The Internet Home of Track & Field

18th Nike Outdoor Nationals
June 19-21, 2008 - North Carolina A&T University, Greensboro NC
Donna on the Side with the Warwick girls

Something borrowed, something new...
For Warwick Valley DMR, the spikes were borrowed, the USR was new

by DyeStatIL editor Tony Jones
Photo by John Dye

The girls of Warwick Valley NY--Tori Pennings, Kristen Jados, Claire Pettit, and Lillian Greibesland--made a pact with Coach Rick Furst that he would shave his head and/or mustache if a national record was broken in the distance medley relay at this year's Nike Outdoor Nationals. Well, TBA on that one.

New national record holders: Tori Pennings, Kristen Jados, Claire Pettit and Lillian Greibesland of Warwick Valley NY

First up was the 4x800 relay on Friday night. There was no Eleanor Roosevelt MD-- the national record holders--because they scratched. Still, the overall field was strong enough to warrant respect. Warwick went out and produced the second-fastest time in the U.S. this year (8:55.74), bettering their time from earlier in the season.

Mission one accomplished.

But to cap off the championship weekend in the right way, the DMR had to be a part of the winning plans. Coach Furst admitted a national record on top of the victory was in the back of his mind, but the main focus was on winning. In order to do so, they'd have to get through their old rivals, Kinetic RC. As in Saratoga Springs NY (Kinetic RC is the post-season alias).

Like all gracious coaches, Furst deferred to the talent of his fellow NY squad.

“Saratoga is a great team and we respect them very much.”

That respect extends onto the fierce and competitive track, with respectful glares before the race and hugs after. Respect also extends to the coaching staffs, and that always breeds success.

When the DMR race opened up with a 1200 by Warwick Valley's Tori Pennings in 3:33, it was a recipe for record breaking, but more importantly, the win. Things continued well on the second leg by Kristen Jados, a 57.3 tote. By the time Claire Pettit got the stick for the 800, it was officially a battle declared. This race was looking like it might go down to the wire between Warwick and Kinetic.

Meanwhile, the Warwick faithful screamed loud and cheered louder from their perch just off the starting turn. Pettit dropped a sensational 2:11.3 to keep the unit within sights of Kinetic. That meant that the most confident of all anchors, Lillian Greibesland, would have her chance, using a pair of hastily-borrowed spikes.

The first 800 of the anchor leg was stride-for-stride with the great Hannah Davidson of Kinetic RC. The split was 2:26-- right on record pace. Davidson did make a move to break away, but Greibesland countered and actually opened up a slight lead that quickly became a gap. On the backstretch of the bell lap, Greibesland was in full flight and clear of any danger of a Davidson comeback.

The finish line clock read 11:31.81 when she crossed-- a new national record. Greibesland's final split: 4:50.00! The victory was something they had in sight the whole weekend, it seemed.

“We knew we had a chance if we could stay with Saratoga,” said Greibesland. “I just tried to focus on her back and go when it was my time."

It's not uncommon to see crying after a great performance. For Warwick it was no different. The girls shed a ton of tears in the post-race staging area. Greibesland, a sophomore, could not stop bawling, but it was for a good reason: it would be the last time she would run with Pennings and Pettit. They are both graduated seniors. But the bond between Pennings and Greibesland went a little deeper on Saturday.

Greibesland had misplaced her spikes before the race, but Pennings was there to help solve the case. Since they share the same shoe size, Pennings offered to lend Greibesland hers. One problem though-- they both run in the same race. The plan was carefully crafted: Pennings would lead off and Greibesland would anchor-- that’s more than enough time to change and then adjust to the foot pattern of worn soles.

It worked out and the rest is history.

Finally, after the awards were given, the challenge was issued to Coach Furst about living up to his bet of getting the locks chopped off. He appeared sheepish, but knew he'd "lost" in the name of a major win. Hopefully, in the fall we will see a new look from the coach with a new national championship and a new national record.

NON Index Page