HOME - US News - States - Calendar - Rankings - Features - Youth - Message Board - Chat -


home page
Indoor Meets
Outdoor Meets
World Jr Tours

T-Shirts & Hats
The Harrier
Eastern Track
Slinger Sanchez
Award Display
Long Jump

Nike AOW


XC Leader List
DyeStat Elite
2001 Outdoor




High School

Sign In

Charter Sponsors

Prior Page 1



presented by


the story

Queen Amber Reigns Supreme, Leads West to Romp

By Stephen (steveu) Underwood

Amber Trotter dared the girls field to chase her Saturday at the 23rd Foot Locker CC Championships in Orlando.

She had no takers.

So the Ukiah, Calif. senior blistered a 5:04 first mile, 20 seconds up on the rest of the field, and won as she pleased in an eye-popping course-record 16:24.0, smashing the previous mark by over 30 seconds. She also beat Melody Fairchild's 1990 meet record by 15 seconds and her winning margin was second only to the Colorado standout's.

The real "race(s)" came for the next several spots in the top ten. For the most part, it was a battle between Illinois' Erika Odlaug and the girls of the Northeast. Molly Huddle, Natasha Roetter and Tracey Brauksieck all went out hard early, along with Odlaug. Roetter took control of second after the halfway mark, but in the final stretch, Odlaug dug down deep and passed Roetter in the final meters, 17:04.3 to 17:05.1.

Huddle took 4th in and North Carolina's Laura Stanley outkicked New Mexico's Felicia Guliford for 5th. But Guliford's finish started a string of six West girls in the next seven places, easily giving them the team title with 33 points.

It's All Amber

The prep running world, especially outside of California, wondered if the Amber Trotter they'd heard about or seen all fall - the incredible talent that blistered fields with sub-5:10 first miles and won by incredible margins with course records - would continue to rule Saturday. Well, she sure did. The effort marked the final 2001 statement in Trotter's remarkable comeback from a battle with anorexia that sidelined her last spring after she was 7th here in 2000.

After the 5:04, Trotter zoomed through two in 10:22 (5:18), then maintained through the final mile. Long-time journalists like Marc Bloom don't think they've ever seen a legit girls 5k time as fast as Trotter's 16:24, but the Californian took the historic performance in stride … after she could breath again in the stifling humidity. Trotter didn't really have designs on any records, but she knew what had worked for her before could work again.

"I didn't really focus on a specific strategy; I never focus on times," she said, "just on giving it all and how much I love the sport."

But then she added, "My strategy was to go out hard, and I thought if I did that I would be the only one to keep it up." Though her base of 65-70 mpw is strong, she admitted she doesn't like her races to come down to kicks. "I did plan on being well enough ahead, because if it comes down to the final 400 meters, I'm toast."

On Saturday though - or anytime this year - she definitely was not going to be toast. And she admitted that reflecting on it is still a little surreal. "I've had a lot of fun and had a huge support base," she said. "I owe a lot to my coach and my parents. When I ran today, I thought about them and how much I love running."

The Battle for Second and Beyond

Certainly Erika Odlaug had some kind of designs on winning when she came here. But the realist in her apparently had the final word. She didn't go with Trotter and, in fact, she lagged in third for awhile late in the race before making her final move.

"The last ¼-mile I thought, 'I didn't come here to get third,'" she said, noting that she caught Roetter in the "last two seconds." "I came here to win. I guess (getting second at the line) was a little bit of a win."

Did she consider going with Trotter? "Maybe a few weeks ago!" she said. "I figured my best bet was to try and reel her in. But it's tough to reel people in. I had to run my race; I wasn't going to blast out there."

As for Roetter, the effort was very much a go-by-how-she-felt thing. "I felt pretty good and just wanted to stay strong," she said. "I was just running … I don't really remember anything else."

Roetter's performance was part of a big push by the Northeast girls at the front. At the mile, after Trotter, it was Huddle, Roetter and Brauksieck leading Odlaug, Stanley and Mindy Sullivan of Texas through in 5:25. But by two miles, Roetter had control of the group in 10:52, with Huddle still leading Odlaug, followed by Guliford and Stanley.

In the next half-mile, Odlaug moved into third and set sights on Roetter, later to pass her. But Huddle and Brauksieck (who faded to 13th) had made their mark on the race and helped the Northeast to second place (61 points). "I was happy with the race," said Huddle, "but I would have liked to have gotten top three." Brauksieck said she was shooting for the top 15, though those plans were upgraded by mid-race. "I couldn't breathe very well and I didn't get the warmup I needed," she said.

Meanwhile, Stanley and Guliford waged a nice battle for fifth. The latter's attempts to take the spot were marred a bit by going off the course on some of the final turns. Then Stanley finally passed her for good on the stretch run.

"I was a little tired and dizzy," Guliford said, but added that it wasn't a similar situation to her '99 collapses. "The race didn't go as smoothly as I would have hoped, but I was happy with my finish."

Said Stanley, "I ran the splits we wanted … and I knew if I stayed with the front pack, it would go well."

Team Pride

The West was truly dominant, their 33 point total being 28 better than the Northeast's 61. The Midwest and South followed with 71 and 73 in the close battle for second.

Guliford marked the start of the West surge that took the team title. Wrapping it up then for the squad were Jackie Zeigle (7th), Amber Harper (9th), Heidi Lane (10th) and Julie Allen (11th). Only Val Lauver of the South could break up the sweep with an 8th-place finish.

"The West has been a winning team for quite a while," said Montana's Lane, speaking of a strong tradition. "We wanted to keep it up. We spent some time together making sure everyone knew who we were running for, that we were out there for the team also. Then we made sure to wish each other luck before the race."


Foot Locker National Finals


Charter Sponsors
DyeStat thanks these organizations for providing significant support to DyeStat
in the 2001-2002 school year, earning Charter Sponsor status for 5 years.


Great American Cross Country Festival Inc.

National Scholastic Sports Foundation

Midwest Indoor Track Classic

This web site is edited and published
by John Dye at [email protected] .

©DyeNet LLC 2000-2001