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June 15-16, 2001 at North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC

adidas Outdoor Track and Field Championships

No Ritz v. Webb?
No problem

by John Dye

RALEIGH 6/14/01 -- We won't have Ritz vs. Webb. And we won't have several other natiional leaders who have already proven their supremacy in strenuous campaigns. But we will have more than enough to satiate the most ravenous fan of high school track and field.

This could be the year that relays take the headlines from individual exploits, with several enticing rivalries: Atlantic FL boys vs. South Lakes VA, Rockford MI girls vs. Boys & Girls NY, and Camden NJ boys vs. Forest Brook TX. National records are in jeopardy.

Here's what I can't wait to see this weekend:

Boys Preview - Girls Preview - Complete Entries -



Atlantic vs. South Lakes, Round 3 - John and Sean Jefferson have led Atlantic FL to DMR victories over Alan Webb's South Lakes VA team twice this year in near national record times (Nike Indoor Classic and Arcadia Invitational). South Lakes wants revenge, and Atlantic is ready and waiting. The rivalry spills over into the 4x800, where South Lakes is the Penn Relays champion (7:41.75 when Webb's 1:49.1 was the fastest 800 meter split in the 107 years of Penn), and Atlantic is the Florida champion with the US#1 time of 7:37.76. If they concentrate too much on each other, both could be passed by three other 7:40 teams -- NSIC champion John Jay NY, Butler PA, and Boyd Anderson FL. Keep an eye on the finish line clock - the national record is 7:34.1. (4x800 is 9:20 pm Friday and DMR 9:45 pm Saturday)

4x100 (8:50 pm Friday) - Forest Brook of Houston TX is only the second team ever to go under 40 seconds (39.95) and they face the other team, national record holder O.D. Wyatt of Fort Worth TX, which is US#2 this year at 40.39. They were 1-2 in the Texas 4A state championship.

4x400 (8:55 pm Saturday) - Texas vs. New Jersey - Camden NJ 3:11.30, year-long leader both indoors and outdoors, will be severely tested by Jonathan Johnson-led Abilene TX 3:11.69, Texas 5A champion; Willingboro NJ 3:12.44, which beat Camden in the New Jersey Meet of Champions; and Forest Brook TX 3:12.75, Texas 4A champion.

800 (6:30 pm Saturday) - The national leader (Webb) isn't in the race, but it is still the best individual boys matchup of the meet. Defending champion Jonathan Johnson of Abilene TX faces a deep and talented field that could duplicate last year's garrison charge when Johnson went five wide in the stretch to win in 1:49.61. That may not be fast enough this year as both Johnson and Ohio champion Marc Sylvester, third here last year, have gone under 1:49. Johnson thinks he can hit 1:47+. Also in the mix are Said Ahmed MA, second to Johnson in the Golden West Invitational last Saturday; James Hatch CO, second to Sylvester in the Roosevelt Memorial Invitational at Dayton; Minnesota champion Trent Rider; Florida champion Paul Cross; Mobile Meet of Champions winner Daniel Soule; and Arcadia champion Raphael Asafo-Agyei.

2 Mile, Dathan Ritzenhein (8:15 pm Friday) - This race was Ritz' coming out party as a national star 2 years ago and nothing should prevent him from making it three straight, even though improving Michael Kiter WA, Chandler Goodwin UT, and Charles Millioen NY will give a game try. This is Ritz' last chance to challenge the national 2-mile record (8:36.3 Jeff Nelson 1979) but the pace isn't likely to be fast enough to make it feasible.

Mile, Ryan Hall (7:20 pm Saturday) - Erstwhile member of the Big Three of HS distance running (Webb and Ritz), who seemed to fall out of that class with his fourth at Arcadia behind Webb and the Jeffersons, Ryan Hall may have rejoined the top flight with his 3:42.70 1500 at Stanford last Saturday (3rd best prep time ever behind Webb and Jim Ryun). A worthy goal for this race is the first sub-4 mile in an all-HS race since Jim Ryun in 1965. That would take some cooperation in pace from Nick Schneider MN, David Vidal MT, Adam Perkins MO, Shane Stroup MD, and Nike Indoor Classic champion Bobby Curtis KY.

Sprints, Christian vs. McFadden (100 final at 7:40 pm Friday, 200 at 7:50 pm Saturday) - Brendan Christian TX and Glenn McFadden CT have already had two memorable encounters this year. At the National Scholastic Indoor Championships in New York in March, Christian beat McFadden 21.02 to 21.05 in the 200, both beating the old national record. At the Golden West Invitational last Saturday, they traded wins. Christian won the 100 in 10.55 into a -8.6 headwind, with McFadden being credited with the same time. McFadden won the 200 in 20.79 to 21.06 into a -6.6 headwind. Christian is the defending AOC champion at 200 meters. They are joined in Raleigh by several runners who could steal their thunder, including Airese (Air) Currie SC; Duan Barrino NC; Daniel Johnson NJ; Seth Amoo CA; Kentucky rivals Tyson Gay and Ben Kittelson; and a trio of Texans: Nicholas Johnson, Tyree Gailes, and Trey Griffin. Making the finals will be an achievement in itself.

Pole Vault (6:30 pm Friday) - Bobby Most of Laredo TX concludes a spectacular senior season that saw a meteoric rise from 14-6 a year ago to US#1 17-8 at the Golden West Invitational last week. Tommy Skipper OR, third at GWI, and Paul Gensic IN are among several who will contest the issue.

Shot Put (8:30 pm Friday) and Discus (5:30 pm) - Even without Kevin Bookout OK and Nik Arrhenius UT, there is enough brawn to make the earth rumble in Jonathan Reeves TX, Glenn DiGiorgio NJ, Jeremy Silverman PA, Sean Shields CA, and Vikas Gowda MD -- all state champions and national top 10 ranking throwers. .


Long Relays - Rockford MI has ruled the long relays over the last two years, but is challenged this year by Boys & Girls NY in the 4x800 (9:10 pm Friday) and the distance medley (9:25 pm Saturday). Boys & Girls set a new national record of 8:52.85 in the 4x800 at the Penn Relays and is primed to improve on that tomorrow night. Boys & Girls doubled in the DMR at Penn in 11:53.64, beating national record holder San Lorenzo Valley CA decisively. In-season travel restrictions block Rockford from competing in the Penn Relays, but they beat Boys & Girls in the DMR at the Nike Indoor Classic in March and set the Raleigh meet record of 11:49.44 when they won last year. In the 4-mile relay (9 am Saturday), Rockford seems certain to break their own national record (20:30.57 at Raleigh 2000) to go with the 4x1600 record (20:14.89) they set at Dayton in May

Sprints - (100 final at 7:35 pm Friday, 200 at 7:45 pm Saturday, and 400 at 6:40 pm Saturday) - an abundance of talent and no clear favorites will make for exciting races. In the 100 and 200, the leaders include: Erica Whipple FL, 4-time Florida 4A double champion; Angel Perkins CA, indoor record holder at 200 and 400 meters and California state 200 meter champion outdoors; rising sophomore star Allyson Felix CA, California 100 meter champion and Golden West 200 meter champion; Marshavet Hooker TX, Texas 5A champion at both 100 and 200 meters; Lauryn Williams PA, double winner at the Roosevelt Memorial in Dayton; and Sanya Richards FL, Florida 3A champion at 100 meters. With Perkins and Olympian Monique Henderson missing from the 400, that race opens up for Jerrika Chapple TX, who set the freshman class record last year (52.49) and won the Texas 4A title this year, but she will have to contend with Sanya Richards FL; freshman Vanessa Clarida MN, triple winner in the Minnesota state meet; Loucks Games champion Christina Smith PA; Maryland champion Antoinette Gorham; and Delaware champion Danielle Bailey.

Distance - (Mile at 7:05 pm Saturday and 2 mile at 7:45 pm Friday) - Defending champions Alicia Craig WY and Anita Siraki CA return, but face serious challenges even without Ale Barrientos CA, Sara Bei CA, and Megan Kaltenbach CO in attendance. Craig won the Arcadia Invitational and Golden West Invitational (4:46.73) this season. Siraki was second to Kaltenbach at Arcadia and to Bei in the California State Meet (10:15.19c), both races at 3200 meters. Siraki will double in the mile, where her season best is a split second ahead of Craig's GWI time. But the US leader in both races is a different runner trying to confirm a spot among the national elite. In the mile, it is Brooke Novak 4:44.80c, who has broken Suzy Favor's Wisconsin state record two straight years. In the 2-mile, it is Erika Odlaug of Illinois, who emerged from the shadow of Maria Cicero at the Golden West Invitational last week in 10:14.71c-MR. Not to be overlooked in the mile is Erin Donohue NJ 4:47.51, who won here 2 years ago and beat Craig this year at the Nike Indoor Classic. New to the national scene but a contender at both distances is jr Molly Huddle, New York state champion at both 1500 (4:34.21 US#3) and 3000 (9:43.80 US#2).

Pole Vault (5 pm Saturday) - This emerging event is always a crowd pleaser as the high school girls follow in Stacy Dragila's fabulous foot steps. New national record holder Shayla Rose Balentine CA is not here, but three former record holders -- Samantha Shepard MA, Molly Lederman MA, and Stacie Manuel MN -- are on hand to try to get the record back. Other potential winners include newcomer Lacy Janson FL, Golden West champion Melissa Astete CA, Emily Tharpe PA, and Christi Lehman KS.

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