May 4-5, 2001 at Welcome Stadium, Dayton OH

27th Roosevelt Memorial


Ritzenhein, Hatch, Sylvester, and Rockford girls


by John Dye

DAYTON OHIO 5/4/01 -- The boys 2-mile on Friday, the boys 800 on Saturday, and any relay with the Rockford MI girls are the featured events in this big multi-state meet.

In the boys 2-mile at 5:15 pm Friday, Rockford MI sr Dathan Ritzenhein -- champion of all high school long races for 2 years and third in the World cross country junior men's race this year -- heads a strong field. Meet management changed the distance from 3200 meters to 2 miles in case Ritzenhein is fit for an attempt on the national record (Jeff Nelson CA, 8:36.3, 1979). Ritzenhein's personal record at 3200 meters came in this meet last year (8:41.10) in the midst of anchoring Rockford's winning 4x800, 4x1600, and distance medley relays.

Ritzenhein comes to this meet fresh off a spectacular effort a week ago at 5000 meters at the Penn Relays. Running against older runners in the Olympic Development division, Ritzenhein finished second in 13:51.69. It was the second fastest prep 5k of all time, moving Ritz ahead of such legends as Steve Prefontaine and Craig Virgin on the all-time list, only 7 seconds short of Gerry Lindgren's national record of 13:44 set in 1964. After that race, Rockford's Coach Prins said the 2-mile record was "the biggest one" in Ritz' goals for the remainder of his HS career before he moves on to the University of Colorado next year. Prins said it is up to Ritz whether he shoots for the 2-mile today or waits for the adidas Outdoor Championships at Raleigh in June. "He really is good about knowing his body. He may go after it."

If he runs, international junior star Nate Brannen of Canada will be Ritz' principal rival. Brannen is also entered in the 800 and 1600 and will choose today which race(s) he will actually run.

A scorching 800 meters is expected at 4:45 pm Saturday, with national elite Marc Sylvester of Cleveland St. Ignatius and James Hatch of Fairview CO likely to match each other stride for stride. The race is diminished only slightly by the withdrawal Tuesday of sub-4 miler and Penn Relays hero Alan Webb and his South Lakes VA team. Sylvester was #2 in the US last year with a best of 1:49.5. Hatch was second in the Great Southwest Classic last year in 1:52.12, won the Simplot Games in Idaho indoors in February in 1:53.16, and was second in the big Arcadia CA Invitational last month in 1:52.98. Brannen, who has a best of 1:50, would add spice to the mix if he chooses to run in the 800.

The Rockford girls have been winning distance relays at every national meet for 2 years and should have a few romps in this meet. They won the 4x800, 4x1600, and distance medley here last year and will be favored to do it again as Kalen Toedebusch and Linsey Blaisdell make their senior farewell tours accompanied by younger stars Nikki Bohnsack and Kelsey Toedebusch. The 4x800 is at 3:30 pm Friday, the 4x1600 at 4:15 pm Friday, and the distance medley at

There is more:

  • Girls 100/200 - Columbus OH Brookhaven sr Khalilah Carpenter 11.39 and 23.16, USATF junior national champion in both 100 and 200 last year - Rochester MI sr Lauryn Williams, runner-up at National Scholastic Indoor Championship 60 meters in New York in March and 4th in Raleigh national outdoor championships at 100 meters in 11.7 last year - Karla Marshall MI, Michigan indoor champion this year at 60 meters.
  • Girls 3200/1600 - Kalin Toedebusch is top seeded in the 3200 and Bohnsack 4th, but soph Michelle Sikes of Lakewood OH (10:45.11 last year) is a formidable threat. Sikes and Bohnsack are also in the 1600.
  • Girls triple jump - 3:30 pm Friday - Janell Mitchell of Cleveland Heights OH has a seed mark of 42-6.
  • Girls 100H - prelims 10:30 am Saturday - Lindsay Bond of Southfield MI - Michigan state 60H indoor champion and a 14.16 performer last year.
  • Boys 1600 - Nate Brannen will be favored if he chooses this event. If not, Allen Bader of Cincinnati LaSalle moves up to top seed.


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