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Preview: The Girls' Foot Locker National Championship

Preview: The Girls' Foot Locker National Championship
Based on the results from the 2011 Foot Locker Cross Country National Championship, this fall's race was going to be tough. In the girl's race, there were only three seniors in the top ten. Another year of training and experience for the other seven girls would make the 2012 Foot Locker Finals unforgettable.
The race will be as difficult as always, but the girls in the top ten will be much different. Only one of those seven possible returnees will get another shot for a national title in San Diego, CA. It's been a weird fall.
Foot Locker wins never come easy. When it comes to a national championship, each runner will leave everything on the course. This year is no exception.

The Versus marketing team deserves some kind of award - maybe the Congressional Medal of Honor.

1) Anna Rohrer
Mishawaka High School, IN - Midwest
2011 Foot Locker finish - N/A
Back in early September, Rohrer took down defending state champion Ashley Erba at the New Prairie Invitational. Rohrer won the race in 17:14, Erba was second in 17:25, and third place was 46-seconds back.
That lead us to ask, "Who is Anna Rohrer?"
If you don't know, now you know - she's the favorite going into Foot Locker. That win along with victories at the Indiana State Meet and Foot Locker Midwest make her our pick to take home the laurel wreath.
How on earth does someone go from a 11:11 3200m runner to the best in the nation? Find out in our interview with the sophomore sensation.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Foot Locker Midwest 1 16:54
Indiana State Cross Country Meet  1 17:13

2) Sophie Chase
Lake Braddock High School, VA - South
2011 Foot Locker finish - 11th

From 2010 - Patriotic and all business.

Experience will be the key for the Lake Braddock senior. Chase, who placed 11th last fall, set the track ablaze last spring with a win at the Penn Relay 3k (9:37.86) and fourth place finish at the New Balance Outdoor 2-mile (10.19.14).
She used her experience from the 2010 FL Finals, where she finished 38th, as a stepping stone to finish 11th in 2011. She's stronger, has that front pack mentality, and could take the gold this Saturday.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Foot Locker South 1 17:05
Virginia 3A State Championships  1 17:24
Nike South 1 17:40

3) Catarina Rocha
Peabody High School, MA - Northeast
2011 Foot Locker finish - 7th
Rocha is the only one in that select group of seven girls to make a return appearance to Foot Locker. She's been unchallenged this fall and that includes a 19-second victory at Foot Locker Northeast. Even though she's been by herself for most of the season, she has the experience to vie for the win.

At the 2011 FL Finals, the gap between third place and tenth was only five seconds. Rocha finished right in the middle in 7th with a time of 17:37. A few more seconds would have vaulted her to third, but a few more seconds the other way would have put her in tenth.
As Charlie Conway from the Mighty Ducks would say, "Yeah, but a quarter inch the other way and you'd have missed completely."
Rocha should have more faith in her kick with improved personal bests at the mile (4:50.38) and 2-mile (10:45.50). Those times, especially her 2-mile PR, should drop this spring.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Foot Locker Northeast 1 17:49
MIAA All State Final 1 18:06
MIAA Eastern State Championships 1 17:27

4) Karis Jochen
A&M Consolidated High School, TX - South
2011 Foot Locker finish - 12th
Another harrier that's doing the NXN / Foot Locker double and for good reason. Jochen braved the mud at NXN to finish fifth and now looks to move up at her next national championship.
If she wants to win, she'll have to take down fellow Southerner Sophie Chase. Jochen finished right behind Chase at the 2011 FL Finals and the 2012 FL South Regional championship.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Nike Cross Nationals 5 19:42
Foot Locker South  2 17:07
NXN South 1 17:17

5) Courtney Ackerman
New Trier High School, IL - Midwest
2011 Foot Locker finish - N/A

She's yet to notch any big wins this season, but that doesn't mean that magic won't happen in San Diego.
She was fifth at Foot Locker Midwest and then turned in a sixth place finish at Nike Cross Nationals. Whether she was conserving energy or is peaking at the perfect time, Ackerman is national class and should be in the mix.
She's also run 10:28.98 for 3200m and 4:54.45 for 1600m.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Nike Cross Nationals 6 19:43
Foot Locker Midwest 5 17:13
Illinois State XC Championship  3 16:27

6) Maria Hauger
Shakopee High School, MN - Midwest
2011 Foot Locker finish - 21st
Another national meet doubler (the girls really love all-American titles, huh). Similar to Ackerman, her third place finish at FL Midwest set her up for an impressive showing at NXN where she took 14th.
That isn't the only thing that's similar between Hauger and Ackerman. On the track, Hauger has run 10:27.68 for 3200m and 4:55.88 for 1600m. Eerie.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Nike Cross Nationals  14 20:01
Foot Locker Midwest 3 17:03
NXN Heartland 1 17:33

7) Taylor Werner
Genevieve High School, MO - Midwest
2011 Foot Locker finish - N/A
There's only been two freshmen to win Foot Locker and they're both girls (Jordan Hasay in 2005 and Erin Davis in 1993). She's taken two her two fellow Midwesterners (above) at FL Midwest, but came under fire in the Portland mud to finish 40th at NXN.

It's been a long first season of cross for Werner, but we think that was just an off-race. If she can finally scrub off her spikes, she'll probably like the Balboa Park course a lot more.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Foot Locker Midwest 2 17:06
Nike Cross Nationals  40 20:34
NXN Midwest 3 18:08
Missouri State Class 3 XC Championships 1 18:20

8) Jordyn Colter
Cherry Creek High School, CO - Midwest
2011 Foot Locker finish - N/A

Earlier this season, Colter finished third to Amy-Eloise Neale and Alexa Efraimson at the Stanford Invitational (interview below). She was in good company in September, but it hasn't been the smoothest fall.
When Colter failed to defend her Colorado state title this fall, there was some worry for the sophomore. However, she recovered well at FL Midwest and is a top ten threat going into nationals.
Is the Midwest really going to have this many finishers in the top ten?

2012 cross country highlights

Race Place Time
Foot Locker Midwest 4 17:08
Colorado State XC Championship DNF N/A
Stanford Invitational  3 17:04

9) Maggie Drazba
St. Marys High School, WV - South
2011 Foot Locker finish - N/A
Drazba hasn't competed at Foot Locker, but that doesn't mean the senior from West Virginia doesn't have national-level experience.
She narrowly took second to now Michigan standout Shannon Osika at the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships. Osika won in 21:04.3 and Drazba took second in 21:07.7. Drazba isn't afraid of the competition or the step up in distance.
Again, her personal bests on the track fall within the "contender range" - she's run 4:51.88 for 1600m and 10:27.42 for 3200m.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Foot Locker South 3 17:10
West Virginia State AA-A XC Championships 1 17:17

10) Marissa Williams
Palisades Charter High School, CA - West
2011 Foot Locker finish - N/A
One bad race won't make or break Williams. The sophomore standout finished a disappointing 18th at the California State meet, but that didn't crush her spirit.
Williams bounced back a week later and easily won the FL West title in 17:46, which was 29-seconds ahead of second place finisher Julia Maxwell.
She doesn't necessarily have the same track credentials as the other ladies, but she's having a solid cross country season. Expect those personal bests to fall in a few months.

2012 cross country highlights
Race Place Time
Foot Locker West  1 17:46
CIF California State XC Championships 18 18:10
Mt. SAC Invitational    17:07
Clovis Invitational  2 17:15

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