ORLANDO FL 12/7/01 - Friday at Finals is a nice, relaxed day with
course walk, light running, and a Magic Kingdom parade. At the course
walk, there was a lot of conversation among runners, coaches, parents
and friends. All is optimism. Everyone has hopes of a good race
tomorrow. Everyone is still basking in the glow of making the elite
group of 64 runners who got this far.
Adding to the special ambience were the 10 Olympic class athletes
that Nike brought to Disney World for the event. Michael Johnson
and Stacy Dragila (below) are not distance runners, but their
star power made everyone feel they were at a special event.
The other eight Nike athletes present are distance runners, and
they are serving as captains of the four regional teams. (pix below)
|Bob Kennedy (R) with West
girls Felicia Guliford (L) and Amber Trotter
|Suzy Favor-Hamilton (L) loosened
up Northeast girls (from L) Tracey Brauksieck, Molly
Huddle, and Natasha Roetter, along with Northeast staffer
Another function of Friday at Finals was to practice the runner
introductions, so announcer Mike Caldwell worked with the runners
(below) to get the correct pronunciations of their names.
Wouldn't want your name mispronounced on national television.
|NE boys (from L): Peter
Meindl (with his hair trimmed a bit), Brian Dalpiaz (with a
stocking cap protecting his bald head), Marc Pelerin, and Mint
|West and Midwest girls
West boys move out for the
course walk. From right: Nurani Sheikh, Jesse Fayant
(behind Leal), Yong-Sung Leal, Billy Nelson, and, looking
the other way, Carl Dambkowski and Tim Nelson.
FLCCC national coordinator Max Mayo gives
directions on the course walk
Friday at Finals is also
a day for media to find out how the athletes feel on the eve
of the race. Marc Bloom, publisher and editor of The Harrier,
asks for a minute of Indiana champion Nef Araia's time after
he finishes stretching.
Foot Locker National Finals