Kurgatt, Parrish Represent Florida At NCRunners Elite Holiday Invitational

Our friends at NCRunners have worked hard to put together an incredible field for their Elite Holiday Invitational at the JDL Fast Track in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Two Floridians, Stefanie Kurgatt and Deja Parrish were invited to the event which takes place December 28th and 29th, with the elite races set for Saturday.

Kurgatt, a senior at Maclay, is one of the top middle distance runners in the state. as an eighth grader and won the open 800 that year. She then defended her 800 meter crown in 2010, 2011, and 2012 to give her four rings in that event. She also was the 1600 meter champion in 2012.
On the cross country course, Kurgatt has two top five finishes including fourth place in 2009 and runner-up finish in 2011. She sat out her senior year due to an injury and is making her return to running at the NC Runners Elite Holiday Invitational. Although she has been training for several weeks, this will be the first meet she has competed in since New Balance Outdoor Nationals in June where she ran 2:11.59 for 800 meters. The Georgetown committ says she has seen the JDL once before and is excited for the experience.
"It is an honor to be selected to run in the meet and I am very excited to have the opportunity to race some of the top girls. Also, the JDL track is just amazing. I got to tour it with Coach Hunt during my Wake visit."
One of those top girls Kurgatt will be going head to head against in the Elite Mile is Wesley Frazier. Frazier is one of the best distance runners to come through North Carolina and one of the top in the country. At New Balance Outdoor Nationals, Frazier won the two mile, finished seconds in the mile, and htird in the 5000 meter run. This cross country season she won the Nike Cross Nationals Southeast Regional. She has a personal best time of 4:42.78 for one mile while Kurgatt owns times of 4:49.62 for 1600 meters and 5:12.23 for one mile. Kurgatt says no matter the outcome it will be a great race.
"Wesley Frazier is an outstanding runner. I have never gotten to race against her maybe except Footlocker South so I am very excited. For me I feel that it is very important to race against the top in the nation in order to establish yourself as on of the top also. All iin all I am very excited to be on the starting line with with the future Duke Blue Devil! It's exciting because I know we will be meeting each other many more times at the collegiate level."

This race is a chance for Kurgatt to get back into racing mode and get her rhythm back. Her game plan is to simply have fun and put on a show for family and friends that reside in the Tarheel State. 

"Coming into this meet my goals mainly is to run a smart race and have fun with it. Coach and I know what I am capable of so just staying relaxed is key for me. Also, to get used to racing on an indoor track because I'll be having a lot of that in college. It's nice the meet is in NC, allowing my dad and brother to come watch since they haven't been able to attended that many races in Florida. So hopefully I can do them proud."

Representing the Sunshine State in the sprints is Deja Parrish. The quarter-miler from Plantation American Heritage will toe the line with one of North Carolina's top quarter milers Layla White of Cary. Parrish, one of the top juniors in Florida has placed second in the 400 meters the past two seasons, and finished fourth in the event as an 8th grader. Parrish says when she was invited and her and her mother found about the meet there was no doubt they would be in attendance.

"It's exciting. I'm always excited to do indoor meets since Florida doesn't really have an indoor season."

The lone Florida indoor meet is the Jimmy Carnes Youth Meet held at the end of January. So for many Florida athletes out of state meets provide an opportunity to face off against top competition from around the country. Parrish says her goal coming in to the NCRunners Elite Holiday Invitational is," to do her absolute best and nothing less."

She will compete in Jimmy Carnes and then the prestigous Brooks PR Invitational February 24th in Seattle which she was recently invited.

The meet provides a great experience for Florida athletes to test their skills on an indoor track and the top talent from the Tarheel State and around the south. It should be a great meet with some great times!

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