Ashlie Decker and Dowling Catholic High School (IA) teammate Katie Flood have the opportunity this weekend to be one of the greatest duos ever from the same school in meet history at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships. Decker and Flood are both past Foot Locker finalists, but will be racing for the first time together at Balboa Park. Decker has ran in the shadows often of teammate and NXN champion Flood often, but is certainly a star runner in her own right with the ability to finish among the top 10 in a talented field assembled for Saturday's national championship race.
After "choking" at the Illinois State Meet with an eighth place finish in his own words, Fenwick High School senior Martin Grady has done nothing but perform in the post-season as he became part of a select few individuals who qualified for both Nike Cross Nationals and Foot Locker Nationals. Grady gained valuable national race experience last weekend with his 20th place finish at NXN, which he will use in a quick second opportunity to race against the nation's best on Saturday in San Diego for the Foot Locker Nationals.
Emily Sisson returns to San Diego this weekend for her fourth consecutive Foot Locker Nationals berth as she looks to wrap up her fantastic high school career with a strong showing in her final race at Balboa Park. After a sensational third place debut as a freshmen, Sisson had struggled in her last two trips to Foot Locker finals finishing outside of the top 20. Overcoming a diagnosis of Graves disease (overactivity of the thyroid gland) last year, Sisson has bounced back to top form as shown with her Nike Outdoor Nationals 5K victory last June and strong cross country this season fall including most recently a runner-up finish at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional. She joins an elite and small club of four-time Foot Locker Finalist, but looks to do more than just appear in a fourth straight national race. She wants to compete with the best and become an All-American once again.
Winning a Foot Locker Nationals cross country title on Saturday would not be that big of a deal for Sandburg (IL) sophomore Lukas Verzbicas. After all, Verzbicas has already the title of World Champion this fall when he claimed the World Dualthon Junior title in late September. The young distance running phenom has followed a much different path to San Diego than all of the other 39 boys qualifiers, but there is no disputing the results as Verzbicas enters as the Midwest Regional champion and one of the race favorites along with NXN individual champion Craig Lutz of Texas. The only thing which kept Verzbicas from racing Lutz and the other top ranked harriers in Portland last weekend were a few nagging injuries which slowed him down from a course record attempt in the Illinois State Meet and withdrawing from competing in the NXN Midwest Regional. Healthy now, Verzbicas is ready to storm through Balboa Park (40% chance of showers on race day) similar to his jaw dropping 14:18 high school national record indoor 5K performance as a freshmen last March at Nike Indoor.
Megan Goethals will enter next weekend's Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships as one of a few strong race favorites coming off her decisive win at the Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The senior from Rochester High School in Michigan is the top returnee from last year's race with her third place run at Balboa Park in 2008 and is the #1 ranked in the country by MileSplit US with one of the fastest 5K performances in the season with her 16:54 course record breaking performance at Michigan State Meet earlier this month. One of her top competitors will be Foot Locker South regional champion Chelsey Sveinsson of Texas, who Goethals beat out for third place in last year's Foot Locker finals and then took two second place finishes in the mile and two mile at Nike Outdoor Nationals last June. Brandon Miles of MileSplit US interview Goethals as she prepares for the national race.
The first of the two national high school cross country championship races were held this past weekend in Portland, Oregon with the Nike Cross Nationals. The boys' race certainly featured many of the nation's best battling it out to the wire, while the girls' race was missing the unofficial "Big 3" in Megan Goethals (MI), Chelsey Sveinsson (TX), and Aisling Cuffe (NY) but stellar depth was found in both races as Foot Locker finalists, All-Americans, and state champions were found deep into the field.
With her seventh place finish at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional, Winnebago Lutheran Academy senior Marya Haegler became the first female national qualifier from the state of Wisconsin since Jackie Mulrooney qualified for the Foot Locker finals in 2001. Haegler's biggest role model happens to be one of the all-time greats to ever come out of the state in Suzy Favor Hamilton, while her beginning in running started in grade school when her grandfather timed her in a loop around the block.
Race footage from the 2009 Foot Locker Midwest Regional Boys Seeded Race.
Post-Race Interview with Maksim Korolev of Harrisonville, Missouri after he placed 15th at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional. Maksim was the 3A Missouri State Champion.
Post-Race Interview with Diane Robison of Parkway Central High School (St. Louis, MO) after her 6th Place performance at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional. This is Diane's second time qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals.
The Parkway Central Duo does it again! Diane Robison and Emily Sisson qualify for Footlocker Nationals for the second straight year.
Walter Schafer breaks the finish line for second place at Foot Locker Midwest. Photo courtesy of PhotoRun.net.
Colby Alexander, a senior from Strongsville, qualified for the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals by finishing seventh at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Cross Country Championship in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The top 10 finishers qualify to run at the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals.
David Everett previews the Footlocker Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday.
David Everett previews Saturday's Foolocker Midwest Regional in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Photo courtesy John Olson, SCRUNNERS
Course of the the Foot Locker Midwest XC course in Kenosha, Wisconsin
Photo by PFFlyer
Foot Locker announced today, that Saucony, Inc., has become the official sponsor for the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships (FLCCC), the nation’s premier high school championships for cross country runners.