Fresh off of his "fly and die" win at Nike SW regionals 2 weeks ago, Wade Meddles (Sr., NV, pictured left) and his coach thought it would be a great idea to try it again at the Foot Locker West Regionals on Saturday. "I just wanted to go out fast and see how far it would take me," said Meddles after the race.
After a disappointing 11th place finish at the Foot Locker Regional race in 2008, Meddles could think of nothing else but getting back to Mt. Sac and qualifying for Nationals. Meddles looked like a runner on a mission as he took an early lead in the race and held onto it until the final 200 meters.
Brian Shrader (Sr., AZ, pictured right) had a little bit of a different approach. "It's about getting into the top ten and getting to the National meet," said Shrader with a smile. "We only have one week of break so we have to take it as easy as possible or as comfortable as possible to get through."
Shrader settled into the race in second place near the one mile mark and stayed about 5 seconds behind Meddles. At the two mile mark he started feeling some of the other runners pressing the pace but stayed with his plan to run an easy race and make the top ten but as he was heading down reservoir hill he started catching up to Meddles and as the two of them entered the track toward the finish they were dead even. "My competitive instincts kicked in," said Shrader as he pushed past Meddles and headed for the finish line for the win.
Shrader finished the race in 15:25 earning him his second trip to Foot Locker Nationals. Meddles finished four seconds behind in second place (15:29) followed by Idaho senior Cody Helbling (15:32) who will also be making his second trip to Nationals. Next was Matthew McElroy (CA, 15:32), Shane Moskowitz, (WA, 15:37) taking a second trip to Nationals, Conner Peloquin (WA, 15:38), Steve Magnuson (AZ, 15:40) also taking a second trip to Natioanls, Billy Orman (AZ, 15:40), Pablo Rosales (CA, 15:47) and Kurt Ruegg (CA, 15:50).
Molly Grabill (Jr., CA, pictured left) ended her cross country season early last year and not by choice. The flu had sidelined her and her chances of qualifying for Nationals. This year the San Diego runner is stronger than ever finishing the season undefeated. Grabill has been challenged several times by Foot Locker finalist Megan Morgan (Sr., CA, pictured below right). Both girls are strong competitors and again finished within seconds of each other in todays regional meet.
Grabill took the lead quickly and held it, winning the race in 17:55 with Morgan (who is heading back to Foot Locker Nationals for a second time) four seconds behind in second place (17:59). The two girls were followed by Karlie Garcia (CA, 18:02), Theresa Devine (CA, 18:05), Jessica Tonn (CA, 18:07, pictured left) who qualified for her fourth Foot Locker Nationals and is only the 19th runner in the 31 year history of Foot Locker to do so, Liberty Miller (CA, 18:10), Maddie Meyers (WA, 18:23), Julie Nacouzi, (CA 18:24), Alaina Alvarez, (CA, 18:25) and Jacque Taylor (CA, 18:29) who is returning to Foot Locker Nationals for her second time.