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Posted: December 14, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: Verzbicas, Goethals Win Foot Locker Cross Country Championship Titles

Midwest Regional champions are best national high school harriers in contrasting races

From Kenny Fried

SAN DIEGO - (December 12, 2009) - Megan Goethals of Rochester, Mich. and Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Hills, Ill. won the 2009 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals (FLCCC) at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego, California on Saturday morning. The runners competed in an uncharacteristic downpour with a temperature of 62F degrees.

In an exciting girls' race, Chelsea Ley of Clarksboro, N.J. took an early lead closely followed by Regional champions Goethals (Midwest), Chelsey Sveinsson (South) and Aisling Cuffe (Northeast). Heading to the one-mile mark, Goethals and Ley were shoulder-to-shoulder with Goethals overtaking Ley on the first uphill. Approaching the two-mile mark, experience ran the show with FLCCC veterans in the lead pack, including four-time national qualifier Emily Sisson of Chesterfield, Mo. Sveinsson made her move going into the second uphill and quickly took a commanding lead. In one of the most dramatic finishes in FLCCC history, Goethals powered through the last 100 meters to close the five-second gap and overtake Sveinsson at the finish line for the title, both timed in 17:07.

The rain pounded the course as the boys' race took off with Wade Meddles of Gardnerville, Nev. and Regional champions Brian Shrader (West), Craig Lutz (South) and Verzbicas (Midwest) setting the early pace hitting the first mile in 4:48. By the mile-and-a-half mark, Verzbicas pulled away with Lutz, Shrader and Matthew McElroy of Huntington Beach, Calif. in the chase group. Verzbicas never relinquished his lead to become the first sophomore boy to earn the FLCCC national title (15:08). McElroy was runner-up in 15:23 and Meddles third (15:24).

The Foot Locker Cross Country Championships is comprised of four regional 5K races, culminating in the National Finals.

31st Foot Locker Cross Country Championships
San Diego, CA, Saturday, December 12, 2009

1) Lukas Verzbicas, Orland Hills, IL, 15:08
2) Matthew McElroy, Huntington Beach, CA, 15:23
3) Wade Meddles, Gardnerville, NV, 15:24
4) Craig Lutz, Highland Village, TX, 15:30
5) Brian Shrader, Flagstaff, AZ, 15:31 

1) Megan Goethals, Rochester, MI, 17:07
2) Chelsey Sveinsson, Dallas, TX, 17:07
3) Emily Sisson, Chesterfield, MO, 17:19
4) Aisling Cuffe, Cornwall-Hudson, NY, 17:22
5) Megan Ferowich, Caryville, TN, 17:31

For complete results, pre-race and race footage and more, go to:

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