March 11, 2004 at 1:53 am #1285
The NIKE Indoor Championships To Feature Nations Best Girl High
By Ricky Quintana
Landover, MD- One of the most competitive fields in NIC girls history
gather for the 6th annual Nike Indoor Championships, Saturday and Sunday,
March 13 and 14th. The meet held annually since 1999, is currently
Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover, MD, just outside of
This years girls competition will feature 16 2003 Track and Field News
Track and Field All-Americans making the fields some of the deepest in
history. Among these All-Americans will be several 2003 USA World Youth
members that garnered 14 medals(young men and women) at the IAAF World
Championships in Sherbrooke, Canada last July. Those members set to
at NIC are:Jessica Onyepunuka(Peoria HS, Peoria, AZ), gold in 100m and
medley relay; Krystin Lacy (Skyline HS, Dallas, TX), gold in the medley
relay and silver in the 100m;Erica McLain (Texas Express T & F Club,
TX),8th long jump and 7th triple jump; Michaela Wallerstedt (Burke HS,
Omaha, NE), 11th shot put; Erin Donnelly (Barrington HS, Barrington, RI),
22nd in hammer throw; Domenique Manning (JW North HS, Riverside, CA) ,
bronze in the 100m hurdles; Lauren Austin (Young Achievers Sprint Club,
Jacksonville, FL), gold in medley relay; and Gayle Hunter (JW North HS,
Riverside, CA), 6th in the heptathlon.
In addition, three of this years NIC competitors also represented the
at the Pan Am Junior Championships in Bridgetown, Barbados in July. They
are: Ashley Owens ( Liberty HS/Colorado Springs, CO), gold in the 400m
and 4th in the 100m and Carol Rodriquez ( Western HS/Cypress, CA); and
Alandra Sherman (Eisenhower HS/Houston, TX), gold in the 400m relay and
silver in the 100m hurdles. In all 25 of the 48 medals earned by Team
were earned by the womens team.
All these athletes will toe the line in hopes of earning the coveted NIC
champion title. The top six finishers in each event are also named to
American Track and Field Magazine All-American team. The Bill Bowerman
which was created by Nike will be presented to the coaches of the girls’
boy’s mile winners.
2 national records have been broken this season and those competitors
be here to improve upon their records. Ashley Owens (Colorado
Flyers/Liberty, Colorado Springs, Colo.), girls 60m, and, Danielle O’Reilly
(Shawnee HS, Indian Mills, NJ), pole vault are primed for peak
National indoor records in the 4x 400m relay, 4x 1 mile relay, and
medley relay could also be erased in the highly competitive fields.
Meet records also will face an assault. The fields in 60m, 200m, 400m,
mile, 60m hurdles, mile walk, 4x200m, sprint medley relay, 4x 400m relay,
x 800m relay, 4x 1 mile relay, and distance medley relay, pole vault,
triple jump are within striking distance. Thats 15 meet records that
be rewritten in the two days of competition.
Below is an event by event preview with some the top competitors in
Girls 60m dash
Ashley Owens (Colorado Flyers/Liberty, Colorado Springs, Colo.) small
stature belies the pure speed that she has demonstrated on the track.
feet 2 inch spark plug, who draws comparisons to another diminutive
sprinter, Olympian Gail Devers, set the indoor record of 7.19 at the
altitude friendly Simplot Games in February; a mark that eclipsed former
Colorado Flyers and Tony Wells (NSSF Coach of the Year and also Owens
coach) coached Aleisha Latimers (Palmer Colorado Springs, Colo.) 7.22
in 1997. In setting the record, she turned back a star studded field
included Track and Field News 2003 number 2 ranked 100 and 200m runner,
Shalonda Solomon (Poly, Long Beach, CA) and # 3 ranked 100m runner,
Onyepunuka(Peoria HS, Peoria, AZ).
This years NIC field will be equally as tough as the Simplot Games as
All-American, an age group record holder and three of the top short
sprinters attempt to take down the new record holder.
Jessica Onyepunuka (Peoria HS, Peoria, AZ) returns this year to
for the title. Super frosh sprinter Bianca Knight (Ridgeland HS,
MS). Shes ranked #1 in her age group in the 200 and 400 and is #2 in the
100m. Sub 7.0 second peformer, Amberly Nesbitt (J.L. Mann HS, Greenville,
SC) could also be in the running as could Lauren Austin (Young Achievers
Sprint Club, Jacksonville, FL) who posted an early season US leading
7.02 in January.
The meet record of 7.29 set by Alexis Joyce (Washington, Denver, CO) and
frosh record of 7.50 set by Zenobia Reed (Lamar, Houston, TX) both set
1999 will definitely be threatened.
Girls 200m dash
4 of the top 6 200m indoor sprinters are scheduled to compete in another
Sisters, Judith (2nd) and Jessica (4th) Onyepunuka (Peoria HS, Peoria,
are the top returnees from last years NIC final and bring their national
and international experience to the table.
Carol Rodriguez (Woodrow Wilson Classical HS, Long Beach, CA), a
state 100m and 200m finalist who enters with the top time of all the
entrants will be tough to beat. Rodriguez was recently named to Puerto
Ricos Olympic team that will compete in Athens, Greece in August.
Marion Jonesque, Krystin Lacy (Skyline HS, Dallas, TX) has the fastest
of all the entrants with her 23.61 time from outdoors last season( #9
in the nation) and will make a rare appearance undercover. This will be
beginning of what could be a scathing junior track season.
National frosh record holder (24.27), Ebony Collins (Woodrow Wilson
Classical HS, Long Beach, CA), has blazed the indoor season so far and
look to capture her first national championship.
Lauren Austin (Young Achievers Sprint Club, Jacksonville, FL), primarily
400m runner (she won the Florida state 4A state championship as a
has stepped down in distance to post an excellent flat track best of 24.48.
Sub 25 performers Jessica Jones (Maximum Output TC, Detroit, MI),
Smith (James Logan HS, Union City, CA), and Brittani Dudley (James Logan
Union City, CA) will make this one of the deepest fields in NIC history.
Erica Whipples (Palm Beach Lakes, FL) meet record of 23.78 set in 2001
could be challenged.
Faraign Giles (Tallwood HS, Virginia Beach, VA) finished 2nd at last
NIC, but will be challenged by another deep nationally ranked 400m field
sprinters. Krista Simkins (Wissahickon HS, Ambler, PA) indoor best of 55.00
is the best of all the entrants. She also recorded the fastest time, 53.37,
outdoors last year. University of Miami signee, Lauren Austin (Young
Achievers Sprint Club, Jacksonville, FL) ha posted a 55.85 indoors early
this season and has an outdoor best of 53.61; second best of all the
entrants. LSU signee Brooklynn Morris (Eisenhower HS, Houston, TX) will
be one to watch. Ebony Collins (Woodrow Wilson Classical HS, Long Beach,
CA) indoor best of 55.40 is just over one second away from the frosh
record (54.25 1995 Char Foster, Central Catholic, Clearwater, FL).
sensation frosh, 14-year-old Bianca Knight (Ridgeland HS, Ridgeland, MS)
will bring her impressive resume. Though only a frosh, Knight has
claimed 5 state individual titles in two years. She also holds the
age group record in the 200m. She and Collins will be an interesting
match-up to watch for years to come.
The meet record of 53.85 by Leshinda Demus (Wilson, Long Beach, CA) in
may just out of reach, but anything is possible with this field of
Two of the best young 800m talents in the nation are scheduled to square
in the girls 800m.
Sophomore Latavia Thomas (West Catholic HS, Philadelphia, PA) scored the
leader with her 2:08.47. The time broke the state record of legendary,
Gallaghers(Upper Dublin, Ft. Washington, PA) 24 year old state record.
Gallagher, who died of stomach cancer related stroke in 2002, still
the national high school outdoor 800m and 1500m records. She also won
1984 Olympic silver medallist and the 1988 Olympic bronze in the 800m.
Mackenzie Pierce (Forsyth Country Day School, Lewisville, NC), the
fastest outdoor 800m runner last season, was set to test herself against
of the best fields of the season at the adidas Outdoor track and field
championships last June, but an accident days prior to the event left
unable to compete. The 2:06.67 performer last year seems to be back on
this indoor season. She posted the #5 US indoor time in the 500m, 1:14.63
and the #2 time in the 1,000m, 2:53.86, both in the same meet.
NY state champion, Ellen Dougherty (Riverhead HS, Riverhead, NY), will
to challenge if Pierce is leaves any openings.
Russian exchange student, Katya Kostetskaya(Jonesboro, AR), has returned
Russia this year. She set the meet record of 2:09.53 in last years
That could very well go here.
Girls 1 mile
Four of the top milers undercover are scheduled to compete in the girls
Only a soph, Nicole Blood (Kinetic RC, Saratoga Springs, NY) has a
a veteran. She enters with the indoor season best of 4:48.82 that she
running against pro runners at the New Balance Games.
Last years surprise champ, Sarah Bowman (Fauquier HS, Warrenton, VA),
not be able to sneak up on anyone this year. Bowmans indoor best this
season, 4:53.37, is 3 seconds faster than last years best entering NIC.
Shell look to improve upon her 4:49.67 indoor best she set in winning
years title. On a good day, she could possibly challenge the meet record
4:46.42 set by Molly Huddle (Notre Dame, Elmira, NY) in 2002. Dont
her if she falls behind. Bowman roared past the field last year with
tremendous come-from-behind win last year to stake her claim as one of
best middle distance talents in the nation.
Maggie Infeld (Beaumont HS, Cleveland Heights, O H), the Division I Ohio
state champion posted the 11th fastest time outdoors last year. She
6th at NIC and a strong third at the adidas Outdoor track and field
Those marks earned her All-American status and a #5 ranking by Track and
Foot Locker national cross country champion, Katelyn Kaltenbach (Smoky
HS, Aurora, CO), is no slouch when it comes to the shorter distances and
will step down to challenge the top milers.
Sub 5 minute performers Magin Kebert (West Lafayette HS, West Lafayette,
IN), Lauren Centrowitz (Unattached-MD-Broadneck HS, Annapolis, MD),
Sampson (Detroit Cheetah TC, Detroit, MI),Jackie Areson(Pope John Paul
Boca Raton, FL) Lindsay Ferguson (Kinetic RC, Saratoga Springs, NY) and
Solomon (Kinetic RC, Saratoga Springs, NY) may surprise if the top two
Girls 2 mile
In last years race, Nicole Blood (Kinetic RC, Saratoga Springs, NY) used
strong last half to secure her victory. Blood posted the fastest 3000m,
9:46.29, in the country at the NY PSHSAA state indoor meet this past
weekend. That time equates to a 10:33.19 for two miles.
Laura Cummings (Bay Shore TC, Bay Shore, NY) recorded the 18th fastest
in the country outdoors last year. She was 4th at the Foot Locker
Cross Country Championships in 2002.
Bloods teammates, Lindsay Ferguson (Kinetic RC, Saratoga Springs, NY)
Ruby Solomon (Kinetic RC, Saratoga Springs, NY) are the next best in the
Sub 11 runners, Adriene Beltz (Hamburg Area HS, Hamburg, PA), Carmen
(Mercy Academy, Louisville, KY), Beth Fahey (Forest Park HS, Woodbridge,
VA), and Amanda Patterson (Midlothian HS, Midlothian, VA) along with
Locker National Cross Country finalist (17th place), Kate Niehaus (Spring
Valley HS-Girls, Columbia, SC) could also challenge for the top three
Girls 60m H
The nations top 60m indoor hurdler will try and go up against last years
#1 ranked outdoor hurdler in what should be a scintillating final.
Jessica Ohanaja (Westbury HS, Houston, TX) is the only returnee from
years final where she placed 5th place. She enters as the nations best
indoors this year in the 60m hurdles. Alandra Sherman (Eisenhower HS,
Houston, TX) is coming off a splendid outdoor campaign that earned her
and Field News #1 ranking in the 100m hurdles outdoor last season.
and Field News # 4 ranked 100m hurdler, Shantia Moss (Pompano Beach HS,
Pompano Beach, FL) will also be a formidable challenger. IAAF World
Junior 100m LH Bronze medallist, Domenique Manning (JW North HS,
CA) will be trekking across the nation to test herself against the
best. In all, there are 6 entries within a tenth of each other, so this
be a close one.
The national record of 8.33 set by Charmaine Walker, Plainfield, NJ in
and the meet record, 8.36 by Perdita Felicien (Pineridge, Canada) in
within reach of Ohanaja who ran 8.53 in the prelims last year.
4 of the top six jumpers indoors will grace the apron in the girls HJ.
feet 10 inch performers, Inika McPherson (Memorial HS, Port Arthur, TX),
Patience Coleman (Durham Striders TC, Durham, NC), and Chelsea Taylor
(Colorado Flyers, Denver, CO) will be battling all the way with another
performer, Lauren Biscardi (Infant Jesus TC, Centereach, NY), just an
behind. Clean clearances at the lower heights could be the difference in
what should be a very close competition.
The meet record of 6 feet 0 inches by Sheena Gordon(Mc Dowell, Erie, PA)
could go in this hotly contested battle.
Girls Pole Vault
With only three years of pole vaulting behind her and a no height in
years NIC, Danielle O’Reilly (Shawnee HS, Indian Mills, NJ), was able to
top last years #1 vaulter Kira Costas (San Joaquin Memorial, Fresno, Ca)
national indoor record by with her 13 feet 5 inch clearance in February.
After her record, she had the bar raised another inch to 13 feet 6
and nearly made it on her second try. With clearances like that, the
record, 13-01.50 by Samantha Shepard, Weston, MA set in 2002 will most
likely be history. She could also add more to her national record.
Texas state 5A champion Britni Lawrence (Lone Star Pole Vault Club, San
Marcos, TX) had a bill passed in the Texas Legislature recognizing her
state high school record of 12 feet 10 inches. A big time performer, she
could be another over 13 foot barrier.
Girls Long Jump
Multitalented Gayle Hunter (JW North HS, Riverside, CA) has the best
indoors and out of all the entrants. She was ranked 5th in the long jump
Track and Field News in 2003. Hunter placed 6th in the World Youth
heptathlon last year and will be looking to win the LJ competition after
trekking across the country to compete against a formidable field.
Combination jumper Erica McLain (Texas Express T & F Club, Plano, TX)
able to place third at last years NIC prior to her victory in the triple
jump, her best event. Shell again be in the mix.
Tahari Jamess (Branford HS, Branford, CT) mark of 19 feet 9 inch jump to
win the Connecticut open indoor earlier this season was an improvement
stunning 1 foot 9.25 inches over last years performance. Predominantly a
TJer, James continued improvement could surprise the others.
Girls Triple Jump
Track and Field News #1 ranked triple jumper, Erica McLain (Texas
& F Club, Plano, TX) moved into the top ten All-Time with her 43 feet 1
outdoor best last season. Shell try to improve on her indoor meet best
of 41 feet 8.5 inch set last year at NIC. The indoor best of 43-11.50
legendary Juliana Yendork(Walnut, CA) in 1991 may be just out of her
Yendork holds the top eight spots all-time; her 8th best mark is 42 feet
Girls Shot Put
Michaela Wallerstedt (Burke HS, Omaha, NE) finished 4th at last Junes
adidas Outdoor Championships. She had the 19th best throw in the country
last year and has the number one indoor mark, 46-02.5, in the country
Frosh Kamorean Hayes (Harding University HS, Charlotte, NC) could
Collinus Newsome(South, Denver, Co) class mark of 45-07.25 set in 1991.
Junior Anna Weber (Roncalli HS, Indianapolis, IN) is also within one and
half feet of Wallerstedt and should provide a challenge.
Girls Weight Throw
The five top throwers in the nation and three competitors of the top ten
from last years final return to compete for this years final.
Lorna Finn (Throw 1 Deep McEachern HS) has steadily improved over the
two years to become the national leader in the high school weight throw
her indoor throw of 51-11.
Erin Donnelly (Barrington HS, Barrington, RI) finished right behind
6th place finish last year is in within a foot of Finn.
Andrea Kavleski (Liberty Central HS, Liberty, NY) was eighth last year
NIC and should be another over 40 feet as could Jasmine Jennings (Warwick
Vets HS, Warwick, RI).
Girls Indoor Pentathlon
Gayle Hunter (JW North HS, Riverside, CA), Track and Field News #1
outdoor heptathlete earned the honor after her USATF Junior Olympic
Champ win and 6th place a the World Youth champs. The multitalented
hurdler/jumper/sprinter also was an important member California state
runner-up JW North team. Shell be heavily favored.
Tifani Grimes (St. Francis High School, Sacramento, CA) was eighth last
at NIC with her score of 3131. She was the 2003 AAU Youth Heptathlon
Sophomore Carolyn Lewis (Heritage HS, Newport News, VA) will try and
both Grimes and Hunter.
The meet record of 3641 by Diana Pickler(Rowlett, TX) in 2002 could be
Girls Mile Walk
Laura Richenderfer (Penfield HS, Penfield, NY) returns for her final
appearance in the girls mile walk. She enters with a bank track best of
7:01.21 and will be in range to take down the NIC flat track record of
7:07.82 set by Robyn Stevens of Vacaville, CA in 2000.
Last years third placer Erica Adams (Spartanburg HS, Spartanburg, SC)
returns with a shot of breaking her 7:36.43 time from last year. She
provide some competition for Richenderfer early on.
The national record of 7:00.90 by Lisa Dutzing(Port Jefferson) could be
Girls Frosh Mile
2003 Florida 1600m/3200m 1A state champion Hailey Mercer (Team Godspeed,
Atlantis, FL) ran her first race indoors nearly a month ago and posted a
respectable 5:19.06 for the mile distance after only a few weeks of
training. The part-time basketball player has a potent finish that could
give her an advantage over the others.
Sisters Halsey and Ashlyn Sinclair (Unattached-MD-Silver Spring, Silver
Spring, MD) are also hovering in the mid teen range and should be
Kinetic RC, Saratoga Springs, NY teammates Catherine Rossi and Alysha
McElroy should be formidable. Rossi was 17th in last years NIC two mile
with her 11:31.27 time.
Stevie Uribe (Oak Hall School, Gainesville, FL), the Florida 1A 3200m
champ as a 7th grader, has already lowered her 1600m and 800m best to 5:15.3
and 2:17.76 this outdoor season and should be primed to be in the mix.
Girls 4 x 200m relay
This should be a hotly contested battle all the way to the tape as three
national sprint relay powers gather for one of several blazing relays.
Defending NIC champ, James Logan HS(Union City, CA) will be joined in
field by fellow Californians, JW North HS( Riverside, CA). Logan started
the season well setting a Mt. Pleasant Relays meet record of 1:38.15 for
4x200m this past Saturday, March 6.
Last years third place team, Bethel, VA, is two seconds better than last
year and should be in the mix. At the Virginia Tech high school indoor
invite, they posted a quick 1:39.82 on the bank friendly track.
Texas Dallas Skyline(2nd in 4x 200m 2004 5A state champs, AOC Champs and
Track and Field News #2 ranked 4x 200m team outdoors) and Houston
Westbury(3rd in 4x 200m 2004 5A state champs and Track and Field News #3
ranked 4x 200m team outdoors), will bring their teams eastward to race
the rare undercover confines.
The meet record of 1:40.04 set by Wilson(Long Beach, CA) in 1999 was
eclipsed last year by Logans 1:40.35. This one could go down with so
fast teams going for the title.
Girls 4x 400m Relay
Another loaded field that includes 3 of the top ten fastest relay teams
last outdoor season.
James Logan HS(Union City, CA), Bethel, VA, Skyline( Dallas, TX), and
Westbury( Houston, TX) will butt heads once more in this relay.
Westbury got the best of Skyline with their 2nd place finish at the 2004 5A Texas state meet, but Skyline ended up with the third fastest time in
the nation outdoors, 3:38.35, with the Adidas Outdoor championship win.
Skylines win earned them Track and Field News #3 ranking 4x 400m team
outdoors. Again, all these teams are close. Wilsons (Long Beach, CA) meet best of 3:45.35 set in 1999 may just be
within reach of either of these teams.
Girls 4 x 800m
Several tightly bunched teams could push each other to a new meet record. At the Pennsylvania state champs, Hatboro-Horsham HS, Hatboro, PA was able to just beat Gwynedd Mercy Academy, PA. The times, 9:11.48 and 9:13.26 were the 2nd and 3rd fastest times in the nation. The two will square off once more at NIC. Defending NIC champs and Track and Field News #4 ranked 4x 800m team outdoors, North Kent Running Club (Rockford, MI) lost only one from last years team. They are led by senior Nikki Bohnsack who ran superb a superb anchor last year. The meet record of 9:11.82 by Boys and Girls(Brooklyn, NY) could go down here also.
Last year, Nicole Blood anchored Kinetic RC(Saratoga Springs, NY) to a
splendid time of 20:24.37. That just missed Rockford, MIs national
indoor record of 20:23.24. Nicole Blood and her formidable team that includes two other teammates under five minutes will make another attempt at the record. Blood, an important cog for them will have to do yeomans work as she is entered in the mile and two mile. With so many record possibilities, she may have to decide which one shell go after.
Girls 1600m Sprint Medley
Another talented filed will have their sights set on the meet record.
Last years third place team, Bethel, VA, returns to improve their stock. AOC champs, West Catholic HS (Philadelphia, PA) won two relay titles at
the Pennsylvania state championship and could be the fastest in the field.
FW Ballou(Washington, DC), Beaumont HS (Cleveland Heights, OH) will also have teams that can compete for the title. Wilson(Long Beach, CA) meet record time of 3:59.62 set in 2002 could be
Kinetic RC (Saratoga Springs, NY) just missed the national record by 0.65
with their early season time of 11:49.99 . Another attempt could put
them past the national indoor record of 11:49.34 set by Red Bank Regionals (Little Silver, NJ) in 2002. The defending champs and meet record holders, North Kent Running Club (Rockford, MI), are also scheduled to compete and return all but one from last years team. Detroit Cheetah TC (Detroit, MI) could also vie for top place honors. Rockford, MIs meet record of 8:56.87 will definitely be in jeopardy.
Girls 4 x 55m Shuttle Hurdle Relay
Two the nations best hurdling teams will go head to head in this unique
and entertaining event. Palm Beach Lakes HS (West Palm Beach, FL), always a power in the hurdles, was third last years NIC. The Hammer Track Club enters with the best time. JW North( Riverside, CA) were named Track and Field News special recognition All-Americans for their 4x 100m shuttle LH relay national record performance last year. Woodrow Wilson should provide the competition. The national and meet record of 32.02 set by Palm Beach Lakes (West Palm Beach, FL) is a tough one to beat.
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