Team USA Olympic gold medalists Michelle Carter, Kerron Clement, Matt Centrowitz and Dalilah Muhammad were all NSAF national champs while in high school. Photos by Vic Sailer, photorun.net.
NSAF Alums at the Rio Olympics
The Olympic Games represent the pinnacle of achievement for USA track and field athletes, many of whom competed in our NBN or previous national championship meets over the past 20+ years, benefitted from our grant program as they moved up the Youth and Junior ranks, and trained in our Projects. In fact, 70 of the 129 athletes that comprised Team USA competed in our championships, including 25 medal winners! So we've been covering the Games from afar.
Links: NSAF Facebook (includes Victah Sailer photo galleries) | Twitter
5 NSAF alum storylines at Rio | Jim Spier's Team USA at NSAF Lists "Now and Then" Recaps: Part 1 (1st wknd) | Part II and Part III (posting this week)
Some of the biggest highlights for NSAF alums:
- 3-time NSAF national champion ('02-'03) and prep record-setter Michelle Carter won women's shot put gold (with an American record), while her successor in the HS record books -- '14 double NBN champ Raven Saunders -- was a fine 5th in her Olympic debut.
- Project Triple Jump alum and 6-time NBN champ ('13-'14) Keturah Orji was 4th in the women's TJ, the highest U.S. Olympic placing ever in the event, and smashed her own American record with 48-3.25.
- Of the 7 Team USA medalists in distance events (800m on up), 5 competed in NSAF championships, including men's 1500 gold medalist Matt Centrowitz -- who prevailed over steeple medalist Evan Jager and 5000m finalist Hassan Mead back in that epic '07 NON 2-mile.
- USA 400H gold medalists Kerron Clement and Dalilah Muhammad were both NSAF national 400H champs as preps, taking the '03 AOC and '07 NON, respectively. Women's 100H gold medalist Brianna Rollins was the '09 NON 400H champ, and her fellow U.S. medalists there, Nia Ali and Kristi Castlin, competed in NSAF events, as well.
- Of the 17 athletes that made up the relay pools for the gold-medal winning USA men's and women's 4x400, and women's 4x100, a dozen competed in NSAF events -- including '07 NON long jump champ Tianna Bartoletta (also LJ gold medalist in Rio) and '04 quadruple AOC and NIN champ LaShawn Merritt.
Next up: Great American XC Festival
The Great American Cross Country Festival is back, with a major announcement to come shortly between the NSAF and a new partner for the event! After a ferocious storm closed WakeMed Soccer Park and forced cancellation in 2015, the Festival and cocurrent HBCU Challenge will return Saturday, Oct. 1 with a full slate of races.
The last GACCF in '14 featured a near-course record performance by Drew Hunter (who turned pro after multiple sub-4:00 miles this year), a fast triumph by Libby Davidson, and team titles by the La Salle Academy, RI boys and Blacksburg, VA girls.
Project TJ headed to Bahamas
This year, the NSAF Project Triple Jump's Bahamas clinic is a bridge from the 2015-16 season to the new school year, as the Project returns to Nassau for the 5th time -- Sept. 1-5 -- under the guidance of Head Coach Peter Pratt and Project Coordinator Macka Jones. The roster now includes NBNO champ Jasmine Moore and Koi Johnson, who both won Junior Olympic national titles recently. Returnees include Jalen Seals, Arielle Mack, Allyson Weiss and Marcus Floyd, while we say goodbye to graduate Chinne Okoronkwo -- the '16 NBNI champ, multiple All-American and 3-time Team USA performer. She is now at U. of Wisconsin, while Ja'Mari Ward -- who trained with us for two years and was a World Junior finalist last month -- is a U. of Missouri.
Project Triple Jump is excited for the success of its alums -- see mention of Keturah Orji above -- and you can read more about the accomplishments of current and former Project athletes on our Project TJ page. To register for the Bahamas clinic, go HERE.
Project Javelin Gold returns to ESU
Our NSAF Project Javelin Gold has said goodbye to its five graduates this summer and is welcoming three new athletes into the program as the 2016-17 campaign begins at our fall clinic at East Stroudsburg University, Sept. 22-25. It will be different this season without graduates Sophia Rivera, Katelyn Gochenour, Emma Fitzgerald, Tairyn Montgomery and Grayson Hill -- the four girls combined for the past 3 NBNO titles and seven Team USA berths, each threw at least 168 feet and are among the top 15 prep javelin throwers of all time. Rivera and Fitzgerald are at U. of Wisconsin, Montgomery at U. of Georgia, Hill at West Point and Gochenour headed for a new school after a coaching change at U. of Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, NBNO champ Liam Christiansen and Roman Mitchell -- both recent USATF JO winners -- and Meghan Owens (won both JO titles in '15) return this fall, while Ty Hampton, Lilian Hill and Gavin Darcy have joined the Project. All will be at ESU next month to work with Coaches Jeff Gorski, Tom Pukstys, Barry Krammes and, from Finland, Kimmo Kinnunen. Check out our Project Javelin page for more on the clinic and 2015-16 season, and register for the clinic HERE.
Cedric Walker Development Grant
Applications are open for the 2016 Cedric Walker Development Grant. From 12-20 grants have been awarded each fall to track clubs and high school track team in honor of the late Mr. Walker, who passed in March, 2013, shortly after the New Balance Nationals Indoor. Cedric was a “irreplaceable” part of the NSAF, who served for more than 20 years – as a board member; founder of the Flower City TC in New York; coach, mentor and team manager at many levels, from local to international; and beloved family member, among many other things. See Joy Kamani’s memorial.
News You Can Use
Can you help us get athletes to the starting line this year? Please consider giving today to our 2016 Track and Field Kick-off Campaign. Since 1992, the NSAF has been a tax-exempt 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization with the mission to inspire youth to live active, healthy lifestyles, and to prepare them for future success. With your support at our NetworkForGood.com page, the NSAF can continue to provide funding for thousands of student athletes around the country; many of whom could not afford to do so on their own.
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