Blisterin' Sister !!!
Younger Kaltenbach claims first title for family!
by Doug Speck, DyeStatCal
SAN DIEGO -- The Girls' contest started the day, with a very interesting mix of top athletes. Nicole Blood (Saratoga Springs, NY) had won the Northeast Regional by a huge margin of 32 seconds, with Jennifer Barringer (Oveido, Florida) hot off a 10:18 for 3200m on the track, a 15 second Southern Regional Champ. Undefeated Katelyn Kaltenbach (Smoky Hill, Aurora, Colo) finished strong to take the Midwest Regional, with defending champion Zoe Nelson (Flathead, Kalispell, Mt) the Western winner.
The race would unfold in interesting style with some of the above prominent, and others left out of the up front action. Liza Pasciuto (Murrieta Valley, Ca) is always a quick starter, and despite waking up feeling quite ill, she took it out early, and led the first 100 meters along with the team from the South in orange. The first section of the course goes downhill towards the 440 mark, with the first report from there having Jennifer Barringer and Westerners Collier Lawrence (Reno, Nv), Zoe Nelson, and Pasciuto in close tow.
The pack swings back up towards the starting line with a slight uphill working them up to the 880 mark, with the leader, by this time Katelyn Kaltenbach, at 2:34. Zoe Nelson was right up near the lead, with Lindsay Donaldson (Lincoln-Sudbury, Mass), Sunni Olding (Minster, Oh), and Barringer listed among the top athletes there. A virtual wall of runners were together as they came around the swimming pool just after the 880 and headed down towards the lower picnic loop that would take them to the mile mark. At that point in 5:20 it was Zoe Nelson, the defending champion who seemed to be moving strongest, with Southern champ Barringer, frosh Marie Lawrence (Reno, Nv), who usually defers to her older sister, senior Collier, and Kaltenbach closest as the race started its run up the course's big hill.
Barringer was obviously feeling good and made a move up the hill to take the lead, with Northeastern Champ Nicole Blood joining the show up front over that loop.
Off of the hill and past the starting line to complete one half of the course, it was Barringer and Blood steadily moving, with a run out to the west end of the course to a mile and three quarter and back by the tennis courts for the two mile mark. Kaltenbach moved up with two miles going by at 11:12, with the surprising frosh, Marie Lawrence, still holding on to the very front pack. The Midwest was looking strong as a team, with Sunni Olding and Katie Harrington also in the top 6-8 at this point.
As the group headed down into the picnic loop for the second time with less than a mile to go it was Marie Lawrence who jumped on it, edging out ahead of Kaltenbach as they headed for the two and a half mile mark at the base of the last hill. Barringer was still in the hunt, with the Midwest's Olding, Rachael Marchand (Vaparaiso, Ind), and Morgan Schulz showing real team strength, with Nicole Blood the first Northeast athlete at this point.
Off the last hill it was frosh Marie Lawrence leading, an amazing fact, as the frosh athlete seems to defer to her sister each meet and has never won a high school race (how many people have had the Foot Locker Nationals as their first win ever?). There was a a definite break back to Katelyn Kaltenbach as they came off the steep run down the final hill.
One sensed, though, that the race was not totally over as they made a turn and had one straightaway and a turn into the 200 meter dash to the finish line. The slight Kaltenbach (less than 100 pounds dripping wet) really jumped on it with some 250 meters to go, and edged up close to the leader Lawrence with 150 meters left.
There was no stopping the Smoky Hill junior, as she rocketed into the finish to win 17:24-17:25, with Jennifer Barringer left ten seconds behind in third at 17:35 with the desperate final 800 over and off the final hill.
The Midwest was awesome, with 1 (Kaltenbach) - 4 (Katie Harrington) - 5 (Sunni Olding) - 6 (Ramsey Kavan) - 10 (Rachael Marchand) to total 26 points as a region, with the West 57 in second.
Kaltenbach finishes the year undefeated, with big victories along the way over Jennifer Barringer at the Great American in the individual race, and in the Region, with a big finish over the final 300 meters. Here, Marie Lawrence pushed her to the max, with the stretch run between the two tremedously exciting and setting the stage for a great Boys' race. Katelyn was seventh last year, with her sister Megan 20th in that race. Megan was 14th and 18th the two years before that, so this makes four straight years with at least one family member in the Finals. Next year for Katelyn would be five in a row for the Kaltenbachs!
Foot Locker finals