Claudia Lane, a sophomore from Malibu, California, won Foot Locker on Saturday morning in 17:05. She gapped the field less than 1200 meters into the race, going through a mile in 5:18 and two miles in 10:55 with a significant lead. But North Carolina's Nevada Mareno caught her with 1000 meters to go, and it looked like Mareno's superior track speed would win out. But Lane sprinted down the downhill with just over 800 to go, and showed a kick she hadn't had to use all year to put Mareno away. Mareno took second in 17:09.
For most of the second half of the race, it looked like Mareno was biding her time to use her track speed to sit and kick on Lane. (Mareno has run 2:08 and 4:43, while Lane's track bests are 5:09 and 11:00, meaning Lane went through two miles faster than her 3200m PR.) But it was Lane who waited to make her move, putting Mareno away again in the last kilometer.
It was a surprisingly savvy run by Lane. After losing to Brie Oakley at Woodbridge, Lane won by 40 seconds at Mt. SAC, 53 seconds at Southern Section, 56 seconds at the California state meet, and 35 seconds at Foot Locker West. But she ran like a tactical veteran today, and is now not just great for a sophomore, but flat-out great. Her 16:32 at Mt. SAC broke Sarah Baxter's sophomore course record, and her 17:05 today makes her the second fastest girls winner on the Balboa Park course since 2000.
Lane is now tied with Jordan Hasay and Melody Fairchild for the 8th fastest Foot Locker winning time in Balboa Park history. Six of the seven winners who ran faster in San Diego did so between 1994 and 1984, meaning that Lane ran faster than champions like Weini Kelati, Anna Rohrer, and Molly Seidel.
Lane and Mareno crushed the field; behind them, Mareno beat third-place Rebecca Story of Tennessee by 27 seconds. India Johnson of Ohio (17:46) and Anne Forsyth of Michigan (17:47) rounded out the top five.
Mareno and Story led the South Region to an easy team win. The South scored 39 points, beating the Northeast's 51. The Midwest was third with 62 and the West fourth with 69.