Favorites Lukas Verzbicas And Aisling Cuffe Take Care Of Business At 2010 Foot Locker Finals

Verzbicas Cements His Legacy As An All-Time Great With A Repeat Victory

By LetsRun.com
Dec. 11, 2010

The favorites came through in dominant fashion at 31st Foot Locker Cross Country Championships on Saturday in San Diego, as Lukas Verzbicas and Aisling Cuffe earned dominant victories.

The girls race was first and Cuffe dominated as she has all season. The senior who this year had already set course records at great American (16:40) and Bowdoin Park (17:17) had a 20-meter lead by halfway and from there it would grow to a ridiculous margin of 34 seconds at the finish as she won with a time of 16:53. Finishing in the runner-up spot was Nike Cross Nationals winner Rachel Johnson.

If you're wondering, "Is 34 seconds the largest margin of victory in history?" The answer is not even close, as when Melody Fairchild set the Balboa course record of 16:39 back in 1990, she won by an even more ridiculous 59 seconds.

The boys were up next and Verzbicas cemented his legacy as one of the greatest high school cross-country runners in US history as he became the third boy ever to repeat at Foot Locker champion, joining Abdirizak Mohamud (1996 and 1997) and Dathan Ritzenhein (1999 and 2000) as the only two-time Foot Locker champions on the boys side. Making Verzbicas' achievement even more impressive was the fact that he also won the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) last weekend (this year, six of the top 10 boys in the Dyestat top 25 ran the NXN race only).

The Lithuanian-born Verzbicas was challenged today by Midwest runner-up and Eritrean born Futsum Zeinasellassie, who made Verzbicas work for his victory. Zeinasellassie, who is a junior and who had finished seventh at Foot Locker as a freshman, stayed with Verzbicas for the first two miles (4:45 and 9:32). At that point, the two had a 15-second gap on the chase pack. Just when some fans were probably wondering if there could possibly be a big upset, Verzbicas instantly dropped Zeinasellassie and cruised to an 11-second victory in 14:59.

But Verzbicas had to work hard for the victory and despite the wide margin at the finish, there were a number of times in the last mile when Verzbicas looked over his shoulder to make sure he had a comfortable lead. And for good reason. At the Midwest regional, Zeinasellassie had closed hard in the final mile to get within 3 seconds of Verzbicas. Once he was certain he had the victory in hand, Verzbicas slowed a great deal over the final 150 as he wanted to enjoy it (he had been on 14:48 pace at 2 miles).

After the race, Verzbicas was thrilled to have repeated.

"It was a tough race. He really pushed me. He pushed me more than I expected. But with 150 to go and I just wanted to celebrate as this is a one in a lifetime chance - well two in a lifetime for me," quipped Verzbicas after the race. "It's such an amazing feeling. I'm so grateful to have won this twice."

Considering how much he closed on Verzbicas in the final mile at the Midwest regional, Zeinasellassie admitted after the race that he thought going into the race that Verzbicas might be vulnerable, as he had to race last weekend at NXN in Portland.

"I thought if I went out with him, I'd beat him, but that guy is amazing," said Zeinasellassie.

Full boys and girls results appear in the table below.

Additional coverage can be found at the Foot Locker site, or at high school-oriented sites MileSplit and ESPN Rise.

Foot Locker Cross Country National Finals

2010 Girls Results

December 11, 2010
Morley Field - Balboa Park
San Diego, CA

5.00 Kilometers

Scoring Teams and Points:

1. Midwest 36 (4  6  7  8  11  12  13)
2. Northeast 55 (1  5  15  16  18  21  27)
3. West 70 (3  9  17  19  22  23  25)
4. South 70 (2  10  14  20  24  26  28)
                        

1  Aisling Cuffe (12)            Northeast Cornwall Central H.S.              Cornwall-on-Hudson     NY 16:53
2  Rachel Johnson (12)           South     Plano H.S.                         Plano                  TX 17:27
3  Julie Nacouzi (12)            West      Montgomery H.S.                    Santa Rosa             CA 17:29
4  Kelsey Lakowske (12)          Midwest   Boulder H.S.                       Boulder                CO 17:29
5  Megan Venables (12)           Northeast Highland Regional H.S.             Lauren Springs         NJ 17:35
6  Allison Woodward (12)         Midwest   Notre Dame Academy                 De Pere                WI 17:37
7  Erin Finn (10)                Midwest   West Bloomfield H.S.               West Bloomfield        MI 17:38
8  Shannon Osika (11)            Midwest   Waterford Mott H.S.                Waterford              MI 17:46
9  Molly Grabill (12)            West      Rancho Bernardo H.S.               Poway                  CA 17:46
10 Joanna Thompson (12)          South     Knoxville Catholic H.S.            Knoxville              TN 17:46
11 Gabrielle Anzalone (12)       Midwest   Grand Blanc H.S.                   Grand Blanc            MI 17:46
12 Kayla Beattie (12)            Midwest   Woodstock H.S.                     Woodstock              IL 17:48
13 Eleanor Fulton (12)           Midwest   Highlands Ranch H.S.               Lone Tree              CO 17:50
14 Waverly Neer (12)             Midwest   Culver Academies                   Culver                 IN 17:51
15 Grace Tinkey (10)             South     First Presbyterian Day School      Macon                  GA 17:53
16 Abbey Leonardi (11)           Northeast Kennebunk H.S.                     Kennebunkport          ME 17:57
17 Ariel Beauregard Breton (12)  Northeast Deerfield Academy                  Deerfield              MA 17:59
18 Brook Handler (12)            Midwest   Rochester H.S.                     Rochester Hills        MI 18:02
19 Carrie Verdon (11)            West      Campolindo H.S.                    Moraga                 CA 18:05
20 Colleen Quigley (12)          Midwest   Nerinx Hall H.S.                   St. Louis              MO 18:07
21 Lauren Mullins (11)           Northeast Johnson City H.S.                  Binghamton             NY 18:13
22 Susannah Hurst (12)           West      East H.S.                          Salt Lake City         UT 18:14
23 Kathryn Fluehr (12)           South     Community School of Naples         Naples                 FL 18:16
24 Megan Lacy (11)               Northeast Cherokee H.S.                      Marlton                NJ 18:17
25 Catrina McAlister (12)        West      Arcadia H.S.                       Arcadia                CA 18:18
26 Maddie Meyers (11)            West      The Northwest School               Seattle                WA 18:19
27 Erika Fluehr (12)             South     Community School of Naples         Naples                 FL 18:26
28 Anna Maxwell (9)              West      San Lorenzo Valley H.S.            Felton                 CA 18:27
29 Mattie Webb (12)              South     Western Albemarle H.S.             Crozet                 VA 18:28
30 Clare Carroll (9)             West      Granite Bay H.S.                   Granite Bay            CA 18:32
31 Catarina Rocha (10)           Northeast Peabody Veterans Memorial H.S.     Peabody                MA 18:34
32 Angel Piccirillo (11)         Northeast Homer City H.S.                    Homer City             PA 18:34
33 Shelby Davidson (11)          South     Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr H.S.             Melbourne              FL 18:34
34 Julia Foster (12)             West      Albuquerque Academy                Albuquerque            NM 18:37
35 Jackie Nicholas (12)          Northeast Nonnewaug H.S.                     Woodbury               CT 18:38
36 Kendra Weitz (10)             West      The Oaks                           Spokane                WA 18:38
37 Caroline Kellner (11)         Northeast West Windsor-Plainsboro H.S.       West Windsor           NJ 18:39
38 Sophie Chase (10)             South     Lake Braddock Secondary            Burke                  VA 18:53
39 Wesley Frazier (10)           South     Ravenscroft H.S.                   Raleigh                NC 18:56
40 Emma Brink (12)               South     Sacred Heart Academy               Louisville             KY 20:08

Foot Locker Cross Country National Finals


2010 Boys Results

December 11, 2010
Morley Field - Balboa Park
San Diego, CA

5.00 Kilometers


Scoring Teams and Points:

1. Midwest 22 (1  2  3  5  11  12  13)
2. South 64 (7  9  14  15  19  20  25)
3. Northeast 73 (8  10  16  18  21  23  24)
4. West 75 (4  6  17  22  26  27  28)
                        

1  Lukas Verzbicas (12)          Midwest   Carl Sandburg H.S.                 Orland Hills           IL 14:59
2  Futsum Zeinasellassie (11)    Midwest   North Central H.S.                 Indianapolis           IN 15:10
3  Tony Smoragiewicz (11)        Midwest   Rapid City Central H.S.            Rapid City             SD 15:16
4  Andrew Gardner (10)           West      Mead H.S.                          Spokane                WA 15:18
5  Chris Walden (12)             Midwest   Carmel H.S.                        Carmel                 IN 15:22
6  Billy Orman (12)              West      Tuba City H.S.                     Tuba City              AZ 15:23
7  Jimmy Clark (12)              South     Creekside H.S.                     Jacksonville           FL 15:24
8  Eddie Owens (12)              Northeast Packer Collegiate Institute        Brooklyn               NY 15:25
9  Ryan Pickering (12)           South     John I Leonard H.S.                West Palm Beach        FL 15:25
10 Chad Noelle (12)              Northeast Greene H.S.                        Greene                 NY 15:25
11 William Kincaid (12)          Midwest   Columbine H.S.                     Littleton              CO 15:27
12 James Martin (12)             Midwest   Carroll H.S.                       Fort Wayne             IN 15:27
13 Jack Driggs (12)              Midwest   York Community H.S.                Elmhurst               IL 15:29
14 Ahmed Bile (11)               South     Annandale H.S.                     Annandale              VA 15:33
15 Blake Williams (12)           South     Northern Durham H.S.               Durham                 NC 15:35
16 John McGowan (12)             Northeast Sidwell Friends School             Washington             DC 15:37
17 Matt Carpowich (12)           West      Torrey Pines H.S.                  San Diego              CA 15:38
18 Zach Hebda (12)               Northeast North Hills H.S.                   Pittsburgh             PA 15:38
19 Scott Morgan (12)             South     Calvary Baptist Day School         Clemmons               NC 15:38
20 Thomas Graham (11)            South     Cary Academy                       Cary                   NC 15:39
21 John Murray (12)              Northeast Shrewsbury H.S.                    Shrewsbury             MA 15:40
22 Jantzen Oshier (12)           West      Trabuco Hills H.S.                 Trabuco Canyon         CA 15:40
23 Matt McDonald (12)            Northeast North Hunterdon H.S.               Annandale              NJ 15:40
24 Patrick Rono (12)             Northeast Lyndhurst H.S.                     Lyndhurst              NJ 15:42
25 Elliot Clemente (11)          South     Belen Jesuit Preparatory           Miami                  FL 15:43
26 Michael Brajdic (12)          Midwest   Bay H.S.                           Bay Village            OH 15:45
27 Morgan Pearson (12)           Northeast Delbarton H.S.                     New Vernon             NJ 15:48
28 Sergey Sushchikh (12)         West      Dos Pueblos H.S.                   Goleta                 CA 15:49
29 Jeff LaCoste (12)             Northeast Bishop Guertin H.S.                Amherst                NH 15:51
30 Darren Fahy (11)              West      La Costa Canyon H.S.               Carlsbad               CA 15:51
31 Nathan Weitz (11)             West      The Oaks                           Spokane                WA 15:52
32 Dallin Taylor (12)            West      Hunter H.S.                        West Valley            UT 15:54
33 Silas Frantz (12)             South     Douglas S. Freeman H.S.            Richmond               VA 15:54
34 Zach Wills (12)               Midwest   Mason H.S.                         Mason                  OH 15:55
35 Caleb Rhynard (12)            Midwest   Shepherd H.S.                      Shepherd               MI 15:59
36 Cody Pelliccioni (12)         South     Morgantown H.S.                    Morgantown             WV 16:00
37 Daniel Milechman (12)         West      Tamalpais H.S.                     Mill Valley            CA 16:00
38 Christopher Kigar (12)        West      El Camino H.S.                     Citrus Heights         CA 16:01
39 Chris Campbell (12)           Northeast Council Rock H.S. North            Newtown                PA 16:01
40 Donovan Torres (12)           South     Coronado H.S.                      Lubbock                TX 16:02

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