San Diego, Calif., December 12, 2009 – Megan Goethals of Rochester, Mich., and Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Hills, Ill., won the 2009 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals (FLCCC) at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif., today. The runners competed in an uncharacteristic downpour with a temperature of 62 degrees.
In an exciting girls’ race, Chelsea Ley of Clarksboro, N.J., took an early lead closely followed by Regional Champions Megan Goethals (Midwest), Chelsey Sveinsson (South), and Aisling Cuffe (Northeast). Heading to the one-mile mark, Goethals and Ley were shoulder-to-shoulder with Goethals overtaking Ley on the first uphill. Approaching the two-mile mark, experience ran the show with FLCCC veterans in the lead pack, including four-time National Qualifier Emily Sisson of Chesterfield, Mo. Sveinsson made her move going into the second uphill and quickly took a commanding lead. In one of the most dramatic finishes in FLCCC history, Goethals powered through the last 100 meters to close the five-second gap and overtake Sveinsson at the finish line for the title in 17:07.
The rain pounded the course as the boys’ race took off with Wade Meddles of Gardnerville, Nev., and Regional Champions Brian Shrader (West), Craig Lutz (South), and Lukas Verzbicas (Midwest) setting the early pace hitting the first mile in 4:48. By the mile-and-a-half mark, Verzbicas pulled away with Lutz, Shrader, and Matthew McElroy of Huntington Beach, Calif., in the chase group. Verzbicas never relinquished his lead to become the first sophomore boy to earn the FLCCC National Title (15:08). McElroy placed second in 15:23 and Meddles third in 15:24.
The Foot Locker Cross Country Championships is comprised of four regional 5K races, which took place across the country in the Midwest (Kenosha, Wis.), Northeast (Kings Park, N.Y.), and South (Charlotte, N.C.) on Nov. 28, and the West (Walnut, Calif.) on Dec. 5, culminating in the National Finals here today. The pre-race and race footage can be viewed online at footlockercc.com.
Photos are available upon request or online at footlockercc.com
Race Highlights -Midwest Regional Champions claimed both 2009 National Titles -Verzbicas becomes first sophomore ever to win boys’ National Title -Meddles is first Nevada native to place in the top ten since Bryan Carroll in 1981 -Emily Sission and Jessica Tonn were the only four-time National Qualifiers in this race