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

27th Roosevelt Memorial



by John Dye

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

In Friday's race, 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 (Jim 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 at 5000 meters at the Penn Relays a week ago. 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. 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. "He really is good about knowing his body. He may go after it."


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