The new race series will have a national kick-off in San Francisco on September 8th in Golden Gate Park and will be promoted as the Great Race of the Great Bay. Two weeks later in Charlotte, the majority of the top national ranked teams will face off in the Great American Championship. The festival will close in New York's Van Cortlandt Park on September 29 with the Great Big Apple Challenge. Many of the nation's most elite individuals have been invited and will face each other in the seeded race.
"Each of the three locations will have teams from all regions of the country," stated Meet Director, Rick Hill. "This new format will better showcase the full breath of American high school running by allowing teams who could not ordinarily travel to Charlotte to participate in the Great American experience."
" We expect around 12 states to be represented in San Francisco," said Hill. "We hope this is going to be a low key event since it so early in the season. While the leading regional teams and in-state rivals will actually be placed in different races, the presence of several major national powerhouse teams will create an exciting opening event."
At press time the Charlotte race appears to be exploding with team entries up 40% over last year. When the registration process is completed in May, teams from as many 38 states will be invited, including many emerging national class programs, making their first trip to Great American.
"There are many new teams coming to Great American for reasons other than our Saturday night dance. They want to run with the traditional powers committed to Charlotte", Hill stated in a press release to fastPREPS.com. This year's all star line-up will include past participants; Saratoga Springs (NY), Bingham (UT), Mountain View (UT), Flathead (MT), Bowman (ND), Campbell County (WY), Manchester Central (NH), Long Beach Poly (CA), The Woodlands (TX) and Kingwood (TX).
On the girls' side, new teams include North Kingston (RI), Concord (NH) and Desert Vista (AZ) and they will face perhaps the best ever line-up of teams. In the boys' Race of Champions, new comers include Kearney (NE), Buchanan (CA), LaSalle (OH), and Jesuit (OR).
The New York race will have teams from approximately 14 states. The majority of the top teams from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will see a lot of new faces from the west including California, Oregon and Washington. Most importantly, many teams from the south will make their first trip to the New York, including North Carolina State Champs, North Mecklenburg and a strong group of teams from Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. The highlight of the Big Apple Challenge will be the seeded invitational with numerous potential individual All-Americans already in the line-up, including the top runners from the South.
A total of 55 races will be conducted between the three cities and entries as of March 26, 2001 included over 600 teams from 40 states. Meet managers project a final count to include 7000 runners and over 100 state championship teams.
Teams may still enter Great American by registering on line at www.Great AmericanSports.com or calling meet director Rick Hill at 704-752-1887, before May 15, 2001.