NIKE Indoor Champs to Feature Some the Best

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    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

    staged at

    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.

    The 5

    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

    time of

    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


    flight field.

    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.

    Girls 400m

    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


    Girls 800m

    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

    resume of

    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

    Field News.

    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

    1999 is

    within reach of Ohanaja who ran 8.53 in the prelims last year.

    Girls HJ

    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

    by a

    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

    Express T

    & 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

    set by

    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

    5-1/2 inches.

    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


    indoor season.

    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

    runner-up, too.

    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.

    Girls 4xMile

    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


    Girls DMR

    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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