A lot has happened since I last wrote here. Lukas Verzbicas dominated Footlocker on his way to becoming the first ever sophomore champion. Megen Goethals edged Chelsey Sveinsson in a great race to the finish. The week before, at NXN, Craig Lutz out sprinted Joe Rosa and Elias Geydon for the boys title. Texas showed up big as Boerne and The Woodlands were 1st and 3rd on the boys side. Catherine Flood took the girls title while Fayetville Manlius ran away with the team title. The final honors of the season, Gatorade XC runner of the year, went to Verzbicas and Goethals. Nice start for Illinois as they have 2 of the first 3 boys winners in Chris Derrick and Lukas.
The college indoor season is in full speed with no lack of excitement here. German Fernandez has returned and appears to be getting healthier after a sub-par XC season. He finished 3rd (only with him would people be disappointed with that ) in the 3000 at the UW Husky invite with a 7:51.02. Earlier, his coach Dave Smith said German had been suffering from an iron deficiency.
The University of Oregon has retooled fast. Olympian Andrew Wheating has returned after a long layoff and teamed with prized frosh Elijah Greer to post marks of 1:46.36 and 1:47.33 in the 800. The other prized frosh in the U of O stable have made their mark quickly with Mac Fleet blazing a 3:57.70 mile and Jordan Hasay posting marks of 4:38.48 (mile) and 9:12.25 (3000).
It's worth noting that former Eastwood and current Baylor star Jessica Ubanyionwu is currently ranked 9th in the country with 43"1.75 triple jump at the Tyson Invite. That is good for a NCAA provisional standard, hopefully it will hold or she will add a couple more inches. Also with a NCAA provisional standard is former Montwood and current Texas A & M runner Christina Munoz. 16:37.37 is the provisional mark she posted for the 5000 meter run. If anyone knows of any other ex-El Pasoan's with NCAA qualifying marks, please let me know.
On the prep level, a current mark that is very worth noting is the early season state leading 800 time of 1:56.00 by Danny Tarango of El Paso Burges. A great time for mid-February from this young sophomore. Wow. I can't wait to see what he (along with El Paso Austin's Ramon Garcia) gets down to by May, much less by May 2012.
Now to some disappointing news. The IHSA (the Illinois equivalent of the UIL) will deny waivers to athletes wanting to compete at Nike Indoor Nationals. Apparently since the meet is not conducted by the USATF (the governing body of USA Track and Field) it does not meet the criteria for IHSA to grant waivers. Illinois athletes will still be able to compete in Nike Outdoor Nationals as it is conducted after the IHSA Track season is over. Still, this is a huge blow to the national caliber athletes here in Illinois. Remember, it was Nike Indoor last year that served as the coming out party for Lukas Verzbicas. Now, this may not affect Lukas , as he has stated he will bypass the regular track season to get back to his triathlon season, but others such as Manfrin, Farleigh, etc. will have to choose between running here or competing for a state title later. This is a very bad policy that will hopefully be reevaluated later. Fortunately Footlocker/NXN and Nike Outdoor/Midwest Distance Gala fall after the respective seasons.
Now, for more sad news out of Illinois. Budget cuts have made it so that all lower level (assistants, etc) Track coaches in the Chicago Public Schools will no longer be paid. This will leave one coach per gender. Chicago city schools were starting to make strides back as evidenced by Morgan Park and Whitney Young. Lavinia Jurkiewicz (Whitney Young) just became the first CPS student to win the state championship in cross country.
Much more on these issues can be found here.
One last remark about cross country. I have been trying to help my good friend Mike McLain compile a list of early results from District (El Paso related), Regional and State meets going back to the very early 1970's. It is still a work in progress but we are getting the blanks filled in. Hopefully this will be the place that people looking for old results from El Paso will go straight to.
Go to the site and look through the District, Regional or State results, and keep checking back.
I'll be back soon.