Top Three Storylines for Boys Foot Locker Finals


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    ---