Foot Locker Nationals 2009

San Diego, CA


Foot Locker Nationals Boys Story: Verzbicas chases history through mud of Balboa. Dec 13, 2009

Lukas Verzbicas (IL) is a student of the sport. Despite how busy he must be winning World Duathlon Championships, National titles and setting U.S. records, Lukas still finds the time to study the history of the sports he competes in.  That history is currently being rewritten by Lukas, but he doesn't get caught up in all the hype.  "I am the age of a junior so I can't disrespect all the great history here and the runners before me", he said when asked about having the opportunity to be the first boys champion to win three titles in a row. (Photo by Don Rich)

Race as a Metaphor for Life: Lessons Learned at Foot Locker Nationals Dec 13, 2009

I love how a race can be a profound metaphor for life in a broader sense.  And just like a good Biblical parable, it can teach you a lot about yourself, others, and the way to be successful and happy.  I decided to pick out a few anecdotes that some of the girls that I covered this weekend taught me. 

Foot Locker Nationals Coverage Summary Dec 12, 2009

Megan Goethals and Chelsey Sveinsson battle to the line, Lukas Verzbicas dominates front-to-back in the boys race.  Tons of coverage from our on-site team...

Week In Review: Foot Locker Nationals Dec 12, 2009

This week marks the end of the Cross Country season as the final national meet of the year, Foot Locker Nationals, took place at Balboa Park in San Diego.  Ohio's lone representative was Colby Alexander of Strongsville.

Foot Locker Nationals: Dowd 18th place and 2 secs away from All-American honors Dec 12, 2009

Fairfax senior Kevin Dowd had a very strong showing at the Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego with an 18th place effort of 15:44 as the ninth place finisher from the South Regional was only two seconds away from an All-American top 15 finish. Virginia's other qualifier, West Springfield senior Paige Kvartunas, competed in her first national meet with a 38th place finish (18:58). Check out MileSplit US complete coverage of the 2009 Foot Locker Nationals

Cuffe Dec 12, 2009

Cornwall coach Dave Feuer said he couldn’t’ ask anything more of Aisling Cuffe. She kept herself in the race. She chased the biggest names in high school distance running and fought until her tank hit “E.”

Foot Locker Nats: Mizereck Top Florida Finisher in 10th Dec 12, 2009

The Miz ran a great, well paced race this morning in San Diego. He started in the middle of the pack, moved into 14th at half way point and finished in 10th place around 15:37 on the muddy, hilly course, in pounding rain.  Atkinson 23rd, Colin Barker 40th.  Kathryn Fluehr 27th, Erika Fluehr 34th, Shelby Hayes 39th.  More inside....

Athlete Spotlight: Ashlie Decker Dec 11, 2009

  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.

Foot Locker Nationals Bound Dec 10, 2009

A whole host of folks are leaving on planes (or going on road trips, right, Coach Wills?!) bound for San Diego this morning.  This year is possibly the greatest ever for Florida, with six athletes qualifying for Saturday morning's race at Balboa Park in San Diego:  Kathyn Fluehr, Shelby Hayes, Erika Fluehr, Matt Mizereck, Colin Baker, and Brian Atkinson.  Myself (Jason Byrne) and five others from our MileSplit national team are headed out this morning as well.  We will be on site bringing you coverage before, during, and after the event.  We will have video interviews with all six Florida athletes as well as most of the other 80 qualifiers.  A live video feed from the course will be available here as well starting at 8AM Pacific (11AM Eastern) on Saturday.  Look for thousands of photos and articles as well.  And we'll try to bring you a little piece of what the Foot Locker experience is!!  Congrats to our qualifiers!! This is your weekend!!  More MileSplit National coverage...

Athlete Spotlight: Martin Grady Dec 09, 2009

  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.

Athlete Spotlight: Emily Sisson Dec 09, 2009

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.

Foot Locker Nationals Boys Preview Dec 09, 2009

This year’s Foot Locker Nationals will still crown the best cross country runner in the country and continue its rich 30 year tradition on Saturday as two champions will face off in Craig Lutz from Texas and Lukas Verzbicas from Illinois. Lutz is fresh off his win last weekend at Nike Cross Nationals in Oregon, while Verzbicas earlier this fall won the World Dualthon junior title. Along with battling it out with each other for the win, both Lutz and Verzbicas will be racing against history as the South region has not had a Foot Locker champion since 1985 (Lutz), while an underclassmen has never won the boys race at Foot Locker Nationals (Verzbicas).

Athlete Spotlight: Lukas Verzbicas Dec 09, 2009

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.

Athlete Spotlight: Kevin Dowd Dec 08, 2009

Only one runner stands alone among all the contenders in Virginia this fall with a final race to go this weekend in San Diego for the Foot Locker Nationals. Fairfax senior Kevin Dowd rose to the "Cream of the Crop" at the Foot Locker South Regional in the Charlotte as the only Virginian to qualify and finish in the top 10 in the seeded boys race. He will be joined in San Diego by another Northern Region runner in Paige Kvartunas of West Springfield, who finished ninth in the seeded girls race at the South Regional. After being bothered by an achilles injury mid-season and failing to win regional or state crowns, Dowd is hitting his peak in the post-season as shown with his sub 15 5K run at McAlpine and feeling confident about racing at his best this weekend as well in a field of the nation's 40 best from four regions.

Athlete Spotlight: Jake Hurysz Dec 08, 2009

  Jake Hurysz is a new face on the national scene after his third place finish at the Foot Locker South Regional. His time of 14:46 ties him the fastest ever by a North Carolina runner on the 5K course at McAlpine Greenway Park with 2006 South Region champion and Foot Locker All-American Ryan Hill. The 3A state champion from Eastern Alamance High Schoolin Mebane, North Carolina has improved great strides from last year when he ran 15:57 on the Foot Locker South regional course. Huryz also turned in a 9:08 3200 meter time trial in between winning his North Carolina state cross country title and qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals. The UNC recruit looks to continue his stellar string of races this fall with an All-American showing on Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego.

Athlete Spotlight: Kirubel Erassa Dec 08, 2009

  After struggling with handling higher mileage weeks and not racing as well as he expected to, Kirubel Erassa of Grayson County High School in Georgia and his coach decided to alter their training approach this fall with less mileage and more speed work. The changes in training have produced positive results as shown with Kirubel's stellar fall of races in Georgia and most recently capped off with a Foot Locker Nationals berth. In the South regional race, Erassa garnered a runner-up finish to eventual Nike Cross Nationals champion and Foot Locker Nationals favorite Craig Lutz of Texas with one of the top 10 all-time performances ever at McAlpine and fastest ever by a runner from the state of Georgia in meet history. Erassa will attempt to be one of the highest finishers ever from Georgia at Balboa Park and follow in the footsteps of recent stars Girma Mecheso and Ben Hubers, who finished 9th and 11th respectively in the 2006 national race. His 14:43 performance at McAlpine actually ties him with two past Foot Locker National runners-up in Alan Webb (2000) and Bobby Lockhart (2001) on the course all-time list.