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2003 cross country
Great American
Sept 26-27, 2003 at SAS Soccer Park, Cary NC
a DyeStat featured meet with on-site coverage

| Results, Pix and Stories | Donna on the Side: Part 1 Registration - Part 2 Race Day
Pix Pages: Boys ROC - Girls ROC - Seeded Boys - Seeded Girls - Small School Boys - Small School Girls

New venue for Great American, the $16 million SAS Soccer Park at Cary NC, draws rave reviews. Runners come up a short hill to finish with a half oval on the stadium grass.

| Previews | High School Entries | Schedule | Prior Years | the meet's own web site | Directions |

the Colorado Connection - three of the four major races at the Great American were won by Denver runners. Denver West soph Mohamed Ige won the Boys Nike Race of Champions in frontrunning 15:48. Smoky Hill CO teammates Ryan Deak and Katelyn Kaltenbach won the seeded invitational races in the fastest times of the day -- Deak 15:26 and Kaltenbach 18:05.

Mohamud Ige - grabbed the lead on the opening downhill and never relinquished it. Remembering his loss to Ryan Deak 2 weeks ago, Ige said, "I wasn't going to give up the lead this time."

Ryan Deak and Katelyn Kaltenbach - Each used a lethal kick to win. Deak "threw a few surges" at Gavin Coombs in the last mile and won comfortably. Kaltenbach wanted to run smart and not go out too fast, but almost waited too long. She made up 5 seconds in the last 400 meters and beat Jennie Barringer in a sprint to the finish by 0.4 second.

Strong claims for Number One ranking by
The Woodlands TX boys and Saratoga NY girls

Brian Sullivan - lead runner for The Woodlands TX boys. "The guy that won (Mohamud Ige) went out really hard, but I knew that we just needed to be patient. We did what we were supposed to do and we came out on top."

 

 

 

 

Action Pix pages
ROC Boys
ROC Girls
Seeded Boys
Seeded Girls
Small School Boys
Small School Girls


Dan Green
- coach of The Woodlands TX boys, winners of 10 Texas state championships and 2 US#1 rankings in his 33 years of coaching. "This is the strongest team I've ever had." Recalling last year's loss when his first two runners were DQ'd for following Bobby Curtis off course, Green said, "We kind of had a score to settle, not with anybody in particular, but just with us. You hardly ever hear about that (a DQ) in a race like this. These guys trained really hard over the summer because they wanted to come back here and prove they could be Number One in the nation. When it was announced this year that we were the pre-season Number One, nobody was giddy about it. We thought that was a mythical thing. We hadn't done anything yet to earn it.We peaked for this. Now we are going to kick back and take some time off and then try to peak again for our state meet."

Nicole Blood - Coming off a tendonitis injury that knocked her out of the AOC Raleigh national outdoor meet in June, Blood resumed her place at the head of the Saratoga NY girls, who placed their five scorers in the top 22 finishers. "The injury made me realize how lucky I was. It's healed now, and I'm back to where I was or even better."

SATURDAY - High School
The best face to face team matchups of the year - 18 high school teams ranked in The Harrier's Super 25 - a glittering collection of Foot Locker individual candidates.

  • Nike Race of Champions - Boys
    The Woodlands 99, Denver West soph Mohamud Ige 15:48
    Ige led all the way and teammate Aden Ahmed was 5th, but The Woodlands (3-9-22-25-40) was on a mission to make up for last year. Inner city Denver West 162 claimed the runner-up plaque jubilantly. Mountain View UT's Steve Strickland was fourth, but he didn't have enough support as the defending champs finished third with 187 points.
    DyeStat Preview: US#1 The Woodlands TX is favored and eager to make amends for the course cutting DQ fiasco that cost them the title last year. Led by senior Brian Sullivan, The Woodlands routed a strong Texas field including pre-season US#12 Kingwood at the Texas A&M Invitational last week. Defending Great Am champion and 2002 US#1 Mountain View UT (ranked #4 this year) lies in wait, along with US#5 Shenendehowa NY. Surprises could come from US#10 Denver West or US#13 Christian Brothers Academy NJ. US#18 Middletown OH is led by Jeff See, who broke Alan Webb's sophomore class record in the mile last year.
  • Nike Race of Champions - Girls
    Nicole Blood 18:09 leads Saratoga NY 63
    Saratoga had too much power, placing their top 5 in the top 22 finishers. Argyle's young squad was a surprising second with 106 points, and Bay Shore 150 made it a New York sweep on the awards stand. New York also had the top 5 individual finishers, with Blood followed by Aislinn Ryan, Warwick Valley 18:19, Laura Cummings, Bay Shore 18:27, Lindsay Ferguson, Saratoga 18:28, and Emily Fung, Argyle 18:37.
    DyeStat Preview: Defending national champion Saratoga NY, ranked US#2 this year behind Los Alamos NM, guns for its 4th straight Great American title to make a case for top national ranking again. Saratoga is led by defending ROC champion Nicole Blood, still only a sophomore in her fourth year on the varsity. If there is a threat to the deep Saratoga team, it could come from US#6 Mountain View Orem UT (which has the highest combined boys and girls ranking in the country) or US#7 Desert Vista Phoenix AZ. Mountain View is led by the "Heidis," Heidi Magill (6th in the Foot Locker finals last year) and Heidi Houle. Desert Vista is led by the Sammons sisters, senior Katie and soph Keara. South region #9 Sacred Heart Louisville KY has Foot Locker finalist Maddie Schueler and Kip Hill, daughter of Great American founder Rick Hill.
  • Seeded Invitational - Boys
    Ryan Deak 15:26, Kings OH 81
    Smoky Hill CO sr Ryan Deak broke open a close race late to win by 10 seconds over surprising Brentwood Academy TN jr Andrew Bumbalough. Next in close order were Gavin Coombs CT 15:40, Victor Gras MA 15:44, Chris Winter 15:44 Jake Morse TX 15:46, Chris Spooner PA 15:52, and Andy Biladeau FL 15:54.
    DyeStat Preview: Top ranked individuals without a team are slotted into the Seeded Invitational. Ryan Deak, whose move from Florida to Colorado this year is working out sensationally so far, is favored. The Smoky Hill Aurora CO senior was 12th in Foot Locker finals last year, and he has won two early invitationals in Colorado, breaking Adam Goucher's course record in the big Liberty Bell Inv by 7 seconds with a 14:59 5k at altitude. The winner could also come from such tough runners as Andy Biladeau FL, Gavin Coombs CT, Victor Gras MA, Chris Spooner PA, and Erik Stanley TX. Some top teams in this race are Danbury CT, New York City #1 Monsignor Farrell, perennial Rhode Island champion Bishop Hendricken, and the farthest travelled team of the meet, Argyle of Vancouver Canada.
  • Seeded Invitational - Girls
    Katelyn Kaltenbach 18:05 (Jennie Barringer 18:06), Pewaukee WI 84
    In the most thrilling finish of the day, Kaltenbach made up a 5-second gap on Barringer on the last hill, collared Barringer as they entered the stadium, and won the 200-meter sprint to the finish on the stadium grass. Kaltenbach and Barringer had the two fastest times of the day. Spring Valley SC soph Kate Niehaus 18:20 was third and Barnesville OH soph Jenny Morgan 18:40 fourth.
    DyeStat Preview: Smoky Hill Aurora CO jr Katelyn Kaltenbach rates as the favorite. Katelyn, whose older sister Megan ran as a freshman for North Carolina in the college ROC Friday, finished 7th in the Foot Locker finals last year and has swept early invitationals in Colorado without a challenge. Kaltenbach is in this race because she is running unattached without her US#4 Smoky Hill team. Also on hand in a strong field are Sarah Bowman VA, Jessica Cickay PA, Carmen Mims KY, Jenny Morgan OH, Kate Niehaus SC, Katie Albright NC, and Lindsey Scherf NY. Team competition is wide open, but watch out for 2002 Wyoming 3A champion Douglas WY, led by Jenne Dilts, who won the state championship as a sophomore.
  • Small School Boys - LaSalle College PA's fabulous pack (4-10-12-14-15-16-22) overcomes Cardinal Gibbons NC's 1-2 punch of Freddy Torres 15:57 and Nick Sunseri 15:59. All seven LaSalle runners finished before Gibbons' third.
  • Small School Girls - Oak Hall FL 71, Robyn DeBenedet 19:22

FRIDAY - College
Nike Race of Champions Men - Travis Laird 25:33.9 leads Northern Arizona 112 to repeat victory (Central Michigan 120)
Nike Race of Champions Women - North Carolina State 45, Shalane Flanagan North Carolina 16:44.6 - Wolfpack's tight pack (5-6-8-11-15) overcomes Tar Heels' 1-3-4 leaders.

University Women - North Florida 97, Jenny Lake, South Carolina St 18:29.9
University Men - Massachusetts-Lowell 55, Terah Kipchiris, Coastal Carolina 26:46.7
Small College Women - Johnson County 60, Marta Zimon, Milligan 19:53.5
Small College Men - Stonehill 44, Joe Soul, Stonehill 27:44.4

 

Donna on
the Side
at the Great
American

Part 1 - Registration Day - left, Sarah "Vanna White" Bowman of Virginia points out the letters on the course map. Sarah's also a Julia Roberts look alike.

Part 2 - Race Day

 

The Hill - the most significant feature of the course to runners is a 400-meter long inclined plain. It is traversed three times in the 5k configuration -- downhill at the start, a speed trap for the unwary, and uphill the second and third miles, a severe strength test.
Looking downhill from the start
Entering the woods at bottom of the hill

Nike Race of Champions
There are 30 races, but the heart of Great American from the start has been the Nike Race of Chmpions. Before Great American, top national teams rarely ran against each other. Marc Bloom provided national rankings in The Harrier magazine, but there were very few face to face tests of team strength. The Nike Race of Champions annually pits 10 or more national boys and girls team powers in an early season matchup.

New owners and a new venue mark the 5th running of the Great American Cross Country Festival. Since Rick Hill launched the Festival in Charlotte in 1999, it has been a unique event that lives up to the name festival. It is now a fixture on the high school and college cross country calendar. The new owners, National Scholastic Sports Foundation, promise to use their long experience of running national indoor and outdoor meets to make GACCF bigger and better than ever. NSSF is grooming the SAS Soccer Park to overcome the problems of previous venues and become a permanent home for the festival.

High School Entries

High School entries feature many top ranked national teams and individuals. The ROC has 18 teams ranked in The Harrier's Super 25 national team rankings List #2 September 22, headed by US#1 The Woodlands TX boys and US#2 Saratoga Springs NY girls. Four more teams are ranked in The Harrier's top 10 regional teams.

Unattached Individuals

63 unattached high school runners will compete in the Great American. The individual runners are entered in the Seeded Invitational races, except for four girls who will run in the Adult Open race Friday night. The individual entries include many top ranking runners: Andy Biladeau FL, Gavin Coombs CT, Ryan Deak CO, Victor Gras MA, Chris Spooner PA, Erik Stanley TX, Sarah Bowman VA, Jessica Cickay PA, Katelyn Kaltenbach CO, Carmen Mims KY, Jenny Morgan OH, Katie Niehaus SC, Katie Albright NC, and Lindsey Scherf NY.

Previews

  • New Features - new owners, new site, new procedures
  • Top Teams - 400 teams, 4,000 runners, defending NCAA women's champions Brigham Young and Shalane Flanagan, defending Great Am men's champion Northern Arizona, defending HS girls champion Saratoga NY and Nicole Blood, US#1 boys team The Woodlands TX, and defending Great Am boys champion Mountain View UT. Central Catholic Portland OR, with Galen Rupp, is a late scratch.
  • Team Time Comparisons - stats, stats, stats
  • College - fields include 16 teams who qualified for last year's NCAA championships.
  • Profiles - leading teams in Nike Race of Champions.
Plenty of room for team tents
on spacious grounds of the SAS Soccer Park.

Nike representatives at the meet
Josh Rowe, director of youth running (right),
with Nike runners Kara and Adam Goucher.

 

Prior Years

  • 2002 - Chris Solinsky and Nicole Blood have fastest times. Saratoga NY girls, Mountain View UT boys win Race of Champions. Marred by bees, mud, overly difficult course, and disqualification of first five boys finishers in the Race of Champions for cutting the course at the Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte.
  • 2001 - Saratoga NY girls, Kingwood TX boys win team titles. Alison Tubbs WA hammers top girls field. Bobby Curtis has fastest boys time. Races were run at Winthrop Farm Meadows at Rock Hill SC, just across the state line from Charlotte.
  • 2000 - The year of the great flood. At the starting time Saturday morning, the start and finish areas were under water. Races were amazingly run after a 6 hour delay to let the swollen creek at McAlpine Park recede. The winners were Alan Webb, Alicia Craig, Saratoga NY girls, and Mountain View UT boys.
  • 1999 - Inaugural Festival was a magic moment at McAlpine Park in Charlotte with a full Carolina moon overlooking the tent party and dance on Friday night. On Saturday, race announcer Doug Speck called it "the most significant day in the history of US high school cross country" because of the unprecedented showdown of top ranked national teams. Then, when the Bingham UT girls dominated the Race of Champions, Speck said it was "the greatest girls cross country team performance in US history," surpassing the previous standard University Irvine CA team. An average time of 18:13 for 5000 meters - a 35-point trouncing of the nation's No. 1 team Saratoga NY. A 2-3-10-11-19 finish - all five scorers under 19 minutes - the 6th and 7th runners finishing 28 and 33. Felicia Guliford NM won the girls ROC, followed by Bingham's Zeigle twins. Alan Webb VA and The Woodlands TX were the boys ROC winners.

Schedule

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
1 Small College Women 5K 2:15 pm
2 Small College Men 8K 2:45 pm
3 University Women, Seeded 5K 3:15 pm
4 University Men, Seeded 8K 3:40 pm
5 Nike Race of Champs, Univ. Women 5K 4:15 pm
6 Nike Race of Champs, Univ. Men 8K 4:40 pm
7 Univ “B”, Open & Club Women 5K 5:15 pm
8 Univ “B”, Open & Club Men 8K 5:40 pm
9 Corporate Challenge, Men + Women 3K 6:15 pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
10 Community Fun Run 2K 7:30 am
11 Small School Champ, Boys 5K 7:55 am
12 Small School Champ, Girls 5K 8:20 am
13 Nike Race of Champions, Boys 5K 9:00 am
14 Nike Race of Champions, Girls 5K 9:25 am
15 Invitational Boys, Seeded 5K 9:50 am
16 Invitational Girls, Seeded 5K 10:15 am
17 Invitational Boys, Red 5K 10:40 am
18 Invitational Boys, White 5K 11:05 am
19 Invitational Boys, Blue 5K 11:30 am
20 Invitational Girls, Red 5K 11:55 am
21 Invitational Girls, White 5K 12:20 pm
22 Invitational Girls, Section Blue 5K 12:45 pm
23 JV Boys, Section I 5K 1:10 pm
24 JV Boys, Section II 5K 1:35 pm
25 JV Girls, Section I 5K 2:00 pm
26 JV Girls, Section II 5K 2:25 pm
27 Special Scholastic Boys 5K 2:50 pm
28 Special Scholastic Girls 5K 3:15 pm
29 Elementary School 2K 3:40 pm
30 Middle School Boys & Girls 3K 4:00 pm

Directions

SAS Soccer Park, Cary, NC

From Raleigh Durham International Airport and from the West: Exit the airport and take I-40 Eastbound. Exit at exit #290. Take right at the end of the ramp. Go 100 yards to first traffic light, make left turn. Go ¼ miles; street ends on Chapel Hill Road. Park is directly across the street. Make right, go 50 yards, and make left into the Park.

From East: Take I-40 to Exit #290. Make right at end of the ramp to first traffic light. Follow directions above to the Park

Admission
Admission to the course, Soccer Park and event is FREE to everyone.

Parking
Each team will be giving a parking pass at registration. It must be displayed at all times. For all other cars there will be a $10.00 per day parking fee.

 

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