Frosh serve notice

In recent years, the Dogwood Track Classic in Charlottesville has seen its share of terrific performances from local athletes like Sheena Johnson of Gar-Field, who set three meet records in 2000.

It has also served as the coming out party for many of Virginia’s finest young talents. On Saturday, freshmen Brittany Hazel of Woodbridge and Jarryd Mushatt-Valrie of Brooke Point both turned in terrific performances and served notice that they could be a factor for years to come. Hazel was second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 58.73 seconds – best in the area so far this season – and Mushatt-Valrie was second in the 300-meter hurdles with a region qualifying time of 46.78.

Mushatt-Valrie – the younger sister of all-state thrower Jamie Mushatt-Valrie – is rapidly becoming one of the area’s top 300 hurdlers. At the Potomac meet, she finished fourth behind 2001 Group A state champion Jacqueline Bailey and all-Group AAA hurdlers Afua Amponsah of Gar-Field and Devon Alston of Osbourn Park.

She also won the 300 hurdles at the Wolverine Invitational on April 12, anchors the fastest 400-meter relay squad in the area (50.19) and ran a region qualifying 400-meter dash time of 59.84 at a tri-district meet at Forest Park on April 23.

“She’s coming on strong at the end and better than we anticipated,” Brooke Point coach J.C. Hall said.

Hall believes that Mushatt-Valrie is already better in some areas than former 300 hurdles state champion Keosha Sanders was as a freshman at Brooke Point. Sanders graduated in 2001 and is currently running for Iowa State.

“She’s strong, she’s very strong as far as the 400 is concerned,” Hall said. “… Jarryd is stronger than Keosha was as a freshman, and has much more endurance. She just doesn’t have the footspeed yet that Keosha did.”

Hazel has shown promise from the start of her high school career, coming in fourth in the 100-meter dash at the Brian Watkins I-95 Track Classic at Potomac on March 29. She also is part of the Vikings’ 400-meter and 1,600-meter relay teams and has recorded the fourth fastest time (26.44) in the 200-meter dash. The Vikings’ 400-meter relay team has run the second-fastest time in the area behind Brooke Point.

“You could tell [Hazel had talent] when we took the new kids on the track for the first day of practice,” Woodbridge coach Jay Arther said. “She … ran with the sophomores and jumped right in and went with them. Now, every time she’s running, she’s not running with them but running away from them. That’s when we figured that we could have somebody that was pretty tough.”

Hazel is accompanied by a talented trio of sophomore sprinters – Brittany Lee-Richardson, Letoshia Rivers and Tiffany Funny. Without Hazel’s help, Woodbridge only lost to Gar-Field by five points at the 2002 Cardinal District meet. This year, Arther hopes the Indians are too worried about indoor runner-up Forest Park to notice the Vikings.

“She is a very nice complement,” Arther said of Hazel. “That’s the thing that’s nice about her. The sophomore girls come and talk about her being the youngster and that there not gonna let this youngster beat them. They talk like they are seasoned veterans but it’s raised their game.”

On Saturday, the Woodbridge girls finished in a tie for ninth place with Manchester. The Vikings’ 1,600- and 400-meter relay teams were second and third, respectively. Jamie Mushatt-Valrie won the discus with an area-best throw of 120 feet, 8 inches. Hylton senior Jemissa Hess was fifth in the 800 and 1,600-meter runs, improving her area-best time to 5:02.44 in the 1,600.

In the boys’ competition, Hylton placed 10th overall while Forest Park finished 12th in the 59-team meet. The Bulldogs’ Tyjuann Carroll won the 200-meter dash with a 22.38 and finished in a tie for fifth in the 100-meter dash with a 11.22. Teammate Anthony Hayes was fourth in the 100 [11.15] and 200 [22.56].

Woodbridge senior Daniel Simpkins finished second in the 800-meter run with a season and area-best time of 1:55.56. Forest Park senior Reynold Smith was second in the triple jump, fourth in the long jump and sixth in the 300-meter hurdles while the Bruins’ 3,200-meter relay squad was third overall. Forest Park sophomore Bryce Iverson ran a season and area-best 9:35.50 in the 3,200-meter run, finishing 10th overall.

The prep track notebook will not appear again until May 13. Kipp Hanley covers track and field for the Potomac News & Manassas Journal Messenger. Reach him at (703) 878-8053 or e-mail him at [email protected].