Great American XC Festival Newsletter
"best team race in the nation"
The girls Race of Champions, scheduled for 10:00 am, will feature a three way duel between Saratoga Springs, Colerain, and Bingham. All three teams return their top 7 runners from state championship and nationally ranked teams.
Saratoga--led by Danielle Coon, Kate Markopoulos, and Lauren Hogan--was the top ranked team in the nation last year. They will be highly contested by Colerain and Bingham. Colerain, ranked in the top four nationally in 1998, is led by Alison Zeinner, one of the top runners in the Midwest. Bingham will be led by Laura and Jackie Zeigle, who as freshmen in 1998 finished 1st and 3rd in their state cross country championship. In the spring, they clocked mile times of 5:04 and 5:06 respectively in taking first and second in their state track finals.
Other top teams seeking to upset the favorites will include Kingwood of Houston TX; Esperanza of Anaheim CA, McIntosh of Peachtree City GA, Bishop Kenney of Jacksonville FL, and Marian of Omaha NE. Kingwood, McIntosh, Marian and Bishop Kenney were state champions in 1998 and return their teams largely intact. Furthermore Esperanza is the pre-season favorite to win the California State championships.
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 Foot Locker 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 Marian.
Look for more than one surprise as historical national powers Campbell County from Gillette WY and Gallup NM 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 Foot Locker Nationals 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, but is young, and inexperienced at the national level, but will be dangerous. They will be led by Alicia Craig, the 12th fastest returnee to the highly competitive Western Foot Locker region.
Watauga of Boone NC, Lincoln Southeast NE, St. Paul's Episcopal of Mobile AL, and Long Beach CA Poly will round out the girls race.
Watauga, North Carolina's top returning team, will have four sophs and one frosh in its top seven. With national level competition look for this team to emerge as a national power over the next 2 years.
Southeast lost to Marian in its state meet last fall by one point and return their entire top 7. Besides looking for revenge, 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. S. Paul set a national record in 1998 by winning 16 straight state titles in Alabama.
Finally, Poly will bring a fast, front running group of girls to Charlotte, led by Angelita Green, one of the nation's top 800-meter runners with a 2:09 best. She is joined by teammates Quiana Powell and Lindsey Young.
Look for much greater in-depth interviews and team profiles in coming newsletters. Let us hear from you, your coaches, and runners. Tell us more! Send corrections, updates, and stats to us. FAX: 704-551-2208. EMAIL: [email protected]