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1999 indoor

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Columbus Ohio March 13-14, 1999

Nike Indoor Classic

Event by Event Preview

by Mike Byrnes

Sprints - Middle Distance - Distance - Relays 
Field Events -Multi-Events - Race Walk

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Two of the finest fields ever assembled. ALEXIS JOYCE, Denver CO leads the way. This diminutive youngster is the fastest Junior (19 and under) sprinter IN THE WORLD! That's right, THE WORLD. Her 7.30 for 60m is the fastest 60m run on the planet thus far in the '98-'99 season. Will she breeze to victory? Doubtful. Not with the likes of TANIA WOODS, Oakland CA, the #2-US sprinter, a mere .1 behind Joyce's 55m 6.86. That's about two feet and should Joyce falter in the slightest, Woods could easily take it all. Of the Top Ten sprinters in the country, you'll see six or seven of them in action here.

The Boy's field is headed by a youngster from Kentucky, one CASEY COMBEST. This slightly built speedster heads the country in the 55m (6.24); 60m (6.70); 100y (9.71); and the 100m (10.55)!! He ran the latter two on the huge infield at the University of Kentucky, His 9.71 is fractionally better than the 9.5 run by Gene Pouncey back in 1970 in the houston Astrodome. As good as he is, he may not come away with the ring symbolizing winning the National Scholastic Sports Foundation (NSSF) championship. That honor could very well go to MIKE NEWELL, VA. Newell has a faster 60m time than Combest (6.67-'98) and won this title two years ago. In '98 he slipped coming out of the blocks and never had a chance against the stunning start of Combest. According to coach Bill Stearns, "Mike's been looking forward to this race. He feels he should have won last year and he's determined not to lose again." Well, he may beat Combest and still not win. Out of Colorado comes JEROME BUTLER and Butler can cook. He's run a 6.78 (#2-US) over 60m. This field includes seven of the Top Ten in the US. Louisiana sends DURIEL LAIRD to do battle. He follows two other great footballers, Warrick Dunn and Travis Minor.

None of the above run the 200m. That event will be headed by Colorado's ERIC HILL, 22.10; another Kentuckian, JONATHAN BROWN, 22.28; Texan, RAYLON DAVIS, 22.31; soph BRYAN SEARS, Georgia, 22.12; and one of the nation's great 400m runners, AARON LUSTER, FL. Luster's forte is the long sprint where he's clocked a super 46.86. Here he'll drop down to the shorter distance and he will be a factor. The aforementioned Joyce heads the Woman's field and, in what should be one of the best matchups of the competition, she'll face off against Florida's ERICA WHIPPLE. Whipple stunned the track world as a frosh last year when she raced a 23.29 200m, an effort topped only by the great Angela Williams. Tania Woods is the current USL over this distance with a fine 24.32 effort. This is a loaded field with the top SEVEN performers facing off here. Think about it, one of the country's top seven 200m women will not make the final. If you think those fields are tough, you ain't seen nothin' yet. The two 400m fields are, in the word of the immortal DOUG SPECK, your announcer here and easily the finest and most knowledgeable high school commentator on the scene today, "AWESOME!"

First, THE WOMEN. NAKIYA JOHNSON is a junior in high school. Last year, as a SOPHOMORE, she finished second in the WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS in Annecy, France, losing by the narrowest of margins, 52.08 - 52.09. She is the USL in 54.35. A runner of such stature should breeze, right? Wrong. Long Beach Wilson is noted for its string of super runners. One of their finest ever, LASHINDA DEMUS. Demus lost to Johnson at the Simplot Games by about three inches and clocked 54.36. Those two should wage war. Two sophs, LALONI ANDERSON, CA and CHRISTY FAIRLY, MS are the future of this event. (Not confirmed but certainly worthy of mention, San Diego's MONIQUE HENDERSON.) The Men's field will be headed by another super Floridian, SHOMARI McKENZIE. This powerful young man raced to a 46.60 last spring and has turned in an indoor 48.80. RICKY HARRIS, VA has clocked a 48.0 relay leg and is also a very fine hurdler. He'll be attempting that double here. The "MB Sleeper", ROBERT COOPER, GA. He recently pounded out a great 48.56 only to be DQ'ed for stepping on the line. He can go faster, a lot faster. Perhaps the best man in the field, DC's ANTONIO GRAY. He heads the US list over 500m, 1:03.58 and takes a back seat to no one. But when the beam on the FinishLynx timing system is broken, the man in the drivers seat could be BLAINE BUSSEY, CA. He's won both California indoor meets, San Diego and LA, and sped to a 57.3 effort, merely the second fastest ever run. This is a field to be remembered.


Another outstanding field. BRETT TIPTON, who'll attempt an astoundingly difficult triple this weekend, 800, mile and 4x800, leads the US with his 1:51.89. However, since it was run on an oversized track, the 291m at UK, DYLAN WELSH is credited with the official USL performance 1:53.43. He may attempt to double. Both he and Tipton will run the mile. Georgian BRENDON MAHONEY zipped a 1:52.03 last spring and, according to coach Roy Benson, "...is ready to run." (Since I wrote that, Mahoney clocked a USL'ing 1:52.71!) Not entered but a distinct possibility, JOHN FRASER, CT, the best 1000m runner in the country with his 2:28.34, faster than either Tipton or Welsh. Local hero ROB MYERS is just rounding into his own as a member of the Elite group. He'll challenge.

Bountiful, Utah is sending a wonderful young woman to try and take 800m honors, NAN EVANS. This personable youngster took Simplot honors in 2:14.14, not bad when you consider Pocatello's altitude.

But watch out for the locals. Dayton provides KAMEISHA BENNETT while Cleveland's CICELY CAMPBELL will definitely be factors.

The Men's Mile, always a great event at NSSF meets, will pit three of the nation's finest in a race that should see a sub-4:10 OR BETTER performance. Leading the field is Millrose mile winner and the USL, DYLAN WELSH. His 4:13.02 is far and away the best effort of the year. BUT, BRETT TIPTON could surprise. He's fast, 1;51.89, and hungry. And then there's the inevitable "sleeper", JAMES DeBRUHL, CA. DeBruhl won the LA Invitational with an amazing 58.2 final 400m on a very slow track. He's clocked a 1:53.74 relay leg and has the speed to steal the gold. A surprise entrant, Mahoney, will make this one of the great fields ever assembled.


The Women's Mile: Another Millrose winner, KATIE HOTCHKISS, CA appears to be the class here. Notice the word "appears." In our sport nothing is guaranteed and Kansan COLLEEN WINZELER is not flying to Columbus for second. Last year she posted a fine 4:48.4, appreciably better than Hotchkiss' 4:49.77. Two sophs, Saratoga's DANIELLE COON and Virginia's KELLY OTSTOTT, will challenge. The "MB Sleeper" here, REBECCA MITCHELL. This youngster hails from Illinois and has the talent to be right up there growling with the Big Dawgs. Wyoming sends Simplot winner KATIE LYMAN, a toughie.

THE TWO MILE: The Men's race looms as a three-man event with DAVID CHRISTIAN, KY a very slight favorite. Right there will be Texan JONATHAN FAWCETT. Not entered at present but expected, Michigan's DAVID HARTMANN. All have the ability to clock a sub-9:10. The Women's field is hazy. At this writing, ERIN SULLIVAN, the Foot Locker XC champion, is undecided as to competing. Her problem? She's qualified to represent the US in the World XC championships and may not want to skip her training for that event. Should she fail to appear, look for DANIELLE COON, SHEILA KLICK or JOSIANNE LAUDER to battle it out. One other who's expressed interest but hasn't sent her entry, Wisconsin's LIZ REUSSER. She turned in a 10:31.82 last spring and could take it all. The "mystery" guest is the great MICHELLE DELA VINA. This Indiana-based youngster hasn't been heard from this season but rumors are she's alive and well and ready to go. And then there's the "MB Sleeper", LINDSEY GAY. A nationally ranked tennis-player, she suddenly discovered she could run, taking the measure of the best in the Mid-West as she won the Foot Locker Mid-West Regional title for cross country.

THE HURDLES: Please pardon my redundancy but, another great field. JON MUNGEN, RICKY HARRIS, DANYE BROWN, RICARDO MOODY and MARCELL ALLMOND are five of the top six hurdlers in the US. All have clocked between 7.20 and 7.28. All rank in the top three nationally in each of the distances contested, the 50m, 55m and 60m. Who'll win? The one who doesn't hit any hurdles.

The Women's race will see five of the top seven in the country fighting it out. MOLLY LOGAN, PA just snatched the USL away from SHEENA JOHNSON, VA 7.96-7.97 over the 55mH. An eyelash back, LA SHAWN GEE, another Virginian, 7.98. But keep an eye on Florida's JERKITA McCLORIN. they don't run many indoor races in Florida and this youngster could surprise.



Coach Terry Kennedy is the "Magic Man" when it comes to producing top quality 200m-400m-800m talent. He's coming into Columbus with the ANNOUNCED INTENT of breaking at least two HSR's, the Sprint Medley and the 4x400mR. Is he being realistic? You better believe it. This isn't a good team, it's a great one. They currently lead the nation in the 4x200mR and 4x400mR, have the potential to shatter the HSR in the SMR and are seriously thinking about taking a shot at the 4x800mR. Expect BETHEL, VA to give them all the competition they want. The Bethel kids are #2-US in both the 4x2 and 4x4 with WILLINGBORO NJ, MENCHVILLE VA and PENN WOOD definitely in the mix.

The DMR looms as one of the finest ever. SARATOGA NY and THOMAS JEFFERSON VA each have the ability to break the HSR in this event. They're both very talented and extremely well coached. It's conceivable both could break the old mark but only one can win. Another, in the great head to head competitions by the NSSF.

THE MEN: Great fields again. The 4x200mR features three of the top four nationally. ISTROUMA LA, 1:29.38, CAMDEN NJ 1;29.61 and CAMDEN GA, 1:29.81.

CAMDEN NJ rules the roost in the 4x400mR but STEPHENSON, GA doesn't believe it. Camden's 3:20.3 is the USL but the Georgians just zipped 3:20.80 with LENAPE, NJ an eyeblink back, 3:20.82. All will be under that here.

The 4x800mR has always been a super event in Pennsylvania. This year is no exception. LA SALLE is the top team US, 7:56.39 but HACKENSACK lost a close one at the Easterns, 7:57.19 and will be looking to avenge their loss. Oh, by the way, NORTHRUP, Ft Wayne IN ran 7:41.71 outdoors and has three of the team back, including awesome anchor BRETT TIPTON. This will be a beauty.

The Sprint Medley will be a very good race. CHINO CA comes in looking to challenge the record set by Obea Moore-lead Muir a few years ago. They won at Simplot in 3:28.73, by far the best in the land. HACKENSACK was the previous USL, 3:33.1 with PENN WOOD close behind, 3:34.60. But they ran those times very early and their individual splits are much better now.

The DMR will see OAKTON VA, NORTH PENN and LA SALLE battling down to the wire. This is anybody's race.


Both HJ's feature the nation's best. Two who represented the US at the World Juniors last summer head the men's field. LAMAR JOHNSON, IN and JAMES CARR, VA. Those two plus MIKE NEWHARD, PA are all over at 7-0. The edge has to go to Johnson and Carr based upon their 7-3.25 and 7-2 clearances last spring. But one can't overlook NATHAN FIELDS, WVA. He's been over 7-3 but is coming off basketball and might not be up to par. Five 6-10'ers join the fray.

If any one event here is totally dominant, it's here. The top SEVEN female jumpers in the country will compete at the NIC. HYLEAS FOUNTAIN PA, just cleared 6-0 to take the USL away from Cleveland's CHRISTINA ESTRICT. Her 5-11 had been #1. Michigan's STEPHANIE LINZ, 5-10 and JAMIE OSTROV, FL, 5-9.75 are poised to go higher. Three kids at 5-9, JULIE STEPHENSON CA and CHERYL BURDICK NJ will challenge. JESSICA JOHNSON TX has been over 5-8 but you can bet the barn she'll do a lot better than that here. The "MB Sleeper", JANELLE THOMAS, Kansas.

The Pole Vault will see two 16'ers take the runway, Texan CHARLIE COSKEY, 16-6 and NY's JOEL CARUSONE. The latter reportedly cleared 16-4.5 this past summer, a mark that never found its way into the record books. NATHAN CAHILL, MI just went over 15-10 and is looking to break the 16' barrier. At this time, Texas' ROCKY DANNERS is not entered. But, you may see him out there. He's cleared 17' and isn't certain about attending. We're trying.

DEANNA SHULER just lost her HSR to NY's MICHELLE KERCADO and she wants it back. The old mark (Shuler's) 12-6; the new one, 12-6.25. Right now it's not known if Kercado will be here. Let's hope so.

THE LONG JUMP: Three kids have landed more than 24' from the takeoff board, CHARLES HAWKINS NC, 24-6, BRIAN JOHNSON, Iowa LA, 24-3.5 and Kentucky's great tj'er JASON WARD, 24-3.25. Close behind, BRIAN WOOLFORD, PA, 23-11.75 and another Kentuckian JONATHAN BROWN, 23-7.75. Then there's MIKE NEWELL. Newell's 25-9.25 was the nation's best in '98 but thus far in '99 he's yet to get untracked, "I don't know what's the matter," he grumbled recently. When he finds out, LOOK OUT!

The WOMEN: CASSY RICHARDS, PA landed in the sand a mere .25 farther than Delaware's LYNN HARRIS, 19-10.75 but there are several super kids lurking in the pit. ANTOINETTE WILKES FL, 19-3.25; another terrific tj'er YOLANDA THOMPSON, 19-2.25, soph CASEY RICHARDS PA, 19-2 and the nation's leading hurdler, SHEENA JOHNSON, 19-0. Johnson is a superb athlete as she also is the USL in the TJ at 41-9. That's five of the top six jumpers in the country, not a bad field, huh?

THE TRIPLE JUMP: WOW!!! That's the proper beginning for this discussion. Two terrific kids head the Men's entry list, JASON WARD KY, the USL at 51-10.75, the 4th longest indoor jump in history; and TRAUN SMITH LA, 50-10 last spring and 49-2.75 three days after finishing basketball. This will be another NSSF mano a mano matchup.

THE WOMEN may be even better, there are certainly more of them. The oft-mentioned SHEENA JOHNSON leads the country at 41-9 with two other jumps over 40'. Breathing down her neck, YOLANDA THOMPSON VA, 41-2.5 and BRANDY PARKS VA, 39-10. Four of the top five nationally will stand on the Nike runway.

THE SHOT PUT: DANNY AMES, sore shoulder and all, comes into the Nike meet with a best of 63-3.75 and, speaking frankly, should have no trouble getting fitted for the ring.

CHIKA ONYEBUCHI, TX will compete in two events, the SP, where she ranks #1-US, 44-8 and the 60m Dash! That's right, the 60m. She's the nation's 11th ranked 55m runner in 7.07. But she'll face very stiff opposition from another topnotch competitor, REBEKAH GREEN. Green, a local lass, bombed one 48-5.75 last spring and she wants that ring.

THE WEIGHT: DYLAN ARMSTRONG is a Canadian. He may also be the best athlete in the Western Hemisphere. And you may hear from him when you watch an NFL game since most scouts say he's a Sunday afternoon player. Armstrong has thrown the 25lb implement an astounding 82-1.5! That's almost 6' farther than the American HSR set recently by Jacob Freeman. Unfortunately, a clash between the two will not materialize since Freeman has made other plans. But there will be a clash and it may be Titanic. LUCAIS MacKAY is a rather large human being of Scotch heritage. He's just taken up the weight and, being a super athlete, he's found it to his liking. Mother Mackay says, "I think he can throw it over 75'. He's been throwing three PUDS (English implements each weighing a "stone" (7 pounds) quite well, a little over 70'." As good as he is, MacKay probably won't present a serious challenge to Armstrong. "I think I can go over 85'," the 6-3, 255 basketball-dunking youngster stated. that's not bragging, he's a rather quiet kid, that's just fact.

THE WOMEN: A rather down-year for the Women. SHANNON DANIELS ranks #2-US and has a good shot at the USL position.



The NSSF-team pioneered introducing this event. This year's crop could see BOTH HSR's broken. Texan JODIE ANDERSON has already represented her country at the Pan-American Games and is a seasoned, tough competitor. She's been injured but coach Tim Hooker said, "I expect her to get over 3500 points." That's something only five hs'ers have ever done. But she's not a walk-over, not by any means. Fellow Texan JAMIE WALKER is no slouch as her 4678 heptathlon shows. And then there's the usual "MB Sleeper", Brittany Lott, younger sister of NCAA Heptathlon champ Tiffany Lott. Brittany won the Simplot hj at 5-7 and has the tools to challenge for the ring.

MARCELL ALLMOND, CA would have a good case as the best athlete in the meet. A nationally ranked hurdler and high jumper, he scored 3962 last year and will definitely improve upon that in Columbus. But will he improve enough to win? Coming in from Seattle is TIM MORSE, the leading decathlete in the nation. Morse is a fierce competitor and will give Allmond all he wants in this competition.


According to our RW guru, Tom Eastler, "You'll have the best kids in the US there (in Columbus.) Unfortunately, Tom didn't provide us with their names. One name we know, CHRISTINA FARRELL. Only an 8th grader, she's considered one of the best prospects ever. She'll make this even more of an eye-catching event.

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