Students step into Nike shoe design competition

Ashley Attanucci
Web Manager

“Boom Boom Pow” playing loudly, students gathered shaking to Dance Central, iMacs and giveaways on stage during lunch— if you noticed the unusual “pep rally” during lunch the week of Monday, Feb. 21, you should know it was the act of none than Nike Inc.

As part of an exclusive, mobile tour across the U.S., Nike sent two tour managers, a van and hundreds of pairs of shoes to Coppell High School in recognition of our track team to help raise team spirit for their first meet and held a school-wide shoe-designing contest.

Students gathered in the commons during their lunch the week of Feb. 21 to design a pair of Nike shoes to be entered into a competition; the winners, sophomores Shane Gothman and Jodi Palmer received a complimentary pair of the shoe they designed. Photo by Lexus DeLoach

iMacs were provided on stage at all three lunches for one week where students were able to design their own Nike shoe on and submit it to be judged by a committee at the Nike headquarters in Portland, Oregon. Two winners were to be chosen out of hundreds of submissions, one for best overall design and the other for best school spirit. The winners, sophomores Jodi Palmer and Shane Gothman, respectively, won a pair of the shoe they designed as a prize.

The tour managers also made sure to cater to the runners while on tour, offering services like personal gait analysis using a treadmill, camera and computer to determine what type of shoe would best fit the athlete’s running style.

“We set up a treadmill and TV in front and a camera behind to capture the runners footfall and record it,” tour manager Babs Powell said. “Depending on how their foot landed, we determined what type of support in a shoe a person needs. We try to educate the team about what the appropriate shoe is.”

Athletes were also encouraged to try on different Nike styles, which were available in all sizes, for use during practice and training, made available with the Nike Running Van’s supply of hundreds of styles.

“It’s really good kids are really excited about having them come up here. The tour managers ran in college, they were 800-meters runners, so it’s good for them to see people who were in the same shoes and helps get them excited too,” cross-country and track coach Roxanne Farris said. “It’s a good experience for us as coaches to have outside people recognize what we’re doing. It’s a pretty positive all-around experience for both the coaches and the kids.”

Both Farris and Powell agree that a common goal is to elevate the sport of running, especially in a state like Texas where football gets most of the hype.

“This year we’re here all week with the track team to elevate the sport and give the team a little bit of a treat,” Powell said. “We want to be supportive of the meet this Saturday; Coppell has an extraordinary cross-country and track program that has stand-out athletes.”

Tour managers Powell and Dan Darcy, who both have a heavy background with running, even participated with the track and cross-country practices each morning and after school.

The Nike Running Van, filled with hundreds of trail shoes for CHS's track and cross country team, remained parked at the campus during the day while Nike tour managers accompanied students and athletes. Photo by Rowan Khazendar

“Running is a difficult thing to pick up,” Powell said. “It’s painful. The fact of the matter is, it’s an acquired taste, [it’s] like coffee— once you start drinking it, you can’t live without it; if you go too long without running you’re going to get crabby. It’s going to get to a point where you’re going to feel better and your body gets better with it.”

Mornings and afternoons of fartlek surge workouts, distance runs of four miles and sprints are some of the exercises the managers participated in with the team.
The track team’s first meet of the season proved to be a successful one.