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Cross Country 1999

1999 Foot Locker Finals

Boys Preview by John Molvar

1999 Footlocker Final Preview (12/7/99)

by John Molvar

There is one final race with all these great runners
and only one runner can win.  Three runners have a
legitimate chance to win and a fourth has an outside
shot.  The rest will be running for place.  

Last year Al Webb was only tenth in the weak South Region, 
but by outdoors he had broken Jim Ryun’s sophomore class
mile record with a 4:06.  He has continued to improve
since then and with relative ease he held off the
strongest field the South Region has fielded since the
inception of the Kinney/Footlocker series.  He took
the lead fairly early and kept a safe distance between
himself and the field and never had to use his great
finishing speed.  He smashed the course record and had
a lot left.  That is impressive and although 2 or 3
others have a chance, they may need a breakthrough
race to be able to do it.  With his speed he can
handle a fast start and a fast finish.  He will have
to be broken in the second mile because he won’t be
dropped early and none can out kick him.  With his
newfound stamina, I see him running 3:59-4:01
outdoors.  Jim Ryun’s junior class record of 3:59 is
in jeopardy.  

Don Sage was instructed by legendary
York coach Joe Newton to not win the Midwest region
race and to just ensure he qualified.  When the other
2 runners made their move, Sage ran comfortably the
rest of the race in third.  He will experience extreme
discomfort in the final.  He will run to the point of
exhaustion in the second mile to hammer away at Webb
and Ritzenhein and he will have to try to cover
Ritzenhein’s counter surges.  It is going to be a very
exciting race for those fortunate enough to be in
attendance.  While Sage and Ritzenhein pound away,
Webb will be thinking “just hang on a little longer,
just try to hang on…”.  

Josh Rohatinsky has an outside chance of winning.  
He is undefeated and finished strongly in the West Region.  
However, his time was slower than last year while the 
other 3 may have moved up to the next level.  
We won’t know how much faster Josh can run 
until the race unfolds.  He has legions of supporters 
who still consider him the favorite.  

Matt Tegenkamp was the surprise of the
season with his gutsy run against Ritzenhein in the
Midwest region where he also ran under the course
record set by Jorge Torres.  He will be near the

Ian Dobson was sixth last year and he will
have to run much better than last year to get sixth
again.  This field is much stronger.  

Brookshire and Harper have run consistently well 
all season and both have a good shot at top 10.  
Keller ran the race of his life winning the 6-state MidEast
championship then dropped back a bit at the Midwest Region.  
If he can run like he did at the 6 state race, he could 
crack the top 10.

Northeast Region champ Coval, who was beaten by Keller
in the 6 state race, also could crack the top 10. 

Colangelo may peak perfectly to slip into the top 10. 
Those who don’t know him will spot him near the
finish.  He will be the guy sprinting past 5 runners
in the last 50 yards.  I am not sure Webb could
outkick him, but it is a moot point since Webb will be
almost 1 minute ahead of him.  

Others with a chance at the top ten are 
state champions Maddox (TX), Padgett
(OH), and Schneider (MN).  A real long shot is track
specialist Augie Escobar who seems to be just rounding
into shape now.  He broke 9:00 twice outdoors which
would seem to put him near the very top.  However,
keep in mind the Orlando course is deceivingly tough
due to the endless rhythm killing hard turns.  The
turns destroyed track specialists Sanchez and Powell 
in last year’s final, whom just a few weeks later ran
8:49 and 8:50 for 2 miles.  Powell, who finished
twelfth said after the race that by 2 miles he was
dead and finished.  Good luck to all runners.

1 Al Webb 11 VA
2 Don Sage 12 IL
3 Dathan Ritzenhein 11 MI
4 Josh Rohatinsky 12 UT
5 Matthew Tegenkamp 12 MO
6 Ian Dobson 12  OR
7 Ricky Brookshire 12 NC
8 Golden Harper 12  UT
9 Tim Keller 12 IL
10 Tristan Colangelo 12  MA
11 Dan Coval 12  PA
12 Steve Maddox 11 TX
13 Steve Padgett 12 OH
14 Augie Escobar 12  CA
15 Nick Schneider 11  MN

John Molvar

[email protected]


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