Cross Country Season Set To Begin

The 2004 cross country season opens this Saturday. Blue Ridge High School is hosting its Annual Tiger Trials two-mile. event. Prior to the 21st Annual Eye Opener kicking off the regular season on Sept 4, the Cavalier Classic is taking place at Sesquicentennial State Park in Columbia on Aug 21.

On Sept. 11 runners from South Carolina will get a view of the state championship course at the SCTCCCA Coaches Classic meet on the grounds of Fort Jackson. The State Championship is set for Nov. 6 at Fort Jackson.

The Southern Conference Collegiate Championships is coming to Furman University, home of the 1999 and 2001 NCAA D-I Nationals on Oct. 30. Winthrop University is hosting the Big South Championships on Oct. 30. Due to construction at Eastside High School the 2004 A/AA/AAA Upper State Championships may also take place at Furman on Oct. 30. Other collegiate meets include the USC Invitational and the College of Charleston Invitational on Sept. 3. Clemson University is hosting their invitational meet on Sept. 18. The Clemson meet is open to high school and college athletes.

Winthrop University is hosting a meet for high school and college athletes on Sept. 25, the same day as the Wendy's Invitational at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, home of the Footlocker South competition.

The Great American Festival will take place in Cary, NC from Oct. 1 and 2. College action takes place on the first and the high school runners will take to the line on the second.

The 2004 NCAA Championships is taking place on Nov. 22 in Terra Haute, Ind.

New to high school cross-country this year is Nike Team Nationals. Nike released this news on March 12, stating that the new national high school team cross-country championships will be held in Dec. in Portland, OR. The post season meet will involved 20 boys and 20 girls teams, with more than 300 runners from all areas of the country (Nike press release).

Nike's youth running manager Josh Rowe founded the Nike Team Nationals. "The Nike Team Nationals will motivate hundreds, if not thousands, of runners nationwide to seek new levels of excellence year-round," said Rowe in the Nike release on March 12. "We at Nike also hope to foster values of teamwork that are important to young runners on and off the course."

The 2004 5,000-meter course will take place at Portland Meadows, a horse racing track. The course, according to will feature man-made hills in an enclosed stadium with seating for 4,000 spectators.

The championship event will be sanctioned by the USATF. Teams will compete as USATF affiliated clubs with Nike providing team racing uniforms.

According to a article teams will be chosen based on regional rankings by Marc Bloom, publisher of The Harrier Magazine. Invitations to the meet will be awarded to teams following their state meet. The top two boys teams and top two girls teams from each of the eight regions, plus four at-large selections each for boys and girls will make up the field.

The NTN regions consist of: Northeast, Southeast, South, Midwest, Heartland, Southwest, Northwest and California.

A look back to 2003:
In the first meet of the season Dorman rising sophomore Stephanie Buffo took the Eye Opener girl's title in 19:18.97 with Wren's Sunday Ford closely behind in 19:21.71. In the boy's race Dorman alumnus Ryan Jank captured the title in 16:23.15. Jank will be attending UNC-Charlotte this fall. Coming in second, also an alumnus was Aiken's Jake Morris. Chris Harding, a rising senior at Spartanburg is next in line to win the title with a third place finish in the 2003 meet. Harding has a database personal best of 16:17.79.

In her second season of cross country Kate Niehaus, a rising junior at Spring Valley set a new state meet best of 17:36.81. Niehaus held the previous record of 17:52.9 since 2002. In 2002 and 2003 Niehaus qualified for Footlocker Nationals. In 2003 joining Niehaus at Footlocker Nationals was Angelina Blackmon, now a Northwestern alumna heading for NC State.

  • 2004 South Carolina Cross Country Schedule

  • Other News: On Aug. 15 Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training will host a a free seminar on Training for Cross-Country. The Aug. 15 seminar starts at 4 p.m. in the lecture hall of the Herman W. Lay Physical Activities Center (P.A.C.) at Furman University. The seminar will also take place on Aug. 16 at 7 p.m. in the same location.

    The 2004 Olympic Opening Ceremonies will air on NBC tonight at 8 p.m. Monique Hennagan (Spring Valley) HS will compete in the 400 at the Olympics. Shawn Crawford (Fort Mill) HS will compete in the 100 and 200 at the Games.