This seems like an interesting program to give up and coming runners a chance to face some top competition and maybe get a taste of what it takes to succeed on the world scene.
INDIANAPOLIS - The USA Track & Field Foundation has awarded grants to enable nine high potential post-collegiate distance runners to experience international competition this summer. The grant also funds the travel costs for an elite coach, Dennis Barker of Team USA Minnesota, who will accompany the athletes on this two week trip in July.
Each summer, many of America's top distance runners - along with sprinters and field event athletes - go to Europe to gain critical international competition experience as well as to obtain personal bests. Robert Chapman, coach of two of the selected athletes from Team Indiana Elite, describes the value of this experience this way: "It is reminiscent of the developmental trips in the 80s and 90s that saw some of our best youngsters like Bob Kennedy, Steve Holman, Rich Kenah, Suzy Favor Hamilton, and many others get great experience in the European racing environment. This will pay dividends for these athletes selected, as well as those who will follow."
The grant selectees are all young, "emerging elite" distance running talents who do not yet have the sponsorship support necessary to enable such a trip. Each chosen athlete has an association with one of the top training groups in the USA and these groups will assure coverage of any travel costs not covered by this grant.
The following athletes were chosen for this grant:
*Heather Dorniden, Meghan Armstrong, Gabriele Anderson - Team USA Minnesota
*David Jankowski - ZAP Fitness
*Jordan Horn and Lindsay Allen - Team USA Arizona (McMillan Elite)
*Derek Scott and Jordan Fife - Team Indiana Elite
*Mark Matusak - Bay Area Track Club
These athletes will travel together with Dennis Barker and use an Athletes Base Camp in the Netherlands for lodging, access to training facilities, medical support, meals, and convenient access to a series of track meets. The goal is for each of them to participate in two or three professional international competitions during their stay.
Foundation Director Jack Wickens added that "A special thanks goes to Team USA Minnesota for planning and managing this trip opportunity for some of our country's top young athletes."
The USA Track & Field Foundation provides a means to attract and guide funds to new and innovative track & field programs with an emphasis on providing opportunities for youth athletes, emerging elite athletes, distance training centers and anti-doping education. The Foundation depends upon donations from its Board of Directors and from generous fans of track & field.
For more information or to contribute to the USA Track & Field Foundation, visit www.usatffoundation.org