(Ed. note: much more in the Jan/Feb issue of New England Runner with much better photos and everything else)
Sydney Masciarelli and Cole Hocker Capture First Place Titles
at the 40th Annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships
National Finals Presented by Eastbay
SAN DIEGO (Dec. 8, 2018) — Sydney Masciarelli of Northbridge, Mass. and Cole Hocker of Indianapolis captured first place titles at the 40th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships (FLCCC) National Finals Presented by Eastbay today. Race conditions at Morley Field, Balboa Park in San Diego were ideal with firm terrain, sunshine and temperatures reaching 65 degrees.
In the girls’ 5K race, Masciarelli outkicked Katelynne Hart of Glen Ellyn, Ill., in the final few meters to showcase a phenomenal finish, winning in a time of 17:00.3, surpassing Jordan Hasay’s 2005 record as the fastest first-timer at National Finals. In the boys’ 5K race, Hocker surged away from Jake Renfree of Knoxville, Tenn., with 300-meters remaining to claim his 15:13.7 victory.
FLCCC – Girls’ National Final:
Masciarelli, a sophomore competing in her first year of cross country, bided her time until the closing uphill and downhill stretch to edge Hart, who had controlled the race from shortly after the half-mile mark until the final few strides. Hart opened up her biggest lead going up the course’s hill the first time, cruising past the mile mark in 5:13. This initial surge broke up the lead pack with only Masciarelli and Taylor Ewert of Beavercreek, Ohio, staying in striking distance of Hart halfway through the race. Hart continued to lead at the two-mile mark cruising through a split of 10:50 with Masciarelli still lurking five seconds behind and freshman Abby VanderKooi of Fremont, Mich., moving into contention.
The last mile turned into a classic two-girl duel, one that included multiple lead changes in the final 200 meters until Masciarelli ultimately prevailed at the tape. Hart’s runner-up finish (17:01.0) replicated her last year’s placing at FLCCC National Finals. Freshman VanderKooi came in third (17:14.0), Ewert in fourth (17:20.1) and Emily Covert of Minneapolis in fifth (17:29.6).
FLCCC – Boys’ National Final:
In a boys’ race, which featured juniors and seniors only, Hocker controlled the early pace then exchanged front-running duties with Josh Methner of Mount Prospect, Ill., until well past the two-mile mark. It was anyone’s race at the two-mile mark, with a pack of 13 runners, until Hocker and a determined Renfree turned the event into a two-runner battle.
In the end, Hocker finished first (15:13.17), followed by Renfree in second (15:19.5) and Graydon Morris of Aledo, Texas, in third (15:25.1). Last year, Morris finished second and Renfree finished fifth at National Finals. Rounding out the top five were Carter Solomon of Canton, Mich. in fourth (15:25.3) and Drew Bosley of Thiensville, Wis. in fifth (15:25.4).
The Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Presented by Eastbay is comprised of four regional 5K races, which took place across the country in the Midwest (Kenosha, Wis.), Northeast (Bronx, N.Y.), South (Charlotte, N.C.) and West (Walnut, Calif.), culminating at the National Finals here today.