Columbus Ohio March 13-14, 1999
Nike Indoor Classic Previews
by Mike Byrnes
The Beginning. The first. The first time for anything is always exciting. The birth of your firstborn is one of the greatest events in most people's lives. To create something where nothing was before, is a stunning experience. The team of Mike Byrnes, Jim Spier and Tracy Sundlun, did that with the creation of the meet that came to be known as the National Scholastic Indoor T&F Championships. Now they are about to experience those same emotions again. The exhilaration has been building for the past several months and will culminate today with the beginning of the Nike Indoor Classic. First, a bit of background.
In 1984 this intrepid trio launched the Pathmark Classic, a meet designed to bring together the finest high school track and field performers from throughout the nation to vie for the title, Pathmark Champion. More importantly, it would be the first meet to provide significant financial support to the athletes thus making it possible for many youngsters, who could not otherwise afford it, to attend. "One of our primary objectives," stated Sundlun, "was to give American kids the exposure they needed to get a college scholarship." Most felt the meet would fail. It was too innovative, too risky. Who could talk the parent of a sixteen-year old into letting their son/daughter fly 3000 miles to run in a track meet? How would you get the word out about the meet? Most importantly, where would the money come from?
Enter "The Team." Jim Spier is a computer genius with a love for detail. He developed a database for athletes that has grown from a few hundred to one containing the names of over 8000 athletes from throughout the nation. As a result, each year over 5000 entry blanks are sent to EVERY kid who has met the qualifying standard. Who convinces them to attend? That's where I come in, Mike Byrnes. It's my job to canvass the country and ferret out the talent that makes the meet the best indoor competition in the land. Over the past fourteen years I've flown over 400,000 miles and seen hundreds of track meets. I've discovered athletes from Maine to Florida; from sun drenched California to wind swept Kansas. Who pays for all this? Tracy Sundlun has the guts of an underweight street brawler, the chutzpa of The Imposter and a heart that's big enough to store all the pole vault poles in the world. On more than one occasion he was forced to dip into his personal funds to keep the meet going. He never hesitated.
In 1987 a meeting was held in Freeport, NY. We were sitting around my dining room table trying to solve a problem. The Pathmark people had ended their support and a new name was in order. Finally, someone said, "How about the National Scholastic Indoor Championships?" Thus, that name was born.
Unfortunately, in 1998 our association with the National Scholastic meet ended. What we had worked for over the past fourteen years was suddenly taken away and we were on the outside looking in.
Many coaches, athletes and parents felt the need for "The Team" to get reinvolved and to create a new event that would restore the high standards that had become the hallmark of the competition.
Thus, the Nike Indoor Classic was born. We hope you enjoy it.
Here's who you'll see in Columbus March 13-14:
Well, that's it. We're quite proud of the fields we've put together for you and sincerely hope you enjoy the competition. If you have as much fun as JOY KAMANI, AJ HOLZHERR and I had in putting these great athletes in head to head combat, you're going to have a great time! Thanks for coming, now enjoy the show.
Commitments to NIC:
(No names have been posted on this list without the athlete's/coach's knowledge and permission. However, it is inevitable some switching of allegiance will take place. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.)
NY Track Writers Announcement 2/8
Nike Indoor Classic co-director Mike Byrnes announced the following signings 2/8 at the New York Track Writers luncheon:
4 new entries February 1
Long Beach Wilson - record girls 4x400
The national record Long Beach Wilson girls will travel East to Columbus for the Nike Indoor Classic. Wilson's sensational 3:36.22 in the California State Meet was a new US 4x400 record, and all members of the team return this year.
Alexis Joyce - #1 returning at 100M
Alexis Joyce (CO) will battle previously committed Erica Whipple (FL) in sprints at Columbus. Joyce is the leading returning US girls 100 meter runner (11.40) and Whipple is the leading returnee at 200 meters (23.29). Both are seeking to fill the void left by Angela Williams.
Julie Stevenson - San Diego HJ Champ
Julie Stevenson, Diamond Bar CA, 5-9 winner of the girls high jump at the San Diego Games, makes it three blue chippers in the girls HJ field at Columbus (Jessica Johnson and Jamie Ostrov).
3 Top NSI Officials Move to Columbus
Ian Brooks, Meet Director for the 1998 National Scholastic
Jamie Ostrov - Girls High Jump
Jamie Ostrov of Tallahassee FL, US '99 indoor leading girls high jumper (5-9.75), has committed to participate in Columbus, setting up a terrific potential duel with Jessica Johnson of Texas, US #2 in '98 (5-11)
Jessica Johnson - Girls HighJump
Southlake Carroll TX star Jessica Johnson has committed to compete at Columbus. She is tied for the US indoor lead with a 5-8 jump at the Carl Lewis Invitational and her 5-11 in 1998 was second in the nation. She also won the Golden West Invitational in 1998.
3 Virginia Powers Pick NIC
Perennial Virginia powers Bethel, Bayside, and Menchville high
schools have decided to compete for national honors this year at the Nike Indoor Classic
in Columbus OH March 13-14. Bethel's 1:41 is the fastest US time in the girls 4x200
so far this year. Bayside's Brandy Parks is flirting with the national lead
in girls triple jump with two jumps over 39-10 already. Menchville's 4x400 squad
finished in the US top five last year and looks more than ready to duplicate that feat
this year, according to Bethel coach Eddie Williams.
Casey Combest - "the best will be in Ohio"
1/17/99 -- Defending NSI 60m champion Casey Combest announced plans to compete at the Nike Indoor Classic in Columbus. "I've always wanted to run against the best and the best will be in Ohio," the youngster commented today. He joins Marcell Allmond as returning NSI winners who will compete in Columbus.
Thomas Jefferson High School (Virginia)
|NIC recruiters gain early support from Jermaine Cooper,
Philadelphia coaches association, and 9 more US stars
Giddings TX 1/10/99 -- Jermaine Cooper, who swept the Golden West and National Scholastic Outdoor 110 hurdles last June and was the fastest hurdler in the nation (13.40) in 1998, has committed to compete in the new Nike Indoor Classic at Columbus March 13-14. The Giddings TX star got his senior campaign off to a sensational start Saturday in Baton Rouge by winning 3 events in the LSU Classic, including a 7.15 clocking in the 55M hurdles, just off the all time high school record of 7.08.
Philadelphia -- The Board of Directors of the Philadelphia T&F Coaches Association of Greater Philadelphia is urging its members to participate in the Nike Indoor Classic at Columbus March 13-14 instead of the NSI at Boston. The 38-year-old association has 125 member schools and conducts weekly meets for Philadelphia athletes. Bob "Cochise" Burdette, secondary schools chairman of the Penn Relays, is CEO of the Philadelphia association.
10 National Stars Choose Nike Indoor Classic
NIC meet directors today (1/12) announced 10 star athletes are confirmed to compete at the new meet in Columbus OH March 13-14. In addition, the Greater Philadelphia coaches association is urging its 125 member schools to go to Columbus instead of Boston.
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