Thursday, December 3, 2009

Titles on the line for Illinois and Texas.

This weekend start the Post-Season for high school cross country. This Saturday will be the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland and the 12th will see the long standing Footlocker Nationals. Illinois and Texas will be well represented at both events and should challenge for several titles.
Starting with Nike Cross, the Rosa twins (Joe and Jim) who have been destroying course records all year but will be challenged by the Texas trio of Craig Lutz, Ryan Dohner and Parker Stinson. Illinois and Texas both have 3 teams in the finals. Illinois looks to be stronger overall in the team race led by York, Naperville Neuqua Valley and Loyola. Texas brings Boerne Champion, The Woodlands and Cedar Park. The girls race may be Sarah Andrews to lose at this point as favorite Chelsey Sveinsson has opted to go only to Footlocker. Favetetville-Manlius (New York) will run away with the title on the girls side.
Footlocker, still the most prestigious event on the individual side, looks to be shaping up nicely. I got a chance to go to the Midwest Championships in Kenosha Wisconsin last weekend . Now, before anybody mentions how much slower the times were in the Midwest as compared to the other regions, it was an absolute mud fest. Mud everywhere, large puddles of standing water everywhere, just awful, awful, conditions.
As expected , Megan Goethels (Mo) won the title defeating 4 time Footlocker qualifier Emily Sisson (MO) (pictured below). Megan is returning to FL where she was 3rd place last year and should challenge Chelsey Sveinsoon for the win.

On the boys side the match up between favorite Lukas Verzbicas and Futsum Zeinasellassie never materialized. Futsum was not in the pack as they took off. It was known that Lukas had been nursing a nagging achilles injury. It was never an issue however, as he jumped to a quick lead (pictured below right before mile marker 1) and was never challenged.

He checked his lead towards the end and literally strolled across the line. He looked like he was out for a daily jog and hopefully will be all healed and ready to make his bid to become the first 3 time Footlocker winner (and the first to win as a Sophomore) next weekend. Lukas looked pretty comfortable being interviewed below and should get used to it.

The biggest challenge to Lukas should come from Texas as Craig Lutz looked great at the South regional. If Lukas is hampered by his Achilles look for Lutz, Brian Shrader AZ or Shane Moskowitz (WA) to sneak by.
On the girls side I'll stick with Chelsey. After her injury she rebounded and ran away from a quality field in the South to win.
I'm going to pick Lukas over Lutz and Chelsey over Goethels for Footlocker. At NXN, the Rosa's over Lutz and Sarah Andrews.