Shana Woods has been on two winning relay teams at the Penn Relays, one of which set a national record. This year she's out to defend her individual title in the girls' long jump. And she's still just a junior, at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. Woods was a member of winning 4x4s the past two years, including the group that set the national record in 2003. She won the long jump last year as a sophomore at 20-4 1/4 and leaped 20-10 indoors this winter, but she will have her hands full at the Relays, where she will face four 20-foot jumpers from the Caribbean.
Rhonda Watkins (Bishop Anstey, Trinidad) won the high jump and long jump at last month's Carifta Games. She went 20-7 1/2 in the long jump.
Three Jamaicans are also in the field: The Girls' Champs winner, Tamara Francis of St. Jago, 20-7 1/4; Rosemarie Whyte, Holmwood Tech, also a best of 20-7 1/4, and Anna-Kay Campbell, St. Andrew's Girls, 20-1 1/2. (Francis, although she competed in Class 1 in Kingston, was born in 1990.)
Jamaican girls top the triple jump list as well. Kimberly Williams of Vere has leaped 42-11 1/2 this year, Latoya Heath of St. Andrew's Girls 42-2 3/4.
The 400 hurdles features the 1-2 finishers from a year ago, Nicole Leach (West Catholic, Philadelphia) and Sherene Pinnock (Edwin Allen, Jamaica). Leach beat Pinnock at the Relays, 57.84-58.72. In the summer, Pinnock defeated Leach, by inches, for the bronze medal at the World Juniors in Italy.
Pinnock has a lifetime best of 57.18. Leach, the leading prep in the country in the IH, has run 57.56. Pinnock was upset at the Girls' Champs last month, by Nickeisha Wilson, of Alpha Academy. Wilson, runnerup at Carifta, has run 57.38.
Joining Leach in the event will be her West Catholic teammate, Latavia Thomas, a 62-second hurdler who has also run 2:06 in the 800.
Leach won a gold medal at the World Juniors as a member of the winning U.S. 4x4. Pinnock won a bronze in the same race, for the 3rd-place Jamaican team.
Sarah Bowman, a senior at Fauquier H.S. in Warrenton, Va., is back to defend her championship in the girls' mile. She won last year's race by more than 5 seconds, in 4:48.55. This winter in the indoor season Bowman ran 4:46.79 to win the Nike Indoor championship and also broke the national record for 1,000 meters, in 2:43.40. She has the fastest prep 800 this outdoor season as well, 2:05.41.
Her challengers include:
* Brittany Sheffey, a sophomore from Bellport, N.Y., who ran 4:55.39 this winter.
* Sisters Avril and Lise Ogrodnick, sub-5:00 milers from John Abbott H.S., Quebec.
* Katie Doswell, from St. Catherine's, Richmond, Va., who defeated Bowman in a 1,000 in February. She has run 4:56.72.
* Rolanda Bell, Sacred Heart (N.Y.), who ran 4:37 for 1,500 at the new Randall's Island track in April.
* Devon Williams, the brilliant sophomore from Towson (Md.) Catholic, who ran 4:50.76 in 2004. At last year's Relays, Williams dropped out partway through the mile.
In the other girls' individual track event, Amanda Patterson (Midlothian, Va.) is the top returnee in the 3k. She was 3rd in the race last year and has a 2-mile best of 10:42.62. Laura Cummings has elected to run the DMR for Bay Shore (N.Y.) rather than defend her championship in the 3k.
The other field events:
High jump -- Lauren Biscardi (Shoreham-Wading River, Shoreham NY) returns to defend her championship. She has a best of 5-10 1/2.
Javelin -- Katie Librizzi (Pinelands Regl, Tuckertown NJ, 3rd last year, has a best of 144-7.
Discus -- Amy Bilmanis (T. Stone, Md.), runnerup a year ago, has a best of 153-11.
Pole vault -- Lindsay Regan (Easton Area, Pa.), defends her championship against Tiffany Maskulinski (Iroquois Central, Elma NY), 13-5 1/4; Caitlin Hewitt (Latrobe, Pa) 12-7, and Julianne Toto (Middletown South, NJ) 12-6. Regan, a junior, has a best of 13-2.
~Written by Jack Pfeifer