Athletes React To Cancellation Of Foot Locker Nationals

Hersey High School's Josh Methner after winning Foot Locker Nationals in 2019. 

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It was announced on Friday that the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships -- an event that has been held for over 40 years -- will not take place in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We spoke with elite athletes and former qualifiers and finishers to see how they felt about the news.

Nathan Green (Borah High School, ID)
MileSplit50 No. 1 Ranked Athlete

"It's really unfortunate that the last hope for a true national race has been canceled, especially with all the talent going through this year." - Nathan Green

Sydney Masciarelli (Marianapolis Preparatory School, CT)
7th In 2019

"I was saddened to hear that Foot Locker was canceled this year, but it reminded me of how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to attend the meet two times and take home the win my first year. I am thankful to have been a part of such a prestigious and historic event, and it is an experience that will stick with me for a lifetime." - Sydney Masciarelli

Robert DiDonato (Germantown Academy, PA)
31st  In 2019

"It was certainly expected that it would be canceled, but it's obviously disappointing. The weekend is an unbelievable experience and it's tough not to have that to look forward to at the end of the cross country season. Although the race is something to look forward to and anticipate, the relationships built are special, and that will be the part I will miss most."  - Robert DiDonato

Kate Wiser (Pomperaug High, CT)
9th In 2019

"I'm definitely disappointed. It was an amazing experience meeting the professionals, bonding with runners from around the country and racing against the best. It's something I look forward to and train hard for all year." - Kate Wiser

Creed Thompson(Skyridge, UT)
18th In 2019

"The cancellation of Foot Locker is very disappointing and I was really hoping I would be able to go back and have another amazing experience, but the health and safety of everyone should always be the top priority." - Creed Thompson

Karrie Baloga (Cornwall, NY)
11th In 2019

"Foot Locker was one of the greatest moments of my entire year last year. I'm sad because was really hoping to be able race again at Balboa with my Northeast teammates and get to reconnect with all the friends I made from last year's race, but I understand that the decision was made to keep people safe. It's unfortunate for the seniors who lose out on their chance at Foot Locker this year. I'll get back to San Diego someday." - Karrie Baloga

Colton Sands (Penns Valley Area HS, PA)
10th In 2019

"I think we all knew this was coming, but it's still hard to hear that there won't Foot Locker this year. There's nothing like Foot Locker, but I guess this is just more fuel for outdoor season." - Colton Sands

Riley Stewart - (Cherry Creek High School, CO)
17th In 2019

"I am heartbroken as Foot Locker is something I look forward to every year. I am disappointed to not have the opportunity to race against the best in the nation and see all my friends that I have made over the past few years. It is a year that I need to make the best of situations I can't control, I will keep working hard and will be looking forward to next year." - Riley Stewart

Davin Thompson (Skyridge, UT)
23rd In 2019

It's definitely a bummer that Foot Locker is canceled, but I'm not too bummed about about it. This season I've tried not to set my expectations too high because nothing is guaranteed and you never know what is going to happen with COVID. This season I've really been focusing on just being grateful for the meets that I have the opportunity to race in since so many states don't have a season. Although I had big goals for the season the most important thing is having fun and loving the sport." - Davin Thompson

Jenna Hutchins (Since Hill High School, TN)
5th In 2019

"I was disappointed to see that Foot Locker had been canceled because it has by far been the most memorable meet of each cross country season for me. However I know that this was a difficult decision for those in charge and they were making our safety and the safety of all those involved a top priority. I respect their decision and will still be looking foward to the rest of this season, even in these unusual circumstances." - Jenna Hutchins

Dalton Mortensen (Bountiful HS, UT)
16th In 2019

"I'm disappointed about Foot Locker being canceled because I was hoping to be able to compete with the best runners in the nation. I've really enjoyed training this summer and I was looking forward to seeing how I improved from last year. It's just unfortunate for everyone that it was canceled because of COVID." - Dalton Mortensen 

Juliette Whittaker (Mount De Sales Academy, MD)
13th In 2019

"In the midst of all of the cancellations this year, I continued to have hope that Foot Locker would still go on, but when I heard that even that was cancelled I was devastated, and I am still in shock. Last year, I had such an incredible experience at nationals and I got to know so many people that I never would have gotten the chance to meet, so I really wanted the chance to try and qualify again this year, but I guess it will have to wait until next year!" - Juliette Whittaker

Justin Wachtel (Mary Persons, GA)
37th In 2019

"It was definitely a bummer, but I feel like it was only a matter of time. Regardless, I'm really disappointed because that race means so much, and I've had my eyes set on it since May. I really wanted redemption for my race last year." - Justin Wachtel

Tatum David (IMG Acadamy, FL)
10th In 2019

"I'm definitely disappointed that Foot Locker was cancelled with it being the last hope of there being a national race, but i'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend the race last year. I was looking forward to having the opportunity to race against the top in the nation, but I know I can't control it, so I will definitely be looking forward to competing in San Diego next year." - Tatum David

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