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Cross Country 1999

1999 Foot Locker Finals

Girls Preview by Doug Speck

1999 Foot Locker Nationals - Orlando, Florida

With the Foot Locker competition having moved to Orlando,
Florida on the property of Disneyworld at Oak Trail Golf Course
at "Shades of Green," the Saturday morning contests (Girls 10:00
a.m. - Boys 10:40 a.m.) again feature super groups from around
the country. With weather forecasts for AM rains on Friday with
77 degrees for both Friday and Saturday, there is a chance that
there may be some residual humidity for Saturday morning's
contests, especially the Boys that will finish at close to 11:00
A very interesting Girls contest will start at 10:00 a.m.
Regional competitions all ended with at least 35 meter wins, with
some solid veterans behind those leaders who should step up with
stronger races this day. Victoria Jackson (Il), the Midwest
winner by 80 meters, is very hot, with her big Regional win
following a Mid East Invitational win. Alicia Craig (Wy) and
Melissa Donais (Mass) both shocked with their comfortable area
wins, with "magical performances" challenging to pull off week
after week at this level. Felicia Guiliford (NM) was the strong
Western leader until 150 meters to go, when she collapsed due to
what she stated were "some serious asthma problems in the dry
conditions and all the dust on the course," neither of which will
be a factor at Orlando! Erin Swain was a nine second winner in
the South. The Foot Locker weekend, full of banquets, a bed 2000
to 3000 miles from home, and the general hoopla, is a challenge
for new athletes to succesfully concentrate through the first
The Orlando course is very challenging. With only about 40
feet elevation from the course's highest to lowest point, it was
rather embarassing to yours truly to figure (and state to the
crowd as announcer) that our female leaders would be by the mile
probably somewhere at about 5:15, then have Erin Sullivan and
crew arrive at 5:35 last year (the Boys were 4:51). Course
management made efforts last year to always choose the higher
grass, tougher footing, and a couple of 180 degree turns to break
momentum that most do not deal with at the Championship level.
It will be more a race of attrition than a matter of someone
racing away with the affair from the start.
Northeast stars Melissa Donais, and multi-national
qualifiers, Danielle Jelly and Jillian Mastrioanni, Midwestern
Regional winner Victoria Jackson, with Amanda Pape and Rebecca
Mitchell from that area, and Westerners Felicia Guiliford (4th
last Fall), Victoria Chang, and Laura Zeigle, will be prominent
in the early pack that should come by the mile between 5:35 to
5:40, with a time to the slower should Friday's rains be
significant. With the course looping back past the start/finish
area at the mile, spectators will be in abundance there and
athletes visible as they loop back and forth through holes that
lead up to the two mile mark within walking distance of the mile
mark. Last year Jorge Torres in the Boys' race and Erin Sullivan
in the Girls' contest started to pull away from the field during
the second mile, with Torres a planned move at a mile and a
quarter, and Sullivan moving shortly after when she felt good
(Erin had lost the Northeast Regional and had to come in a bit
less than totally confident, though she commented that she felt
the pressure had been relieved from that loss). During that
second mile here it will be the Midwest's Victoria Jackson who
will press ahead of the field, slightly drawing away, with
Felicia Guiliford (NM) leading the following pack. The lonely
loop between two miles and the finish sends the athletes out to
the farthest reaches of the Oak Trail Course, with a long, long
half mile through the sixth and seventh hole fairways into the
5000 meter finish. Victoria Jackson will continue to press the
pace as the group moves away from two miles, with the run up the
fifth hole fairway, Guiliford still following closest. Melissa
Donais, the Northeast Champ, will continue to roll along with New
Yorkers Jelly and Mastrioani. Pape and Mitchell of the Midwest
will still be running very strong, planning on first team All-
American status with high placings. The Western team will be
srong as a group, with Alicia Craig, Victoria Chang, and Laura
Zeigle leading a pack that will have all its top seven inside the
top twenty through two miles.
As the group swings back from the farthest reaches of the
course at two and a half miles Jackson continues to race along
ahead of Guiliford, with a 15 meter margin that she is able to
hold to the tape. Melissa Donais continues her magic with a
third place finish, with Amanda Pape of the Midwest is fourth,
with Danielle Jelly next in fifth. Rebecca Mitchell races her
usual great National Finals effort in sixth, with Jillian
Mastrioanni closing out a great High School career in seventh.
Alicia Craig closes strongly one again for the West in eighth,
and Southern Champ Erin Swain from Virginia has moved up into
ninth by the finis. The flood of competitors from the West
starts after Swain, with Victoria Chang in tenth and Laura Zeigle
leading the rest of the field. The team contest will be very,
very close, with the Northeast the narrow winner over the West.


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