With the recent passing of his best friend weighing heavily on his mind, Knoxville West star Matthew Sonnenfeldt persevered to capture the most meaningful of state titles.
The 30th anniversay of the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships expects to be a thriller with favorites, wildcards, and past champions in the field. This is the first year that the meet has had to seriously compete for the recruitment of the nation's best athletes for its event with the Nike Cross Nationals adding individual qualifiers to its meet format. There were be several top national harriers either missing or racing on tired legs with a second straight race on the West Coast this weekend after competing in Portland last Saturday for NXN. Many of the nation's best are still coming to Balboa Park as the history of this meet and the title of being a Foot Locker Finalist still holds great significance and pride to the vast majority of high school runners.
With the second full week of the cross country season complete and in the books, many of the top athletes around the country have now had a chance to compete in some sort of competition. Each week we'll rank the top 12 athletes in each region, and now things start to get exciting as the big meets start to crank up with the season swinging into full gear.
(12/13/2008: Balboa Park, San Diego, CA) The National Championships have arrived, California provides a preview of what to expect and his pre-race favorites. With the past three Footlocker Girls Champions in attendance and the top boys gone from a year ago, this years final is shaping up to be stellar.
WATCH LIVE ON MILESPLIT!!! Coming to you from the course Milesplit's own Jason Byrne, Don Rich, Fran McLaughlin, and Margot Kelly bring unparallelled live onsite coverage.
To hear Trevor Dunbar tell it, Solomon Haile slithered away gracefully. There was no great move, no defining surge, no decisive burst. It was simply a methodical sharpening of the pace that, before those with him noticed, turned into an insurmountable margin.
Catch all of the action from the 30th Foot Locker Cross Country Championships live right here on MileSplit. Live coverage from Balboa Park begins around 8am ET on Saturday, December 13.
Will it be Hasay, Brasovan or Kroeger? Or will a new girls champion be crowned? Catch all the live action from the Foot Locker CC Finals right here on MileSplit.
Hear what the participants had to say about their Foot Locker CC Championships experience. More than 40 athlete interviews are available, including 28 of the 31 FL All-Americans. Also, full boys and girls race videos are available on demand.
Photo by Don Rich of PennTrackXC.com Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! If you keep knocking on the door, eventually it should open. Well that door finally opened for Mountain View senior Thomas Porter on Saturday at the 30th Foot Locker Nationals Championships as the three-time qualifier shocked many including his fans back home in Virginia when he found himself running among the top 3 late into the race. Putting himself in great position, Porter held on and fought through the last hill and last mile to finish third overall with a time of 15:26. Porter's broke a six year drought of Foot Locker Finals without an All-American in the boys' race from Virginia and he also had the highest finish by a Virginian since Bobby Lockhart's runner-up finish in 2001. Porter was not the only runner from the state to earn All-American honors with a surprise performance. Thomas Edison senior Leoule Degfae did an amazing job peaking for Foot Locker South to qualify for the national race when few expected him to. Degfae then made the most of his first and only opportunity at Foot Locker Nationals by becoming the 2nd Virginia to earn All-American in the 2008 finals with a 12th place finish of 15:46. Virginia was definitely well represented by two stellar races from the Northwest Region champ Porter and Northern Region champ Degfae. Alex Ott (39th place) and Megan Marsico (38th) both struggled in San Diego against the 40 best high school runners in the nation, but Kyle Satterwhite of Western Albemarle put together a solid race to finish 20th in 15:55 as Virginia ended up having three of the top four finishers from the South Region. Foot Locker Nationals Results: Boys - Girls Race Video: Boys - Girls Video Interviews: Thomas Porter - Leoule Degfae - Megan Marsico Photo Gallery by Don Rich Photo Gallery by Margot Kelly More coverage to come from San Diego.
Megan Marsico of Virginia
Week 4 of the MileSplit Top 12 Individual Rankings are up! A lot of movement took place in specific regions due to a few head-to-head match-ups that created some major results. In the Northeast, Solomon Haile moved to #1 after his winning Oatlands Invitational performance, making him the only new regional number one of the week.
Mission Prep senior Jordan Hasay used a late surge to become just the fourth repeat girls champion in the 30-year history of the Foot Locker CC Championships.
Footlocker finalist Brian Shrader (Jr, Sinagua), Jessica Tonn (Jr, Xavier Prep) and Steve Magnuson (Jr, Ironwood Ridge) head to San Diego for Footlocker Nationals.
Ashley Brasovan, Bobby Nicolls, Doug Smith and Jordan Hasay are four of the best cross country runners in the country this fall, and they've each signed up to share their journey throughout the fall in our seasonal feature.
A few big match-ups across the nation mixed up the regional rankings a bit. Joseph Manilafasha's great performance at Liberty Bell (CO) put the senior atop the Midwest boys rankings, while Kathy Kroeger ran to the top spot in the South girls rankings after running 17:44 for 5k last weekend. See who ranks where in the week three MileSplit Regional Top 12 Individual Rankings.
Allie McLaughlin, CO, 5th place, 17:34
Ben Furcht and Neal Berman ran stride-for-stride with each other in training, in meets, and very nearly, to a berth in Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego on December 13th. But one is going and one is staying home after finishing 10th and 11th at the Northeast Regonal.
Interview with national champ, Jordan Hasay of California.
Five high school cross country runners from Virginia flew out to San Diego today to compete this weekend in the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships. Four of them are rookies to the event and will certainly be overwhelmed and likely distracted with the new experience between their stay at the famous Del Coronado hotel, beautiful SoCal weather, the beach, the ice skating rink, all of the free gear, meeting elite professional and high school runners, and the nerves of racing against the 40 best runners in the country on Saturday at Balboa Park. Nothing this weekend will be new for Thomas Porter (pictured right by John Herzog) though as a three-time finalist for the Foot Locker Nationals. Porter had fell short on several occassions of winning that first state title until this past November with his victory in the AAA race at Great Meadows. With the pressure of winning his first state championship off his back, he now turns his attention to the Foot Locker finals, where he has been unable to be competitive at in his two past trips due to being a surprise qualifier and just happy to be there as a sophomore then an injured qualifier and unable to race anywhere close to 100% as a junior. The Mountain View senior is one of only four returning finalist among the 40 qualifiers from the four regions, so his experience could be a huge advantage and potentially help him earn All-American honors with a top 15 finish. The state of Virginia has not produced an All-American in the boys race at Foot Locker Nationals since 2002.
Race summary, videos, interviews, photos, and more.
Allie McLaughlin pushed the pace and retained the lead until Ashley Brasovan went by with about 500 meters remaining. Photo by Don Rich (PennTrackXC).
Interview with Ashley Brasovan, who finished in second place. She ran a smart race and made a strong move to take the lead with around 800 to go.
Arizona was well represented at Foot Locker Nationals by three juniors; Jessica Tonn (Xavier College Prep), Brian Shrader (Sinagua) and Steve Magnuson (Ironwood Ridge).
Lower Merion senior Ben Furcht is 31st at Foot Locker Nationals in 16:07.
Greatings from San Diego! I am currently writing this blog from the game room at our hotel. Speaking of the hotel. This is the nicest hotel I will probably ever see. Right along the beach, there's an outdoor ice skating rink, outdoor pool and many more. Not to mention its supposively haunted. Room 3227, but that's neither here nor there.
Its amazing how your goals can change in 7 years, from not wanting to lose to the girls to wanting to get top 10. Coming into this cross-country season the goal was top 10. After the horrible track season I had, I knew I had to bounce back. During the summer I basically only did mileage sprinkled with some tempo runs. I peaked at around 72 miles (yes very random number), and held that through the first two meets of the season. All and all the high school season was “ok.” I thought I should have done better in the national meets, but otherwise it was a pretty solid season. I was really thrilled to finally win a state title after two years of Sean hammering me into the ground. (Yes Sean you hammered me.) I also think that was good for me in a way. It taught me how to compete and made me rise to another level, so I thank him for that.
Leoule Degfae, VA, 12th place, 15:46
We came to San Diego Thursday morning, and spent most of the day hanging out at the hotel. It's kind of funny how all the regions hang out within their team, and I've found myself spending a lot of time around the guys from the South. But they do mix up the regions with room assignments, so I'm rooming with Joe Whelan from New York. It's weird how you read about all these guys on dyestat all year, but everyone's cool and running is about the last thing people are talking about.
Realizing a dream of a Foot Locker Nationals berth seemed to look bleak for Kyle Satterwhite (pictured right by Ted Plunkett) when he initially learned that he would be missing nearly all of his summer training due to an undiagnosed stress fracture from last spring's track season. Satterwhite, a returning All-South performer and one of the state's top returning cross country runners, aggressively cross trained to maintain his fitness as best as he could to get ready for his final high school cross country season. The work in the pool paid off as the Western Albemarle senior earned a trip to San Diego for the Foot Locker Nationals with his 7th place finish last weekend at the South regional seeded race in Charlotte. In 11th place with 800 meters to go at Foot Locker South, Satterwhite found another gear despite having already run a hard early pace through two miles to surge up well into top 10 position and as he states, "It would be a very long ride back home if I finished in eleventh place." Always known as a gutsy runner willing to push the pace, Satterwhite will certainly not be afraid to mix it up next Saturday with the 40 best high school cross country runners in the nation for the historic 30th anniversary of the Foot Locker Nationals.
The Hill School Invitational was held Wed at Ursinus... and Ben Furcht of Lower Merion finished 31st in the Foot Locker Nationals, running 16:07. Former LaSalle College HS runner Phil Wood was 30th, three seconds ahead of Furcht.
Hamburg NY senior Joe Whelan, 9th in 15:44
Zachary Torres, CA, tie for 15th with Dylan Sorensen in 15:48
Emily Lipari, NY, 11th place in 17:53
AZ junior Jessica Tonn runs 17:53 for 10th
Photo by Ben Hovis The state of Virginia was expected to qualify several boys for the Foot Locker Nationals with the strong contigent being sent to compete at the South regional race over Thanksgiving weekend, but Thomas Edison senior Leoule Degfae was not on that list of potential qualifiers. Despite being a Northern Region champion and third place finisher in the AAA state race, his name was overlooked compared to others from Virginia leading up to the race. While some of expected qualifiers are sitting in their classrooms on Thursday, Degfae will be flying out to San Diego, California to compete at the 30th Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships as virtue of his surprising fifth place finish in Charlotte. Degfae anchored home a 4x800 indoor state title for Edison last March and his determination to anchor himself a position in the lead pack at Foot Locker South seeded race has earned him another honor in becoming a Foot Locker finalist. MileStat.com's Brandon Miles interviewed Degfae prior to his trip to Foot Locker Nationals.
Fourth place finisher from Texas.
George Galasso, NJ, 27th in 16:01
The 30th anniversay of the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships expects to be a thriller with favorites, wildcards, and past champions in the field. This is the first year that the meet has had to seriously compete for the recruitment of the nation's best athletes for its event with the Nike Cross Nationals adding individual qualifiers to its meet format. There were be several top national harriers either missing or racing on tired legs with a second straight race on the West Coast this weekend after competing in Portland last Saturday for NXN. Many of the nation's best are still coming to Balboa Park as the history of this meet and the title of being a Foot Locker Finalist still holds great significance and pride to the vast majority of high school runners. Brandon Miles of MileSplit US affiliate (VA) site MileStat.com takes a stab at the top 40 for each championship race this weekend.
When we got to the meet Friday, the atmosphere was awesome. There were cameras everywhere, a jumbo-tron and announcer, and even cheerleaders! I warmed up with Matt, Alex Ott, and Thomas Porter while watching the girls race, which was incredible. About 20 minutes before the race, they lined everyone up and did introductions. They sent us out one-by-one, calling out everyone's names and their accomplishments. Lining up at the starting line, I thought about how many Olympians, All-Americans, and national champions had lined up at the same line at one point in time, and it was something I'll always remember. A cannon started the race, and it got out pretty quick.
Emily Jones, MA, 13th in 18:11
Shelby Greany, NY, 7th 17:45 and Melanie Thompson, NJ, 17th 18:18
Brian Shrader, AZ, 11th in 15:45
Chelsey Ley, NJ, 8th in 17:49
The race started and I probably got out a little to fast. I just felt like I was sprinting. I hit one mile right were I wanted to be, in the top 12. Around the turn after the hill I topped the top ten. After that at about a mile and a half is where I really started to drop back. I really started to speed up and slow down paces, which ultimately is why I think I didn’t have anything towards the end. All and all I think I am a better runner than 21st. No excuses--I just had a bad race, but I made it and that is an accomplishment in itself.
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