Can Ashley Brasovan (Jr., Wellington, FL) run much faster than she has been? An incredible 17:06 5k effort, beating one of the best fields assembled in the country this year, earned Brasovan the individual title at the Great American XC Festival in Alabama. Brasovan ran a monster last mile to beat defending national champion Kathy Kroeger (Jr., Independence, TN) by well over half a minute. In the boys race, Sean Keveren (Sr., Brentwood, TN) ran strong and even, taking the boys title in commanding fashion.
MileSplit's Great American XC Festival Coverage - Meet Wrap-Up
One of the marquee match-ups of the year took place at the Great American XC Festival. The Nike Race of Champions - Girls 5k attracted nearly all of the top talent in the southeast corner of the United States to Alabama. Defending champion Kathy Kroeger (Independence, TN), US #2 Ashley Brasovan (Wellington, FL) and US #7 Emily Reese (Chamblee, GA) stood out among the field of competitors, but nearly a dozen other girls in the field were of Foot Locker caliber.
All season, Brasovan's early fast paces eventually led to big wins, but few suspected a large-margin win here. However, as the race carried on through the first mile and a half, Brasovan proved her fitness was another level above the rest. Brasovan coasted through the finish line in a course record time of 17:05. As the seconds ticked off after Brasovan crossed the line, many wondered where the rest of the field was. 42 seconds later, Kroeger finished second, while 13 seconds after her came Emilie Amaro (Cypress Bay) in 18:00. Brasovan's performance easily captured the title, "Performance of the Day."
While the spectacular individual race headlined the field, numerous regionally ranked and state ranked teams took to the course. US ranked Mountain Brook (AL) entered the field as heavy favorites, and the predictions held true. Mountain Brook placed three in the top twelve, led by Marie Demedicis in seventh place. Their front-running trio trumps every other teams top three in the nation except Fayetteville-Manlius'. Mountain Brook scored 75 points, beating runner-up Collins Hill by 22 points. Oakridge placed third with 124 points.
Tennessee ruled the day in the Nike Race of Champions - Boys 5k. Sean Keveren (Brentwood, TN) led a trio of Tennessee front runners to the top three individual placings. Keveren used a steady, blistering pace to knock off his rivals in what seemed like easy fashion. Keveren's finishing mark of 15:37 outdid second place finisher Matthew Sonnenfeldt (Knoxville West, TN) by seven seconds, and third placer Bill Matthews (Baylor, TN) by eight seconds.
The top two teams, Oak Ridge (TN) and Baylor (TN) joined the Tennessee trophy rush. Oak Ridge proved tops in the southeast Saturday. Scoring 101 points, Oak Ridge beat runner-up Baylor by 35. Kellenberg Memorial (NY) finished third after traveling all the way from New York state. K-M scored 148 points.