The third Nike Elite Camp will bring together 20 top high school cross country runners and the program includes an exhibition mile that will be held on June 29 at Hayward Field.
As a stipulation mandated by NCAA rules, the shoe-company sponsored event has to include a competition. The past two years, the runners were entered in a low-key 5K road race near Nike's corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.
The elite high school exhibition mile is one of several additional races that will be conducted during the Olympic Trials (June 21-July 1). Another race slated for the 28th, for instance, is a 100-meter dash for six U.S. military personnel who have sustained injuries, organized by the U.S. Olympic Committee Paralympic Military Program. There will also be a Special Olympics exhibition 100 that day.
The Nike Elite Camp is set to convene on June 26 and the athletes will get to watch some of the Olympic Trials in person as well on the 28th and 29th. The camp concludes on June 30.
Jacob Burcham, who won the New Balance Nationals Outdoor mile on Saturday, is one of the athletes who was selected by Nike. He said the mile would be a low-stress event and that he wasn't planning on doing any extra training for it.
However, Andrew Haberkorn of Nike said that while there is no pressure on the athletes to treat the race as a championship-type event, he expects that when they walk onto the track and Hayward Field in front of thousands of spectators that competitive instincts will kick in.
The girls race is slated for 2:35 p.m. on June 29, with the boys going 10 minutes later. The exhibition mile races precede the national anthem and that day's main session of Trials competition.
According to information posted on NikeEliteCamp.com, the 10 boys invited to this year's camp are: Burcham (Ona, W.V.), Cody Brazeal (Clovis, Calif.), Josh Brickell (Suwanee, Ga.), Andrew Gardner (Spokane, Wash.), Blake Haney (Bakersfield, Calif.), Jake Leingang (Bismarck, N.D.), Ben Malone (Hillsdale, N.J.), Sean McGorty (Chantilly, Va.), Bernie Montoya (Yuma, Ariz.) and Nick Ryan (Manlius, N.Y.).
The girls selected for camp are: Alexa Efraimson (Camas, Wash.), Jillian Fanning (Manlius, N.Y.), Erin Finn (West Bloomfield, Mich.), Wesley Frazier (Raleigh, N.C.), Dominique Hiltz (Aptos, Calif.), Katie Knight (Spokane, Wash.), twins Haley and Hannah Meier (Grosse Point, Mich.) and Amy-Eloise Neale (Snohomish, Wash.).
The camp has become one of the attractions on what has become a year-long circuit of national events hosted by shoe companies. In addition to Nike's Nike Cross Nationals, Foot Locker (Saucony), Brooks PR Invite, New Balance Nationals Indoor/Outdoor and the adidas Dream 100/Mile are now part of a calendar designed to fete and market to top high school runners.