The National Scholastic Sports Foundation will unveil a new program at this year’s Nike Outdoor Nationals, which take place June 14-16 at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, N.C. By adding Emerging Elite competition in eight events, NSSF hopes to increase competitive opportunities for up-and-coming high school athletes.
NSSF’s Jim Spier provides answers to questions about the new program:
Q: What’s the Emerging Elite concept?
JS: There are athletes who just miss the qualifying standards for the Nike Outdoor Nationals. The Emerging Elite program gives them a chance to compete.
Q: Which events will have Emerging Elite competition?
JS: There are a total of eight events – the 100, 400, mile, plus the 110 hurdles for boys and the girls 100 meter hurdles.
Q: What are the qualifying standards?
JS: Emerging Elite standards look like this:
100m Boys – 10.6/10.93 Girls – 11.9/12.23
400m Boys – 49.0/49.23 Girls – 58.0/58.23
Mile Boys – 4:01.0/4:19.0 Girls – 4:42/5:02
110H/100H Boys – 14.5/14.83 Girls – 14.8/15.13
Q: How does that compare to the usual qualifying standards at NON?
JS: Existing standards are as follows:
100m Boys – 10.4/10.73 Girls – 11.6/11.93
400m Boys – 48.0/48.23 Girls – 56.7/56.93
Mile Boys – 3:57.5/4:15.5 Girls – 4:36/4:56
110H/100H Boys – 14.0/14.33 Girls – 14.3/14.63
Q: Could Emerging Elite competition siphon off athletes from regular fields at NON?
JS: Not at all. In fact, it will add another level of competition.
Q: Any idea which athletes might benefit from the addition of the Emerging Elite competition?
JS: I really can’t say. Many Emerging Elite contestants will probably be state champions – athletes who couldn’t quite make our normal entry standards, but are still championship-caliber performers.
Q: When will the Emerging Elite competitions take place?
JS: Interspersed among Friday’s events, with the EE 100 meters scheduled just before the big 100 that night. Here are the times for EE events on Friday, with the girls preceding the boys:
1:00 p.m. B – 110m hurdles – Emerging Elite Qualifying
1:25 p.m. G – 100m hurdles – Emerging Elite Qualifying
1:50 p.m. 400m – Emerging Elite Final
2:25 p.m. Mile – Emerging Elite Final
3:25 p.m. 100m – Emerging Elite Qualifying
5:20 p.m. G – 100m hurdles – Emerging Elite Final
5:50 p.m. B – 110m hurdles – Emerging Elite Final
6:55 p.m. 100m – Emerging Elite Final
Q: Is this an experiment, or will Emerging Elite competition be a permanent feature at NON?
JS: It’ll be a regular feature. If it’s successful this year, we’ll probably add some field events in the future.
Q: Any chance we’ll see Emerging Elite competition at future Nike Indoor Championships?
JS: Probably not, due to time constraints. Eventually, however, we may consider it.