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December 4, 2004 - Portland OR
first Nike Team Nationals

Innovative meet confirms Saratoga NY and York IL as best cross country programs in the US - Saratoga surely the best girls team ever

It was a ground breaking meet that fulfilled Rick Hill's dream of getting all the top teams in the nation together to settle the question of who's best in the only satisfying way -- face to face. Added to the competitive delights were technological advances, including chip timing at 1000k intervals that fed team scoring during the race to hand held computers and the scoreboard, two giant video screens, one showing live video of the race and one showing the interval scoring.

the camelbacks -- a series of hills were built into the racetrack infield, complete with trees.
John Dye's preview
With the race being run in the infield of the Portland Meadows horse track, John Dye provided the following "morning line":

a coronation and a horse race
PORTLAND OR 12/2/04 -- Like several state meets, the first Nike Team Nationals is being run at a horse track, so what does the morning line look like?
GIRLS - Saratoga NY, entered as Kinetic Running Club, is the odds-on favorite. This could be a coronation as the greatest team ever. They are certainly the royal family of high school girls cross country in the US. Ranked US#1 by The Harrier in 10 of the last 12 years, this is the first time they can prove it on the course instead of the polls. After their performance at the Foot Locker Northeast regional last Saturday -- a record four girls qualified for the Foot Locker finals in San Diego Dec. 11 -- few doubt they will win here.
BOYS - Pick 'em. Too close to call. This is the race that justifies the meet. Five powerful teams from five far flung regions of the country converge on Portland to settle debates that have been raging for weeks on the message boards. But instead of endless wrangling and woofing on TrackTalk, the boys will settle the issue face to face at Portland Meadows. The new FinishLynx scoring system (standings will flash on a 23-foot screen and coaches' hand held computers every 1,000 meters) will be tested to the limit as teams jockey for position. The race will probably come down to the fifth man, and NTN will give awards to the fastest fifth runner in each race. Here are the favorites, in alphabetical order, with apologies to the inevitable dark horse who may crash the party.

* Fayetteville-Manlius NY - New York state champion, #1 in the Northeast region.
* Ferris Spokane WA - Washington state champion, #1 in the Northwest.
* Royal Simi Valley CA - California state champion, #1 in California.
* The Woodlands TX - Texas state champion, #1 in the South.
* York Elmhurst IL - Illinois state champion, #1 in the Midwest.

Rich Gonzalez' account of the races:
"breathtaking storylines . . .
in the end, the clear-cut victors continued to be
the two most fabled prep-level programs in the history of our sport."

"Never before had such breathtaking storylines played out quite like this: Champion met champion. Talent met technology. And for the first time ever, America met its true number ones.

"Years after the idea was hatched, months after the races were planned, and just hours after the course was finally built, 40 minutes of action proved it was all worth it. In the end, the clear-cut victors continued to be the two most fabled prep-level programs in the history of our sport: the girls from Kinetic Racing Club (members of Saratoga Springs HS, NY) and the boys from Kroy Cross-Country Club (York, Elmhurst, IL).

"Triumph came in contrasting styles, with Kinetic Running Club seizing the lead in the girls' race by the one-kilometer mark and extending the edge over the next three kilometers, while Kroy's boys rallied into the lead by mid-race and then exploded with a late race surge to expand their tenuous 4-point advantage to an eventual 35-point winning margin.

"Kroy's win proved the meet slogan, 'Every teammate counts.' The key to the boys race came when final scorer Josh Schroeder breezed by at least a dozen runners along the final 300-plus meters to seal the victory with a 42nd-place crossing in 16:50. Schroeder's heroics earned him the 'Golden Anchor' award reserved for the fifth scorer of the winning team, securing Kroy's place in the annals of distance-running lore.

"On the girls' side, Kinetic RC/Saratoga Springs used the occasion to stamp a bold exclamation point on the most dominant season in prep distance running history. Its 'Fab Four' of FootLocker Nationals qualifiers -- Nicole Blood, Hannah Davidson, Lindsey Ferguson and Caitlin Lane -- finished among the first ten runners here, spanning 38 seconds (18:20 to 18:58) to set the table for victory."

Nike executive John Capriati presents trophy
to Linda and Art Kranick, longtime coaches of
Kinetic Running Club (Saratoga NY)

"We're Number One," the men of Kroy said,
and no one could deny it.


DyeStat overall coverage http://www.dyestat.com/3us/4xc/NTN/index.htm

the meet itself on DyeStat http://www.dyestat.com/3us/4xc/NTN/meet/index.htm

Rich Gonzalez story http://www.dyestat.com/3us/4xc/NTN/meet/richg.htm

Saratoga, the best ever, says Rich Gonzalez http://www.dyestat.com/3us/4xc/NTN/meet/saratoga-bestever.htm

Teams introduced each other with skits Thursday night.
Famous judges -- Alan Webb and Bernard Lagat --
gonged poor performers off the stage.

TOMORROW: March 11, 2001 – New York Armory – “fastest indoor track in the world” claims 200 meter national records in photo finishes in both boys (Brendan Christian) and girls (Angel Perkins over old record holder Sanya Richards in next lane).

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