words // Luis Sanchez
adidas gets back on the track this year with the return of their Golden Stripes Track Series for the second year in a row.
The heavily followed track series by adidas brings together some of the nation’s top high school track, cross-country and multi-sport athletes for a chance to compete for an invitation to this year’s adidas Grand Prix on June 9th in New York.
Eastbay recently sat down with the adidas team to hear all about this year’s much anticipated Golden Stripes Track Series.
Eastbay: Can you tell us a little bit about the history behind adidas Golden Stripes track & field series, and how long they’ve been going on?
adidas: The adidas Golden Stripes track and field series stemmed from the adidas high school Dream Mile, which first took place in June of 2010 at the adidas Grand Pix. The Dream Mile was created to give the top fourteen high school boys and girls from across the country an opportunity to compete against each other and rewrite the record books. The boy’s race is designed to break 4:00 (which it achieved in 2011 when Lukas Verzbicas became the 5th high school boy to do so) and the girl’s race is designed to break the national record. Based on the massive success of the first Dream Mile, the Golden Stripes Series was created in 2011 to give athletes a chance to compete for a spot on the starting line. When the Golden Stripes Series was created, we decided to add a sprint component in the Dream 100, which also takes place at the adidas Grand Prix and contains the top nine 100m sprinters in the country. This year, we’ll kick off the third annual Golden Stripes Series. The 2013 Grand Prix will take place May 25.
Eastbay: Who are some of the top athletes we can expect at this year’s meet?
adidas: There are two athletes that have automatic bids into the Dream Mile and Dream 100 because they are the defending champions – Bernie Montoya in the mile and LeVonte Whitfield in the 100. From there, the fields will be filled via automatic qualifiers from the regional meets and at-large qualifiers. The at-large qualifiers are selected based on several criteria including, but not limited to, PR’s, quality of wins and performance at national caliber meets.
The regional meets will be filled with some of the best talent in the country. Because the meets are open to any high school kids, we can’t give a specific list of athletes that will participate.
800M world record holder and Olympic gold medalist David Rudisha will return to New York to race for the second straight year at the adidas Grand Prix. Also scheduled to compete in the Diamond League meet are Olympic pole vault gold medalist Jenn Suhr and American 100-meter record holder Tyson Gay.
Eastbay: What are some of the competitions held at the adidas Golden Stripes series?
adidas: The adidas Golden Stripes series consists of three regional races (Meet of Champions in Los Angeles, Kansas Relays at the University of Kansas and the Golden South Classic in Orlando, Florida) and the Dream Mile and 100 and the adidas Grand Prix. The three regional meets are national caliber high school track meets that contain all of the events that a regular track meet contains, but with an added emphasis on the mile and 100m dash. The adidas Grand Prix is part of the IAAF Diamond League and consists of a variety of events featuring the best professional track and field athletes in the world in addition to the Dream Mile and 100m.
Eastbay: How are competitors selected for the Golden Stripes series?
adidas: The fields for the Dream Mile and Dream 100 are filled in one of three ways. If an athlete is a defending champion, they get an automatic bid into the competition. If an athlete wins one of the three regional meets and has the appropriate qualifying time, they can earn a spot. From there, the fields are filled out with at-large bids based on several criteria. The regional meets are open to all high school track and field athletes.
Eastbay: Anything special we should expect as part of this year’s Golden Stripes meet?
adidas: The boy’s mile could potentially feature three athletes that have legitimate shots at breaking four minutes in the mile and will be headlined by 2011 champion Bernie Montoya.
The boy’s 100m field will be headlined by 2011 defending champion LeVonte “Kermit” Whitfield, cousin of 2010 champion Marvin Bracy.
Flotrack will share series highlights including race previews, recaps and athlete profiles at http://www.flotrack.org/adidasgoldenstripes/.