MEET PREVIEW

*More than 5,000 athletes from over 250 schools in eight states and Washington, DC, will compete in the ninth annual Citibank Hispanic Games at the New Balance Track & Field Center at the Armory on West 168th Street on Saturday (Jan. 8). The meet will start at 9 a.m., with the featured events getting under way at 1:30 p.m. The Leaders of Tomorrow Awards will be presented at 2:00pm; winners are listed on our website: http://www.armorytrack.com/in05/leaders_winners.htm.

*In the girls 3,000 Meter Run, National Foot Locker champion Aislinn Ryan of Warwick Valley (NY) High School will try to break the meet record of 9:47.58 set by Nicole Blood of Saratoga Springs (NY) High School at last year?s Citibank Hispanic Games. Ryan should be pushed by the Bay Shore (NY) duo of Laura Cummings, a Foot Locker finalist, and Lauren Schmidt, winner of the Two-Mile Run at the Bishop Loughlin Games.

*Aislinn Ryan may be looking to pull off one of the toughest doubles in the meet. In addition to the 3,000, she is entered in the Mile. In the Mile, she will be pushed by defending champion Devon Williams of Towson Catholic (MD), who holds the meet record of 4:50.76. But don?t count out Brittany Sheffey of Bellport (NY) High School, the Bishop Loughlin Games 1,000 meter champion, and Mary Liz McCurdy of Bay Shore (NY) High School.

*The 400 Meter Dash is by far the deepest girls field. The event includes 24 athletes seeded under 60 seconds. Depending on how state sanctions play out, the first section could be loaded with Nicole Leach of West Catholic (PA); Devon Williams, Towson Catholic (MD); Janine Davis, Queen of Peace (NJ); Krystal Cantey, Winslow Township (NJ); Jessica Clark, Murry Bergtraum (Manhattan); Joy Henry, Benjamin Cardoza (Manhattan); and Janean Morris, Bishop Loughlin (Brooklyn). They will be shooting for the national record of 52.10. The meet record of 53.80 is held by Natasha Hastings of A. Philip Randolph.

*The Boys 3,200 Meter Run features Kevin Tshirhart of Northport (NY), who stole the show at the Marine Corps Relays with his 4:13 anchor leg in the Distance Medley Relay. He could challenge the meet record of 9:11:52 held by Chris Pannone of Hunterdon Central (NJ).

*The Boys Mile Run, an automatic qualifier for the Millrose Games Mile, is up for grabs. Geary Gubbins (Southampton) and Brian Schmidt from Kellenberg (NY) battled it out at the Brown Invitational with Gubbins coming out on top, and they lead the field in this event. Both have to watch out for the kick of Bryan Scotland of St. Benedict?s (NJ), who won the Invitational 800 Meters at the Marine Corps Relays in 1:53.32. Other contenders include Paul Ahearn (Londonderry, NH) and Carlos Jamieson of North Rockland (NY). The meet record of 4:14.36 is held by Hakon Devries of John Jay (NY).

*The Boys 400 Meter Dash is just as loaded as the girls, with 20 runners seeded under 50 seconds, but nobody the clear favorite. Look for a battle between Garnell Hall of Cantonville (MD), Steve Delice, Sheepshead Bay (Brooklyn), Khaliff Featherstone, Simon Gratz (PA), and Atiba Liverpool of Elmont (NY). Don?t be surprised if a dark horse from the second heat steals the race. Elzie Coleman of Newburgh Free Academy (NY) set the meet record of 46.58 last season.

*There could be a seven-foot high jump if the crowd gets behind James Blocker of August Martin (Queens). Blocker jumped 6-10 at the Bishop Loughlin Games and was named the outstanding field performer of the meet. The meet record of 7-3 was set by Michael Morrison of Willingboro (NJ) last season.