Respect for one's elders has often been taking a hit in America over the last few years but it appeared in a most original way at the Footlocker West regional today. Although California's Alex Dunne sprinted away at the start to take an early lead, Jordan Hasay responded fairly quickly & placed herself at the front of a large lead pack. She then proceed to slow down the pace. Such is the respect that Jordan has engendered during the past few years that no one was willing to challenge her. It makes sense to respect a runner, who has dominated California & the west in general on the way to a national title & a U S record in the 1,500 on the track, but doing that today allowed her to maintain an almost pedestrian pace. There was, of course, another fair reason to go it slow for it was an unseasonably warm day with the temperature reaching 78 degrees with sunny skies.
It turned a race that saw the first 400 reached in 78 seconds into a tepid follow-the-leader which saw a large throng of runners reach the mile in 5:42. Included in that group were Shayla Kipp, Jennifer Bergaman, Danielle Manlove, Alex Dunne, Taylor Wallace, Jessica Tonn, Jacque Taylor, Rolanda Jumbo & Sarah Callister. Of course that type of pace was not going to kill of many hopefuls, so the list of runners just a bit further back was quite large. Even after a mile an a half including the ascent of Poop-Out Hill, there were a fair number of runners still in pursuit but finally there was some room to run. The main change was that Jordan had been joined at the front by Menlove, Kipp & Dunne. Just a bit behind were Jacque Taylor and about four other runners.
By two miles Hasay had established a slight lead over Jessica Tonn, Alexandra Dunne & Danielle Manlove. Menlove, for her part, appeared to be taking a page out of Andy Maris' shadowing of Bryan Dameworth in the 1989 boys' race, as every picture of the race from its earliest point shows Danielle either next or very close to Jordan. The time at that point was 11:47 a soon after that came Taylor Wallace, Rolanda Jumbo, Jacque Taylor & Jennifer Bergman along with Shayla Kipp.
The ascent of Reservoir Hill saw the race come down to just Hasay & Dunne but Jordan was able to draw away from her on the descent. By the time that she reached the airstrip and headed towards the track Hasay had opened up a sizable lead and at the end she cruised in with a time of 18:02 & was none the worse for the wear. Her lesson appeared to have been learned from last year, when sheblazed out to a lead apparently attempting to challenge Claire Durkin of Ohio. Alex Dunne finished in 18:12 to claim second and appeared that she still had left something in reserve as well. It was an impressive performance by a runner who has made great strides since her junior year.
Finishing third was a freshman mighty-mite from Utah named Danielle Menlove. Although it had been anticipated that she would do well, her third place finish against a quality field of upper-classmen bodes well for her future. Veteran national Footlocker qualifier Jessica Tonn of Arizona placed 4th ahead of Megan Morgan of California, while Jennifer Bergman (Cal) came home in 18:40 - four seconds ahead of Shayla Kipp of Utah. Californian Sheree Shea earned 8th just a bit in front of Oregon's two-time national finalist Taylor Wallace. Jacque Taylor, yet another from California, finished in a time of 18:54 just two seconds in front of Sarah Callister of Utah, who will be the first alternate. It was heart-wrenching to see her in tears after coming so close yet it was a hard day for a number of others. Gig Harbor's Alyssa Andrews had come down as State champion feeling fine but on race day she was ill. A warmup let her know that it would not be wise to race and a runner we had assumed would likely join us in San Diego had to take a bye. Jennifer Johnson of Oregon also made the trip but was forced to pass as well. Luck is also an element of running as well unfortunately.
Rolanda Jumbo, who challenged the leaders early, held it together to take 12th edging Jessica Rydberg of Arizona & Baylee Mires (Wash.) was 14th. Finishing out the top twenty were Andrea Nelson (Wa), Karlee Owens & Sabrina Lopez of California, Kate Norskog of New Mexico, Heather Cerney (Ca) & Saylah Barserian (Ca). They and all the all the others have joined the long lineage of runners who trace their way back to the first Kinney (Footlocker) that was held in 1979.
For Jordan, of course, she had not only taken part in tradition and history. She had set a new standard for female and male runners. Until this year, only she and Nicole Blood of Saratoga (Northeast region) had ever won the regional meet 3 years. So now, she stands as the only 4 time winner. Next week, she has yet another chance to do something no one else accomplished–win a race among 3 former champions as well as win 2 national titles which were not in succession. Stay tuned next weekend when the cross country capital is in San Diego for Footlocker. For Jordan the weekend offers one additional bonus, it will be her last cross country race of the season, and she can turn her interest to track.
The California girls easily claimed the team title with 22 points. They were followed by Utah with 56, Arizona with 65, and Washington with 94. Sadly, none of the other states fielded full teams. There were 92 female runners.
Keeping the team scores together, the California boys won the team title with a low 24 points. They were followed by Arizona with 55, Washington 78, Idaho 121, Nevada 136, Utah 150, New Mexico 170, and Oregon last 209. Hawaii and Alaska had incomplete teams. There were 160 male runners.
The boys race saw Chris Schwartz (Ca), the lone returning qualifier from the previous year, get out fast and he was just off the lead after only 150 meters. As they raced along the valley area, he maintained the lead along with Nathan Williams of Nevada.They raced around the valley loop and by the time they returned to begin a second valley loop it was still Schwartz on the lead but closely followed by three-time Alaskan champion Trevor Dunbar. They were pursed by a large group for, although the pace was better than that of the girls, it was hardly blistering. It's unfortunate, that the results did not include bib numbers to allow me to credit all the runners in my picture, but Bryan Tibaduiza of New Mexico & Shane Moskowitz of Washington were not far off the lead yet back in 14th & 15th.
They passed the mile mark shortly before heading out of the valley and the time was a respectable 4:42. Schwartz still maintained the lead but now was being pressed by Brian Schrader of Arizona as Dunbar loomed just a bit back. There was a still a fair-sized group that remained close behind & it included Drew O' Donoghue-McDonald, whose brother Max qualified two years ago, and he was feeling so well that he made a move on the switchbacks reaching fourth place at one point. Another runner made a move at that time as well but without the aid of bid numbers, he will have to be remembered by his bib number, which was 184.
They raced for a bit on the back side of the course before heading back down to the cross-over. At that time the leaders consisted of Schwartz, Dunbar, Schrader, Wyatt Landrum, James Cameron & Zach Torres of California. After passing the air strip the runners began to negotiate famous Poop Out Hill. There was some shuffling of positions for along with Dunbar, Schwartz & Shrader, Bryce Jenkins of Hawaii & Isaac Chavez, also from California joined, while Moskowitz & Landrum ran not far off the lead as well. Drew MO dropped off a bit after feeling the rigors of Poop Out.
The racing action soon shifted to Reservoir Hill and Dunbar made a move to take over the lead. He opened up a good seven meter lead once at the top yet he did not appear to be putting out a full-blown effort as his silhouette could be seen moving fluidly in the distance. Shrader, for his part, feels that he is a good down-hill runner and he took advantage of the last descent to claim the lead. As he admitted later, he was going for the win, but Schwartz moved into contention as well taking over second ahead of Dunbar. Once on the air strip Schwartz quickly picked up his cadence. He swept by Shrader catching him off-guard and, although Brian later responded, he could not put a dent in the lead.
Chris claimed the victory in a time of 15:38 four seconds ahead of Shrader who edged Dunbar for second. Wyatt Landrum placed fourth in a time of 15:46 leading a line of four runners, who marched in a second apart: Shane Moskowitz, James Cameron & Cody Helbling of Idaho. Californian Tyre Johnson earned eighth edging a trio that included Zach Torres & Arizona Steve Magnuson. Wade Meddles of Nevada missed by a second in claiming a berth and will be the first alternate. Drew O'Donoghue-McDonald, who had fallen back somewhere between 15th & 20th regrouped to pass a number of runners to claim 12th as he edged Tim Freriks & Sherod Hardt, both from Arizona, at the finish line. Mike Miller of Washington took 15th and was followed by Nathan Williams of Nevada, Eric Fitzpatrick of Idaho and Californians Heydon Woolf, Steven Englehart & Andrew Romana rounded out the top twenty.
So now we head to San Diego next weekend to find out who will add their name to the honor roll of champions. All, who make it will be treated to an experience and event that years ago former champion & three-time qualified had compared to treatment that seemed to be something out of the life-styles of the rich and famous. As one runner noted, I hear they give out more equipment in Portland, as if that matters. This is the place to be. It’s a remark that is right on point for the fact of the matter is that you can throw a little money at something and buy thirty years of history and tradition. The Footlocker people have staged another great meet that represents the best in my favorite sport. Let’s root for another thirty years of championships at San Diego’s classic cross country course, but for now we have one more week to a race that will of unique in history for we are set now for the Clash of the Titans wherein three former champions (Jordan Hasay, Kathy Kroeger & Ashley Brasovan) will meet for the first time ever to contest a possible second title. Still do not forget that there are other brilliant runners out there, for example Alex Dunne for example, who are thinking that this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to send three former champions to defeat at the same time. And then don’t forget there are some quality guys with aspirations as well.