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Three Former IESA Athletes Qualify for Beijing Olympics

Former IESA Standout Christin Wurth-Thomas Qualifies For Women's Olympic 1,500-Meter Race

BLOOMINGTON - Congratulations to former IESA standout middle distance runner Christin Wurth-Thomas who will represent the United States of America in the 1,500-meter run in upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China (August 8-24).

The 27-year-old runner from Bloomington-Normal finished third in the 1,500-meter run finals at Eugene, Ore, in the U. S. Olympic Trials with a time of 4:08.20. Her all-time best in the event is 4:04.88 and that ranks her as No. 9 in the world in the event heading into the Olympics.

As a seventh grade student in 1994 at Normal Chiddix Junior High School, Christin won the IESA 7AA state title in the 800-meter run in a time of 2:24.23. In the fall of her 8th grade year, she placed 2nd in the IESA cross-country finals. In the spring of 1995, in the 8AA IESA State Track and Field Meet, she won the 800 in a time of 2:22.07 and also captured the 1,600-meter title with a winning time of 5:14.08.

After graduating from Chiddix, she attended Bloomington High School and was a three-time IHSA state champion in the 800, and as a sophomore in 1997 she also took third in the 1,600 in a time of 5:06.67. Christin won the 800 in 1997 in 2:12.87, won the 800 in 1998 in 2:12.15 and won the 800 in 1999 in 2:12.93.

After high school she was a standout member of the University of Arkansas women's track and field team before becoming a runner in the Nike stable in recent years.

Her first competition in the 2008 Beijing Olympics is scheduled for Tuesday, August 19. If she advances, the semifinals are set for Thursday, August 21. The finals in the women's 1,500-meter run are set for Saturday, August 23.


Jorge Torres Qualifies For The Men's Olympic 10,000-Meter Race

BLOOMINGTON - Congratulations to Jorge Torres, one of the best, if not the best, IESA cross-country and track athlete in our history, who will represent the United States of America in the 10,000-meter run in upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China (August 8-24).

The 27-year-old runner from Prospect Heights MacArthur Middle School and Wheeling High School, finished third in the 10,000-meter run finals July 4 at Eugene, Ore, in the U.S. Olympic Trials. He ran the distance race in 27 minutes, 46.33 seconds. Kudos are also given to brother Eduardo who finished 11th in the race in a time of 28 minutes, 35.91 seconds.

Jorge Torres is a legend in IESA running history and went on to have tremendous success at the IHSA level as well.

In cross-country, he won the IESA Class AA boys race as a seventh grader in 10:44 and then blistered the Maxwell Park course in eighth grade to win in the all-time record time of 9:52, a mark that still stands today. Torres is the only runner to ever break the 10 minute barrier for the 3200 meter distance. He is the only three-time cross-country individual state champion in IHSA boys history, winning the title for Wheeling as a sophomore in 14:29, as a junior in 14:15, and as a senior in 14:00.

On the track, for Prospect Heights MacArthur, his best time in the 800-meter run was 2:04.58 and his best time in the 1600-meter run was 4:33.26, both in the 1995 Class 8AA meet. At that time, both were IESA all-time records. In 1993, he won the 7th grade 1600 in 4:57.12 while competing as a sixth grader; the 7th grade 800 in 2:09.30 in 1994 while competing as a 7th grader; and the 7th grade 1600 in 4:32.78 as a seventh grader before setting records in these two events as an 8th grader in 1995.

The men's 10,000-meter run at the Olympic Games will be conducted Sunday, August 17.

The IESA salutes Jorge Torres and we hope that in some small way, running at our level helped to inspire him to his Olympic dream.


Ogonna Nnamani Named To Olympic Volleyball Team A Second Time

BLOOMINGTON - Congratulations to Ogonna Nnamani, one of the best female athletes in IESA history, who will represent the United States of America for the second time as a member of the women's indoor volleyball team in the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China (August 8-24).

Nnamani's first Olympics was in 2004 when the U.S. women lost to Brazil in the quarterfinals in Greece. The last time the USA medaled in the Olympics was with the bronze in 1992 at Barcelona.

Her athletic career began at Normal Metcalf, where she played competitive volleyball for the first time ever. In the 1996-97 school year she was an eighth grader and played on her school's basketball and volleyball teams. The Metcalf girls basketball team that took an 18-0 record into the quarterfinals of the IESA Class 8A state tournament and lost to eventual runner-up Carthage, 53-28. Ogonna scored 3 points. Then she was on the Metcalf girls volleyball team that finished with a 14-2 record after losing 15-8, 9-15, 4-15 to eventual runner-up Mt. Pulaski in the quarterfinals of the IESA Class 8A state tournament.

Ogonna went on to have tremendous success at the IHSA level. She was a 14-year-old, 5-foot 11 freshman on the Normal (University) team that lost in the quarterfinals of the 1997 IHSA Class A state volleyball tournament. The next year U-High finished fourth and she was a 6-1 hitting sensation. In her junior and senior year, Normal (University) was IHSA Class A state champion, going 37-5 in 1999 and 41-1 in 2000.

After high school, Nnamani had a sensational career at Stanford University, where she was a four-time All-American, became the school's all-time leader in kills and graduated in 2005. When she made the 2004 women's Olympic indoor team, she was only the second collegian ever to do so. Ogonna was named Collegiate Women's Athlete of the Year in 2004-05.

The 2008 USA indoor volleyball team begins pool play in the Beijing Olympics Aug. 9 vs. Japan. Then there will be pool play matches against Cuba (Aug. 11), Venezuela (Aug. 13), China (Aug. 15) and Poland (Aug. 17). The final rounds are scheduled Aug. 23-24.

The IESA salutes Ogonna Nnamani and we hope that in some small way, learning the game at our level helped to inspire her to fulfill her Olympic dream.



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