The fact that the race includes the last three champions is proof positive that predicting girls high school running is next to impossible given the
ups and downs many of them experience as they physically mature. But we'll do our best to break down the field.
Looking at the past champions, casual observers would probably think that last year's champ Brasovan is the least likely to win it. They'd rationalize
as much because Brasovan was only 4th in the South region, where she was 7 seconds arrears of Kroeger. But not picking Brasovan because she didn't win the South would be a big mistake. Brasovan has a history of underperforming at Regionals. The 4-time Florida champ only qualified for Foot Locker finals for the first time last year. Last year, after a sensational regular season during which she trounced Kroeger by 42 seconds at Great American, Brasovan was only 6th in the South. It didn't seem to affect her as she
trounced the competition at Nationals.
And when Kroeger won in 2006, she didn't win the South Regional either. She was 2nd in Charlotte but first in San Diego. So the fact that Brasovan didn't win the South may be a good thing. Given the fact that Brasovan beat Kroeger by 8 seconds at Great American, it wouldn't be a bad pick to give the slight edge to Brasovan over Kroeger. Kroeger, however, is in great form. Likely the same form or slightly better form than when she won in 2006, as her time at the Tennessee state meet was 17:09 - just 10 seconds off her 2006 time - and this year's race was run in warmer conditions.
Like Kroeger, Hasay is a 4-time finalist and she comes into the race full of confidence after a dominating 10-second West Regional win. In terms of track
credentials, Hasay is leaps and bounds above her competitors thanks to her 4:14.50 1,500, which is a high school record, and her 9:52 3,200, which puts her at #2 all-time on the high school girls list. That alone seemingly would be enough to pick Hasay to get the job done on Saturday. However, there are few reasons to be concerned about her.
The West Regional was last weekend. Is she recovered? Also it's been 3 years since Hasay won. For a high school girl to pull a Bob Kennedy and win as a freshman and a senior would in our minds rank as the greatest all-time accomplishment in girls harrier history (Bob Kennedy won the NCAA cross-country title in 1988 as a freshman and in 1992 as a 5th year senior). Lastly, the great site Tullyrunners.com, which comes up with speed ratings for each runner to compare runners across different courses, only has Hasay as
4th best performance-wise this season. Tullyrunners.com has Brasovan at 168, Kroeger at 167, and then Colorado State champ Allie McLaughlin at
166 all ahead of Hasay.
Speaking of McLaughlin, her 166 speed rating, which was earned at the Colorado state meet, was a real eye opener. The problem in our minds is that
it was way better than any of her other performances, it was done at altitude, and she was only 4th in the Midwest qualifying race.
In terms of non-prior champs with a chance, we actually like a few other runners better. Northeast champion Emily
Jones is a 3-time competitor who was 11th last year and who has been running great this year. Her track PBs of 4:55 and 10:22 are very similar to that of Kroeger (4:51y/10:24) and Brasovan (4:55/10:13).
The Midwest champ and Michigan champ, Megan Goethals, comes in with modest track credentials (bests of 4:57 and 10:58) but she's having a sensational year and enters Foot Locker Nationals undefeated. Emily Sisson, who was only 1 second behind Goethals at Regionals, is another 3-time qualifier who was 3rd in
2006. Her track credentials are very strong as well (2:14, 4:51 and 10:21) and her Tully speed rating of 160 puts her at #6. She certainly can't be discounted.
Nike Cross Nationals winner Chelsey Sveinsson, who was 15th last year as freshman, can't be discounted either. A real talent, she ran 2:08 and 4:43y as a frosh. Additionally, she finished one second up on Brasovan at the South Regional and a very reliable source told us that she wasn't even going all out there as she knew she'd have two big efforts coming up at Nike and Foot Locker finals. In our minds, she deserves a lot of credit for
doing both races and realizing the historical importance of Foot Locker.
Such a great story line. Three defending champs – all of whom are running well – plus a slew of upstarts. Plus it's Foot Locker's 30th anniversary. It simply doesn't get any better than that.
So who are we picking? Well there are so many great story lines to choose from, but we'll go with the best one of them all: Champion as a freshman comes back to be champion
as a senior while winning the hearts of thousands along the way with her sensational performance last year at the Olympic Trials. Sounds great to us – although we'll be the first to admit we're not sure if we're picking it because it would be such a good story or because we really think it will happen. Hasay for the win!!!
Below we give you some brief stats on the top five finishers from each region
and list our top 10 picks.
On The Message Board: *Can anyone win not named Jordan, Kathy or Ashley?
*Tully Runners Speed Ratings of Finalists
*Official Foot Locker CC Website
1. Kathy Kroeger (TN). 4-time Foot Locker finalist, National champ in 2006, runner-up last year. 4-time Tennessee state champ. Personal bests of 4:51 mile and 10:24.
2. Megan Marisco (VA). Virginia Class A state
champ. Personal bests of 4:49 and 11:00.
3. Chelsey Sveinsson (TX). 2-time Foot Locker finalist, 15th last year. Southwest Preparatory Conference (Texas and Oklahoma private schools) champ. Personal bests of 2:08 and 4:43 mile.
4. Ashley Brasovan (FL). 2-time Foot Locker finalist, defending
National champ. 4-time Florida state champ. Personal bests of 4:55 and 10:13.
5. Lauren Smith (TX). 2-time Foot Locker finalist, 17th last year. Personal bests of 5:00 and 10:44.
1. Emily Jones (MA). 3-time Foot Locker finalist, 11th last year.
Massachusetts Div. II All-State champ. Personal bests of 4:55 and 10:22.
2. Shelby Greany (NY). 4-time Foot Locker finalist, 19th in 2006, 24th last year. 2-time New York 2A state runner-up. Personal bests of 4:52 and 10:37.
3. Aisling Cuffe (NY). New York Federation runner-up. Personal bests of 5:16
and 10:21 3,000m last year as a 9th grader.
4. Melanie Thompson (NJ). 2-time New Jersey Meet of Champions winner. Personal bests of 2:11, 4:49 and 10:17.
5. Chelsea Ley (NJ). 2-time Foot Locker finalist, 18th last year. New Jersey Meet of Champions runner-up. Personal bests of 5:00 and 10:25.
1. Megan Goethals (MI). Michigan Div. I state
champ. Personal bests of 4:57 and 10:58.
2. Emily Sisson (MO). 3-time Foot Locker finalist, 3rd in 2006, 23rd last year. Missouri state champ, former Nebraska state champ. Personal bests of 2:14, 4:51 and 10:21.
3. Chelsea Oswald (OH). 2-time Foot Locker finalist, 31st last year. Midwest Meet of Champions
winner. Personal bests of 5:02 and 10:54.
4. Allie McLaughlin (CO). Colorado state champ. Personal bests of 5:13 (altitude) and 10:49 (altitude).
5. Becca Addison (MI). 3rd at Michigan state meet. NON 800m runner-up. Personal bests of 2:05 and 4:50.
1. Jordan Hasay (CA). 4-time Foot Locker finalist, National champ in 2005, 10th in 2006, 3rd last year. Olympic Trials 1,500m finalist,
4th in World Junior 1,500m. Personal bests of 4:14.50 1,500m HSR, 4:39 and 9:52 (#2 all-time HS).
2. Alex Dunne (CA). California Div. I state champ. Personal bests of 4:53 and 10:25.
3. Danielle Menlove (UT). 9th grader is Utah 5A state champ. Personal best mile of 4:55 as an 8th grader.
Tonn (AZ). 3-time Foot Locker finalist, 20th last year. Arizona 5A-I state champ. Personal bests of 4:50 and 10:24 2 mile.
5. Megan Morgan (CA). 4th at California Div. I state meet. Personal bests of 5:05 and 10:47.
LRC Top 10 Picks:
1. Jordan Hasay
2. Kathy Kroeger
3. Ashley Brasovan
4. Megan Goethals
5. Chelsey Sveinsson
6. Emily Jones
7. Emily Sisson
10. Shelby Greany
Your Picks From the LetsRun.com Prediction Contest:
Girls' Individual Poll
||Jordan Hasay (326)
||Kathy Kroeger (41)
||Ashley Brasovan (30)
||Emily Jones (5)
||Alex Dunne (1)
||Megan Goethals (2)
||Emily Sisson (1)
||Megan Marisco (5)
||Chelsey Sveinsson (1)
||Jessica Tonn (1)
||Chelsea Ley (1)
receiving votes: 21. Amanda Russell 70 22. Ashlie Decker 55 23. Lindsay
Flanagan 54 24. Becca Addison 52 25. Megan Morgan 46 26. Jennifer
Bergman 38 27. Shalaya Kipp 27 28. Sheree Shea 24 29. Erin Cawley 21
30. Kimberly Spano 19 31. Ashley Isham 15 32. Adrianne Soo 15 33. Laura
Vigilante 15 34. Kristin Kaspar 14 35. Diane Robison 13 36. Jessica
Zangmeister 11 37. Katie Kellner 7 38. Jacque Taylor 6 39. Taylor
Wallace 4 40. Jordan Tomecek 1