Foot Locker Cross-country championships

Runner%27s+High.+Foot+Locker%E2%80%99s+southern+regional+championship+was+held+on+Saturday+in+Charlotte+North+Carolina.+Runners+competed+in+a+team+and+individually+for+a+chance+to+get+first+place.

Used with permission from Sara Aylay

Runner's High. Foot Locker’s southern regional championship was held on Saturday in Charlotte North Carolina. Runners competed in a team and individually for a chance to get first place.

Carmel Yonas, Staff Writer

Foot Locker is a well-known championship race in different regions of the United States. On November 30, 2019, in Charlotte, North Carolina on a Saturday, races took place early in the morning and ended late in the afternoon. Last year, the snow and mud made the weather unbearable for the runners. This year, the race was chilly, but no snow or mud dotted the ground so the runners focused on the race rather than the weather.

South Regional includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and U.S. citizens in Overseas Military Installations. Different states were packed in the Foot Locker race hoping to win individually as well as a team.

Runners from South came out to represent Georgia, and from the boys, south had senior Brennan Bower run the Championship Boys race. Bower placed 31st with a time of 15:42 and out of 14 states (including the Virgin Islands and U.S. citizens Overseas), he came close to a top 30 finish. In the Senior Boys race, Mikey Patterson ran a 16:22 and placed in the top ten (8th place). Harrison Siegel placed 30th with a time of 16:44 and Winston Rothaermel placed 264th with a 20:02. 

In the Junior Boys race, Mark Martin placed 74th with a time of 17:31. He ran in the top 100 and was missed the 73rd place by a single second. Andrew Wilson placed 321st with a run of 21:48. Nate Verska ran in the Sophomore Boys race and placed 46th with a time of 17:05. 

South had two varsity girls run in the Championships Girls,  senior Sophia Baker, and junior Emma O’Connor. Sophia Baker ran an 18:56 and placed 84th out of 195 runners. She has been training all season for Foot Locker and was determined to improve. 

“I feel like I ran really well at Foot Locker and ran my seasons best time! Compared to last year, I improved over a minute this year. Honestly I really just wanted to run fast for my team and place well throughout the year. At Foot Locker, I wanted to individually place well to finish out my senior season.” Sophia says.

Emma O’Connor placed 177th with a time of 20:54. She also has been working very hard during the season and came back this year strong after a stress fracture the previous year. This set her back for a while but didn’t stop her from still running and trying to improve.

“Foot Locker is super competitive, so it kept me training up after the season to prepare for the race. My goal for the race was to go under a certain time, but I had a side stitch during the race which slowed me down. My training during the season helped prepare me and my teammates for Foot Locker. Towards the end of the season, our speed workouts helped my team perform our best,” She said.

In the Junior Girls Race, South had Paige Sobczak who placed 43rd with a time of 21:00. Paige hadn’t been running for the cross-country season due to a stress fracture. Her injury was an issue that resulted in her resting from running for a period of time. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for her to slowly recover, so she was able to get back on her feet again.

“Running Foot Locker was so fun because it was low stress and allowed me to add a couple weeks to my season which was very short this year. I would definitely spend more time training during the season, since I didn’t have a base. It wasn’t my day that day, so I felt like I could’ve done better,” Paige commented.

Carmel Yonas ran in the Freshman Girls race from South. Her time was 19:12 and she placed 3rd overall. Though she started at seventh, Carmel was able to pick up her pace and finished 3rd.

Foot Locker surprised everyone this year with favorable weather. This motivated runners to do better, break records, and place top ten in the different races so they would have a chance to go to nationals in California.