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Posted: January 5, 2009  :

Athletics: Local Athletes Set National Pace At Colgate Women's Games Second Prelim

Five Colgate Games' Alumni Competed in Beijing Raising Count of Former Olympians to 22

(Jan. 2-4) Pratt Institute. Brooklyn, NY - Whitney Fountain of Pelham Prep High School in the Bronx, scored an impressive double win at Friday's second preliminary meet of the Colgate Women's Games. Fountain won both the 55 Meters (6.9 seconds) and the 200 Meters (24.9); Nijgia Snapp of New Jersey's Oakcrest High School finished first in the 400 Meters (56.6); and Philadelphia's Elyse Wilkinson of William Penn Charter School took the 800 Meters in 2:18. Meet officials say these performances set a fast pace for high school track stars across the nation this indoor season.

Outstanding performances occur with such frequency at the competition, now celebrating its thirty-fifth anniversary, that many call the Colgate Women's Games an incubator for champion athletic talent.

"We're seeing great performances so early in the series, there's no telling where some of these athletes might go from here," said Meet Director Fred Thompson. "There's certainly no limit to what they can achieve. This past summer, five more of our Colgate Women's Games veterans competed in the Olympic Summer Games in Beijing."

Beijing's Olympic contingent* brings the total number of Games' alumni who have become Olympians to twenty-two. "We're pretty sure no other organization has produced results anywhere like that," Thompson mused.

"World champion talent doesn't develop overnight," says Thompson. "Most top High School competitors start to develop their skills from elementary school and make their mark in Middle School."

On Saturday, the Mid School competition was equally impressive. Deajah Stevens traveled all the way from Longfellow Middle School in Virginia to score a double win in both the 200 and 400 Meters, winning both in 25.7 and 60.0 seconds, respectively. In an unusual situation, Junior Olympic champion, Njaire McCoy of Englewood, NJ finished first in the shot put event with a toss of 9.87 Meters, and cleared 4'10" in the High Jump. Colgate Games officials say this marked the first time a participant competed in, and won both the shot put and high jump competition.

The Colgate Women's Games attract more than 11,000 participants each year who compete within their own age/grade division: Elementary A, Elementary B, Middle School, High School, College/Open and 30's Plus.

Finalists will compete for trophies and educational grants-in-aid from Colgate-Palmolive Company at Madison Square Garden on Saturday January 31, 2009. Follow results weekly at

* Natasha Hastings, Fatmata Fofanah, Tiandra Ponteen and Virgil Hall are recent former Games athletes who competed in the 2008 Olympics. Hastings brought home an Olympic Gold Medal for her performance in the women's 4x4 relay.

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