BOYS RACE OF CHAMPIONS - INDIVIDUALS
by Rick Hill
Awards to Top 25
Projected winning time: 15:15
Top ten: Under 15:25
Top 35: Under 15:59
What to watch for: Alan Webb, America's emerging national mile sensation is the fastest in the race, but he'll need to stay close to the front-runners in order to own the race over the last 400 meters. After a relaxed summer he is still the most talented runner in the field and will want to establish himself as a major cross-country force, before returning to the track and a serious assault on a 4-minute mile. He will run an early conservative race, staying at the back of the front pack through the mile and work into contention after two miles.
Ricky Brookshire of Watauga, Boone, NC will likely be the strongest runner in the race and should handle a quick first 400 in under 60 seconds. Historically, races at McAlpine start very fast, then slow to a pedestrian pace after many talented runners are burnt out in the first 800. Brrokshire has leanred how to get to the front, quick as it may be, while spending the least amount of energy.
Brookshire, Aaron Emery, Chris Emme, Ian Dickinson and twins John and Sean Jefferson should form a tight front pack by the first mile marker. If the first 400 is run at a more reasonable pace, the first mile split should be near 4:45, and then a sub 15:00 will be possible. But with so many great teams in the field, the top runners will likely race a suicide pace in the first 400, then slow to a 4:55 first mile.
Expect the Jefferson twins, of Delray Beach, Florida to double team the front-runners and challenge Brookshire for the lead after the mile. The question will be their conditioning after a brutal summer of hot humid Florida heat.
Challenging the front pack will be Aaron Emery of Beaver River, the top runner from the northeast. After an excellent summer of running, he had an emergency appendectomy in early September and may not be at full strength. If he is fully recovered and Coach Dan Golden says he will be, he is the best in the field over 5K.
Another very talented front-runner will be Chris Emme of the Woodlands. With the desire to be the first runner at
Woodlands in the 1990s to run in the Footlocker Championships for Coach Dan Green, Emme will be willing to take some risks and add to a fast pace through 2 miles.
Look for Emery, the Jeffersons, Brookshire, Ian Dickinson the Georgia 1998 state champion, Hendrik Gerrits of Campbell County, Wyoming and Emme to get away from the field through the hill at 2.2K. They will race hard down the backside of the hill and around the lake with a large crowd of 2000 spectators cheering them on, while Webb tenaciously starts his stalk from the back of the pack. The early risk takers and sprint around the lake will likely string out the pack just after 2 miles. Over the final mile, many top runners, still in early season form will fade.
One runner to watch closely is Ian Dickinson, of Milton High School in Atlanta, who has been destroying the field in early season races, and may be ready for a big one.
The Jeffersons may prove they are moving to a level of greatness, but will likely learn a valuable lesson regarding McAlpine's deceptive first 800 and pay the price down the stretch. Webb's patience and growing maturity and lessons learned from last year's Footlocker regional, will serve him well as he will gun down all of them, except one, Aaron Emery.
In the end, it will be the experience of Emery in big national cross-country meets and his desire to take his Beaver River team to the top that will be the difference. Webb will eventually have his date with destiny and Brookshire, still learning how to run on the national level, will close strongly for third. They will be followed by John Jefferson and Chris Emme, all under 15:25.
Predicted order of finish:
1. Aaron Emery, Beaver River, NY
2. Alan Webb, South Lakes, Reston, VA
3. Ricky Brookshire, Watauga, Boone, NC
4. John Jefferson, Atlantic Community, Delray Beach, FL
5. Chris Emme, The Woodlands, Houston, TX
6. Sean Jefferson, Atlantic Community, Delray Beach, FL
7. Ian Dickinson, Milton, Atlanta, GA
8. Brian Kerwin, Christine Brothers Academy, Lindcroft, NJ
9. Hendrik Gerrits, Campbell County, WY
10. Tony Lozano, Katella, Anaheim, CA.
TOP 35: Parker Low and Jeff Bullock, Bingham, UT; Timothy Scarpinato, Beaver River, NY; Keith Kimmons, Brookwood, GA; Nat Glacking, Andrew Filacheck and Jeff Dichiara,Christian Brothers, NJ; Mason Ward, Colerain, OH; Scott Wietecka, Irmo, SC; Daniel Mejia, and Juan Casas, Katella, CA; Tyler McCollum and Jonathan Lewis, Kingwood, TX; Aaron Durham, Bryan Durham and Oscar Mendez, Poly, CA; L.A. Snead and Andrew Dunum, Robinson, VA; Darrell Andruski, Shenendehowa, NJ; Scott Wandzilak and Marc Clinard, Southeast, NE; Luis Borders and Robert Dunphy, The Woodlands, TX; and Brian Greer, Watauga.