Kathy Kroeger (TN) leads the Girls Seeded race at FL South
The strength of the South region this season lies in it's depth. The South girls have at least six athletes who have a shot to finish in the top eight, led by five Foot Locker returnees. The South boys return numerous individuals from last year's squad and are looking to harness that experience for a big performance this year.
Foot Locker South Athlete Capsules
Boys (Alphabetical Order)
North Carolina's Ryan Hill (#771) and C.J. Brown (TX) at FL South
C.J. Brown (Jr., Southlake Carroll, TX)
Regular Season: Brown finished a strong second at the Nike South Invitational, his biggest accomplishment during the regular season. His time of 15:27 beat Foot Locker qualifier Rory Tunningley for second by nine seconds.
State: Placed third overall in the 5A race at the Texas State Championships. Brown finished in 15:40, just four seconds off of second place.
Foot Locker: Placed third overall in 15:00, fifteen seconds behind race winner Colby Lowe and four seconds behind second place finisher Ryan Hill.
Notes: Running the shadow of senior teammate and fellow Foot Locker qualifier Colby Lowe, Brown made big steps in his dominance on the Texas running scene. He finished second for the NTN qualifying team at the NTN South Regional, then finished fifth overall at NTN last weekend in 16:23.
Patrick Campbell (Sr., Mooresville, NC)
Regular Season: Kicked his season off with a great start at the Eye Opener Invitational. He finished a strong third, only eight seconds behind Foot Locker qualifier Luke Lovelace in 15:40. He beat the rest of the field by 38 seconds. Placed third again at the Wendy's Invitational, this time behind Foot Locker finalists Griff Graves and Ryan Hill. Campbell finished eight seconds off of Hill. Placed fourth at the Maymont XC Festival as well.
State: Finished second in the Boys 3A race at the North Carolina State Meet in 15:48. He finished 18 seconds behind race winner Hill.
Foot Locker: Placed ninth overall in 15:12, finishing only four seconds from sixth place.
Notes: Running in the shadow of '06 Foot Locker finalist Ryan Hill, Campbell finished runner-up or third place many times this season it seems. Consistent competition throughout the season should help Campbell compete well at Nationals.
Virginia's Griff Graves (#652) & Rory Tunningley (TX) running strong
Griff Graves (Sr., Abingdon, VA)
Regular Season: Graves beat a strong field early in the season at the Peoria Notre Dame Invitational in Illinois. He beat Foot Locker finalist Kevin Havel by quite a bit, starting his season on a solid note. Graves also beat Foot Locker finalist Ryan Hill at the Wendy's Invitational by eleven seconds in 15:09. Finished fifth overall in the boy's invitational race at the Maymont XC Festival.
State: Finished a disappointing ninth place overall in the Boys AA state race, nearly thirty seconds behind first place.
Foot Locker: Placed seventh overall in 15:09, finishing nine seconds out of third place.
Notes: Qualified last season for Foot Locker Nationals, placing twenty-eighth overall. Graves is one of the more experienced runners on the South squad, traveling often it seems for competitions. He tends to have up and down races. If he is on he is one of the better runners in the country. Placed top ten at the USATF XC Junior National Championships in 2006.
Michael Hammond (Sr., Midlothian, VA)
Regular Season: Placed nineteenth overall at the Maymont XC Festival, nearly forty five seconds out of first place. He also finished fifteenth overall at the early season Great Meadows Invitational.
State: Placed third behind Foot Locker qualifiers Jason Witt and Thomas Porter in the Boys AAA state race. Hammond finished with a time of 15:22, less than half a second behind Porter.
Foot Locker: Placed tenth overall in 15:14, outleaning eleventh place finisher Johns Ross.
Notes: Hammond improved greatly over the last few weeks of the season. A slow start perhaps helped him peak at the right time of the year. Improved greatly over teh course of October, dropping his best time of the season from 16:10 to 15:37. Hammond improved greatly since last season. He transferred from Arkansas, where he wasn't very good, then transformed himself into a 4:16 miler as a junior and now a Foot Locker finalist.
Ryan Hill (Sr., Hickory, NC)
Regular Season: Won the early season race at the Eye Opener Invitational, running 15:24 to beat Foot Locker qualifiers Luke Lovelace and Patrick Campbell. Placed second at the Wendy's Invitational to Foot Locker finalist Griff Graves, finishing eleven seconds behind in 15:20.
State: Won the 3A state title once again, this time beating Campbell by 18 seconds, winning in 15:30.
Foot Locker: Placed second overall in 14:56, finishing eleven seconds behind race winner Colby Lowe.
Notes: Last year's Foot Locker South Regional champion finished twenty-sixth in the national race. He ran as the pre-race favorite in every single competition he competed in. That type of conditioning should help him at Nationals. He ran 9:03 (3200) and 4:13 (mile) last spring, obviously showing a lot of leg speed.
Luke Lovelace (Sr., Chapin, SC)
Regular Season: Started the season with a second place effort to Foot Locker qualifier Ryan Hill at the Eye Opener Invitational. He ran 15:32, losing to Hill by eight seconds. Lovelace won the Disney XC Class as well, placing first in the 3A race by 45 seconds while running 15:30.
State: Easily won the Boys 3A race at state in 15:10. It was the fastest time of the day.
Foot Locker: Placed fifth overall in 15:04, finishing eight seconds behind second place finisher Ryan Hill.
Notes: Qualified for Foot Locker Nationals last year as a junior. Lovelace placed thirty-sixth overall at the national meet. He ran under the radar a bit, as he raced the majority of his season in South Carolina, rarely traveling out of state to take on stiffer competition.
Colby Lowe (TX) winning FL South
Colby Lowe (Sr., Southlake Carroll, TX)
Regular Season: Ran to an undefeated regular season. His only loss to date came at Nike Team Nationals. Lowe consistently won races this fall by over half a minute. His biggest win of the regular season came at the Nike South Invitational where he ran 15:06 to win by 21 seconds.
State: Won the 5A state title with the fastest time of the day regardless of class, running 15:11 to win his race by 25 seconds.
Foot Locker: Won the Foot Locker South Regional. He ran 14:45, beating runner-up Ryan Hill by eleven seconds.
Notes: Losing only once all season long, that being a three second loss to Chris Derrick at Nike Team Nationals, Lowe is marked as one of the main challengers to win Foot Locker Nationals. He likes to start races at a very fast pace, so look for him to be leading at one point or another. Finished tenth at Foot Locker Nationals in 2006, returning back this year as the top returnee. Lowe finished twenty-ninth as a sophomore at Foot Locker Nationals in 2005.
Thomas Porter (Jr., Mountain View, VA)
Regular Season: Finished third overall at the Great Meadows Invitational early in the season, running 15:42, only four seconds behind race winner Jason Witt and second place finisher Johns Ross. Porter won the Octoberfest Invitational in 15:23, eleven seconds ahead of the runner-up.
State: Placed second in the Boys AAA state race in 15:22, losing to race winner and Foot Locker qualifier Jason Witt by twelve seconds. Beat Foot Locker qualifier Michael Hammond at the line, finishing in the same time.
Foot Locker: Placed eighth overall in 15:11, only three seconds out of sixth place.
Notes: Qualified for Foot Locker Nationals last fall as only a sophomore (one of three in the field). He finished that race thirty-first overall. This year he is one of the only non-senior competitors in the field. Porter should improve on his finish from last year. He finished third at Nike Indoor Nationals last track season in the 5k.
Rory Tunningley (Sr., Lockhart, TX)
Regular Season: Tunningley's third place effort at the Nike South Invitational showed his Foot Locker potential. He placed behind fellow Foot Locker qualifier C.J. Brown by nine seconds, finishing the race in 15:36.
State: Won the Texas State 4A individual title by four seconds with a time of 15:19.
Foot Locker: Placed sixth overall in 15:08, eight seconds away from third place.
Notes: Running as one of the top runners in Texas all season, Tunningley did not receive as much acclaim as some of the runners from perennial powerhouse teams of Southlake Carroll and the Woodlands. Tends to finish races very strong.
Jason Witt (VA) places third at FL South
Jason Witt (Sr., Midlothian, VA)
Regular Season: Won the early season Great Meadows Invitational in 15:38, out leaning competitor Johns Ross at the finish line. Also finished in second place at the Maymont XC Festival, losing to in-state rival Peter Dorrell by four seconds, running 15:35.
State: Won the Boys AAA state individual title in 15:10, beating Foot Locker qualifiers Thomas Porter and Michael Hammond by twelve seconds.
Foot Locker: Placed fourth overall in 15:03, seven seconds behind second place finisher Ryan Hill.
Notes: Led one of the best teams in the state all season long. Was counted on to be a leader and ran increasingly well throughout the entire season. Was the Nike Indoor National champion at 5k during his junior track season, and placed top ten at Nike Team Nationals during his junior cross country season.
Girls (Alphabetical Order)
Ashley Brasovan (right) & Emilie Amaro lead the Florida contingent
Emilie Amaro (Sr., Cypress Bay, FL)
Regular Season: Opened her season losing by over a minute to Foot Locker qualifier Ashley Brasovan at the UF Mountain Dew Classic. Finished third overall at the Great American XC Festival, running 18:00, only losing to defending national champion Kathy Kroeger by 13 seconds. Won the FLRunners.com Invitational by 49 seconds, running 17:34.
State: Placed second behind Brasovan in the 4A race at state. Her time of 17:12 was only eight seconds behind that of Brasovan's.
Foot Locker: Placed third overall in 16:58, finishing only two seconds behind race winner Kroeger and second place Kayla Hale.
Notes: Qualified for Foot Locker Nationals last year and placed thirteenth overall. Enters Foot Locker Nationals this season with a 3200 meter PR of 10:28. A top ten finish is a very realistic goal.
Ashley Brasovan (Jr., Wellington, FL)
Regular Season: Opened her season with a 1:07 win over Foot Locker qualifier Emilie Amaro at the UF Mountain Dew Classic, finishing the race in 17:10. She won the Nike Race of Champions at the Great American XC Festival. Brasovan finished in 17:05, 42 seconds ahead of second place finisher and defending national champion Kathy Kroeger. She won the Southern Stars Invitational over Foot Locker finalist Kayla Hale, beating Hale by 35 seconds and finishing in 16:43.
State: Won the Florida State 4A title yet again, this time running 17:04, beating Amaro by eight seconds.
Foot Locker: Placed sixth overall in 17:07, only eleven seconds behind first place finisher Kroeger.
Notes: Brasovan finally broke her Foot Locker curse, placing sixth at the regional competition to qualify for her first Foot Locker Nationals after expecting to be there her first two years in high school. All season long Brasovan ran over her competition with hurricane force, including a big win at the Great American XC Festival over one of the toughest individual fields in the country. She enters Foot Locker Nationals as a pre-raec favorite. Won a national title in the indoor two-mile last track season.
Kayla Hale (Jr., Holy Trinity, FL)
Regular Season: Placed sixth overall at the Great American XC Festival in 18:28, twenty seconds behind the lead pack. Hale finished second to Foot Locker finalist Ashley Brasovan at the Southern Stars Invitational, running 17:18, over half a minute behind Brasovan.
State: Easily won the 1A race at the Florida State Meet. Hale ran away from the field at the start to finish in 17:35, beating her nearest competitior by 1:17.
Foot Locker: Placed second overall, getting outleaned at the finish line by race winner Kathy Kroeger. Both athletes finished with a time of 16:56.
Notes: Qualified for the Foot Locker National meet last season, placing twenty-first overall. Hale was constantly overlooked nationally all season due to running for a much smaller school than the likes of in-state competitors Ashley Brasovan and Emilie Amaro. Enters nationals with a PR of 10:37 for 3200.
Brittany Koziara (left), Aurora Scott (center) & Ashley Brasovan
Brittany Koziara (Jr., Boone, FL)
Regular Season: Finished third behind Foot Locker finalists Ashley Brasovan and Kayla Hale at the Southern Stars Invitational, running 17:46. She won the Furman Invitational by 46 seconds. Lost an early season opener at the UF Mountain Dew Classic, running 18:58, finishing well behind Brasovan and Emilie Amaro.
State: Placed third overall in the Girls 4A race, running 17:31. She lost by 19 seconds to runner-up Emilie Amaro, but beat the fourth place finisher by 32 seconds.
Foot Locker: Placed fourth overall in 16:59 and only three seconds out of first place.
Notes: Ran in the shadows of three other Foot Locker qualifying girls all season long, but steadily improved and never caved in after losing a race.
Kathy Kroeger (Jr., Independence, TN)
Regular Season: Finished second overall in 17:47 at the Great American XC Festival. Beat third place Foot Locker qualifier Emilie Amaro by thirteen seconds. Dominated the rest of her competition throughout the season, running the rest of her races in Tennessee.
State: Won the Tennessee Girls AAA state title in 17:57, finishing 43 seconds ahead of '06 Foot Locker finalist Virginia Hine.
Foot Locker: Won the Foot Locker South Regional by out leaning runner-up Kayla Hale. Both runners finished the race with a time of 16:56.
Notes: The defending national champion returns after working her way back into shape. Kroeger took off the 2006-2007 track and field season, then using the early part of this season to get back into great running shape. She also placed sixteenth overall as a freshman at Foot Locker Nationals.
Kathleen Lautzenheiser (So., Midlothian, VA)
Regular Season: Won the Maymont XC Festival in 18:41, beating the runner-up finisher by six seconds. Finished eighth overall at the Manhattan Invitational in the Girls Easterns race, running 14:34 over the challenging course.
State: Won the Virginia Girls AAA state race by two seconds over in-state rival Lia DiValentin in 17:56.
Foot Locker: Placed tenth overall in 17:35, capturing the final Foot Locker Nationals spot by three seconds.
Notes: A star on the rise since her freshman year, Lautzenheiser won a state title last spring in the 1600, then came back this season and proved herself as the top girl in Virginia during the regular season.
Cory McGee (So., Pass Christian, MS)
Regular Season: Blew past the competition in Mississippi all season long. Easily won each race, placing first in the 4k race at the Mississippi College XC Invitational in 14:04.
State: Easily won her state competition, winning the Girls 3A race over second place Katlyn Will by 27 seconds in 14:02 (4k). Will is considered by most to be the second best runner in the state behind McGee.
Foot Locker: Placed eighth overall in 17:29, finishing seven seconds out of seventh place.
Notes: Qualified for Foot Locker Nationals last year as a freshman. Placed fifteenth overall in the national meet. Enters the competition with very little ou-of-state competition experience outside her Foot Locker competitions. Ran 10:39 in the 3200 as a freshman and placed third in the Nike Outdoor National mile.
Girls leaders near the finish at FL South
Aurora Scott (Sr., Oak Tree Academy, VA)
Regular Season: Did not compete in any high school aged competitions. Competed in a few collegiate competitions unattached and ran well at each.
State: Did not compete.
Foot Locker: Placed fifth overall in 17:03 to finish only seven seconds out of first place.
Notes: Scott has now qualified for Foot Locker Nationals each of her four years in high school. Her runner-up finish effort in '06 was her highest finish to date. She placed twenty-sixth as a freshman and ninth as a sophomore. Questions were raised about her training situation with a non-existent outdoor track season and a minimal cross country season. Scott placed first at the Nike Indoor Nationals 5k last indoor track season.
Lauren Smith (Jr., Freeport Brazoswood, TX)
Regular Season: Easily won the Nike South Invitational in 18:18, one of the only times Smith ran a 5k race all season. She won the race by nine seconds. She also placed first at the Texas A&M Invitational, beating a strong field by over twenty seconds.
State: Won the Texas Girls 5A state individual title by nine seconds, running 11:15 for the two-mile race.
Foot Locker: Placed ninth overall in 17:32 to finish ten seconds out of seventh place.
Notes: A true long distance runner (very little leg speed), Smith ran as one of the top runners all season in Texas. Her dominating performance in nearly every competition throughout the season impressed. In Texas the girls only run two miles for many races, including their state meet, which may hurt her at nationals.
Chelsey Sveinsson (Fr., Greenhill, TX)
Regular Season: Won the Marcus I Invitational in one of her only major competitions of the season. She won the two mile 3A-4A race in 11:30 (2 miles), 46 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor.
State: Did not compete.
Foot Locker: Placed seventh overall in 17:22, finishing 15 seconds out of sixth place and seven seconds ahead of eighth place.
Notes: Sveinsson ran one of the strangest seasons out of all the Foot Locker qualifiers. Her team ran a handful of smaller competitions and one larger competition. In the races she did run, her competition was no where in sight when she crossed the finish line.