Photo by Smotherman Images
Foot Locker West Regional 2017
Sat. Dec 2, 2017 Mt. SAC, CA
The vaunted cross country course at Mt. SAC is noted for its array of challenging hills and, because of that most runners go out conservatively. Failure to respect the vaunted "Switchbacks" and the dreaded "Poop Out" hill has often resulted in legs feeling 'like jello' by the time they reach the two-part & formidable "Reservoir" hill. Due to construction on the track the course was adjusted this year but all the key challenges remained in place yet harrier fans, who were on hand for Saturday's Foot Locker West Regional were treated two different methods of accepting the Mt. SAC challenge. For the guys Kashon Harrison, the New Mexico State champion,andMeikael Beaudoin Rousseau of Bellarmine Prep in Sunnyvale, California slowly separated themselves from the pack before conducting a late sprint to the tape. Rousseau, incidentally, will be making his second appearance at Nationals. Defending Foot Locker National Champion Claudia Lane, as usual, preferred a bold start and took off early. The Malibu junior bolted from the start and was in the clear by the mile, as she employed what Wade Meddles of Nevada jokingly called "fly and die" strategy when he attacked the hills early in 2009 (note Wade still placed second at West that year prior earning third at Nationals). The thing about Lane, however, is that she does not die: she goes out hard and keeps rolling. By the end her lead was over a minute and Katie Thronson must have looked, as if she was winning an entirely different divisional race.
The defending Foot Locker West Champion from California raced over the fabled hills of Mt. SAC and totally dominated her competition by winning by over a minute in a time of 16:59. The junior from Malibu not only improved her winning mark from last fall but also obliterated the course record of 17:14 by Amber Trotter in 2001 and it was later tied by Jordan Hasay. Katie Thronson, the Washington State 4A champion from Spokane, placed a distant second in 18:11. Utah harrier Camille Winterton finished third in 18:16, while Alize Harte of California followed a second later. Alyssa Bautista of San Clemente ran 18:17 to garner fifth and Kristen Garcia of Washington earned sixth with 18:19 by nipping Chloe Arriaga of California, who shared the time. For Garcia the Washington 2A champion the placement secured a returned trip to San Diego, which she also earned as a sophomore two years ago. Annika Reiss, who placed second to Garcia in her State meet claimed eighth in 18:21 to book her first trip to Balboa Park. Alyssa Fielding, the Utah 4A champion, who was also victorious at Murray, BYU & Nebo came in ninth and McKenna Miessner of Chula Vista grabbed the last qualifier with the tenth place time of 18:26. McKenna Lee of Ogden, who had qualified as a sophomore, just missed after taking 11th in 18:40 and will be the first alternate. Other runners of note were Kelly Makin of Sunset in Oregon, who finished 27th in 29:08 and Bryn Morley, who finished 26th at Nationals as a freshman in 2014, had an off day coming in 51st with a time of 19:39.
Photo by Smotherman Images
In the boys' race Kashon Harrison won the sprint towards the tape once on the flat known as the "Airstrip" to claim a three second victory over Rousseau in a time of 15:38.4. Joaquin Martinez De Pinillos finished third after pushing the pace early and clocked 15:43. For the San Diego resident it will be interesting to see how he fares, as his goal has been Foot Locker National all along and the second place State Divisional runner turned down Nike and then backed off with his qualifier assured. Zach Winter (15:44) and Roberto Porras (15:45) earned fourth & fifth respectively for Utah. Collin Ullrich of California garnered sixth and Bronson Winter of Utah took seventh as both runners ran versions of 15:45. Turlan Morlan of Spokane took eighth with 15:49, while Californian Darius Riley came in ninth with 15:51. The last berth to be secured was claimed by Justin Hartshorn of Utah, who notched a mark of 15:54.
Special mention is deserved by Anthony Grover, who, as a Californian Divisional champion, turned down a free berth at NXN’s in Portland. It was a brave move and the mark of a champion and Grover deserves a better fate after finishing eleventh in a time 15:58. Still his bold move is appreciated and will be remembered. Other runners of note include Idaho 2A Champion Jackson Pratt (13 - 16:00), Jantz Tostenson of Crater (22 - 16:11) was the top Oregon runner , Blake Bennett, who was second in Alaska at AA, placed 23rd in 16:13 & Cooper West, Montana AA champion, finished 40th in 16:45
Good luck to everyone, who will contend in the true & original prep harrier championship. It will be a magical weekend at the palatial Hotel Del Coronado. It's unfortunate we won't see some runners like Katelyn Tuohy, who could make things interesting next weekend, but it is good that Foot Locker continues to support the original prep national championship and a on a recognized and classic course.