A trip to New York City and the Adidas Dream 100 is on the line for the winner of the girls and boys 100m dash at the 2015 Golden South Classic. We take an in-depth look at the field for both races and who has the best chance to punch their ticket to the Big Apple on June 13th. Make sure you watch our LIVE COVERAGE and check out flrunners.com after the meet for archived race videos, interviews, photos, results, recaps & more!
Girls 100m Preview
Last year, the top eight girls in the field all broke 12 seconds lead by then First Academy junior Teahna Daniels. Daniels, running on her home track won the race in 11.38s over Kaylin Whitney. The two flip-flopped positions at the Dream 100 with Whitney getting the win and Daniels finishing second. Whitney has since earned international success and signed a professional contract with Nike at age 17, while Daniels recently graduated and is heading off to the University of Texas in a matter of weeks.
Daniels was the first runner of the eight person field for the Dream 100 to receive an invite with four others earning automatic qualifier bids. She has elected not to run in the 100 on Saturday opting to give others a chance and rest her body.
The fifth and final automatic entry will come Saturday. Win and you are in. IF the runner-up position has an impressive time (11.5-11.6 range) they could be considered for one of the remaining spots.
So who are the top entrants in the field?
(Krystal Sparling, Chelsea Francis, and Diamond Spaulding finished 1-2-3 in the 100m dash at the 4A state meet and are three of the top seeds in this weekend's Golden South Classic.)
Krystal Sparling - Senior @ St. Thomas Aquinas High School
Sparling was sixth in the prelims at the 2013 Golden South Classic and didn't compete in the final. In 2014, her blazing fast 11.34 at the 4A Region 4 Championship earned her an invitation to the Dream 100 where she finished fourth with a time of 11.67. Nagging injuries hampered the start of the 2015 season for the Texas A&M signee, but that didn't stop her from posting seven times under 11.85 and winning the 4A state championship in the 100m, clocking a season best of 11.46, the third fastest wind legal time in the country. Sparling was the 2014 4A runner-up in the 100 behind Kaylin Whitney. The STA standout is peaking at the right time and if she is on her "A" game is the one to beat in this ultra competitive race.
Alfreda Steele - Junior @ Pasco High School
Steele was fourth at last year's meet in 11.73s and is the top returner in the field. She is coming off of a 2A state championship in the 100m dash where she clocked a wind-aided 11.44 seconds. The junior was 7th at New Balance Nationals Indoor. Steele and Coach Steven Rivers have putting in work in what they call "the oval office". Thursday we are headed to Pasco High School to witness that first hand and film a workout video with Alfreda (1 x 150 8 min recovery then 3 x 80m) which will air on Friday.
Khalifa St. Fort - Junior @ St. Thomas Aquinas High School
When Khalifa St. Fort enters the starting blocks on Saturday she will be flanked by two former teammates in Sparling and Diamond Spaulding. St. Fort was a key part in the Raiders success for several years, but following Texas Relays, left the team to train with former Trinidad & Tobago Olympian Ato Boldon at the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar. The junior has run 12s or under in her last FIFTEEN races, so if we're talking about consistency she is spot on. She won Louie Bing and was second at the Wentworth Invitational and Texas Relays behind Teahna Daniels where she clocked an 11.46 (4.4m/s). She hasn't run in nearly two months, so which sprinter shows up on race day is kind of a mystery.
Diamond Spaulding - Senior @ St. Thomas Aquinas High School
Spaulding has finished in the top five in the state meet the last four year. She was sixth two year ago at Golden South and fifth last year after posting the second fastest time in the prelims. Spaulding wants to end her senior year on a high note and is hungry for the chance to compete with the top sprinters in the country in New York City. She was fourth at New Balance Outdoor Nationals and Great Southwest last year. Sparling and St. Fort are more known for their 100m prowess while Spaulding is known more for her 200m ability (2x state champion). Is this the meet, the Texas A&M bests her PR of 11.51 and makes plans for the Big Apple?
Chelsea Francis - Senior @ Atlantic Coast High School
Francis, a USF signee was dominant at the 4A Region 1 meet winning the 100,200 and anchoring the team's 4x100m relay. At state she was second in the 100m behind Krystal Sparling in 11.69 and was fifth in a heated 200m where she ran 23.95s.
Lynna Irby - Sophomore @ Pike High School (IN)
Irby and J'Nai Taylor are the only two sophomores seeded in the top ten in the field and the only two who have ran under 12 seconds. Irby comes to the Sunshine State via Indiana and looks to be the biggest threat to the strong Florida contingent. She ran 11.70 to win the Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference meet at the beginning of May. As a freshman she won the IHSAA Girls Track & Field State Championship in the 100, 200, and 400 with personal best times of 11.61, 24.07, and 54.38.
Cedrina Singletary - Senior @ Paxon School For Advance Studies
Singletary has the fourth fastest time in the field, her 11.47 (3 m/s wind) from the 2A state finals where she was second behind Steele. The senior and East Carolina signee, came back to beat Steele in the 200 for the first state title of her career. She was 8th in the finals last year at Golden South. I'm calling Singletary a dark horse in this race because she has only run under 11.8 two times in her career and both have those been wind-aided. If she wants to go to NYC she is going to have to go one gear faster.
Hannah Jackson - Senior @ Sulphur High School (LA)
Jackson makes the trip to Orlando from Louisiana where she is the state runner-up in the 100 with a personal best of 11.76 and the state champion in the 200 with a personal best of 23.73, the 13th fastest time in the country.
Tamari Davis - Sixth Grader - Pure Athletics Track Club
Eighth grader Tyrese Cooper was an exceptional story at the Middle School State meet sweeping the 100,200, and 400, however, the young phenom on the girl's side is definitely Tamari Davis. Davis who runs for Pure Athletics Track Club and coach Gary Evans has a personal best of 11.77 and recently won the MS state meet with a wind-aided 11.91. I wouldn't count her out to make the finals, anything after that would be a bonus. Coach Gary coaches some of the top professional sprinters in the world down in Clermont and raves about Tamari who recently ran 58s for the quarter. She'll be ready to run on Saturday and compete with the top kids.
We asked defending championTeahna Daniels to give advice to those running in the girls 100m Saturday.
"I want the girls to know they should just run their own races and not worry about who's in the lane next to them or what time they run. If they trust their training and run the perfect race, their times should be great."
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