It's no secret that Jim Spier and I are immensely proud of our creation, the NATIONAL SCHOLASTIC SPORTS FOUNDATION. The same holds true for the meet created by the aforementioned duo along with Tracy Sundlun, former President of the Metropolitan Athletics Congress and currently head honcho for Elite Racing, the administrator and creator of several of the major marathons run in this country. We're also quite proud of the number of athletes who've come up through our meets, now the NIKE INDOOR/OUTDOOR NATIONALS, AND GONE ON TO greater heights.
It takes quite a long while for a great high school athlete to advance to the Olympic level. Certainly there are exceptions, Alan Webb and Allyson Felix spring to mind. But let's go back and look at the 2000 outdoor meet and I'll show you what I mean.
The Girl's 100m Dash feature a few names you might know. The event was won by current Olympian MUNA LEE then a hs'er in Kansas City. She posted a very good 11.19 to win. Third and fourth are also persons quite familiar on the international scene; SANYA RICHARDS, Pembroke Pines, FL, 11.62 and LAURYN WILLIAMS, Rochester, PA, 11.70. Richards was honored as the IAAF Athlete of the Year in 2007 while Williams won World Championship honors also in 2007. All three are current Olympians.
ALICE SCHMIDT came in from Omaha and took fourth in the 800m (2:08.85) and will run in Beijing in a couple weeks. She's also won a few USA titles.
Two kids in the mile have climbed the ladder of international success. Second and third behind Alicia Craig were SHALANE FLANAGAN, Marblehead, MA, 4:48.47 and ERIN DONOHUE, Haddonfield, NJ, 4:53.63. Flanagan, who has had a brilliant career will contest the 5000 and 10,000m events while Donohue will compete over the 1500m distance. Craig might well have made the team but is still recovering from the death of her husband Ryan Shay.
TIFFANY ROSS, Apalocka, FL, won the silver over the 400mH distance, 58.50 and won the Olympic trials as Tiffany Ross-Williams. The current issue of Sports Illustrated lists her as the favorite to win the gold in Beijing.
An "also-ran" at that meet was HYLEAS FOUNTAIN, Harrisburg, Pa. She took 7th in the 200m, 24.94, 8th in the 100mH, 14.50 and tied for third in the high jump, 5-08.75. She won the OT and SI's picks her for second in the heptathlon while in China.
Only two male alumni from that great 2000 meet are on the Beijing squad. Strangely, both won their events as hs'ers but both will run the same event in China. RYAN HALL, Big Bear Lake, Ca, 4:06.15 and DATHAN RITZENHEIM, Rockford, MI, 8:48.06 finished 1-2 in the OT and will take on all-comers in the marathon.
There was another kid who got a medal in that high school meet and went on to fame and infamy. Justin Gatlin, Pensacola, FL, 10.36 finishing third. Even though he probably got a raw deal, his doping violation will keep him away from these OG.
Also a winner in 2000 was one of the nation's leading weight coaches, LAURA GERRAUGHTY, Nashua, NH, 51-11.25 is now teaching the sport to athletes at the University of North Carolina.
FOR THE RECORD: (Just braggin' a little) On the US team there's one of our alumni, both male and female, in virtually EVERY event competing in Beijing and in many, there are two or three. Doubtful? Take a look:
100 — MUNA LEE & LAURYN WILLIAMS
200 — ALLYSON FELIX, MUNA LEE & MARSHAVET HOOKER
400 — SANYA RICHARDS
800 — HAZEL CLARK, ALICE SCHMIDT & NICOLE TETER
1500 — SHANNON ROWBURY, CHRISTIN WURTH & ERIN DONOHUE
5000 — JENNIFER RHINES & SHALANE FLANAGAN
10,000 — FLANAGAN, & AMY YODER BEGLEY
MARATHON — DEENA KASTOR
STEEPLECHASE — JENNIFER BARRINGER
400mH — TIFFANY ROSS-WILLIAMS, SHEENA JOHNSON TOSTA & QUEEN HARRISON
HEPTATHLON — HYLEAS FOUNTAIN & DIANA PICKLER
HIGH JUMP — CHAUNTE HOWARD & AMY ACUFF
TRIPLE JUMP — SHANA MARKS & ERICA McLAIN
SHOT PUT — MICHELLE CARTER
DISCUS —SUZY POWELL-ROOS
HAMMER THROW —LOREE SMITH
100mH, LONG JUMP, POLE VAULT, JAVELIN — No one.
In four events all three competitors are alumnae, while in six others two of the three women representing the US come from one of the NIKE competitions.
According to Jim, a little over 50% of the entire US team came through the NIKE conduit.
100 — TYSON GAY & WALTER DIX
200 — WALTER DIX & WALLACE SPEARMON
400 — LASHAWN MERRITT, JEREMY WARINER & DAVID NEVILLE REGGIE WITHERSPOON is a member of the 4x400mH relay pool
800 — ANDREW WHEATING
1500 —LEONEL MANZANO
5000 — MATT TEGENCAMP & IAN DOBSON
10000 — GALEN RUPP
MARATHON — RYAN HALL, DATHAN RITZHEIN
110mH — DAVID OLIVER & TERRANCE TRAMMELL
400mH — BERSHAWN JACKSON, KERRON CLEMENT & ANGELO TAYLOR
20K RACE WALK — KEVIN EASTLER
HIGH JUMP — JESSE WILLIAMS & ANDRA MANSON (finished 1-2 at both the OT and the NIKE competition)
LONG JUMP —BRIAN JOHNSON
TRIPLE JUMP — AARIK WILSON
SHOT PUT — REESE HOFFA & ADAM NELSON
DISCUS — MIKE ROBERTSON
JAVELIN — BOBBY SMITH & BRIAN CHAPUT
POLE VAULT, HAMMER, DECATHLON, STEEPLECHASE — No one.
Should Witherspoon run the final of the 4x400mR, the entire team will be NIKE alumni. In two events, 400 & 400H, all three are NIKE grads while in eight events, two of the three representing the US follow suit.
I would be remiss if I did not thank Jim Spier for a terrific editing job. His encyclopedic knowledge of our sport corrected my mistakes and omissions.