anchor leg in fourth place, McLaughlin was bound and determined to bring the title back home to Scotch Plains, New Jersey. Gradually reeling in the front runners, McLaughlin made a decisive move down the final straight to overtake in-state rival Columbia (NJ), going on to win in 2:09.95.
“I was just happy me and my team could go out and get a win in our first time doing this relay,” said McLaughlin, surrounded by her teammates. “I saw me getting closer and I was like ‘Wow, I got a chance’ and I just tried to cross the line in first.”
Minutes later, with the winning girls team cheering trackside, it was McLaughlin’s older brother Taylor leading Union Catholic’s boys team to victory. Running in front throughout the whole race, the quartet of Steven Franco, Obafemi Animashaun, Jordan Jimerson, and McLaughlin were able to cross the finish first in 1:53.96, just missing out on a new meet record. Still, the team was very pleased with their victory, what they hope is the first of many to come this weekend.
“It’s not that often you get to run [the Swedish Relay]. We’re equipped to run it,” said Jimerson, believing the event was suited for his team’s expertise in the sprints.
Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka, Indiana, won the girls 5000 meters in dominant fashion. Breaking from the field in the second mile, Rohrer powered lap after lap, extending her lead with each stride. Breaking the tape in 16:16.97, Rohrer clocked the second fastest time in meet history and won by nearly 30 seconds.
“It means the world to me,” said Rohrer, who overcame a year of injuries to earn the victory. “I was feeling great and I just wanted to go for it.”
Winning the boys 5000 meters was Alex Ostberg, a junior from Darien, Connecticut. After letting others lead the opening mile, Ostberg took control with seven minutes on the clock, injecting a surge that no one could match.
Spurred on by hundreds of fans lining the outside lanes of the track, Ostberg finished in a personal best of 14:16.61.
“It’s been my dream, I think everyone’s dream, to be a national champion,” he said. “I came in here with my sights on being the national champion tonight.”
Tairyn Montgomery, a sophomore from Los Angeles, California, won the girls javelin throw with a mark of 157 feet, 9 inches (48.08 meters). Montgomery’s farthest throw was 2 feet, 10 inches beyond runner-up Katelyn Gochenour.
In the mile racewalk, it was New York’s Meaghan Podlaski setting a junior class record of 7:23.40 with her win. The boys title was won by sophomore Spencer Dunn in 7:10.44.
Approximately 4,500 student-athletes are expected to compete between Friday and Sunday at North Carolina A&T’s Aggie Stadium. Each of the top six finishers of Championship events earn All-American status.
On Saturday, more than 15 national champions will be crowned. Among the most anticipated events are the Championship 100 meters, two mile, and shot put.
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