Photo by: Klotz Images
San Diego, Calif., Dec. 12, 2015 - Weini Kelati of Leesburg, Va., and Drew Hunter of Purcellville, Va., captured first place titles at the 37th Annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships (FLCCC) National Finals at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif., today. Race conditions were good with dry terrain, sunny skies and temperatures reaching 56 degrees.
In the girls' race, Kelati won in 17:10, while Hunter took control from the start to capture the boys' title in 14:56.
Recapping the girls' race, Kelati, a two-time FLCCC national qualifier, took an early lead, cruising to a mile split of 5:13. Maryjeanne Gilbert (Peoria, Ill.) closed the gap and took a brief lead prior to the race's midway point. Kelati reclaimed the lead quickly, while Nevada Mareno (Leesville, N.C.) and Judy Pendergast (Naperville, Ill.) joined the lead pair. Kelati and Gilbert pulled away in the final stretch with Gilbert finishing second (17:11), Mareno in third (17:18) and Pendergast in fourth (17:20).
In the boys' race, Hunter went out aggressively and continued to pick up the pace after a mile split of 4:32. At the halfway mark, Hunter secured a commanding 15-second edge over Phillip Rocha (Azusa, Calif.) and Ben Veatch (Carmel, Ind.). Hunter never relinquished the lead, but the race for runner-up provided added excitement down the stretch where Rocha out-sprinted Veatch. Rocha placed second in 15:08 and Veatch finished third in 15:10.
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 (Bronx, N.Y.), South (Charlotte, N.C.) and West (Walnut, Calif.), culminating in the National Finals here today.