High School: New Balance Nationals Preview

A look at some of the top events at the national high school championship meet.

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Frazier Favored In Mile
Last year’s girls’ mile champion Kelsey Margey has graduated and moved on to Villanova University. That leaves Wesley Frazier as the top returnee. In 2012, Frazier placed second in the championship mile in 4:48.28, a year after winning the title.

There’s something about North Carolina A&T’s Aggie Stadium that suits the Duke-bound Frazier perfectly. In the past two years, Frazier has seven top-five finishes —including three wins — at the stadium, located roughly 70 miles from her hometown of Raleigh.

Frazier is entered in three events over the course of the weekend — the mile, 2-mile, and 5000m — and the mile is the last of the three on Sunday. If fatigue gets to Frazier, don’t count out Pennsylvania’s Kennedy Weisner; she placed third last year.

Also entered is Katie Knight of Spokane, Wash., who timed 16:25.75 for 5000m last weekend.

Finn Vs. Frazier In 2-mile, 5000m
Michigan’s Erin Finn and North Carolina’s Wesley Frazier have battled countless times over the last four years, creating a friendly rivalry that has blossomed on the track. Friday and Saturday, another chapter will play out on Aggie Stadium’s blue surface.

Most recently, Frazier earned the upper hand at the adidas Grand Prix Dream Mile, which she won in a personal best time of 4:39.17. But, Finn’s strengths lie in the longer distance events, particularly two miles and up.

At New Balance Nationals Indoors, Frazier defeated Finn by one one-hundredth of a second in the 5000m, setting a national high school indoor record of 16:18.01. Finn held the lead and opened up a large margin in the early stages of the race before fading, due in large part to being ill with a virus and a bacterial sinus infection.

As mentioned in the mile preview, Frazier always seems to rise to the occasion at New Balance Nationals Outdoors. But Finn has something to prove; as she told Race Results Weekly last month, her narrow loss to Frazier at the Indoor championships served as motivation over the last three months.

A double dose of the duel in the 2-mile and 5000m is a must watch: it’s seemingly too close to call who will come out on top.

Throw in Katie Knight and Bella Burda in the 2-mile and you have the makings of what could be a phenomenal race.

RELATED: Frazier Sets National Record

Southerland Vs. Efraimson In The 800m
Benjamin Cardozo High School senior Sabrina Southerland is entered in the championship 800m on Sunday. Southerland is familiar with the national stage: in March, she ran 2:03.59 to win the indoor high school national crown, setting both a meet and facility record. Not only that, Southerland’s time was faster than any mark Mary Cain or Ajee’ Wilson ever had run at New Balance Nationals Indoors before. Though she finished 12th of 14 at the adidas Grand Prix’s Dream Mile (timing 4:54.05), don’t write Southerland off for a fast time. She will be attending Georgetown University next fall.

Washington’s Alexa Efraimson, 16, could prevent Southerland from capturing the New Balance Nationals Indoor/Outdoor double. Just last week, Efraimson ran 4:16.00 at the Portland Track Festival for 1500m.

Hollowood Aims For Steeplechase Repeat
The steeplechase isn’t run in every state throughout America, but it is a staple in New York, a state that has produced numerous steeple standouts in recent years. Among them are Providence College’s Shelby Greany and Syracuse University’s Brianna Nerud. The most recent master of the event is Keelin Hollowood, a senior at Saratoga Springs. Hollowood won the event with ease last year, finishing in 6:50.46. Look for her to break away and defend her title, but not without a challenge from fellow New Yorker Laura Leff.

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