The 2009 Jesse Owens Classic will be the continuation of what has become a traditional mid-season matchup for teams in Alabama and Mississippi while on most occasions bringing in teams from other states as well. Many of Alabama's teams come looking to use the meet as a measuring stick for the state meet course before late season workouts turn from distance to speed.
The girls teams expected to show up this season are led by Mountain Brook, who despite losing their #1 and #3 runners from last year, are still averaging 20:26 as a team, and only separated by 1:42 between first and fifth runner. Other Alabama teams expecting strong showings are Auburn, Scottsboro, and St. Pauls. Freshman Carmen Carlos (US #82) of McGill-Toolen who currently holds the fastest time (18:27 - Mobile Challenge of Champions) in the state is expected to compete Saturday alongside her team in the Gold Division. AlabamaRunners has it on good authority she is feeling and looking good and ready to compete this weekend.
The boys Gold Division race could be called the "Gunfight at the J.O. Corral." In what is shaping up to be an out of town Birmingham area shootout, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Vestavia, and Oak Mountain will be going head to head. First man to fifth, these four teams are the top ranked in the state. No word yet on whether current AL #1 Blaise Binns of Grissom (15:44) is expected to run, however should he enter, Max Holman (US #25) of Tupelo HS, MS who has run 15:19 and 15:46 this season should provide a good race.
With a high of 71 and no rain expected Saturday, athletes and spectators alike should have fantastic conditions for a meet. Races get kicked off at 9a.m. CST.
Current women's 20k National Champion, New Balance team member, and UGA alum Jen Steffens will be attending the race and will be signing autographs in the New Balance/First Place tent on site. Athletes, coaches, and visitors alike are welcome and encouraged to ask questions as she will be accessible to all.
Current Meet Record Holders:
Jenifer Dunn, Austin HS, AL - 17:54, 2006
Ben Hubbers, McEachern HS, GA - 14:58, 2006
A Full Entry List and Virtual Meet of the Gold Division will be following soon.