Tyson Gay surprises sprinter Levonte Whitfield in person with ‘Golden Ticket’
NEW YORK (April 25, 2012)—Levonte Whitfield, one of the top high school sprinters in the country, was invited on Wednesday to compete in the Dream 100 at the adidas Grand Prix on June 9 by superstar Tyson Gay, who arrived unannounced at Whitfield’s track practice with a “Golden Ticket” to the event.
Whitfield, a junior and two-sport star at Jones High School in Orlando, Fla., returns to the Dream 100 as the 2011 2A Florida State Champion at 100 meters, and shared the #1 ranking in the U.S. for the 2012 indoor season at 60 meters with a time of 6.71 seconds.
In its eighth year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix, at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, will feature dozens of Olympic medalists and World Champions, including Yohan Blake, the reigning 100-meter World Champion, and David Rudisha, the 800-meter World Record-holder, who will be making his U.S. debut. The adidas Grand Prix will again be the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit and is part of the Visa Championships Series. Tickets are now available by calling 1-877-849-8722.
Gay, the American Record-holder at 100 meters and second-fastest man in history, surprised Whitfield and the entire Jones High School team in Orlando, Fla. It was the first time that a professional athlete has hand-delivered an invitation to the Dream 100 or Dream Mile. The 2007 World Champion in the 100 meters, 200 meters and 4x100-meter relay, Gay also addressed the team, wishing them luck in their upcoming state championship meet this weekend.
Among the athletes Whitfield will face is rising Jamaican star Jazeel Murphy, the two-time Under-20 Carifta Games gold medalist at 100 meters. A student-athlete at Bridgeport High School in St. Catherine, Jamaica, Murphy has a personal best of 10.27. Also on the line will be the previously announced Marvin Bracy, who is Whitfield’s cousin.
In the Girls’ Dream 100, Shayla Sanders, Tianna Valentine and Aaliyah Brown are the first athletes to be announced.
Sanders, a senior from Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., is the top female high school sprinter in the country at the moment, ranked #1 at both 100 meters (11.33) and 200 meters (23.25) after finishing the indoor season undefeated and tops in the nation at 60 meters. She returns to the Dream 100 after a fifth-place finish in 2011, and will compete for the University of Florida next year.
Valentine, a senior from St. Louis, Mo., is the Kansas Relays champion and the Missouri Class 4 State Champion at 100 meters. She was fourth in the 2011 Dream 100, and will compete next year for the University of Kansas. Brown, a junior from Frankfort, Ill., has the #2 wind-legal time in the U.S. this season for 100 meters, 11.48, and is a two-time Illinois State Champion.
Six athletes, meanwhile, have been added to the Dream Mile. Headlining the boys’ side is Brad Nye, a senior from Kaysville, Utah. Nye is currently ranked #1 in the U.S. at the mile thanks to a 4:08.80 victory at the Arcadia Invitational earlier this month, and is #2 at 1500 meters. Nye was undefeated indoors, winning a national title in the mile and finishing the season with the #2 time in the U.S. at 1600 meters.
Challenging him will be two other top-ranked athletes: Bernie Montoya and Futsum Zeinasellassie. Montoya, a junior from Yuma, Ariz., is ranked #1 at both 1600 meters (4:07.72) and 3000 meters (8:18.81), and is the defending Arizona State Champion in cross country as well as 1600 meters and 3200 meters. Zeinasellassie, a senior from Indianapolis, is the 2011 Gatorade National Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year and a three-time Indiana State Champion in cross country and at 3200 meters. His recent U.S. #1 time of 8:47.45 for 3200 meters broke a 37-year-old Indiana high school record. He is planning to attend Northern Arizona.
Marcus Dickson, a senior from Buckley, Wash., will also be a threat. The 2011 Washington 2A State Champion at both 800 meters and 1600 meters is currently ranked #2 in the U.S. (4:09.01) in the mile and #4 at both 800 meters and 1500 meters. He is committed to attend Brigham Young University in the fall.
For the girls, Wesley Frazier, Erin Finn and Nikki Hiltz join the Dream Mile field.
Frazier, a junior from Raleigh, N.C., is the top-ranked 1600-meter runner in the nation, with a time of 4:45:82. In 2011, she won the U.S. high school nationals outdoors at both the mile and 5000 meters, while finishing third at two miles. Frazier ended the 2011 outdoor season #1 at 5000 meters (16:24) and is a five-time North Carolina State Champion.
Finn, a junior from West Bloomfield, Mich., broke the U.S. high school record for 5000 meters indoors when she won the national title this season in 16:19.69. Finn, who holds a 4.0 grade-point average, was also runner-up at the 2011 Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships. Hiltz, a junior from Aptos, Calif., finished fourth at 1500 meters at U.S. junior nationals last year, and is currently ranked #2 in the nation at 1600 meters (4:47.64).
Fields for the Dream Mile and Dream 100 will be drawn from the winners of three qualifying meets in the adidas Golden Stripes series, as well as from at-large bids. The first meet, the adidas Meet of Champions, was held on March 24, followed by the Kansas Relays in Lawrence, Kan., April 19-21. Next up is the Golden South Classic in Orlando, Fla., on May 26. In addition to the opportunity to compete in a world-class international track event, athletes in the Dream Mile and Dream 100 will also have the chance to receive coaching from mile legend Jim Ryun.
All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the adidas Grand Prix can be found at adidasgrandprix.com, the event’s pages on Facebook at facebook.com/
For even more coverage on the Dream Mile and Dream 100, visit adidasgoldenstripes.com.