Armstrong, Knight, Dressel, Anderson & Balthazar Earn Top Ten

      Northwest athletes proved their mettle this weekend at the New Balance Championships.   Leading the way in North Caroline in Friday night’s 5K was Elijah Armstrong of Pocatello, who placed third with a fine mark of 14:28.97.  Jake Leingang, a two-time Foot Locker finalist from North Dakota dominated the event with an impressive victory with a time of 14:11.  The senior, who scored at the Portland Track Festival the previous week end has been on a tear and finishing behind him is hardly an issue.  Armstrong, of course, is only a sophomore, which makes his effort even more noteworthy.  The Idaho runner was nipped at the finish by Nicholas Elswick, a junior from Chardon, Ohio who is also a Foot Locker Finalist.   The field was national class with Illinois State XC champion Jack Keelin placing fourth in 14:29and Ohio State XC champion Sam Wharton garnering fifth in 14:33.  Wharton also is a Foot Locker National Finalist. Tanner Anderson of North Central added to the Northwest medal hall by earning sixth with 14:33.    Sadly there was no one representing the region in the girls’ 5K in which Wesley Frazier ran a brilliant 15:55 to defeat Erin Finn by twenty-two seconds.   Both Finn and Frazier have qualified for Foot Locker, while third place finisher Bethanie Browne of Maine, who like Armstrong placed eleventh in her Foot Locker region, claimed third in 16:41.   Courtney Smith of Pennsylvania & Claire Howlett of Connecticut took 4th & 5th respectively with marks of 16:45.

      Katie Knight of North Central claimed fourth in Saturday’s two mile race, as Wesley Frazier scored yet another victory:  this time in 10:07.  Annie Heffernan of Ohio (10:13) & Hannah DeBalsi of Ct. (10:16) placed second & third with Knight following them across the line with a very solid mark of 10:19.   Caroline Alcorta of Virginia took fifth in another version of 10:19.   It is worth noting that Summer Harper of Utah placed thirteenth with 10:41, while Maggie Schmaedick of Sheldon secured sixteenth with 10:45.  

       Virginian Sean McGorty pulled away in the Two Mile for young men with a time of 8:45.  The Foot Locker finalist topped James Randon of Ct. by seven seconds.   Bernie Montoya of Arizona edged Mickey Burke of New York with both finishing with 9:00.  It was a near blanket finish with Sam Wharton also being credited with a time of nine flat.   John Dressel, a sophomore from Mt. Spokane clocked 9:02 to secure sixth.   Poli Balthazar of Aberdeen came home in 9:09to take ninth, while Elijah Armstrong crossed the line twentieth in 9:24 as he showed the effects of the previous day’s run.  

      All in all it was a fine showing, especially given the fact that a number of the area stalwarts did not participate.  One feels especially sorry that Rachel Proteau of Albany did not compete, as she probably would have won a national title in the high jump, which was claimed in 5-06:   a height well below her standard and national-leading 6-01.  

     Originally overlooked was the Mile for Middle School Boys, which was won by Montgomery Tavares of Georgia in 4:39.  Brandon McGorty of Virginia places second in 4:43 and Malachi Armstrong of Pocatello followed with a third place effort of 4:49.   Hayden Dressel of Colbert, Washington garnered sixth in 4:57.