Nike Indoor Championships
Mar 13-14, 2004 at PG County Sportsplex, Landover MD




They wouldn’t go home as medalists, but they ran some spirited races in these 16-lappers starting at 8 a.m.

In the opener that saw the first four finishers within 2.05 seconds of each other, Eileen Creutz of Saline, Mich. (11:19.55) held off Catherine Rossi of Saratoga Springs (11:19.69), Megan Young of Beverly Hills, Mich. (11:20.80) and Kate Papenberg of Red Lion, Pa. (11:22.00.)

The second was more clearcut, Carmen Mims of Louisville (11:04.84) beating out Katie Thaeder of Kennett Square, Pa. 11:06.25.)

Youngsters dominated these races. Just three of the 21 runners were seniors.


Houstonians Jessica Ohanaja (8.53) and Alandra Sherman (8.63) and Floridian Shantia Moss of Pompano Beach (8.60), took their semis to lead a rare all-senior march into the six-athlete final.

Riverside, California’s Domenique Manning (8.54) was breathing down Ohanaja’s neck in their semi; Tiffany Nesfield of Springdale, Md. (8.70) ran second to Sherman; Tenisha Griggs of Detroit (8.68) was runner-up to Moss.

Form held up in the morning prelims, where Moss (8.51), Manning (8.67), Sherman (8.69), Nesfield and Ohanaja (both 8.71) were speediest in the 42-runner field, with 18 advancing to the semis.


Liberty Springs High/Colorado Springs’ Ashley Owens was the class of the morning prelims with an easy 7.45.

Next best, in the seven-race series that saw 18 advance to the semis, were Greenville, S.C.’s Amberly Nesbitt at 7.51 and Ridgeland, Mississippi’s B ianca Knight at 7.61. It took a 7.90 to advance.

Owens continued the hot pace with a 7.35 semifinal victory. The other semis went to Nesbitt (7.46) and Knight (7.57.)

In the luck of the draw, sisters Jessica and Judith Onyepunuka of Peoria, Arizona were drawn to the second heat together. Jessica (7.58) advanced behind Owens; third-place Judith (7.68) did not.


North Kent Running Club/Rockford, Michigan had won it last year in 9:15.23, as well as in 2000, but there was to be no reprise.

The Hatboro-Horsham quartet of Megan Rae, Nicole Murphy, Anna Baker and Caitlin Klaas took the title to Pennsylvania for the first time with a 9:13.93 verdict over North Kent’s 9:16.78 and Gwynedd Mercy Academy’s 9:16.85.

“I knew it was going to be tight” said Klaas. “I felt pressure the whole way. It was a little nerve-wracking watching the other girls go.”

It wasn’t Hatboro-Horsham’s fastest 4x800 of 2004; the Hatters had done 9:11 at the Pennsylvania state meet.

Orchard Park, N.Y. had taken the opening section in a decisive 9:37.75, running away from Somers, N.Y. Track Club’s 9:42.51 and thus wound up fifth in the over-all standings.


D.C./Landover-area entries totally dominated as home cooking certainly paid off.

The 1-2-3 spots went to Maryland-Virginia locals.

Halsey Sinclair of Silver Spring, Md. ran a PR 5:07.91 but was nowhere Mary Decker’s national ecord of 4:40.10 dating back to 1973.

Then again, very few have ever been in that territory in the ensuing 31 years.

“I was a little tired,” said Sinclair. “I didn’t plan to lead the race. I just wanted to run my race. That was my best time. I didn’t have that much confidence in my kick.”

Michaeline Nelson of McLean, Va, took second in 5:10:02 with Ashlyn Sinclair of Silver Spring third in 5:12.21. First of the visitors from further afield was fourth-placer Alysha McElroy of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. in 5:13.03.


Katelyn Kaltenbach, the Smoky Hill High/Aurora, Colo. junior whose sister Megan was the 2000 and 2001 NIC two-mile champion, added to the family dossier with a sizzling, come-from-behind 4:45.32 triumph. Astoundingly, it was her first race of the winter season.

Katelyn was going for Blood – and got her. Nicole Blood, the sensational Saratoga Springs, N.Y. sophomore who’d won the 2003 NIC two-mile title, had led through three quarters before the longer-striding Kaltenbach got it into gear.

As the sellout crowd roared, Kaltenbach gradually ate into Blood’s lead and finally surged in front with 50 meters to go. Blood held onto second in 4:46.13 and set New York state all-time and national sophomore records in the process.

Lauren Centrowitz, the Annapolis, Md. senior whose dad, Matt Centrowitz is head coach at American University and former U.S. 5,000-meter record-holder, held second for much of the way before slipping back to third in 4:54.26, just holding off the late spurt of West Lafayette, Ind iana’s Magin Kebert, who was just 2/100ths back at 4:54.28.

Seven of the 19 milers broke five minutes.

Caitlyn Lane, the brilliant Saratoga Springs freshman, took the unseeded section in 5:05.21 and wound up ninth over-all.

“I knw my training was going really well,” Kaltenbach said late. “I’ve had some good tempo runs.” Originally, Kaltenbach was set to run the two-mile at NIC, but had to fly back in a rush to make a sports banquet so she ran the earlier race. “Hopefully, I’ll just keep getting faster (at the mile),” she said. “My goal is to break 4:45 now.”

Kaltenbach had been playing fall soccer but now focuses on running. “It was too hard to do both,” she said.”My legs were getting too tired going from running to soccer.”

Blood was happy to set a PR by over two seconds. “I felt really strong,” she said. “Katelyn Kaltenbach, she ran an awesome race, too. My times are improving, so I’m happy with that.”


At the 2003 NIC meet, Faraign Giles of Tallwood High/Virginia Beach, nabbed a solid second to senior Tiondra Ponteen of Lanham, Md. That junior-year 56.02 established her as the 2004 NIC favorite.

But it wasn’t to be. Giles ran a sub-par 58.10 Sunday and wound up fifth.

The gold went to Ebony Collins, the sensational freshman from Woodrow Wilson Classical of Long Beach, Calif., whose 55.05 triumph scared the national frosh mark of 54.25 by Florida’s Char Foster in 1995.

Krista Simkins, the Wissahickon High/Ambler, Pa. senior who’d been fastest qualifier Saturday at 55.42, improved to 55.22 for the silver, losing out around the fnal bend.

B ianca Knight, the splendid Ridgeland, Mississippi freshman who was also sixth in the 60 sprint at NIC, claimed third in 55.46.

Another hot frosh candidate for future honors, Takecia Jameson, a Greenbelt, Md. local, ran fourth in 56.55.

“I was a little scared when she (Simkins) had the big lead on me,” admitted Collins.

“But I saw her tiring aound the last corner and thought I could catch her.

“I just gave it all I had. I’m pretty spent. It feels pretty good to win this race as a freshman.”


For Liberty High/Colorado Springs’ Ashley Owens, it was a natural progression – 7.45 in the prelims, 7.35 in the semifinals, 7.32 in the final.

With Gail Devers on hand to present medals and cheer the younger generation that may someday step ino her gold-medal shoes, the triumph by the similarly-built, 5-2 Owens was most appropriate.

She’d run the national record down to 7.19 last month at Idaho’s Simplot Games, and was a relay gold medalist at last summer’s Pan American Junior Championships.

Owens got out fast and was never headed.

Four other seniors tracked her home – South Carolina’s Amberly Nesbitt and California’s/Puerto Rico’s Carolyn Rodriguez (tied for second at 7.46 in a reading that went out to 10,000 th of a second); Jacksonville, Florida’s Lauren Austin (7.51) and Peoria, Arizona’s Jessica Onyepunuka (7.55.)

A freshman age-group record-holder, B ianca Knight of Ridgeland, Mississippi, may have installed herself as morning-line 2005 NIC favorite with her 7.91 sixth place.


Perdita Felicien is another of the NIC’s distinguished alumnae. World outdoor champion for Canada in 2003, Felicien set the NIC meet record of 8.36 in 1999.

Ashlee Williams (8.39 in 2002) has been the only other NIC winner to dip under 8.40.

Pompano Beach, Florida’s Shantia Moss, the 2004 NIC champion, wasn’t able to break 8:40, either.

She came from behind over the final two barriers to edge the gold away from Westbury High/Houston’s Jessica Ohanaja, 8.47 to 8.49,

Ohanaja, fifth place in 2003, was the only returnee from that final.

Teneisha Griggs of Detroit nosed out Tiffany Nesfield of Springdale, Md. for third, 8.57 to 8.68.

“My start was so bad,” said Moss. “We were nervous because we just had a false start, so it was given to the whole field (under USATF/IAAF rules.)”

When the race finally got underway. Moss knew she had “waited a little too late; I got out bad.”

All in all, though, she was “really excited, so happy.”

“We don’t have an indoor track in Florida; this was the first meet I’ve actually run the 60-meter hurdles in.”



Carol Rodriguez’s ticket to the Athens Olympic Games is already booked (for Puerto Rico).

All going well, she may hook up with Allyson Felix in the Grec ian Games.

But there was no catching – or even challenging the national record of 23.14 set by Felix (now a Southern Cal freshman) for Los Angeles Baptist High in 2003.

Rodriguez, the Woodrow Wilson Classical/Long Beach, Cal. senior, took the gold in 24.22, a long stride in front of Jacksonville, Fla. senior Lauren Austin (24.39.

In their own all-senior battle for third, Angelique Smith, of Logan High/Union City, California, edged Peoria, Arizona’s Jessica Onyepunuka, 24.81 to 25.02



Philly’s Latavia Thomas came in with the nation’s fastest 800 time, 2:08.47, and the sophomore flash anchored her West Catholic team to the NIC 4x800 relay title Saturday.

But she couldn’t replicate that pace and wound up third in the individual 800 final in 2:14.50.

Instead, the exciting duel for the gold boiled down to juniors Geena Gall of Detroit and Mackenzie Pierce, Forsyth Country Day School, N.C. Gall won it down the stretch in 2:12.20, edging Pierce’s 2:12.39.

Virgin ians Tasmin Fanning (2:15.39) and Shylan Bumbrey (2:15.98), both juniors, went 4-5. Bumbrey, amazingly, medaled out of the third of five heats.

Other unseeded sections went to Raleigh, N.C.’s Krystle Medlin (2:19.26), West Hartford, Ct.’s Heather Bemis (2:24.03) and Bay Shore, N.Y.’s Sarah McCurdy (2:18.33.)



What a display of underclass talent this was.

The top senior settled for seventh place as four juniors and two sophomores monopolized top honors.

Bay Shore, N.Y. junior Laura Cummings raced off with the gold in 10:38.79, outracing Saratoga Springs soph Lindsay Ferguson (10:43.44) and Midloth ian, Va. junior Amanda Patterson (10:45.08.)

Cummings has been well known on the national scene since the fall of 2002 – when she ran fourth at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships.

Beth Fahey of Woodbridge, Va., ran 10:58.02 as the first senior and seventh and final runner under 11 minutes.


Texas teams were hot – Skyline High ran 1:40.61 and Westbury of Houston 1:41.82.

But neither could catch the James Logan High/Union City, California club that took it all in 1:39.87, an NIC meet record and fastest time in the nation this year on a flat track.

California’s North High of Riverside went 1:42.50 for fourth; it was Pompano Beach, Fla. a just-back fifth in 1:42.55.

While Woodrow Wilson Classical/Long Beach, Cal.’s meet record of 1:40.04 in 1999 was being erased, Long Beach Poly’s national record of 1:35.86 in 2003 was far out of the reach of all.


James Logan High/Union City, Cal. was runner-up to local Eleanor Roosevelt High of Greenbelt, Md. at the 2003 NIC, 3:50.59 to 3:52.26, but the pace was faster and the roles reversed this time.

Logan took it all in 3:47.87, third best winning time in NIC annals, while the Roosevelt Runners, under the Blazin Raiders club designation, settled for fourth in 3:52.06.

In between them were Westbury High/Houston in 3:50.32, and Skyline High/Dallas, Michael Johnson’s alma mater, at 3:51.19, all out of the fourth and final section.

The earlier sections went to Southeast Raleigh, N.C. in 4:04.76; Kecoughtan Track Club, 4:01.67, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, 3:59.21 and fifth over-all.

Five of the 18 teams broke four minutes, another seven bettered 4:05.


They were predicting that the meet record of six feet even by Erie, Pa’s Sheena Gordon in 2002 would be under siege. It never happened.

Long Islander Lauren Biscardi, a junior at Centereach High, took the gold with a third-jump clearance of five feet, eight and three-quarter inches, then missed thrice at 5-10 ¾.

She was behind coming up to the winning height, Chelsea Taylor of Denver having cleared first time at 5-7, where Biscardi had an opening miss.

“I never felt any pressure,” said Biscardi. “I just went out and jumped.

“I came pretty close at 5-10 ¾, which would have been a PR for me. I was almost over on my third jump, my hips were over, but my leg hit.”

Taylor snared second and third, also at 5-7 but with a miss earlier at 5-5, was Patience Coleman of Durham, N.C.

Only two other jumpers had a clearance with Pembroke Pines, Fla.’s Jenna Utecht at 5-5 and Bettie Wade, Farmington, Michigan, 5-3.

Three others no-heighted.

Biscardi is coached by her father, Rich, and has been making steady progress since her first jumps four years ago.

She did 5-4 as an eighth-grader, 5-5 as a freshman, 5-7 as a sophomore, and had PR clearances of 5-9 at the NY State and Bishop Loughlin meets this winter.

“I definitely want to keep on in the sport,” said Biscardi, who lists 6-0 as her next big target. A versatile leaper, she also long and triple jumps.


Nebraskan Michaela Wallerstedt of Omaha’s Burke High, came in with a nation-leading toss of 46 feet, two and a quarter inches, and was fourth at the 2003 adidas Outdoor Championships.

Well, the junior star added to her 2004 year-list lead with a 46-10 winning heave here Sunday.

All three of her other fair throws topped runner-up Kamorean Hayes’ 44-2 ¾. Hayes, of Charlotte, N.C., in turn, had a clear edge on third-place Sylvia Galarza’s 43-5 ¾ for Vineland, N.J. High.

Hayes is just a freshman, Galarza a senior.

Ten of the 26-athlete field topped the 40-foot mark.

The national record, as expected, was far beyond anyone’s range. Michelle Carter of Red Oak, Texas set it at 54-9 ½ here last year.



Danielle O’Reilly has much to celebrate – and that’s not counting St. Patrick’s Day.

She’s the national indoor record-holder (13-5 at the Ridgewood Varsity Classic at the New York Armory five weeks ago), she’s the newly crowned NIC naional indoor champion (12-9 here Sunday) and is on track for a sensational future in the PV game.

Credit coaches Bill Burtis, Mike Yurcho and Tom Davis for major help along her path to the top.

Burtis, the gymnastics coach at South Jersey’s Shawnee High School, recommended O’Reilly as a vault

prospect to track coach Yurcho.

O”Reilly, who’d been competing in gymnastics since age six, leaped at the opportunity, so to speak.

And she’s been going up-up-up ever since,

clearing 10 feet as a freshman, 12-6 as a sophomore,

and now 13-5 as a senior. Her junior year, which was curtailed by a battle with mononucleosis, saw her jump just 11-6.

Now fully healthy, she hopes to reach at least 14 feet this outdoor season (the national record is 13-8 ½) before heading on to college. Arkansas, Arizona and Georgia are high on her current list.

A major plus to all her progress has been Mike Davis, who has constructed the High Performance Athletics training center in Mount Laurel, N.J., where many of the Garden State’s top young high jumpers and vaulters train.

Davis’ son, Mike Davis, is a leading vault prospect, too, along with Adam Saraf ian of Ocean Township, who’s done 16-3. Thanks to all these people, New Jersey – whose greatest-ever vaulter was 1960 Olympic champion and world record-holder Don “Tarzan” Bragg, the state’s PV stature is rising dramatically.

Sunday’s winning jump, of course, was below her best but good enough for the gold.

“I wish I could have done better, but 12-9 is good,” she said. “I think I was just blowing through the pole,

I think I should have moved back a little.”

Then again, it was a whole lot better than her 2003 NIC showing – she no-heighted.



Gayle Hunter of North High/Riverside, Cal. had already captured the heptathlon title Saturday, owned 20-10 credentials and went sixth in the 2003 World Juniors hep, so her victory here went strictly according to the form charts.

Sure, she’d have preferred going longer but her 19-foot, 10 and three-quarter-inch triumph was good enough to win by over eight inches.

It also made her the lone double-individual event winner of the NIC meet, matching LSU football recruit Lashawn Merritt’s 200-400 golds on the boys side of NIC.

All six of Hunter’s jumps in a remarkably consistent series topped the best effort of the jumper-up, Plano, Texas’ Erica McLain, who went 19-2 ½.

Only two others bettered 18 feet – Philadelph ian Angela Wells (18-3 ¼) and Swoope, Va.’s Angela Jenkins (18-2 ½.)

The 21-7 ½ national record set by Willingboro, N.J. Olymp ian Carol Lewis, brother of Carl, back in 1981, remains as out of reach as ever.


Nike Indoor Championships


is published by
John Dye

Baltimore MD