The Athlete of the Week for February 23rd-March 1st is Keri Bland. Keri earned her award by winning the Big East Indoor Championship for the mile in a (deep breath) school-record, conference-meet-record, personal-best, NCAA-auto-qualifying, Most-Outstanding-Track-Performer-of-the-Meet-winning time of 4:34.78. She beat Megan Metcalfe's old school record by a second and took down Kate Vermeulen's conference meet record by about 5 seconds. Ms. Bland now sits (I believe) as the fourth seeded woman for NCAA indoor nationals later in March. Keri's a North Marion graduate and coached in Morgantown by Sean Cleary. Best of luck to Keri and the rest of the Mountaineers.
Editorializing for a moment, I'll eat my hat if that wasn't the greatest indoor weekend in the history of the state. Roll back the clock to 1999 and remember the days when almost no high school kids ran indoors. Today, we've got a girl running 11:05, three guys under 9:40 (4 under 10), a sub-4:40, two sub-2:21s, one 2:01... in one weekend. In the collegiate scene we've got a 14:50, 16:21 (Clara Grandt's new WVU record, which should get her through to nationals), a sub-18, a 2:49 and 2:47 1000m (by the same girl), a 2:50 1000m, a 9:22, a 9:40 and another sub-10 3000m, sub-8:40, sub-5 mile, a 1:55 and a 2:12... again in one weekend. (I'm not even mentioning Carrier [5th Big East Pent., 2nd Big East 60H], Belt [Big East LJ Champion] and Cotten [Big East Pent. Champion]!) There was so much action, I'm probably missing some other good marks too.
In unrelated news, I've heard that little 10-year-old Bobby Noname won the kid's mile fun run this weekend in a record 7:23. He now leads the voting for the 2009 McCoy Award.