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18th Nike Outdoor Nationals
June 19-21, 2008 - North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro NC

Derrick's Dispatches | an insider lends insight

Chris Derrick
of Neuqua Valley HS in Naperville, Illinois, has been one of the top distance runners in the nation this year. His senior cross country campaign, which included an Illinois state title, the individual and team titles at Nike Team Nationals and a runner-up finish at Foot Locker Nationals, was capped by being named Gatorade National XC Runner of the Year. His spring was highlighted by a breathtaking solo 13:55.96 5k at the Arcadia Invitational, before the season was cut short by a diagnosis of mononucleosis just days before his state meet.

Chris joins us as a special contributor to our 2008 Nike Outdoor Nationals coverage.

Thursday - Friday - Saturday

Impressive 5ks, plus a crash course in interviewing
  • Brasovan’s assault
  • Haile wins another 5k
  • I stumble through interviews

Chris interviews boys 5k winner Solomon Haile
The weather was darn near perfect for the Thursday Night 5k’s that kicked off the 2008 Nike Outdoor National meet in Greensboro, North Carolina. Ashley Brasovan, who was forced to shorten her season due to injury, looked to make the most of the opportunity. The diminutive national champion stormed away from the field after the first lap, coming through the first mile in 5:08.9. Despite her injuries, Brasovan appeared to be in great form with a perfectly relaxed focus face. The pace however, began to slide slowly backward from 75 to 76 to 77 to 78 and final stabilized around 79-90. Although it appeared early on that she might get the junior class record of 16:14, she fell just short setting a new meet record with her 16:18.91 almost a minute better than her nearest competitor. The mark is 7th all-time and makes her the 6th fastest high school girl ever at the distance, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that she had only the crowd and lapped runners to support her past the first lap. The crowd, though sparse, urged Brasovan on in earnest beginning with 2 laps to go.

The Boys 5k saw Zach Ornelas jump out to the early lead. He and Solomon Haile broke away from a pack of 9 as they approached 1k (which they would pass in 2:52). They opened up a gap of 15 meters or so which they could not stretch much further. The tall, powerfully fluid Haile took over with 8 laps to go as Ben DeJarnette made a big surge to join the top 3. Together they came through 2k in 5:49 as they led a chase pack of 4, which included Travis Mahoney and Forrest Misenti. Though Ornelas got up on Haile’s shoulder to run 2 wide for a lap or so, he soon fell back as they approached 3k; going down the backstretch he faded to allow a 10 meter gap to open. After passing the 3200m mark Haile put in a surge that broke DeJarnette within the next lap.

After losing contact, DeJarnette would fall back through the pack, apparently taxed by his attempts to stay with the leaders. Ornelas began to look strong again but by this point Haile was too far away. Although he appeared to fatigue as his loping style became a little heavier and his upper body began to sway, he was by this point 75 meters up on Ornelas and they would finish that way with Haile winning impressively by in 14:38.23. Although he began to visibly fatigue at the end, the junior from Ethiopia was very impressive in his style and cadence. He says he plans to focus on the mile next year.

After the races I tried to get some interviews which you can probably watch somewhere on DyeStat if you look hard enough (be sure to watch Forrest explain why he looks like a hillbilly with busted teeth). That stuff is harder than it looks! I stumbled quite a few times and couldn’t quite remember who I was supposed to be giving the mike to at times. I’ll try to smooth it out for tomorrow when I plan to interview all the big guns in the 2 mile I can find.

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