Sunday, December 10, 2017

Ana Wallace and Michael Phillips were Florida's finest finishers at Foot Locker

Tallahassee, Florida cross-country runners and Chiles High seniors Ana Wallace and Michael Phillips each had remarkable performances at the 39th annual Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships on Saturday morning, 9 December 2017. Racing in San Diego, California's storied Balboa Park, Wallace placed sixth in the high school girls' 5K, running 17:48.1. Phillips was sixteenth in the high school boys' 5K with a 15:52.3.

For anyone who thinks November is too early to give up on high school cross-country, there is an entire collection of post-season meets, including more than a few national championships. There were three such national championship meets on Saturday, 9 December 2017, alone, including the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships right in Tallahassee at Apalachee Regional Park. The Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships, though, have been held annually since 1979, accumulating gravitas year by year. The first competition was the Kinney Cross-Country Championship held in Orlando. After a few years the meet changed sponsors and moved to the west coast. Claudia Lane of Malibu High School won the girls' 5K at the most recent Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships, running 17:03.4 and finishing about a hundred meters ahead of the competition. Sandburg High senior Dylan Jacobs was the boys' 5K champion, running 15:19.7.

It's an exclusive group that makes it to the starting line of Foot Locker Nationals. Only 40 athletes are invited to run each race. Runners qualify at one of four Foot Locker Regional Championships-- designated South, Northeast, Midwest, and West--with ten boys and ten girls advancing out of each region. Florida has been represented at Foot Locker Nationals most years since 1979. Throughout the history of the meet, 41 Florida girls and 39 Florida boys have qualified as Foot Locker finalists.

Ana Wallace
Ana Wallace

In 2017, Michael Phillips was the only Florida boy to make it to San Diego, finishing second at Foot Locker South. Ana Wallace placed third in the girls' 5K at Foot Locker South, one of three Florida girls to qualify. It was the first time that both a boy and a girl from a Florida high school had made it to Foot Locker Nationals in the same year.

Some runners might be content just to make it to San Diego, but not Wallace. At Foot Locker South in Charlotte, North Carolina she had finished behind Rebecca Story of Knoxville (Tennessee) Christian Academy and Victoria Starcher of Ripley (West Virginia) High. At Balboa Park, though, Wallace outran both, becoming the South's top performer in Foot Locker Nationals. It was one of the best finishes by a Florida girl in Foot Locker history. Only Ashley Brasovan and Jennifer Barringer had placed higher in the Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships. Brasovan won the race in 2007 and was second in 2008, while Barringer was third in 2003. Barringer, by the way, won an Olympic bronze medal in 2016 under the name Jennifer Simpson. Before Wallace, the only other Tallahassee girls to make it to Foot Locker were Chiles' Lily Williams (2011), Lincon's Kathi Ward (1991 and 1992), and Leon's Jessica Scafidi (1990).

Riverview High sophomore Alyssa Hendrix, one of Wallace's fellow Floridians at Foot Locker, finished eighteenth in 18:24.0. Newsome High senior Bailey Hertenstein, the third Florida qualifier, did not finish the race.

Michael Phillips
Michael Phillips

Michael Phillips' sixteenth-place showing was the best by a Florida boy at the Foot Locker Cross-Country Championships since 2010, when Jimmy Clark of Creekside finished seventh and Ryan Pickering of Leonard ninth. Phillips was the third boy from Tallahassee to make it to the Foot Locker Finals, preceded by Ryan Deak of Maclay and Matt Mizereck of Leon. Deak was twelfth in the 2002 Foot Locker and Mizereck tenth in the 2009 race.

Florida Athletes at Foot Locker Nationals, 1979 - 2017
19802819:35Sandra BraaschOrange ParkOrange Park, FL
19812918:49Sandra BraaschOrange ParkOrange Park, FL
19821117:35Carmen GardnerSpruce CreekDaytona Beach, FL
19821817:51Karol DorsettBoca CiegaSt. Petersburg, FL
19832918:51Donna Combs9Jacksonville EpiscopalNeptune Beach, FL
19842718:47Kimberly Bovis10Winter ParkMaitland, FL
19842918:58Kathleen Schaefer12BuchholzGainesville, FL
19852618:21Grace Labelle12Pope John PaulBoca Raton, FL
19893019:17Gina Derks12Gulliver PrepMiami, FL
19902318:45Viivi Tiainen11East BayGibsonton, FL
19902619:24Jessica Scafidi12LeonTallahassee, FL
19911318:25Kathi Ward11LincolnTallahassee, FL
19922018:38Kathi Ward12LincolnTallahassee, FL
19922418:54Aimee Kagel12South ForkStuart, FL
19923221:21Beth Brooks12H.B. PlantTampa, FL
19932218:28Ramona Saridakis10John I. LeonardW Palm Beach, FL
19932718:44Brianne Harrington9St. Petersburg CatholicSt. Petersburg, FL
19953019:31Ramona Saridakis12Cardinal NewmanWE Palm Beach, FL
19962819:37Caroline Annis11H.B. PlantTampa, FL
19971918:46Caroline Annis12H.B. PlantTampa, FL
19982619:14Hilary White11Gainesville EastsideGainesville, FL
19992517:59Christa Benton11Keswick Christian SchoolSt. Petersburg, FL
19993118:35Hilary White12BuchholzGainesville, FL
19993219:19Mason-Marie Cathey12Bishop KennyJacksonville, FL
20001217:42Christa Benton12Keswick Christian SchoolSt. Petersburg, FL
20002318:17Kara Scanlin11Jacksonville EpiscopalPointe Vedra Beach, FL
20011517:53Kara Scanlin12Jacksonville EpiscopalPonte Vedra Beach, FL
20023118:51Jessica Hellender12Cooper CityCooper City, FL
2003317:35Jennifer Barringer11OviedoOviedo, FL
20033119:28Laura Bowerman12KingTampa, FL
20041018:16Jennifer Barringer12OviedoOviedo, FL
20042918:58Kelly Parrish11Ocala VanguardOcala, FL
20053018:24Bona Jones12EsteroFort Myers, FL
20053418:35Kelly Parrish12Ocala VanguardOcala, FL
20061318:26Emilie Amaro11Cypress BayCooper City , FL
20062118:39Kayla Hale10Holy TrinityIndialantic , FL
2007117:20Ashley Brasovan11WellingtonWE Palm Beach, FL
20071918:05Kayla Hale11Holy TrinityIndialantic, FL
20072518:31Emilie Amaro12Cypress BayFort Lauderdale, FL
20072918:36Brittany Koziara11BooneOrlando, FL
2008217:25Ashley Brasovan12WellingtonWellington , FL
20083218:45Kayla Hale12Holy TrinityIndialantic , FL
20092818:19Kathryn Fluehr11Community School of NaplesNaples , FL
20093418:35Erika Fluehr11Community School of NaplesNaples , FL
20093919:11Shelby Hayes12Winter ParkOrlando , FL
20102318:16Kathryn Fluehr12Community School of NaplesNaples, FL
20102718:26Erika Fluehr12Community School of NaplesNaples, FL
20103318:34Shelby Davidson11Cocoa BeachMelbourne, FL
20111918:06Olivia Ortiz11Lakewood RanchBradenton , FL
20113518:30Lily Williams12Lawton ChilesTallahassee , FL
20113818:37Bridget Blake11Dr. PhillipsOrlando , FL
20121517:56Bridget Blake12Dr. PhillipsOrlando, FL
20133718:56Karen Xiang12NeasePonte Vedra, FL
20161217:53.9Amanda Beach12Melbourne Central CatholicMelbourne, FL
20162018:02.0Bailey Hertenstein11Riverview
2017617:48.1Ana Wallace12ChilesTallahassee, FL
20171818:24.0Alyssa Hendrix10RiverviewRiverview, FL
2017DNFDNFBailey Hertenstein12NewsomeBrandon, FL
1979715:30Basil MageeLargoLargo, FL
19802115:47Fred CarleyNicevilleNiceville, FL
1981815:05Brian JaegerWinter ParkWinter Park, FL
1982614:56Brian JaegerWinter ParkWinter Park, FL
19821615:14William ConveyRansom EvergladesCoral Gables, FL
19821715:14Ken CheesemanLake HowellCassleberry, FL
19833116:18Greg Green12DillardFt. Lauderdale, FL
19842916:40Thomas Tisell12North Fort MyersNorth Fort Myers, FL
19861415:24Michael LaValle12Boyd H. AndersonLauderhill, FL
19863116:23Kenneth Gamber12Winter ParkWinter Park, FL
19872215:47Teddy Mitchell10LymanLongwood, FL
19872716:13Nicholas Radkewich11LymanAltamonte Springs, FL
19882015:38Teddy Mitchell11LymanLongwood, FL
19882415:54Nicholas Radkewich12LymanSylvania, FL
1989915:21Teddy Mitchell12LymanLongwood, FL
19899959:59Chris Wilson12NicevilleValparaiso, FL
19902115:54Danny Harrell12JacksonMiami, FL
1991915:35Luiz Prestes10Miami BeachMiami Beach, FL
19913016:36James Sellers12LetoTampa, FL
19923259:59Brian Good11B.T. WashingtonPensacola, FL
19932515:58Brian Good12B.T. WashingtonPensacola, FL
19982816:35Edward Acosta12Belen JesuitMiami, FL
19983117:27Alexandre L'Heureux12Palm Beach GardensWest Palm Beach, FL
19992916:00John Jefferson11AtlanticDelray Beach, FL
19993116:06Sean Jefferson11AtlanticDelray Beach, FL
20001615:30Mike Swope12Winter ParkWinter Park, FL
20021215:20Ryan Deak11MaclayTallahassee, FL
20021315:20Steven Hassen12Ocala VanguardOcala, FL
20042916:16Andy Biladeau12Tampa JesuitLutz, FL
20044017:09Justin Harbor11Flagler Palm CoastPalm Coast, FL
200540DNFJustin Harbor12Flagler Palm CoastPalm Coast, FL
20063716:29Michael Anderson12PK YongeWilliston, FL
20091015:36Matthew Mizereck12LeonTallahassee, FL
20092315:46Brian Atkinson12MelbourneMelbourne Beach, FL
20094016:57Colin Barker12Bishop KennyAtlantic Beach, FL
2010715:24Jimmy Clark12CreeksideJacksonville, FL
2010915:25Ryan Pickering12John I LeonardWest Palm Beach, FL
20102515:43Elliot Clemente11Belen JesuitMiami, FL
20113916:28Chris Godwin12BuchholzGainesville, FL
20133115:58Tyler Bennett12Fort MyersFort Myers, FL
20142916:12Steven Cross11Merritt IslandMerritt Island, FL
20143616:24Nicholas Diaz12SunsetMiami, FL
20153115:55.9Steven Cross12Fort MyersFort Myers, FL
20153215:58.7Joshua Jacques12LymanLongwood, FL
20163615:54.9Charles Hicks10BollesJacksonville, FL
20171615:52.3Michael Phillips12ChilesTallahassee, FL


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