essa Barrett of Waverly, Pa., and Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc, Mich., captured first place titles at the 35th Annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals (FLCCC) at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif., today. Race conditions were ideal, with sunny skies throughout and the temperature reaching 65 degrees.
In the girls five-kilometer race, Barrett took control after a swift opening mile and never looked back. The boys race, however, was undecided until the last 100 meters when Fisher unleashed his final in a series of surges to take a heart-pumping three-second victory, despite a valiant effort by Johnathan Dressel of Colbert, Wash.
Recapping the girls race, Utahs Lucy Biles (seventh in 17:43) set a swift pace early on, with the pack still bunched as it approached the first trip through the hilliest portion of the Balboa course. Just beyond the mile mark, Barrett used the downhill to gain her first advantage. The only runners to respond to Barretts decisive breakaway move were Iowas Stephanie Jenks (ninth in 17:43), who hugged her shoulder for a few moments, Virginias Caroline Alcorta (third in 17:31) and Missouris Taylor Werner (10th in 17:44). From there, however, it was all Barrett, who turned the final two miles into her own personal victory tour. Barrett finished with splits of 11:03 at the two-mile mark and 16:42 at the three-mile mark en route to her Foot Locker national title which she captured in 17:16.
In the boys race, Fisher won a dramatic back-and-forth duel in the final half-mile with Dressel. The race began with a large pack cruising through modest splits of 4:53 at the mile and 9:53 at the two-mile mark. Dressel made the first move on the uphill opening up a sizeable gap. Fisher countered quickly on the downhill portion that followed. Dressel valiantly fought back, briefly regaining the lead with 150 meters to go only to see his chances evaporate quickly as Fisher unleashed a vicious kick across the final 100 meters to break the tape in 15:07 and earn Foot Locker national championship honors.
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.), and South (Charlotte, N.C.) on Nov. 28, with the West (Walnut, Calif.) on Dec. 7, culminating in the National Finals here today. The pre-race and race footage can be viewed online at footlockercc.com.