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Cross Country 1999

DyeStat Preview: 
Girls Teams


by Rick Hill

The girls Race of Champions is perhaps the best high school team competition of all time with a three-way battle among Saratoga Springs, Colerain, and Bingham. This race will feature the queen of high school girls distance running in Saratoga, a potential giant killer in Colerain who has been stalking the queen for a couple of years and Cinderella, Bingham from South Jordan, Utah. 

The race favorite is Saratoga Springs, one of the most dominant teams in the history of high school running, having been number one in four of the last six years. Led by Danielle Coon and Kate Markopoulos, Saratoga returned its entire team from the top ranked program in 1998, but has made two recent additions 

Colerain, was ranked in the top four nationally in 1998, and, again, ranked number four in the 1999 preseason. The team will be led by Senior Alison Zeinner, one of the top runners in the Midwest. Colerain has been pursuing Saratoga for the past two years and believes it is in the best position ever to take the crown. The team has a number of sub 5:15 milers and returns its entire team from an Ohio State championship last year.

Look for a young Bingham team, making their first trip to the east, to also challenge for the top spot. Bingham will be led by Laura and Jackie Zeigle, who as freshmen in 1998, finished 1st and 3rd in their state meet. In the spring, they clocked mile times of 5:04 and 5:06 respectively, in taking first and second in their state track finals. McAlpine's flat and fast course will be a rare treat for Bingham since they train in the high altitude of the mountains surrounding Salt Lake City. 

Other top teams seeking to upset the favorites in the girls' race will include Kingwood of Houston, Texas; Esperanza from Anaheim, California; McIntosh of Peachtree City, Georgia; Bishop Kenney of Jacksonville, Florida; St. Paul's from Mobile; Catholic Memorial from Waukesha, Wisconsin and Marian from Omaha, Nebraska. All were their state champions in 1998 and return their teams largely intact. Esperanza is the pre-season favorite to win the California State championships and ranked 9th nationally.

Kingwood will be led by 5:02 miler Jamie Weiler and 10:49 two miler Whitney McAlpine. Bishop Kenney is led by Mason Cathey, the 10th fastest returnee from the southeast region and a sub 5:00 miler, and Marisa Kenyon a 5:10.6 miler. In addition, do not forget Laura Spanheimer a 5:07.8 miler from Omaha's Marian. 

Look for more than one surprise as historical national powers, Campbell County from Gillette, Wyoming and Gallup, from New Mexico bring to McAlpine a new group of emerging great runners. Gallup is led by one of the nation's top runners, Felicia Guliford, who was fourth in Footlocker National's last year as only a frosh and clocked a 5:01 mile in winning her state title in the spring. Campbell had the nation's number one girls' team in 1997, which is young, and inexperienced at the national level, but dangerous, as always. They will be led by Alicia Craig, the 12th fastest returnee to the highly competitive western region.

Langley from McLean Virgina, home school of course record holder Erin Keough (16:45) is returning to national prominence with one of Virginia's top returning teams. They will be joined by Virginia AAA State Champion, Lake Braddock, and AA State Champ, Louisa County. 

Watauga of Boone, and Leesville Road of Raleigh will represent the home state of North Carolina. Lincoln Southeast of NE; St. Paul's Episcopal from Mobile, Alabama; and Poly will round out the girls' race from Long Beach, CA.  Leesville Road, North Carolina's 1998 State 4A Champ returns its entire team and may emerge with a new national ranking. With national level competition, look for this team to emerge as a national power over the next two years.

Southeast lost to Marian in its state meet last fall by one point and return their entire top 7. They hope to secure a solid national ranking with a top finish in Great American. St. Paul's will seek to extend their incredible record of championship performances into their Charlotte run. St. Paul set a national record in 1998 by winning 16 straight state titles in Alabama.

Bingham may be a year away with 4 of their top 7 runners being only sophomores. But these young kids are national class runners all the way. Conversely, Colerain has a senior laden team and will have its best shot at obtaining a number one national ranking. Last year they finished close to Saratoga in New York's Van Cortland Park but will find McAlpine to be a more favorable neutral course.

The prediction is that Saratoga is the best big meet racing team in the nation and this one will go down as a great victory for Art and Linda Kranick.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Saratoga Springs, Saratoga, NY

2. Bingham, South Jordan, UT

3. Colerain, Cincinnati, OH

4. Kingwood, Houston, TX

5. Esperanza, Anaheim, CA

6. Louisa County, VA

7. Catholic Memorial, WI

8. Bishop Kenney, Jacksonville, FL

9. Leesville Road, Raleigh, NC

10. St. Paul's, Mobile, AL

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