The Kelly Chronicles


The Road To Footlocker Nationals



No REALLY..........I am on the road!  For the next 16 days I will be driving around the state of California meeting new people and covering three exciting cross country races.........the California Cross Country State Meet, Footlocker West and Footlocker Nationals.


It all started this morning at 4:30 AM in Phoenix, Arizona.  I can't believe people actually get up at that hour!  Today I was not alone.  As I prepared for my 9 1/2 hour drive to Fresno, many others were hitting the stores for Black Friday.


After saying goodbye to my husband, my 6 year old Yorkie and my 2 year old Mini Pinscher, I was ready for my new adventure and headed out.


An hour into my drive I thought I saw lightening up ahead or was it a light, it was photo radar and those little cameras were flashing two or three times a second.  Good thing I was still half asleep and driving slow.   


As I approached the California border it looked like a cloud dropped out of the sky and landed right on the California side.  We don't see much fog in Arizona  but I recognized it from the 23 years of living in the Bay Area.  I use to love watching the fog roll in.


Nine and a half hours of varying weather patterns, beautiful scenery, colorful leaves and California dreaming, I pulled into Woodward Park in Fresno.  Athletes, parents, coaches, vendors, volunteers and fans were scattered over the 300 acre park.  I wandered around taking in the scenes unfolding before me.  Teams moved together as one as they stretched, laughed, chatted and ran.  


I met the Woodcrest Christian Girls Team (Div 5, Pictured above) outside the rest room.  The seven girls running in the 1:20 PM race are Lauren Aycock (JR), Amber Collier (JR), Breean Collier (FR), Meagan Smedley (JR), Lexie Vukov (JR), Andie Banuelos (SR) and Jessica Thompson (SR).    The girls posed for a photo before warming up and heading out to the course.  As one of the favorites in Division 5 they were very excited about the upcoming event.


On the other side of the restroom, stretching in a group, were the girls of Torrey Pines (Div 1, pictured above).  Ashlyn Dadkhah (FR), Rachel Hiraoka (FR), Soffe Watson (FR), Megan Morgan (JR), Ali Billmeyer (SO), Erin Gillingham (SR) and Alyssa Zafuta (SR) make up the Varsity Team and will be racing at 9:30 AM.


After a few more group photos (Monte Vista boys, pictured above) I met up with my California family (Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother-in-law) and we headed for the course.  Thirty minutes later we were in the car in search of our Hotel.  The Hotel was 25 miles away in Madera, and being so far from Woodward Park we thought we would be tucked away from everyone but to our delight the Hotel became a bustling metropolis of cross country runners and everyone associated with the sport.


In the Lobby we ran into Head-Royce (Division 5, pictured above).  The varsity boys team of Nick Wong (FR), Mercer Cook (JR), Walker Holden (JR), Takumi Murayama (JR), Cole Ashcraft (SR), Alex Freiberg (SR) and Hugh Green (SR) will be running at 11:45 AM and Savannah Ryder (FR) will race at 1:20 PM.


Dinner was great as we appeared to be in the center of "Athlete Carbo Loading."  


Two runners from Gridley (Div 4) and their coach (pictured above) sat on one side of us and about twenty five Madera South (Div 3) members including runners, coaches and parents sat on the other side.



Anthony Caratachea (JR) from Gridley will race at 12:50 PM and Alisha Brown (JR, pictured above in white) from Madera South will race at 12:15.  Racing for the Madera South Varsity Boys Team (pictured above with their three coaches and two alternates) are Seferino Hernandez (FR), Juan Navia (FR), Angel Flores (SO), Isaiah Lorenzo (SO), Chris Brown (SR), Alfonso Castillo (SR) and Alex Guzman (SR).


Good luck to all tomorrow ..............see you on the course!