German Fernandez (CA) sprints to the finish
Despite a race day decision to change the course, the favorites at the Foot Locker West Regional all qualified for FLN next weekend in San Diego. Jordan Hasay (CA) earned herself the third regional title of her fantastic career, finishing in 17:17. German Fernandez (CA) won the boys race with a powerful last 600m to finish in 14:53.
***Course Change because of rain*** Officials announced that the course changed from the traditional Mt. SAC course to a road course due to the increasingly muddy course conditions. It rained all day Friday which caused parts of the course to be very difficult to run.
MileSplit Coverage: Foot Locker West Regional
Location: Mt. SAC, Pomona, California
Date: December 1, 2007
Boys Seeded Race Summary
The talk of the town when athletes first arrived Saturday morning was the course change. Due to high amounts of rain that fell Friday, course officials decided to use their alternate road course. Despite a change in course none of the top athletes let that affect them.
Utah's Luke Puskedra (#12) leads the pack at one mile
Right from the gun the main front runners were all in the lead pack. Luke Puskedra (UT) led the pack early, pusing the pace through the mile. A large pack of about twenty athletes crossed the first mile mark between 4:30-34. A downhill or flat start created such fast opening race marks.
Between the first and second mile the field really spread out. Puskedra and German Fernandez (CA) pulled away from the field at the half way point and kept on rolling. Behind them came a pack of runners seperated by very little. This pack followed Stephen Clark (UT) and Miles Unterreiner (WA).
German Fernandez (#11) and Luke Puskedra lead at two miles
With 600 meters to go Fernandez made a strong move to gap Puskedra right away. Over the last quarter mile Fernandez pushed and gapped Puskedra by 15 seconds as he crossed the line in 14:53. Puskedra finished strong in 15:08, while Utah's Clark finished a strong third in 15:14 for a surprise third place finish. California's James Attarian and Washington's Miles Unterreiner finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Afterwards Fernandez talked on how the race felt. Fernandez said, "My goal was just try and qualify. With 400 meters to go I knew I had to stay focused." Fernandez' big win marks him as the man to beat next weekend at Foot Locker Nationals. "It feels great," Fernandez stated when asked how he felt about being the home-state favorite.
Foot Locker National Qualifiers: German Fernandez (CA) 14:53, Luke Puskedra (UT), Stephen Clark (UT), James Attarian (CA), Miles Unterreiner (WA), Jim Walmsley (AZ), Chris Schwartz (CA), Brett Walters (CA), Riley Sullivan (CA) and Jonathan Lafler (WA).
Girls Seeded Race Summary
A fast early pace set the tone for the girls seeded race. As expected, front running star Jordan Hasay (CA) set the early pace, dragging the top pack of girls through the first mile in 5:11. Laurynne Chetelat (CA), Jessican Tonn (AZ), Nadya Bishton (AZ) and Kauren Tarver (CA) made up part of the lead pack as well.
Jordan Hasay (#1) leads the way at the mile marker
At the half way mark Hasay made a strong push, quickly gapping the field. Her gap extended to nearly 80 meters at the two mile mark, where the junior ran 10:30 at that point. The rest of the pack grouped up nicely with no more than twelve seconds seperating second from fourteenth. Chetelat and Bishton had a three second gap on the rest of the pack, with Chetelat looking very strong.
As Hasay charged up the slight incline with less than a half mile to go she looked powerful and in contol. Hasay cruised in for a big win in 17:17, while Chetelat finished incredibly well in second in 17:28. Rounding out the top three was Arizona sophomore Jessica Tonn in 17:35. Behind Tonn came a group of girls clustered within four seconds led by fourth place Kauren Tarver. Nicole Nielsen of Idaho capped the top ten at 17:51, as the West girls look very strong heading into next week's national competition.
Jordan Hasay at the finish line
Afterwards Hasay seemed relaxed and ready for nationals. "I went off how I felt," she said, "the plan was to go out with the pack for the first mile unless the pace was slow." Like Fernandez in the boys race, Hasay travels to San Diego as the home state favorite. Hasay gushed, "I am happy, I am excited." The three-time champion should be excited. She enters next week's race as the pre-race favorite.
Foot Locker National Qualifiers: Jordan Hasay (CA) 17:17, Laurynne Chetelat (CA), Jessica Tonn (AZ), Kauren Tarver (CA), Meghan Marvin (CA), Nadya Bishton (AZ), Taylor Wallace (OR), Nastia Bishton (AZ), Sarah Sumpter (CA) and Nicole Nielsen (ID).