Kole Mathison And Midwest Region Dominate At Champs Sports

* Kole Mathison poses with Karrie Baloga and University of Colorado alums after winning the Champs Sports Nationals XC title 

Photo Credit: Cory Mull/MileSplit

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Kole Mathison had to withstand a few things on Saturday at Balboa Park. 

First, the Carmel (IN) High School senior had to keep in touch with a blistering first mile from Benzie Central's Hunter Jones, who went out in 2:14 and 4:37 through the 800m and mile splits at the Champs Sports National Cross Country Championships. 

Then, once Mathison made a move and claimed the lead, he had to fend off Christ School's (NC) Rocky Hansen, who ran lock-and-step with the Indiana state champion up until, really, the final back-breaking hill.

From there, it was all Mathison. 

And beyond him, it was all the Midwest Region. 

Mathison never looked out of control on Saturday, earning his first national title in his last high school cross country race, winning the Champs Sports Nationals crown in a time of 14:56.6.

Mathison, who was one of five Midwest runners to finish in the top six, ran the fastest time at Balboa Park since 2015 and was the first to break 15 minutes since Drew Hunter that same year. The performance ranks Mathison 22nd overall at the course. He was fifth as a junior in 2021.

The Midwest, meanwhile, was downright dominant.

Mathison's win marked the fifth-straight race where an athlete from the region earned the title, following performances by Sandburg's Dylan Jacobs (2017), Indianapolis Cathedral's Cole Hocker (2018), Hersey's Josh Methner (2019) and Hartland's Riley Hough (2021).

Seven of the region's runners finished as All-Americans, including runner-up Noah Breker of Robbinsdale Armstrong (MN); fourth-place finisher Simeon Birnbaum of Rapid City Stevens (ND); fifth-place Connor Ackley of Hilliard Davidson (OH); and sixth-place Cameron Todd of Brebeuf Jesuit (IN). 

The first four finishers all ran faster than the winning time in 2021.

Todd's performance, the top one from a non-senior, was particularly impressive.

The high school junior was third at his Indiana state championships -- behind Mathison and Carmel's Anthony Provenzano -- and fourth at the Midwest Region.

The lone athlete to break-up the Midwest contingent was West Region winner Samuel Hansen, a senior from Woods Cross (UT) who went from last place in the early stages to third overall, finishing in a time of 15:07.7. 

Northeast runners Samuel Burgess of Framingham (MA) and Drew Griffith of Butler (PA) were seventh and eighth, respectively, in 15:13.6 and 15:14.4, while Rocky Mountain's (IN) Landon Heemeyer was ninth in 15:14.5 and Jones was 10th in 15:21.1. Hansen, who fell just meters from the finish line, scrambled to 11th in 15:22.0.

Closing out the All-American placements were Ryan Pajak (15:22.9), Nathan Atchue (15:23.1), Connell Alford (15:25.9) and Paul Bergeron (15:26.8).

Analysis & More:

Champs Sports Nationals meet page l This Will Include Results, Interviews And More

1Kole Mathison12Carmel High School14:56.600
2Noah Breker12Robbinsdale Armstrong High School15:07.500
3Sam Hansen12Woods Cross15:07.700
4Simeon Birnbaum12Rapid City Stevens High School15:11.300
5Connor Ackley12Hil. Davidson15:11.800
6Cameron Todd11Brebeuf Jesuit Prep School15:13.000
7Samuel Burgess12Framingham High School15:13.600
8Drew Griffith11Butler15:14.400
9Landon Heemeyer11Rocky Mountain High School15:14.500
10Hunter Jones12Benzie Central15:21.100
11Rocky Hansen12Christ School15:22.000
12Ryan Pajak11Ringgold15:22.900
13Nathan Atchue12Franklin County15:23.100
14Connell Alford11Chelsea15:25.900
15Paul Bergeron11Westford Academy15:26.800
16Seth Norder11Grand Haven15:27.500
17Benne Anderson12Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills15:28.800
18Grant Morgenfeld11Palo Alto (CC)15:28.900
19Joshua Bell11Templeton (CS)15:31.900
20Maxwell Hardin12Auburn15:33.100
21Brian DiCola12Hatboro Horsham15:34.700
22Broen Holman10Sonora (SJ)15:35.300
23Brayden Marshall11Winfield15:36.100
24Spencer Bradshaw12Lone Peak15:38.400
25Micah Sanchez12Liberty Charter (SD)15:40.900
26Tommy Rice10Skutt Catholic High School15:43.700
27Milo Skapinsky12San Luis Obispo (CS)15:45.400
28Angel Sanchez11FW Diamond Hill-Jarvis15:45.600
29Nathan Lopez12St. John's Prep15:46.300
30Trey Caldwell10De La Salle (NC)15:47.800
31Tamrat (Tam) Gavenas10Phillips Academy Andover15:49.800
32Colin Whitaker11Lampeter Strasburg15:49.900
33Timothy Roden12Central Dauphin15:50.200
34Jeff Lewis12Corner Canyon15:51.100
35Riley Novack12Montverde Academy15:57.300
36Ayden Granados12McAllen Memorial15:58.900
37Antonio Camacho-Bucks12Centennial High School16:02.100
38Marcelo Parra11San Antonio TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas16:03.600
39David Mora12Lubbock Monterey16:19.600