New Balance Nationals
is a meet unlike any other - it
garners more season best marks and
national records than any other meet
in the country. It's ultimately a
celebration of athletics,
with a big emphasis
This year, The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory will play host to New Balance Nationals Indoor 2014 from Friday, March 14, through Sunday, March 16. What can we expect from the three-day Championship? A whole lot of fun—and, of course, a fair share of fast times.
The Armory has proved to be one of the fastest indoor track and field venues in all of America. In 2012, more than 40 records were broken, including three national marks in the Boys 4x55m Shuttle Hurdle Relay, Girls 5000m, and the Pentathlon. This year, more are likely to fall.
That's just part of what makes New Balance Nationals special. Half the fun is away from the oval! Get your picture taken at the photobooth, print your own at the Instagram station, or relax in the All-American lounge. Make sure to show off your backpack, pick up some swag, and bust a move on the dance floor. You may just find yourself next to 2013 World Championships silver medalist Jenny Simpson—last year she led the Harlem Shake!
Of course, the major highlight of New Balance Nationals is the awe-inspiring performances on the track and in the field. More than three thousand of the nation's best prep athletes will come together in the Big Apple to compete over the course of three days. Will you be there?
Since 2011, the clear standouts have been New Jersey and New York; both have won by far the most titles of any state - 27 and 21, respectively. Their string of success could be attributed to both states' familiarity with the friendly, fast confines of the New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory. Many New York and New Jersey schools compete at The Armory all season long.
If you combined New York and New Jersey's titles, you'd have 48 national championships. That's more than the amount awarded at each year's New Balance Nationals Indoor meeting: 46. The breakdown looks like this - 4 sprinting events, 4 distance events, 6 field events, 7 relays, 1 multi-event and 1 race-walking event are held at NB Nationals each year for both girls and boys.
Curious about your state's performance? Select where you're from and see how many titles your state has racked up
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
- Washington DC
multi-event / race walk
New Balance Nationals
Indoor meet records
Over the years, some spectacular New Balance Nationals meet records have been set at The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory. Last year alone, three national records and nine meet records were broken on the track and in the field. Which meet records are you gunning for this year? Of note, Union Catholic (New Jersey) and Elise Cranny (Colorado) are set to return this year, hoping to lower their meet records from 2013.
Pentathlon at a Glance
The Pentathlon is a true test of an athlete's abilities—both mental and physical. This grueling test is made up of five disciplines: the 60 meter hurdles, shot put, long jump, high jump, and the 800 meters (girls) or 1000 meters (boys). Over the years, New Balance Nationals has played host to some of the greatest multi-event athletes to compete in track and field, and 2014 will be no different.
Each pentathlete completes one event at the same time. There is then a 30-minute break until the next event. For each athlete's performance, a point value is given based on the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) scoring standard. For example, a boy's 60 meter hurdle time of 7.90 seconds would score 589 points. A girl's high jump of 5 feet, 11.50 inches would earn 1,003 points.
Did You Know: The word Pentathlon is Greek and comes from combining the words pente- (five) and -athlon (competition). The first pentathlon was part of the Ancient Olympic Games inGreece.
Keys to Success
It's simple: to succeed in the Pentathlon you have to be a well-rounded athlete. Speed, tenacity, and endurance are the three key attributes an athlete needs to do well in the event. The ability to persevere through hours of competition helps a pentathlete stand out among the competition.
Several past champions have also made one of the five contested events their specialty. Last year's boys winner was a state champion hurdler while the girl's winner was once the national high jump champion. In addition to winning their Pentathlon national titles last year, both placed second in the open 60 meter hurdles. Being able to excel at one of the five specialties helps immensely when scoring points.
Each of the past three years have seen the pentathlon reach new heights at New Balance Nationals. Here's a list of winning scores since 2011.
2011 - 4307 (National and Meet Record)
2012 - 3855
2013 - 3890
2011 - 3792
2012 - 3740
2013 - 4068 (National and Meet Record)
A Virtual Tour
The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory is one of the fastest and most famous indoor facilities in the world. Here's a virtual tour of the stadium that hosts New Balance Nationals Indoor, and many more meets throughout the winter months.
The New Balance
Track & Field Center at
The Armory is a 60,000-square-foot
arena that hosts more than 100 meets a year, including New Balance Nationals,
the New Balance Games,
and the Millrose Games.
of 2004, the National
Track & Field Hall of Fame
opened at The Armory. Thousands have experienced the many exhibits, which includes
an interactive touch screen with Olympic champions and many pieces of
the National Track & Field
Hall of Fame at The Armory are
many pieces of vintage Team
USA gear, including shoes,
floor replica of the 26.2-mile
New York City Marathon course
highlights one floor of
one exhibit at the
National Track & Field
Hall of Fame at The Armory
are trophies and singlets
from many historic
stairways of the New Balance
‘Track & Field Center at The Armory
are plaques signifying all the records set
on the track and in the field at
Just off the
The Armory's track, a
wall details each of the
Don't forget to
stop by the New Balance
store meters from
A brand new,
super fast Mondo track
surface was installed at The Armory
shortly before the 2013-2014
winter season began.
a bad seat in the
house at The
Above the track
are pictures of athletes who
have made excellent happen
at The Armory, including
members of Team
space for the pole vault,
high jump, long, and triple jump
to be held on The Armory's
Behind the scenes
Faces of New Balance Nationals and The Armory
It takes a village behind the scenes to make New Balance Nationals the best indoor track and field meet of the year. From the people who process your team's registration and announce each race to the people who design the meet swag and open the Armory's doors, there's a team of professionals and volunteers that bring the NBN vision to life. Meet a few faces that you may (or may not!) see at this year's competition:
THE NEW BALANCE GUY
Kevin is the man whose vision is what you see at New Balance Nationals. From start to finish, Kevin helps make the meet the best in the country.
Can you describe your duties leading up to and at New Balance Nationals?
I'm the liaison between New Balance and everyone else: the NSAF [National Scholastic Athletics Federation], The Armory, the external vendors, the apparel team, pretty much everyone that has a hand in the meet at one point has talked to me in regards of their job/duties. Leading up, we have numerous meetings with our digital agency to see what we want to bring to the table this year; those meetings are usually the longest and hardest, as every year it gets harder and harder to "wow" the athletes.
These meetings include what we are doing leading up to Nationals, during Nationals and after Nationals. Then I usually have a few interactions with our backpack vendor to make sure the designs are submitted and the factory is ok with our timelines.
Then I take care of the promotional items around Nationals such as the sunglasses, stickers, posters. Pretty much anything that is given away for free, I usually have to design and order. I work with The Armory to discuss layouts, and what we want to do this year in terms of activations.
Usually I have a hand in approving the apparel art boards (once in a while I have an idea!) for all of the merchandise that is sold on site as well as the award tees and All-American apparel. Finally I look at presentation of the meet, whether its signage, awards area, etc. Once all that is designed, from credentials to the podium, I have to make sure it's all implemented and the correct people are dealing with what needs to get done. I am missing a ton here, but it's such a blur, it comes and goes!
What's the best part of doing your job at New Balance Nationals?
Well it's the best and it's the worst, but I feel like the key holder to the kingdom. I feel like I have the freedom to do what I want and make sure things are being implemented the way I want, but at the same time, if something goes wrong I am the first guy who is contacted! I try to get feedback from the athletes and parents - it only helps us to get better.
Hardest part of your job at New Balance Nationals?
Everything... everything has to be better than the year before. The athletes have the highest expectations for this event, and being so young, one bad experience with the brand could completely turn them off to it in the future. I feel like I can make or break a future customer with things as simple as waiting in line too long for their backpack.
What makes New Balance Nationals special for you?
I love it; it's one of the few things that you can actually see being born each year, and dying after the weekend. The excitement, and build up for the whole year is so great that it's just insane to see it all live and in front of you, it all comes down to one event. We plan all year for 3 days, it's an incredible feeling.
Do you have a favorite memory from NBN?
My favorite memory would have to be seeing all the social buzz and reactions on site to the backpack indoor last year. I felt it was really wild and something these kids would've never expected NB to produce. It was very well received, and I was stoked, just reminded me that each year we will have to top it!
Do you have any funny stories from working at New Balance Nationals?
Asking Jenny to participate in the Harlem Shake at NBN Indoor 2013 was pretty funny, as I didn't think she would be interested in it at all nor did I think she would have a clue what it was. As soon as I asked her she lit up and loved the idea. I would say that would have to be one of the more memorable NBN videos of all time.
The best high school performance you've ever seen at NBN was _______ (fill in the blank)
Wesley Frazier's triple champion weekend at 2013 NBN Outdoors.
Voice of the armory
Ian Brooks has been calling the action and presenting awards at The Armory for years. He's the one you see on the infield in brightly colored pants, captivating you with both his British accent and knowledge of the sport.
How did you get into announcing?
Gosh it was a long time ago, in the mid-70s. I was at a track in North London and it was the British 10 kilometer [Race] Walk Championships. I was a fellow competitor but I wasn't competing that day, and there was a microphone there. And since I knew everybody, I thought 'Why don't I do this?' Before I knew where I was I was announcing Race Walking Internationals in Great Britain between West Germany and Great Britain, and then I was doing the World Race Walking Cup in '79.
What's the best part of announcing at New Balance Nationals?
The best part is being an awards announcer, you get to interact with the high school students right there as they are going up onto the awards podium. I really like that; you get to know the youngsters that way. By then you've followed their careers, and if this is the high point of their career then it's really nice to be able to say 'well done' before they go onto the podium. It's an absolute joy. You can see the joy on their faces when they realize they've placed in the top six in the nation and made All-American. It's wonderful to be down their with them.
Is there something that makes New Balance Nationals and The Armory special for you?
Well it's the fastest indoor track in the world, and you get the best high school athletes there. It's a tremendous atmosphere, seating is around 4,000, and the athletes are very close to the action.
Being at The Armory, which is in essence the home of indoor track in the United States, it makes for a great, great atmosphere.
Is there a trick to keeping your voice going throughout the long meet? Some announcers swear by tea or lozenges. Do you have anything special you use?
I have no tricks or special drinks! I know that's unusual. I have lots of lozenges in my home and I buy them for this sort of reason, and I end up never taking them. Very rarely have I lost my voice, I can only recall once in the last five years.
Do you have a favorite memory or race that sticks out to you from New Balance Nationals or The Armory?
I think the mind gets a blur to be honest with all the great races. If you asked me what the greatest event I've ever announced at The Armory, it was Alan Webb's sub-four minute mile, the first indoor ever [by a high schooler] and still is. That was at the New Balance Games.
How do you chose which colorful outfit to sport at The Armory?
If I'm announcing away from home, obviously the choice is limited. If I'm working at home and going to The Armory, it's much easier because I have my various color pants at home. Then it's just an emotional decision. Although people like Jenny Simpson and Sara Hall always like me to wear my fuchsia pink pants. What I've found interesting is in the past couple of years I have tried to go to meets as a normal human being with a more conservative dress, and I've been sort of verbally accosted by parents - of all people - who say 'Ah! We've come to see what color pants you're wearing!' I've been in hotels and parents have come up to me and said 'you're the guy who wears colored pants but you didn't wear them today!' You kind of have to give the public what they want to some degree.
What's the biggest piece of advice you could give a want-to-be track and field announcer?
First I think you have to be a student of the sport to really be, for want of a better word, a good announcer. You have to know the details, the history, and you have to find a way to communicate that history without being over-statistical minded to the audience. I think in today's world you have to embrace the audience, lure them into the action. You somehow have to draw the crowd in to what's happening. You can tell too much information and you can tell too little, but the successful announcers are the ones who understand the event and have the ability to lure the audience into the action, creating a sort of ambiance that is special.
The queen of swag
Ali is the brains behind the brilliant merchandise booth at New Balance Nationals. She helps design the t-shirts, perfect the products, and makes sure everyone's experience is unforgettable.
Can you describe your duties at New Balance Nationals?
We start about a year out looking at future in-line product and placing a buy for the right styles and colors that we think will work at New Balance Nationals. We then determine our "theme" for the weekend- glow in the dark, reflectivity, tartan prints, Falcon, etc. Once we get that theme, we work off the colors and start to design logos for the apparel. I usually take the race logo and tweak it a little to make it work on apparel. Then we send off the apparel and CAD's [Computer-Aided Design] that show logo placements to our printer about 2 months before the event.
As for tees, we do a lot of research on what is going on in the Track & Field and High School world. One year, neons were crazy, the next it was tie-dye, and last year it was glow in the dark. We take this feedback and work it into our briefs to our t-shirt graphic designers. We work with those designers to get the design perfect and off to the printer for production. NBN is our largest selling event for event t-shirts- some years we sell up to 3,000 tees!
What's the hottest thing sold at New Balance Nationals?
T-shirts are the most popular commemorative piece. But the first thing to sell out is always the jacket. Depending on whether it's a hoodie, a $45 jacket or a $125 jacket, those sell out first. We love including fun accessories like backpacks, beanies and phone cases. Those always are well received as well.
How many t-shirts do you think are sold at an NBN meet?
Anywhere from 3,000-4,000. We've only had one year where we sold out of every.single.tee. Whoa.
Any crazy fun stories from the Merchandise booth?
Not a merch story, but my favorite: Our team gets pretty competitive in the office. I'm surrounded by fast runners that work with me, but I don't let them forget I was a runner too, and I ran in the Colorado State Championships as a 100m Hurdler. But I kept getting flak from my co-worker, Patrick, who didn't believe I could still do it. My manager decided to take it to the track at NBN Indoor in 2011. Patrick and I raced a 60m hurdle race during warm ups. I won. It was awesome. Kids were chanting my name and telling me congratulations in the merchandise booth all day.
At NBN Outdoor 2012, some generous runners taught our entire staff how to Wobble. The rest of the weekend, we Wobbled in the booth. We ran out of product to sell, so our booth turned into the DJ dance floor!
We've had numerous birthdays while at NBN, which is always fun. We do our best to embarrass them throughout the day- singing, asking runners to wish them happy birthday, and taking any birthday advice for them. Of course complete with cupcakes in the booth.
We got Jenny Simpson to play Just Dance with some staff and high school runners in the All American Room at Indoor 2012. And, of course, it's always so fun to see the NBN-first timers buying their NBN product to remember their first time at Nationals!
What makes New Balance Nationals special for you?
We get to have fun. I'm not sitting in a cube in the office- I am out at the track, watching some really fast kids run. I get to stand on the infield and see the excitement in the runners' eyes as their first NBN medal is placed around their neck on the podium, I get to dance the Wobble, write on a wall with a permanent marker and lay on a jump mat while I watch the Steeple Chase.
It brings me back to my High School running days: laying on jump mats to watch a race, wearing tie-dye headbands, playing video games and sweating in the hot sun. I'm 26-years-old and for those 2 weeks out of the year, I get to hang out with High School runners and act like one, too.
Do you have a favorite memory from NBN?
Every NBN is so special to me. The team we have that comes in to work the event is amazing. They work their asses off- we all come in at 7am and don't leave until 9pm- sometimes we don't even have time for lunch. We're constantly moving, engaging with runners and cheering on the races. We learn so much from each event- seeing what kids are interested in and the excitement in their eyes as soon as they walk into the track. Many times, we all come home tired and sunburned, but it's so worth it- the fun and camaraderie we have those 3-4 days is irreplaceable.
That, and, well.. beating Patrick Tomasiewicz in the 60m hurdle race.