Top 3 Storylines To Look For, by Kyle Brazeil
1. Will a Winner Win?
It's been eight years since a non-Regional Race Winner took home the title. So that would put Mickey Burke (NE), Matthew Maton (W), Aaron Templeton (SE), and Grant Fisher (MW) at the top of the favorites poll, right? Well, it does and it doesn't. Maton looks to be on fire heading into the post-season, while Templeton is the top returner from 2012, after taking 7th in 2012 in San Diego. Mickey Burke put himself on the Top 20 All-Time list with his winning mark from the storied Van Cortlandt Park, while Grant Fisher took home the win at the Michigan State Meet. But wait, there are two more very real challengers to the throne. Elijah Armstrong ran a very good race at the NXN-NW Regional, then passed up the opportunity so he could focus on Foot Locker. At the West Qualifier, Armstrong cruised in at third place, saving some in the tank for next Saturday. The same could be said for Joe Hardy, albeit the senior was sure cutting it close. If we only looked at Hardy's state meet performance, he would be the clear favorite, but he only just made it to Foot Locker, taking the tenth spot at the qualifier. If he too is conserving energy, look for it to be unleashed at Balboa.
2. How The West Might Be Won.
It seems heading into the meet, that the West Region is primed to take home the team title, back from the surprise South-Region winner of last year. In addition to Maton, Armstrong, and Hardy, Jon Dressel joins the group, and if we learned anything last week, Washington has been on fire for XC this year, (Both Dressel and Hardy reside in WA). Rounding out that stellar top 5 is Connor Mantz, who is the second fastest returner from 2012, where he finished 12th. Can the "Dream Team" be toppled?
3. The Connecticut Contingency
Sometimes athletes have their best races of the season at the Qualifier. And then again, sometimes they can repeat it one week later. Christian Alvarado and Alex Ostberg have their similarities, and their differences. Both hail from CT, had their best races of the season at the qualifier, and look very strong heading into Saturday. However, Alvarado has been here before, while Ostberg has not. The pair has each bested each other once, with Alvarado taking the State Meet, but losing out to Ostberg the following week at New Englands. Will they work together in San Diego, and use the joint momentum to move to the front?
The facts behind the storylines, by Phil Grove...
In only about 15 minutes – give or take a few seconds – a runner will have the opportunity to place his name alongside such luminaries as Bob Kennedy, Dathan Ritzenhein, Chris Solinsky, Jorge Torres, Lukas Verzbicas and Edward Cheserek.
Without a doubt, the quality field of 40 boys entered in Saturday’s Foot Locker Cross Country Championships will guarantee that the individual’s title and newly acquired place in the history books did not come easy.
Senior Aaron Templeton of Knoxville carries a bevy of credentials that make him one of the pre-race favorites heading into the 35th annual event. The only non-senior in last year’s top 10, Templeton placed seventh a year ago at Balboa Park in a field loaded with 29 seniors.
In his most recent race on November 30, he rolled to a 14 minute, 36-second clocking to win the South Region in Charlotte. That performance moved him up to second in the most recent Saucony Elite 50 national rankings.
Also advancing from the North Carolina race is Louis Colson of Alexandria, Va. The senior is ranked 21st nationally.
Brent Demarest of Charleston, S.C., also is back at the Foot Locker Final, having finished 25th in 2012, while junior Ben Barrett of Norman, Okla., and senior Frank Lara of Houston are among the national doublers headed to San Diego fresh off a chilly race at the Nike Cross Nationals in Oregon.
Also checking in with high rankings are a handful of qualifiers from the West. Matthew Maton of Bend, Ore., was the winner in last Saturday’s race at Mt. San Antonio College and is listed fifth nationally.
Five other West team members carry U.S. rankings into San Diego, including seniors Joe Hardy of Seattle (6th) and Garrett Corcoran of Villa Park, Calif. (9th). Conner Mantz of Smithfield, Utah, is listed 12th, while Elijah Armstrong of Pocatello, Idaho, is 13th and John Dressel of Mt. Spokane, Wash., is 23rd. A year ago, Mantz finished 12th, while teammates Dressel and Kramer Morton of Sandy, Utah, were 14th and 16th, respectively, in southern California.
In the Northeast Region, Mickey Burkey of Henrietta, N.Y., confirmed his lofty national ranking (19th) in pacing the field. His winning effort of 15:18.8 was three seconds faster than Cheserek ran to win in 2012 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
This year’s runner-up in New York – Christian Alvarado of Fairfield, Conn. – is ranked 20th nationally and is a returning qualifier to the national championship.
Junior Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc, Mich., is the 2013 winner from the Midwest Region and joins Maton as non-senior region champions. Fisher is ranked 11th nationally and one of 12 juniors in the field.
Addison Dehaven of Brookings, S.D., is ranked 13th in the Saucony Elite 50 and is coming off a 17th-place finish at NXN, while Jesse Reiser of McHenry, Ill., will be in San Diego after crossing 13th in Portland. Also a member of the Midwest team is Patrick Perrier of O’Fallon, Ill. The senior is a returnee, placing 19th a year ago on the double-loop course.
In case you were wondering, regional champions have a good record when it comes to converting a qualifier title into a national championship. The last time a non-winner at the regional level walked off as the boys’ Foot Locker champion was in 2006. Chad Hall of California was a four-second winner In San Diego after being nosed out by a second in the West Region that year.
New York Speed Rating by Tully Runners...
FL FL State Overall Region Region Meet Name Gr School St Region Rating Rating Place Rating Other Seasonal Ratings Matthew Maton 11 Summit OR West 196+ 195 1 196 195 (BorderClash), 194 (GeoFox) Aaron Templeton 12 Hardin Valley Academy TN South 196+ 196 1 194 --- Elijah Armstrong 11 Pocatello ID West 197 194 3 193 198 (NXNNW), 187? (Pre-Nat) 193 (Firman) Mickey Burke 12 Rush-Henrietta NY Northeast 197 199 1 193 192 (Manhattan), 197 (McQuaid) Grant Fisher 11 Grand Blanc MI Midwest 196 196 1 192 --- John Dressel 11 Mt Spokane WA West 194 194 2 193 191 (BorderClash), 194 (Richl), 192 (Firman) Joe Hardy 12 Seattle Prep WA West 194?? 190 10 200 188 (Border), 195 (Richl), 194 (Stanford) Addison Dehaven 12 Brookings SD Midwest 194 194 2 193 NXNH(195), NXN(191) Ben Huffman 12 Providence Day NC South 193 193 2 --- 192 (Great Amer) Christian Alvarado 12 Fairfield Prep CT Northeast 193 198 2 193 188 (NE Champ) Alexander Ostberg 11 Darien CT Northeast 193 198 3 190 190 (NE Champ) Conner Mantz 11 Sky View UT West 193 194 4 191 181 (Murray), 191 (Firman) Liam Mullett 12 Pingry NJ Northeast 193 195 4 186 188 (NJ Groups), 191 (Manhattan) Jesse Reiser 11 McHenry IL Midwest 192 193 3 191 NXNMW (191), NXN(192) Garrett Corcoran 12 Villa Park CA West 192 190 9 190 195 (Mt Sac), 190 (Woodbridge) Toby Hardwick 12 Newark OH Midwest 192 193 4 190 --- Jackson Bertoli 12 Terre Haute South IN Midwest 192 192 5 187 NXNMW (180) Josef Holt-Andrews 12 Telstar ME Northeast 192 193 5 170 190 (NE Champ) Patrick Perrier 12 O'Fallon IL Midwest 192 192 6 191 187, 188 Ian Milder 12 Mount Tabor NC South 192 192 3 188 --- Louis Colson 12 Thomas Edison VA South 191 191 4 191 186, 192 (Great Amer) Levi Thomet 11 Kodiak AK West 191 193 6 191 190 (GeoFox) Kramer Morton 12 Alta UT West 191 193 7 181 190 (Nebo), 182 (Murray) Blair Hurlock 12 De La Salle CA West 191 193 8 190 189 (Mt Sac), 187 (Stanford) Trevor Reinhart 11 Marin Academy CA West 191 193 5 185 177 (Stanford) Daniel Curts 12 Ellsworth ME Northeast 191 192 6 187 --- Scott Meehan 12 Pope John XXIII NJ Northeast 191 192 7 187 184 (NJ Groups) Tai Dinger 12 St. Albans School DC Northeast 191 192 8 --- --- Louis Corgliano 12 Hammonton NJ Northeast 191 191 9 192 179 (NJ Shore), 184 (Briarwood) Thomas Pollard 11 Gilbert IA Midwest 191 191 7 184 --- Frank Lara 12 Houston Strake TX South 190 190 9 187 187 (NXNS), NXN(186) Mackenzie Haight 12 George C Marshall VA South 190 191 5 173 182, 185 (Great Amer) Ben Barrett 11 Norman North OK South 190 191 6 --- 186 (NXNS), NXN(174) Tyler Bennett 12 Fort Myers FL South 190 191 7 184 188 (Pre-St), 185 Noah Kauppila 12 Marquette MO Midwest 190 190 8 191 NXNMW(183) Ross Wilson 12 Council Rock North PA Northeast 190 191 10 188 185 (PA Dist 1) David Dalton 12 Greenwood Community IN Midwest 190 190 9 186 --- Ryan Robinson 11 Waterford Mott MI Midwest 190 190 10 183 NXNMW(187) Brent Demarest 12 Porter-Gaud SC South 190 190 8 --- 186 (Great Amer) Patrick Sheehan 12 Lake Norman NC South 190 190 10 184 ---