Pack sends three to the state meet|Trio will compete in indoor track and field championship

Published 12:48 am Friday, February 11, 2011

By By BRIAN HAINES,, Sports Writer
With hopes of getting a leg up on the competition this spring, the Washington track and field team has resurrected its indoor track and field program and this Saturday the Pam Pack will field three athletes at the indoor state meet at the Reid Ross Classical School in Fayettville.
The Pam Pack’s Janell Griffin will be running in the 55-meter high hurdles, while Raheam Patterson will participate in the 300-meter dash and Kevin Chapman will compete in the shot put.
Washington has not fielded an indoor track and field team since the 1990s, but the Pam Pack’s seventh-year track and field coach Jon Blank said the indoor meets give athletes a great opportunity to work on individual skills before the outdoor season begins.
“Indoor track is all about individual times and qualifying for the state championship meet, while at the same time preparing for the outdoor season a couple months earlier than usual,” Blank said. “During the outdoor season, we really focus on the team aspect and winning a conference championship, while at the same time individually qualifying for regionals and making it to the state championship level. For many of our indoor athletes, this season was really just preseason training for outdoor.”
Blank said Griffin, who is seeded fifth out of 14 runners in the 55-meter high hurdles, has made a lot of strides in the last year.
“(Griffin) has only ran the hurdles twice this season because I wouldn’t allow her to run on the asphalt track at White Oak because of injury concerns after a bad fall last season,” Blank said. “She has really finished this indoor season strong. She has gained some mental toughness and confidence recently; she seems focused, and physically she has grown in the offseason. I feel like she has an excellent chance to medal, and maybe even bring home the gold. Janell just needs to stay confident and focused on Saturday, I think the race will take care of itself.”
Blank said Chapman, who recently signed with Elizabeth City University as an offensive lineman, also has a good chance to medal.
“He has been a beast in the weight room, he just recently signed to play football at ECSU, and he was last year’s conference champion in the shot put,” Blank said. “I’d say he’s had a good year. If he goes out and throws his career best, which is a 47’ 6”, he’ll easily bring home a medal. He hasn’t peaked during the indoor season yet, because he’s only thrown a 45’ 0”, so if he can get one great throw on Saturday, he’ll bring home a medal. I think he’ll go in with good confidence and the experience necessary to get the job done.”
Blank said he also has high expectations for Patterson, as the speedy senior is seeded 12th out of 27 runners.
“(Patterson) has competed as a state qualifier during the outdoor season multiple times already. During his freshman and junior seasons he ran one of the legs of the 4×200, and during his junior season he also ran in the individual 200-meter dash,” Blank said. “He has been a strong sprinter for us and has grown into a good leader as well. I expect him to do very well Saturday. He always puts out his best performances against the best competition, so I expect him to upset several of the runners who are seeded better than him. If he runs a smart race, based on the pace we’ve worked on this week, I feel like he will bring home a medal Saturday.”