WINNING STRIDE

Sandreeka Bancroft, wins the 55-meter hurdles in 8.1.
Photos by Lem Peterkin
Photo by Lem Peterkin

The final preliminary meet of the nation’s largest track series, the Colgate Women’s Games, featured some of the East Coast’s best athletic talent, as competitors of all ages continue to set the national pace with fast times, and excellent performances at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn last weekend.

In the High School division, Brooklyn’s Sandrae Farquharson of Medgar Evers College Prep, won the 200 meters in 24.8 and the 400 meters in 56.3. Both are seasons-best times in the high school division this year.

Sandreeka Bancroft, a freshman at Cardozo High School in Queens, stays undefeated in the 55-meter hurdles, after her season’s best performance, (8.1). Teammate Latisha Philson, a senior at Cardozo also made it a perfect season after matching her season’s best in the 55-meter dash, (6.9).

Kenae Taylor, another former mid school champion, remained undefeated after her season’s best race. The freshman from Philadelphia’s Engineering and Science High School, finished with her season’s best first place win in the 800 meters, (2:20.6).

Undefeated mid school leaders headed into the semi finals: Jameelah Muhammed of Philadelphia’s Harambee Institute of Science and Technology, made it a perfect series with her win in the 55 meters, 7.1; Brooklyn Broadwater from Philadelphia’s AMY Northwest School stayed undefeated in the 400 meters, (59.0); Tia Livingston of Quibbletown Middle School in Piscattaway, took her fourth 55-meter hurdles in 8.6; and Egypt Parker, of the Learning Tree in Bronx, N.Y., also led throughout the series in the shot put, tossing 9.85 meters.

Newcomer Briana Gess of Hattonfield Middle School, in South Jersey returned to win the 1500 meters in 4:42.6, shaving nearly 14 seconds off last week’s time.

One of the youngest participants, in the Elementary A division, Brianna Brown of PS6X in the Bronx, shares the honor of a perfect season, with College/Open division national champion Amber Williams of Parsippany, NJ. Brown scored double wins throughout the series in the 55-meter dash, (this week in 8.1) and 200 meters, (this week, in 29.9); and Williams dominated the 200 and 400 meters each prelim, finishing this week in 25.3, and 57.1, respectively.

Also in the College/Open division Tara DiLuca of the Bronx, won her fourth 55-meter hurdles race, in 8.3.

Meet Director Fred Thompson said, “We had a perfect mix of returning champions and rising new stars this year, representing some of the best in East Coast track.”

Top talent draws more top talent, and the Colgate Women’s Games are among the nation’s most competitive meets, but Thompson insists the goals of the Games are not about athletic excellence.

“Thousands of girls each year have a great time learning how to compete, and will draw on these skills throughout their lives. It’s not just about those who become national champions or even Olympians, it’s more about the countless young people whose lives have been positively influenced by this experience,” said Thompson.

From an initial field of more than 11,000, some 430 top point scorers will compete in a semi-finals next Saturday at Pratt to determine who will face each other at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012, where trophies and educational grants-in-aid from Colgate-Palmolive Company are awarded to top place finishers in each age/grade division.

The Colgate Women’s Games have produced more than 20 Olympians, hundreds of age/grade division national champions, and countless changed lives. Each year, high school participants are among the most heavily recruited athletes by colleges and universities across the nation. Coaches, recruiters, athletes and fans can follow scores each week at Colgategames.com.

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