Foot Locker Girls Preview: Who's Got More Left In The Tank?

* Boerne Champion's Elizabeth Leachman is one of the top contenders in the Foot Locker field

Photo Credit: Gabriel Nieland/MileSplit

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Compared to other national meets this fall, Saturday's national championship at Balboa Park in San Diego, California, will set apart from all of them.


There are just 40 athletes trying to beat the other 39.

Foot Locker Nationals will conclude what has been an exhilarating season on the grass. In years past, the pre-race favorite has been a tad more clear. This time around, however, there are more than enough athletes that could see themselves breaking the tape.

Perhaps it could be Boerne Champion (TX) sophomore Elizabeth Leachman, who's coming off of her first Nike Cross Nationals appearance a week ago. Leachman took it out hard only to finish 15th. But don't be surprised if she ends her sophomore campaign back in the win column.

What about Ann Arbor Pioneer's (MI) Rachel Forsyth? The Michigan State commit was 12-0 and the nation's fastest athlete entering NXN. She still finished within the top five there.

With a lot of experience playing to her advantage and consistently fast times, she'll be looking to end the year on a high note as well -- food for thought: the last Michigan athlete to win Foot Locker was Zofia Dudek in 2019. 

A name you may have been expecting to hear more of this fall was that of Ellie Shea, the senior representing Emerging Elites (MA).

Shea only raced once this fall, finishing runner-up in the Foot Locker Northeast Regional. That's because she moved her season back in order to prepare for the upcoming World U20 Cross Country Championships, which will take place in March. 

She clocked 17:21 at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional just a few weeks ago. It was her first XC race since her 10th-place finish at the U20 World Cross Country Championships earlier this year. 

Along with the many accolades and PRs of her junior track season, Shea is simply too talented of an individual to leave out of the conversation for Foot Locker gold, especially being the top returner from 2022.

Heading into Saturday's showdown, eight girls broke 17:00 at their respective regionals, with another 21 coming under 18:00. 

Let's just say, there are dozens of scenarios that we could potentially see play out tomorrow.


The Frontrunners:

Elizabeth Leachman, Boerne Champion (TX); Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer (MI); Ellie Shea, Belmont (MA); Abby Faith Cheeseman, Webb School of Knoxville (TN); Allie Zealand, Lynchburgh (VA); Zariel Macchia, William Floyd (NY); Chiara Dailey, La Jolla (CA).

The Elite Packers:

Maddie Gardiner, The Covenant School (VA); Mary Bonner Dalton, Myers Park (NC); and Samantha Humphries, Flower Mound (TX); Reese Dalton, The Covenant School (VA); Zoie Lamanna, Jefferson Forest (VA); Jaynie Halterman, Independence (TN); Claire Stegall, Nolensville (TN); Ruth White, Orono (ME).

Don't Sleep On These Girls:

Addison Knoblauch, Homestead (IN). Logan St. John Kletter, Mount Lebanon (PA).

Regional Champions: 

Northeast: Zariel Macchia, William Floyd (NY)

South: Elizabeth Leachman, Boerne Champion (TX)

Midwest: Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer (MI)

West: Chiara Dailey, La Jolla (CA)


  1. Elizabeth Leachman, Boerne Champion (TX) -- 159 (South)
  2. Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer (MI) -- 156 (Midwest)
  3. Abby Faith Cheeseman, The Webb School (TN) -- 153 (South)
  4. Allie Zealand, Pacers Homeschool (VA) -- 153 (South)
  5. Zariel Macchia, William Floyd (NY) -- 153 (Northeast)
  6. Claire Stegall, Nolensville (TN) -- 153 (South)
  7. Mary Bonner Dalton, Myers Park (NC) -- 152 (South)
  8. Maddie Gardiner, The Covenant School (VA) -- 152 (South)
  9. Samantha Humphries, Flower Mound (TX) -- 151 (South)
  10. Ellie Shea, Emerging Elites (MA) -- 150 (Northeast)
  11. Reese Dalton, The Covenant School (VA) -- 148 -- (South)
  12. Addison Knoblauch, Homestead (IN) -- 147 (Midwest)
  13. Ruth White, Orono (ME) -- 147 (Northeast)
  14. Logan St. John Kletter, Mount Lebanon (PA) -- 147 (Northeast) 
  15. Zoie Lamanna, Jefferson West (VA) -- 147 (South)


- Since the inaugural Foot Locker Cross Country Championships, the race's girls winner has been from the Northeast region 14 times, while the West has the second most all-time winners with 13.

- Since 2017, each of the four regions has had at least one winner on the girls' side, with the most recent being from the Northeast.

- In the meet's history, the West, Northeast and Midwest have all had a streak of three consecutive years where the national champion was from the same region. Both the West and Northeast have done it twice. 

Past Foot Locker Champions Over The Last Decade:

2022: Karrie Baloga, Cornwall (NY) -- 16:49 (Northeast)

2021: Natalie Cook, Flower Mound (TX) -- 17:15 (South)

2019: Zofia Dudek, Ann Arbor Pioneer (MI) -- 16:45 (Midwest)

2018: Sydney Masciarelli, Marianapolis Prep (CT) -- 17:00 (Northeast)

2017: Claudia Lane, Malibu (CA) -- 17:03 (West)

2016: Claudia Lane, Malibu (CA) -- 17:04 (West)

2015: Weini Kelati, Heritage (VA) -- 17:09 (South)

2014: Anna Rohrer, Mishawaka (IN) -- 17:13 (Midwest)

2013: Tessa Barrett, Abington Heights (PA) -- 17:16 (Northeast)

2012: Anna RohrerMishawaka (IN) -- 17:25 (Midwest)

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