Fairfield Ludlowe's Tess Stapleton (second from right) winning last year's Yale Track Classic in the girls 55 meter hurdles. The current US #10 ranked and defending New England champion is back this weekend.
Let's take a look at some of the top races to watch on the track for the 2020 Yale Track Classic starting with the action found in the center straightaway races which will have 3 rounds of competition in prelims, semis, and finals for the 55 meter dash and 55 meter hurdles.
Boys 55m Dash
Lowell's Richmond Kwaateng is the top seed in the field with a lifetime best of 6.40, which ranked him 25th in the country one year ago and second fastest for the entire state of Massachusetts. He has a season best of 6.49 so far this season from a runner-up finish at the Boston Holiday Challenge, which is tops in Massachusetts and 29th overall nationally. He is the defending MIAA Division 1 state champ in the event.
One of his top challengers should be Delaware state champion Zion Glover of St. Mark's who ranks 40th in the country with a 6.51 season best. Glover was a runner-up in the finals at the Energice Coaches Hall of Fame Invite at the New York Armory on December 21st and dipped just under 11 seconds in the 100 meter dash this past spring with a 10.99 clocking.
Top in-state competitors include Sports Science Academy's Keith Berreouet, Hamden's Christopher Pigatt, and Shelton's Michael Rhodia among others hovering around 6.60 and potentially ready to run well into the 6.5's this weekend.
Girls 55m Dash
The current New York state leader and US #12 ranked Mia D'Ambrosio of Schenectady headlines the girls 55 meter dash field as she is just coming off posting her personal best performance of 7.12. D'Ambrosio has already had one major victory this season at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic, while a runner-up at the Bishop Loughlin Games. The NC State committ was a New York state runner-up outdoors in both the 100 and 200 meter dash last spring.
Next fastest entrant is Glastonbury's Selina Soule, who has not been as quick this season so far as last year when she rolled to a 7.36 PR in the Class LL finals of the girls 55 meter dash. So will be interesting to see if she returns closer to that form this weekend as her 7.60 season best currently ranks 12th fastest in Connecticut.
Kisha Francois of East Haven (7.41) and Shelby Dejana (7.40) of Wilton might be the best two coming into the Yale Track Classic among the Connecticut entries. Francois won the Wilton Wright Invite this season, while Dejana is currently ranked 3rd in the state.
More out of state competition to watch in this event including current Pennsylvania #9 ranked Chinonye Moneme of West Chester East with a 7.42 season best along with Delaware #4 ranked Kimmi Woods of Tatnall with a 7.44 season best.
Boys 55 Meter Hurdles
It could be a clean sweep for the Lowell boys of Massachusetts in the straightaway finals at Coxe Cage between Kwaateng in the 55 dash as well as his teammate Samuel Mutiso as the top seed and favorite in the boys 55 meter hurdles with a 7.49 season best which ranks him 11th in the nation coming into the meet.
Mutiso clocked that time in a runner-up finish at the Boston Holiday Challenge two weeks ago. Last indoor season, Mutiso was able to qualify to make the finals at the New England Indoor Championships and outdoors dropped his 110 meter hurdles time all the down to 14.42.
Challenging him will be Connecticut's fastest in Osarentin Osagie of Norwich Free Academy. Osagie has the state's fastest time at 7.64 from his victory at the Jack Long Invitational on December 27th, which ranks him just outside of the top 25 in the nation currently. The competitor who finished third behind him at Jack Long Invite in Northwest Catholic's Lorenzo Garcia looks to have closed that gap a bit after 7.72 personal best victory at the Elm City Coaches Meet last weekend.
Colonie's Christian Hubbard might the best of the New York hurdlers at the meet with his 7.89 season best ranking 13th in all of New York while winning two invitational meets including the Ithaca College Bomber Invite. Meanwhile, Barrington's Walter Joachim-DelPoio is the defending state champion from Rhode Island with a 7.79 PR. Joachim-DelPoio won the Rhode Island Classic two weeks ago with a 8.06 season best performance.
Girls 55 Meter Hurdles
The biggest star of the straightaway races at the Yale Track Classic has to be Fairfield Ludlowe junior Tess Stapleton in the girls 55 meter hurdles. The reigning New England and Connecticut State Open champion in the event brings her 8.07 personal best into the meet as the top seed and favorite.
She won last year's Yale Track Classic with 8.48 performance before she really began to drop her times towards the end of the 2019 indoor season. Stapleton is currently ranked #10 in the nation with a season best time of 8.16 from the Marine Corps Holiday Classic prelims, but had a disappointing 5th place showing (8.37) that certainly she is looking to bounce back from at Yale.
A repeat win for Stapleton at Yale will be no easy feat. Especially with Delaware state champion and current US #15 ranked Jia Anderson of Padua Academy with her 8.22 personal best. Anderson has already notched a major win this season in winning the Bishop Loughlin Games in December with that 8.22 clocking. A junior just like Stapleton, Anderson was a Delaware state champion in the spring for the 100 meter hurdles with a 14.50 best.