Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Run Down: Edward Cheserek and Molly Seidel win epic battles at Foot Locker, while controversy keeps Mark Blackmon from starting line

Seidel take the W
It wasn't easy for either victor, but the Midwest's Molly Seidel and the Northeast's Edward Cheserek came away with victories at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championship finals in San Diego, CA today. Seidel finished two seconds ahead of fellow Midwesterner in 17:22, while Cheserek finished one second ahead of Midwesterner, Futsum Zeinasellassie, in 14:52.

In the girls race, Erin Finn took it out hard very early and was not passed until about 2.5 miles in. Even after Seidel passed her going up the hill the second time, Finn fought back and took the lead going down the final hill with 600 meters to go. Seidel's kick was too strong over the last 300 meters, but Finn will have a shot at the title next year, as she is only a junior.

The boys race was one of the best ever, with Edward Cheserek and Futsum Zeinasellassie playing cat and mouse the whole way. Many surges were dropped and there was a fight for every tangent. Cheserek didn't pull away until the last 100 meters, and even then it seemed like Zeinasellassie may come back. It was the first race of the year where Cheserek didn't get a course record, but being that he's only a junior, he has already said that he's taking a shot at it next year.

On the local (North Carolina) front, on the girls side, Millbrook senior, Sammy George, finished 29th in 18:19 and freshman wunderkind Alana Hadley finished 34th, but will have a few more years to better today's performance. On the boys side, Cary Academy's Thomas Graham ran an excellent race and was in third for much of the way, until getting out-kicked down the stretch, but still finishing an excellent ninth (3 seconds separated 3-9). His finish was good enough for second team All American. Graham was also part of the boys South team that won their first team title in, well forever? I can't recall the last time the South boys won, or if they ever have for that matter. One South team member that wasn't in attendance was West Charlotte's Mark Blackmon. Blackmon's sister, and former NC State standout and Foot Locker national qualifier, Angelina Blackmon, stated over at that "his basketball coach (was) threatening to keep him from starting on his championship team and his father (was) in his ear about not going." It should be known that Blackmon is a very good basketball player, playing for the team the won the state championship last year, but Angelina had "never heard him more excited about an actual race, and he was honored to have achieved such high distinction in the cross country world." It's a real shame he couldn't make it, as he earned it and had an excellent year, winning the state 4A championship and qualifed for the event with a 15:01 at McAlpine Park. Blackmon also won the state Cross Country championship in South Carolina previously, a feat that has never been done before.

Full boys results are here and watch the boys race by clicking here.

Full girls results are here and watch the girls race by clicking here.

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