The stars of the Benjamin Cardozo girls’ track team always seem to be front and center no matter the meet. No one stood out more than sophomore Claudia Francis, who won both Nike national and PSAL titles in the 800 meters. Sophomore Chamique Francis — no relation — won a city and state crown in the 400, running one of the state’s fastest times to do so. Freshman Latisha Philson is already a top hurdler in the state. The Judges again won the PSAL Outdoor title.
There are plenty of other high-level talents back next season. Columbus’ Whitney Fountain is one of the premier athletes in the country and will continue to break records. Loughlin shot putter Andreine Alexander is just a freshman and Midwood’s Imani Oliver, a premier triple jumper, is just a junior. Expect to see these same names here again next spring.
ALL-CITY GIRLS’ OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Claudia Francis, Cardozo
The Cardozo sophomore did nothing but win and continually drop her times. Francis capped off an absolutely stellar outdoor season by winning in the 800 meters in 2:05.47, the state’s fastest time and the second-quickest in the nation this season at the Nike Outdoor Nationals. She also won the 800 at the PSAL Outdoor City Championships and the 1500 in a personal best time of 4:44.30. She prevailed in the 1500 at the Mayor’s Cup. Add to the résumé a win in the 800 at the Reebok Grand Prix, where she was also a member of the winning 4 x 400 relay team, which ran the fastest time in the state this season at 3:39.96. What made Francis’ season so special was the ease with which she won and her ability to win races from behind and by charging late.
ALL-CITY GIRLS’ OUTDOOR TRACK & FIELD COACH OF THE YEAR
Joe Grammatico, Health Professions
Grammatico said it best after the PSAL Manhattan Borough Championships: always a bridesmaid and never a bride, until this season. After second-place finishes last season during both indoor and outdoor seasons and another second-place during indoors this year, the Vipers finally claimed their first Manhattan outdoor title. Grammatico credited the team’s overall hard work and focus on developing the field events as what helped get them over the hump. His squad has just three seniors, so the title could be the first of many more to come.
ALL-CITY FIRST TEAM
Andreine Alexander, Bishop Loughlin
The scary thing about Alexander is she is only a sophomore, yet already among the best in the state. She had its third-longest throw of 44 feet 7.5 inches at the Hartford Invitational. At the state meet, she finished third among a talented field. Alexander won the CHSAA Intersectional title with a toss of 43-9.25 and threw a personal best 95-4 in the discus, placing fourth. She has a ton of raw talent and is only starting to learn proper technique. The sky is certainly the limit for her future.
Whitney Fountain, Christopher Columbus
It will be hard to find a more versatile and explosive athlete in the city. The Columbus junior ran the fastest time in the state this season and set a state junior record time of 24.33 to win the 200 at the PSAL Outdoor City Championships. There, she also won the 400 meter hurdles in a personal best time of 1:01.33, good enough for the second-best time in the state this year. Fountain, who placed second at States in the 200, also placed first in the long jump at the city championship. She owns the state’s second longest jump: 20-1.25.
Chamique Francis, Cardozo
Francis had a great finish to what was another excellent season. The Cardozo sophomore won the 400 meter state championship in a personal best time of 53.42 — the fastest in the state this season. She did so while still battling a hamstring injury. At the PSAL City Championships, Francis won the 400 meters and the high jump with a leap of five feet two inches. She was also a member of Cardozo’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relay teams, which ran the state’s fastest times this season.
Phyllis Francis, Catherine McAuley
Francis wasn’t the dominant runner she’s been in years past. The competition has improved. The Catherine McAuley junior ran the state’s sixth-fastest time in the 800 meters — 2:05.47 — at the Nike Outdoor Nationals, placing seventh. She again won the CHSAA Intersectional title in the event and placed second behind Hempstead’s Charlene Lipsey at the state championships. Francis was also second in the New York Relays in the 400 in a personal best time of 56.57.
Samantha Francis, Paul Robeson
Horace Sutherland called Francis one of the best closers he has ever coached because of how quickly she can reach her top speed. The senior ran the state’s fourth-fastest time this year in the 100 meters while winning the event at the PSAL City Championships. At the event, she also helped her 4 x 100 relay team, of which she is the anchor, win in a time of 47.04. Francis followed by placing third in the 100 in the state championship and the relay team placed second. She also won the 100 at the New York Relays.
Imani Oliver, Midwood
The junior was one of the state premier triple jumpers and got better as the season progressed. She placed first in the event at the PSAL Outdoor Championships with a state-best leap of 40 feet 6.25 inches, and also placed sixth in a personal best time of 1:07.22 in the 400 meter hurdles. At the state meet, Oliver finished third with a leap of 39-3. Look for her to be hungry for that state crown next year.
Latisha Philson, Cardozo
Only a freshman, the future is bright for Philson. This year, and certainly the outdoor season, she established herself as one of the city’s best hurdlers and all-around talent. She won the 100 meter hurdles at the PSAL Outdoor Championship and ran the state’s fourth-fastest time in the event — 14.10 — while winning at the Queens Borough Championships. While the hurdles are her specialty, she also had success in the 200, placing second at the city championships in a time of 25.11 and was one of the Judges’ superb 4 x 100 relay runners.
ALL-CITY SECOND TEAM
Kia Allen, Murry Bergtraum
It’s rare for an athlete to make her mark in the pentathlon, but the Murry Bergtraum senior did just that. She won the event with a score of 2849 at the PSAL Outdoor Championships. She also placed second in the long jump with a leap of 17 feet 8.5 inches. Her pentathlon score of 3034 at the state championships, where she finished fifth, was the eight-best in the state this season.
Brittany Bloomfield, DeWitt Clinton
The sophomore’s only loss in the shot put came at the state championships, where she finished 11th. Bloomfield isn’t quite at that level yet, but she has time to get there with two more years to compete. She won the shot put 10 times this season, including at the PSAL Outdoor Championships with a toss of 40 feet 2 inches. She was also second in the discus.
Dwanya Freeland, A.P. Randolph
The senior was one of the PSAL’s premier shot put and discus throwers. She won the discus with a throw of 109 feet 11 inches at the PSAL Outdoor Championships and second in the shot put with a toss of 38-07.5.
Malekah Holland, Bishop Ford
The junior won the 400 meters at the CHSAA Intersectional Championships in 55.52, the state’s fifth-fastest time. She placed fourth in the event with the time of 55.85 at the state championships and was second in the 800 with a mark of 2:17.70 at the Brooklyn/Queens Championship.
Ahtyana Johnson, Benjamin Cardozo
The sophomore was an all-purpose sprinter for Coach Gail Emmanuel’s club. Her specialty, though, was the 400 meters. She ran the state’s fourth-fastest time in the event — 54.62 — at the 42nd Glenn D. Loucks Games. Johnson was a major part of the team’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays, both of which she ran the fastest time in the state this season.
Andrea Simonelli, Archbishop Molloy
The senior was one of the premier javelin throwers in the state. Her toss of 125 feet 10 inches to win at the CHSAA Intersectional Championship was the second-best throw in the state all season. She placed third in the event at the Brooklyn/Queens Championship.
Corrine Williams, Bishop Ford
The junior is your prototypical sprinter and jumper. She placed fourth in the 100 meters in 12.06 seconds. At the CHSAA Intersectional Championship, she won the event in 12.22 and the long jump with a leap of 17 feet 10.5 inches.
ALL-CITY HONORABLE MENTION
Mariah Claudio, St. John the Baptist
Kadian Dunkley, Clara Barton
Shanique DeSilva, Bishop Ford
Amanda Spoto, St. Joseph Hill
Monique Green, Campus Magnet
Alexis Murray, St. Francis Prep
Anjelique Parnell, Hackley
Diana Quinde, Heath Profession
Tessa West, Benjamin Cardozo
Renee Williams, Midwood
©2009 Community News Group
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