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18th Nike Outdoor Nationals
June 19-21, 2008 - North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro NC


Saturday Winners - Complete Results: Boys - Girls - Chris Derrick's Saturday Dispatch

Warwick Valley NY girls 11:31.81 DMR USR
Mike Shaw of Waggoner's Raiders OH, Blazin' Raiders MD score triple gold

by DyeStat senior editor Dave Devine
Photos by John Dye

Late on the final day of the 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals, with the wind whipping and the clouds beginning to threaten, the action in the sky perfectly mirrored the action on the track. In the concluding leg of the girls distance medley relay, Warwick Valley NY (left) anchor Lillian Greibesland was threatening as well, gathering on the shoulder of Kinetic RC (Saratoga Springs NY) anchor Hannah Davidson for a final push toward a new national record. Clocking 4:50.0 in a pair of borrowed spikes, Greibesland exploded down the final backstretch to gap Davidson and deliver her team to a national title and a national record with her closing strides. Her squad’s 11:31.81 slashed over a second-and-a-half from Bay Shore NY’s 2004 mark, reducing the team to tears of amazement and joy.

“We knew we had a chance if we could stay with Saratoga,” Greibesland said. “I just tried to focus on her back and then go when it was my time.”

The girls of Warwick Valley weren’t the only ones with damp eyes Saturday afternoon. Trotwood-Madison OH coach Randy Waggoner, honored earlier in the day as the meet’s Coach of the Year, couldn’t help blinking back tears at the courage and gutsy efforts of his Waggoner’s Raiders team after they toppled favored Dominguez CA in the marquee 4x400 (3:11.33 to 3:11.41).

“I’ve been coaching since the ‘60’s,” Coach Waggoner said of his 46.4 anchor, Mike Shaw, “and I’ve coached a lot of guys, but he’s one of the best.”

Shaw (right, celebrating the 4x400 win) had a huge meet for his team from Ohio, anchoring the Raiders to a Friday win in the 4x200 (1:25.18), then taking the 200 title (21.19 in a headwind) and anchoring the 4x400 win on Saturday.

“We all promised each other we were going to lay it on the track for each other," Shaw said. "Last race of the season, and even though I was dead from the 200 [earlier in the day], I told them that if it was close, I’m going to win it.”

Only minutes earlier, another set of Raiders—Maryland’s Blazin’ Raiders—secured a final victory to make it a triple-win weekend for that vaunted squad. In a driving rain, Tasha Stanley (right) punctuated her amazing career with a sterling 4x400 anchor over rivals Boys & Girls NY, bringing her team to a 3:37.02 meet record win to add to their 4x200 and 1600 SMR titles from Friday.

The late-race heroics exhibited by Greibesland, Shaw and Stanley were on display all afternoon on the track.

In a pair of scintillating 800’s Joe Franklin FL (1:50.48) and Jillian Smith NJ (2:05.24) both managed to hold on down the homestretch against stiff challenges from behind. In the boys 400, Ja-Vell Bullard VA (who seemed to be everywhere this weekend) stormed past Tavaris Tate MS in the final meters, eking out a 46.54 victory. His counterpart on the girls side, Nadonnia Rodriques NY, managed to claim her 400 title from the supposedly “slower” heat, where her 52.86 was too much for fast heat winner Natalie Stewart UT (53.07) to overcome.

Neither Rob Finnerty MN, nor Emily Infeld OH, needed last ditch efforts to seal up their mile wins, as both established victories with commanding moves in the final lap. Finnerty, returning from Friday’s historic two mile, burst past fellow doubler Luke Puskedra off the final turn, charging home in 4:05.25 and relegating the Utah senior to his second runner-up finish of the weekend in 4:06.60. Infeld, on the other hand, was leading at the bell and never ceded her position through a sizzling fourth lap that brought her to the tape in 4:47.43.

Colby Lowe (left) was another athlete doubling back from the Friday 2 Mile, but not in an individual event. Lowe was anchor for the US#1 Southlake Carroll TX distance medley team, and his 4:05.8 closer left no doubt about the validity of that ranking, as he carried his squad to a convincing 9:56.54 win, US#5 all time.

“I didn't feel any pressure,” Lowe said later, “because I knew I could count on my teammates to get the job done. I figured it was my last race and I could give it everything and get it done for them.”

Spencer Adams NC and Chalonda Goodman GA wrapped up impressive weekend doubles of their own with Saturday wins. Adams paired his Friday 110H victory (13.75) with a second barrier title on Saturday in the 400 hurdles (50.99). Goodman defended both sprint laurels she won last year, matching Friday’s 100 win (11.51) with Saturday’s 23.22 200 title. Both Adams and Goodman could have been pursuing berths on the US Junior National team in Ohio, but Goodman, in particular, emphasized her allegiance to the Nike meet.

“In the end I said, ‘Nike’s where I want to be.’ I was blessed last year at Nike, so I knew I wanted to come back.”

For many of the field event stars, “Nike” was where they wanted to be too—especially the boys shot putters. In one of the best fields ever assembled, Indiana thrower Brandon Pounds rose above the fray with a 68-11.25 winner in the finals to overcome the 67-02.25 of frosh phenom Nick Vena NJ. Pounds had to make some adjustments after the prelims, but the tinkering paid off.

"My coach told me to stand more in the middle and to come out of the back slower. He also told me to show some emotion. We had worked so hard all year to get here and I knew if I did the little things, the big throw would happen."

If the weather played havoc with one event more than any other, it was the boys pole vault. The swirling, unpredictable winds left a talented crew stalled at 16 feet. David Slovenski of Maine was the only one to clear 16-04.50 and then he took three game attempts at 16-10. After battling the elements for months in Maine’s intemperate spring, Slovenski might have been more prepared than his opponents for the challenging conditions.

“We had the New England meet last week,” he said, “and that got me pumped up coming into Nationals. We hadn’t had much good weather or big meets yet, but with the 16-9 [at New Englands] I knew I was ready for this.”

Leaper Dwight Barbiasz of New Hampshire was another New Englander finding his groove at NON, as he was the sole high jumper to clear 7 feet, with his 7-01 winner.

By the time the thunderheads moved in and the rain truly started pouring, the meet was concluded and another Nike Outdoor Nationals was in the books. While weekend stars like Mike Shaw, Tasha Stanley and German Fernandez will be moving on, a host of underclass athletes will spend the next year getting ready, preparing for their next shot at the national title.

Spencer Adams
in 110H heat Friday
Chalonda Goodman
winning 100m Friday

Brandon Pounds

Shot Put

Nick Vena

photos by Vic Sailer, PhotoRun


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