Briggs jumps to title at Nike Outdoor Nationals; Wesh second in 200

By Larry Rubama

© June 21, 2008

GREENSBORO

DeShana Briggs and Marlena Wesh came to Nike Outdoor Nationals this weekend hoping to make a statement. Both dominated opponents in Virginia but they wanted to see how they would fare on the national level.

Both left satisfied.

Briggs, a recent Booker T. Washington grad, won her first national title when she cleared 5 feet, 8 ½ inches to win the high jump.

Wesh, a rising senior at Landstown, didn’t win a national title but she did run 24.18 to finish runner-up in the 200 meters.

“She made goals for herself all season,” Booker T. Washington coach Yolanda Penn said about Briggs. “She got the district title, the region title, the state title and placed third at the indoor national meet. But this was her last time competing as a high school athlete. And I told her it was now or never for a national title and she went out there and competed.”

Briggs, who will compete for Hampton University in the fall, also added another All-American honor when she helped the Bookers place sixth in the 1,600 relay. The team of Briggs, Tylesia Miles, Sonseerhay Copeland and Raven Wilson ran 3:50.93.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” Briggs said about her national title. “I believed in myself, stay focused and went out there and did it. It wasn’t my best effort but it’s a national title and I’ll take it.”

Wesh was hoping for another national title. She won the 200 meters at Nike Indoor Nationals this past March.

She also had momentum coming into this meet after winning 100 and 200 meters last week at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational in Puerto Rico.

But she was facing a tough test from rising senior Chalonda Goodman, one of the nation’s top sprinters.

“I knew I had to get out fast but she caught me with 110 meters to go,” said Wesh. “I felt like I shut down after that.”

Wesh finished strong but Goodman ran away with the race with a blazing fast time of 23.22, one of the fastest times in the nation this season.

“I had to kick into one gear to catch her on the curve,” said Goodman, “And then I had to kick it into another gear so she couldn’t come get me.”

Despite not winning a national title, Wesh was pleased with her season which included leading the Eagles to team state title in indoor and outdoor track.

“First is always good but I’ll take second,” she said. “It’s an OK way to end the season. I just hope I do better next year.”