Finn Gessner | Madison, WI | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #7
This future Wisconsin "flo bro" has been waiting for this race all year. Although he might have lost some magic by getting a haircut, expect Gessner to be sticking to his future teammate Seth Hirsch's shoulder as they try to work together to make a statement with a 1-2 finish at Foot Locker. Gessner is the second-best returner to Foot Locker Nationals after finishing his junior year cross country campaign with an 11th-place result. This year, Gessner was undefeated until he raced at Foot Locker Midwest, where he coasted for an easy finish to punch his ticket to San Diego. The two-time Wisconsin state champion's big race in 2016 was at the NXN Heartland Regional, where he ran a 14:39 to win. Gessner bypassed competing at NXN to ensure he was fresh and ready to go for Foot Locker weekend. With fresh legs and a fresh cut, pay attention to Gesser this weekend. You won't be disappointed.
Seth Hirsch | Omaha, NE | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #4
Don't let this kid's size fool you, Hirsch is an XC running machine. He is the top returner to Foot Locker Nationals and has the sixth-fastest XC 5K time of 2016 in 14:39. Hirsch had a fantastic XC season in 2015, and he finished ninth at both NXN and Foot Locker. Moving forward, Hirsh finished fourth at NXN 2016 and had a huge victory at Roy Griak and second-place finish behind his future Wisconsin teammate Finn Gessner at NXN Heartland. Expect Hirsch to be in striking range in the last 800m of Foot Locker Nationals.
Sam Worley | New Braunfels, TX | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #2
After coming off of a strong finish at the 2016 Nike Cross Nationals, University of Texas commitment Sam Worley is one of the heavy favorites to win Foot Locker Nationals on Saturday. After a long track season last summer, Worley started his 2016 XC season later than most of the other big names. This move looks to be paying off for Worley, who enters with a nearly unblemished record that includes a lone second-place finish to back-to-back NXN champion Casey Clinger. Worley is extremely dangerous because of his range. He has great strength, as witnessed by his 8:51 3200m time, but also has deadly speed with his 800m PB of 1:50. Again, Worley in packing heat, so don't be surprised to see a strong kick in a final effort to win this weekend.
Noah Affolder | Carlisle, PA | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #5
The Syracuse commitment is looking for revenge after what he thought was a disappointing 15th-place performance last year at Foot Locker to wrap up his junior season. Affolder, who enters the race undefeated this season, is the third returner to Foot Locker Nationals and has winning a national title at the top of his list. Earlier this year, Affolder set a course record at the McQuaid Invite with a 14:12 and followed that up with a 12:10 at the Manhattan Invite, which put him seventh on the all-time list behind names such as Ed Cheserek, Jim and Joe Rosa, and Nick Ryan. Watch for Affolder to be in with the lead pack as he vies for a national title.
Luis Grijalva | Fairfield, CA | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #6
Who is Luie G? This silent assassin could be your next Foot Locker Nationals champion. Grijalva has been racing smart this year, using some races as workouts and conserving energy to qualify for Foot Locker instead of trying to win. Grijalva hit the ground running earlier this year with a breakout performance at the Woodbrigde Classic, where he took down top ranked Cooper Teare & Reed Brown with a 13:58 three mile. He continued to show his dominance in winning the Asics Clovis Invite and earning his first California state title. Keep a close eye on Luie G this weekend, if not he will dust you in your sleep.
Alex Maier | Flower Mound, TX | Sophomore
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #9
The sophomore, the myth, the legend, Mr. Alex Maier! This young buck is the next big thing in the cross country world. All year he has been nipping at the footsteps of Texas greats Daniel Bernal, Reed Brown, and Sam Worley and finishing seconds behind them in almost every race. Maier finally landed the hammer at NXN this past weekend by placing fifth overall, which is the third-best sophomore finish in NXN history. Maier has had a long season of battling the nation's best, but don't sleep on him.
Who else could make an impact?
Reed Brown | Southlake, TX | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #10
Notes: 6th at NXN; 6th at Foot Locker South; 2nd at NXN South
WATCH THIS WEEK'S WORKOUT WEDNESDAY WITH REED BROWN
Connor Lane | Raleigh, NC | Senior
Notes: 2nd Foot Locker South; NC State Champ
Waleed Suliman | Henrico, VA | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #20
Notes: 5th Foot Locker South; VA State Champ
Talon Hull | Pleasant View, UT | Senior
Saucony Flo50 Ranking: #15
Notes: Foot Locker West Champion; 3rd Utah State XC Championship
Sam Affolder | Carlisle, PA | Sophomore
Notes: 2nd at Foot Locker Northeast; 3rd at PA State Meet
Watch the 2015 Foot Locker Nationals Boys Championship: