By Gary Martin
June 20, 2023
Wow, New Balance Nationals Outdoors is officially in the books! It feels like the meet flew by almost as quickly as its athletes, who lit up the track at Franklin Field and made for an electrifying weekend.
The country’s biggest stars showcased their talents, and we were lucky enough to witness some pretty incredible performances across many different events. I had a front-row seat for the action this weekend and there were multiple races that I found especially impressive. Here are some of those performances that really wowed me.
Girls Championship 2000m Steeplechase:
The high school steeple GOAT made the trip down to Philly and certainly did not disappoint. Despite just missing her own national record, New York’s Angelina Napoleon won the 2000m steeplechase in a meet-record time of 6:19.53. Sheridan Wheeler followed closely behind in 6:20.80, which put her in second position in the all-time rankings.
Boys Championship 100m:
The boys’ 100m was one of the weekend's most anticipated events and it more than lived up to the hype. The Issam Asinga show made a stop at Franklin Field and brought the crowd to life. Asinga took the win in a wind-legal 10.05, also breaking the Carl Lewis’ facility record; that’s a pretty good record to break! Nigel Ancrum and Brody Buffington filled out the podium, running blazing times of 10.15 and 10.16.
Boys Championship 400m:
Tavon Underwood backed up his US #1 time of 45.36 from earlier this season with a dominant performance and New Balance Nationals meet record of 45.82. In second was Bullis freshman phenom Quincy Wilson. Wilson made a HUGE push in the last 100m but just came up short, but managed to sneak under the 46 barrier for the first time in the open 400, finishing in 45.99.
Girls Championship Mile:
In one of the deepest fields of the weekend, 18 girls broke 4:50 and seven went under the former meet record of 4:42.11. Sadie Engelhardt wasted no time going right to the front and dropping the hammer, coming through the half-mile in 2:16 with a four-second lead. The field began to make up some ground in the second half of the race, but it wasn’t enough to catch Engelhardt, as the California sophomore came away with a hugely impressive win in 4:38.96.
Girls Championship 200m:
Adaejah Hodge has very quickly been cementing herself as one of the greatest high school sprinters of all time. After winning New Balance Nationals Indoors and setting a national record, she added yet another national title to her resume with a win on Sunday in 22.64. And keep in mind, she’s only a junior, so prepare for the history books to get rewritten some more next season! USC commit Madison Whyte finished second and added her second sub-23 performance of the season with a 22.94.
Girls Championship DMR
If you watched the distance relays at New Balance Nationals, you might’ve thought you were having deja vu. Every single race featured the pink, white, and mint green of the Carolina Cavaliers right at the front, battling for a national title. The team, consisting of Justine Preisano, Alyssa Preisano, Charlotte Bell, and Stella Kermes, finished first in the 4xMile, second in 4x800m, and first in the DMR, continuing their run of dominance that we saw in New Balance Nationals Indoors.
However, what was most impressive to me about these performances was the resilience this team showed in DMR. I spoke to the girls after the race and they talked about how they had not originally planned to run the DMR, but that they decided to come back for redemption after just missing the win in the 4x800. Not only did they win the DMR, but they broke the meet record by running 11:33.18.
Boys Championship 800m:
Personally, this was my race of the weekend. After Blaik Slavinski PRed by nearly five seconds and ran 1:49.13 in the first heat, I had a feeling the hot heat was gonna get after it early and give us an incredible race. AND MAN, DID THEY DELIVER! Six guys under 1:50, two under 1:48, and an incredible race down the homestretch between Tinoda Matsatsa and Drew Regnier. Matsatsa ended his incredible senior season with the win in 1:47.61, while Regnier also dipped under 1:48, throwing down a 1:47.95.
It also feels noteworthy to mention that Slavinski’s time from the first heat was good enough for sixth and an All-American spot. Hats off to him for rising to the occasion when it mattered most!
University of Virginia distance runner. Archbishop Wood alum. High school sub-4 miler. Sixers superfan.