Leading off today:
Make no mistake about the current state of high school athletics. Even the "non-revenue" sports are big business, with major brands battling each other for any possible advantage.
Milesplit reported over the weekend that Foot Locker tried to gauge the interest of North Rockland sophomore Katelyn Tuohy in running at their national championships next weekend in San Diego, offering a free pass into the event even though she did not race in the regionals.
Tuohy and coach Brian Diglio opted for the Nike Cross Nationals route, where she capped a perfect cross country season with another course record Saturday in Portland, Ore.
The Foot Locker competition started under the Kinney label in 1979. Nike Cross Nationals are a relative newcomer, having made a 2004 debut but growing rapidly in stature with the money and marketing muscle of the sports shoes and apparel company.
With much of the 2017 training and race schedule geared toward winning at NXN, Diglio and Tuohy declined the late offer from Foot Locker. Indeed, look for Tuohy to all but disappear from any rigorous indoor track competition until after the holidays, at which time she'll be able to focus on qualifying for the more prestigious scholastic events.
As noted by Milesplit, it remains "more pressing than ever for Foot Locker Nationals to change up its qualifying procedures" to stay in the hunt for attracting top talents even though the opportunity to run in Southern California in December should in itself be overwhelmingly appealing.
Pursuing Tuohy certainly made sense. But as Milesplit pointed out, Foot Locker erred by not handing out invitations to at least half a dozen others who raced at NXN and might have been interested in competing in both of the national meets.
More cross country: A health issue alluded to immediately after the Fayetteville-Manlius girls defended the NXN title turned out to be even more serious than originally reported.
Milesplit reported that two Hornets competitors came down sick leading up to the race, and a look at data from recent races indicates that may have shaved somewhere between 10 and 15 points off the winning margin in what coach Bill Aris termed the "greatest and most heroic performance in all of program history."
Milesplit reported Sophie Ryan was hit by food poisoning on Thursday and was in the hospital as of up until 1 a.m. Saturday morning for intravenous fluid treatment.
On top of that, Rebecca Walters became sick on Wednesday, leading to an ugly development two minutes into Saturday's race.
"Rebecca threw up and continued racing," Aris told the website. "This sounds rather disgusting, but that's the way it was."