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2008 Foot Locker - the 30th
Girls Championship
12/13/08 at Balboa Park, San Diego CA

Results - Race Video: Pt 1 - Pt 2 - Pt 3 - Mike Kennedy Recap - Webcast Replay
Interviews - Jordan Hasay - Ashley Brasovan - Chelsey Sveinsson - Joe Hasay (Jordan's dad) - Coach Armando Siqueiros (Jordan's coach)
Donna on the Side - Action PixRace Flow Page - Race Sequence (58 pix) - Race Finish (all runners)

Just a little patience

Jordan Hasay becomes 6th repeat champion, winning battle of "Big Three,"
by making sure she held back and had the last move

By SteveU, DyeStat / ESPN RISE senior editor

Moment of Truth

Obscured by the lead gator, Hasay catches Brasovan, with McLaughlin straining to stay close.  Down the stretch, Hasay pulls away to the three-second win.  Photos John Dye
She was patient at the start of the race, not hammering it like last year.  She was patient enough to run in a chase pack when leader Allie McLaughlin was 50 meters or more ahead.  She was patient when Ashley Brasovan passed her going into the last huge hill and then caught McLaughlin on the downhill.

Jordan Hasay was patient until the last 300 meters, saving up what has become the best of her weapons, an ever-improving kick.  Three years ago, in her first trip to San Diego, she wouldn’t have imagined waiting for a kick.  But things have changed.  Finishing kicks last spring and summer won her the Arcadia 3200 and the USATF Junior 1500, and got her into the Olympic Trials 1500 Final.  No one in this field was faster at 1500 or a mile than Jordan and only Chelsea Sveinnson, among the key contenders, had a faster 800.  But at 2.75 miles, Sveinnson wasn’t close enough to worry about, and Brasovan and McLaughlin were within striking distance.

“The whole game plan was to get to the bottom of the hill as relaxed as possible, then go,” said Hasay’s coach, Dr. Armando Siqueiros.

So, with about 400 to go in Saturday’s 30th Foot Locker Finals, just when it looked Brasovan was going to win the battle of former champs, Hasay went.

The crowd was revved up a few minutes earlier when it became apparent on the giant video screen that Brasovan’s effort on the hill had closed the gap between her and McLaughlin.  Then the defending champ moved ahead of the Colorado standout and it looked like she would be the one to wear the crown again.

But when announcer Tim O’Rourke caught the beginning of Hasay’s closing kick, the crowd exploded.  As has been the case throughout the last year and a half on the track, the Mission Prep CA senior was irrepressible in the final few hundred meters.  Driving all the way through, she finished in 17:22, followed by Brasovan’s 17:25.

“I’ve learned not to doubt myself,” said Hasay.  “When I crossed the road (about 350m left), I was thinking, ‘4:14, 4:14 (her high school record 1500 time).’  Then around the final turn to the finish, I was thinking of the Trials, and how I passed people at the end.”

FL Midwest champ Megan Goethals MI and FL South third-placer (and NXN Finals champ) Sveinsson TX would also catch McLaughlin, taking 3rd (17:30) and 4th (17:31).  After McLaughlin in 5th (17:34), Kathy Kroeger TN would come in 6th (17:42) as the final finishing member of the so-called “Big Three.”

Rounding out the top ten were Shelby Greany NY (17:45), Chelsea Ley NJ (17:49), Lindsay Flanagan IL (17:50), and Jessica Tonn AZ (17:53).

Crashing The Party

If you tuned in at certain points during the live webcast, you might have been a bit misled.

For long stretches in the middle of this epic battle, the camera was trained on a pack of several girls and – what do you know – there was Hasay, Brasovan, Kroeger, Sveinsson and a small posse of other distance queens.  Just what everyone expected in this year of the return of a “Big Three,” the former champions jostling for position, waiting for the last half mile to see who would make the big move.

Then the camera zoomed out and you saw that was the chase pack.  A chase pack that seemed almost hopelessly out of it, almost 10 seconds back past the 2-mile mark.  What in the name of the big inflatable guy in the referee shirt was going on?

Well, McLaughlin was going on.  In a classic crash-the-party move, the Air Academy CO senior had exploded into the lead and literally looked as if she was sprinting the first mile.  Surely there was no way she could keep that up; surely this wouldn’t last.

McLaughlin, however, had creds to be taken seriously.  She had rung up super times all year in Colorado, capped with a 17:04 in her state meet that was a minute better than anyone else.  She led much of the Foot Locker Midwest region meet, then finished fourth – and vowed to run smarter and better at nationals.

But there she was, and when she passed the mile in 5:22, it was starting to become clear that it just looked like she was sprinting and maybe she could keep this up a while.  And she did.  And no one was going after her. 

“It was hard being that far back the first mile, but I knew she was going out super fast,” said Hasay afterward.  Then with some sense of irony, she recalled, “She was like me last year.”


Big gap

The first time down the hill, McLaughlin had a huge lead ... Lea led the chase pack, with (from left) Dunne, Lipari, Hasay, Cuffe, Greany, Sveinsson, and Kroeger following.  Photos John Nepolitan

Through two miles (11:11), McLaughlin kept the lead and when she emerged into view of the fans in the middle of the infield moments later , heading out to the final hill, she had a nine-second advantage.

Could it be that none of the so-called big three would win this thing?

Jordan began to try break up the pack a bit, and go after McLaughlin.  Finally, getting to the hill, the gap began to close. 

Brasovan is hardly a hill runner, coming from Florida, but she has learned to reserve some energies for that ascent, knowing that on the other side, she could call on her greatest strength.  She surged ahead of Hasay and went after McLaughlin.

Fans watched her power up the hill, then at the top it was apparent she had closed more than half the gap on the leader.  The race, and the possibility of a previous titlist winning, was back on.  The crowd amassed in the infield, watching on the jumbotron, let out a long “oooohh” when they saw what was developing, sort of a smaller version of the sound a massive Penn Relays crowd makes during a relay.

Brasovan started rolling down the hill and caught McLaughlin halfway down.  The Coloradoan wouldn’t give up, though, and stayed right there into the final 600.  With just over 400 to go, though, the defending champ moved ahead of her rival for good and appeared headed for the repeat.

But Hasay played the final card

2nd time down: Brasovan catches McLaughlin, but Hasay lurks behind. Photo John Nepolitan
At the same time, though, Hasay was beginning her kick.  She had tried to stay with Brasovan on the hill, but was really beginning to feel it.  She was gapped somewhat on the downhill, but not like previous years.  “At the top, I tried to refocus and relax,” she said.  “Then no one else passed me on the downhill, and I think that was a key.

“Then the crowd started screaming and I got pretty excited.  It was my last high school race and I didn’t want to get third.  I thought if I tried to kick and got in a rhythm, it would be tough to challenge me.”

Brasovan was focused on her own winning formula for last year, adjusted to the presence ahead of her.  “If we hadn’t started to catch her by the hill, I was going to be pretty concerned,” said the Wellington HS senior.  But I felt her slowing down on the hill.  I think it took a lot out of her because she was working hard the whole way and had no one to draft off.”

Of course, she didn’t forget about Jordan, but didn’t really know how fast she was closing, either.  But she knew this: “She definitely has more 1500-meter speed than me.”

Still, Brasovan was not unhappy with the race.  “Overall, it went well.  I can’t complain.  I have to give her props.”

As for McLaughlin?  No apologies for her strategy:  “It's the only way I've learned to run.  I just started last year, and that's how I like to do it,” she explained.

"I changed it up a bit before Regionals, and that didn't work well at all, so I decided to go with it.  A few girls got me, but I think if I would've stayed back, even more would have been with me and passed me."

Kroeger, the other “big three” contender, didn’t want to make excuses, but her training had been tempered by a hamstring problem recently and a restlessness exacerbated by a fine honor bestowed upon her the previous evening, a national “High School Heisman” award.  “I just tried to stay with the pack,” the Independence TN senior said.  “I had no energy to make a move on my own.  A bunch of people passed me on the hill, then I passed a few back.  I was completely dead at the end, so I know I gave it all I had.”

Sveinsson, the soph from Greenhills TX, was notable for having been the highest ranked contender to try the Foot Locker/NXN double.  Her 4th was a very strong showing after winning NXN Finals the previous weekend in Portland.  “I was pretty happy with it,” she said.

Other than Hasay, Goethals was probably the happiest runner in the top five.  “I was really trying for the top 15,” said the Rochester MI junior.  “The top five or ten was my ultimate goal.”

Hasay, however, had only one ultimate goal.  After her title in 2005, Kroeger and Brasovan had triumphed the next two years, leaving her 10th and 3rd.  On the track, she has reigned supreme over her distance competition, but showing she could win Foot Locker again was a huge goal.

“The whole season was about this race,” said Coach Siqueiros.  “We also talked about not giving up and how it’s not over until it’s over.”

“When I won it my freshman year, I don’t think I understood the significance … and the pressure there would be the next few years,” said Hasay.  “I have a greater appreciation for it now … It was a good note to go off on.”

Mike Kennedy Race Recap

Start—Senior Allie McLaughlin of Air Academy (Colorado Springs, Co.) took the lead by 400 meters and tried to run away from the field. 

800—Passing the half mile mark in 2:34, McLaughlin opened up a 30-meter lead over a group of seven athletes led by Lauren Smith of Brazoswood (Clute, Tx.) and including past champions Jordan Hasay of Mission College Prep (San Luis Obispo) and Kathy Kroeger of Independence (Thompson’s Station, Tn.). 
Mile—McLaughlin, passing in 5:22, continued to build a lead of upwards of 60 meters. The same group of seven remained together with Chelsea Ley of Kingsway leading the way at 5:30.0.  

To the Top of The Hill (first time)—Ley began to close just a little behind McLaughlin but the lead was still 50 meters with the pack close behind.  
Mile and One-Half (across the road)—McLaughlin continued to lead by eight seconds, at 8:15, with the pack of seven, led by Ley, Hasay, Chelsey Sveinsson of Greenhill (Addison, Tx.), Shelby Greany of Suffern (N.Y.), defending champion Ashley Brasovan and Kroeger just managing to remain in contact.   
Two Miles—McLaughlin continued to lead the pack, 11:08 to 11:16 but Hasay was now heading the second group.
Loop before the Hill (second time)—Hasay and Brasovan began to stalk McLaughlin as the three opened up a gap over the rest of the field. 

Top of the Hill—Just as she had done last year, Brasovan made her move on the hill, taking over second and slowly eating into McLaughlin’s lead as the two pulled away from Hasay.

Downhill—Brasovan took the lead from McLaughlin with Hasay 20 meters behind.

Flat to the Finish—Brasovan beginning to look like a winner as the two approach the road but suddenly coming from more than 20 meters back, it was Hasay, who crossed the road in third but then on the final uphill grade, approaching the finish, she powered past first McLaughlin and then Brasovan to pull away for her second Foot Locker championship in 17:22. Brasovan ran 17:25. Both Megan Goethals of Rochester (MI) and Sveinsson closed well to grab third and fourth in 17:30 and 17:31, respectively. McLauglin was fifth in 17:34.


Scoring Teams and Points:
1. Midwest 49 (3  5  9  14  18  21  22)
2. Northeast 51 (7  8  11  12  13  16  17)
3. South 60 (2  4  6  23  25  27  28)
4. West 65 (1  10  15  19  20  24  26)

1  Jordan Hasay (12)             West      Mission College Prep.              Arroyo Grande          CA 17:22
2  Ashley Brasovan (12)          South     Wellington H.S.                    Wellington             FL 17:25
3  Megan Goethals (11)           Midwest   Rochester H.S.                     Rochester              MI 17:30
4  Chelsey Sveinsson (10)        South     Greenhill School                   Dallas                 TX 17:31
5  Allie McLaughlin (12)         Midwest   Air Academy                        Colorado Springs       CO 17:34
6  Kathy Kroeger (12)            South     Independence H.S.                  Franklin               TN 17:42
7  Shelby Greany (12)            Northeast Suffern H.S.                       Suffern                NY 17:45
8  Chelsea Ley (11)              Northeast Kingsway Regional H.S.             Clarksboro             NJ 17:49
9  Lindsay Flanagan (12)         Midwest   Lake Park H.S.                     Roselle                IL 17:50
10 Jessica Tonn (11)             West      Xavier College Prep.               Paradise Valley        AZ 17:53
11 Emily Lipari (11)             Northeast Roslyn H.S.                        Greenvale              NY 17:53
12 Aisling Cuffe (10)            Northeast Cornwall Central H.S.              Cornwall On Hudson     NY 18:03
13 Emily Jones (12)              Northeast The Bromfield School               Harvard                MA 18:11
14 Chelsea Oswald (12)           Midwest   Walsh Jesuit H.S.                  Medina                 OH 18:11
15 Danielle Menlove (9)          West      Jordan H.S.                        Sandy                  UT 18:14
16 Laura Vigilante (11)          Northeast West Morris Mendham H.S.           Brookside              NJ 18:14
17 Melanie Thompson (12)         Northeast Voorhees H.S.                      High Bridge            NJ 18:18
18 Ashlie Decker (11)            Midwest   Dowling Catholic H.S.              Des Moines             IA 18:19
19 Alex Dunne (12)               West      San Clemente H.S.                  San Clemente           CA 18:22
20 Taylor Wallace (12)           West      Henley H.S.                        Klamath Falls          OR 18:24
21 Becca Addison (12)            Midwest   Grand Haven H.S.                   Spring Lake            MI 18:24
22 Jordan Tomecek (11)           Midwest   Milan H.S.                         Milan                  MI 18:25
23 Lauren Smith (12)             South     Brazoswood H.S.                    Lake Jackson           TX 18:27
24 Megan Morgan (11)             West      Torrey Pines H.S.                  Del Mar                CA 18:30
25 Amanda Russell (11)           South     Vista Ridge H.S.                   Cedar Park             TX 18:30
26 Jessica Zangmeister (12)      Midwest   Fairview H.S.                      Fairview Park          OH 18:30
27 Katie Kellner (12)            Northeast West Windsor-Plainsboro H.S.       West Windsor           NJ 18:34
28 Shalaya Kipp (12)             West      Skyline H.S.                       Salt Lake City         UT 18:37
29 Emily Sisson (11)             Midwest   Parkway Central H.S.               Chesterfield           MO 18:37
30 Jacque Taylor (11)            West      Casa Grande H.S.                   Petaluma               CA 18:38
31 Kirsten Kasper (12)           Northeast North Andover H.S.                 North Andover          MA 18:40
32 Kayla Hale (12)               South     Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy     Indialantic            FL 18:45
33 Jennifer Lynn Bergman (12)    West      Valley Christian H.S.              San Jose               CA 18:47
34 Sheree Juliann Shea (12)      West      University City H.S.               San Diego              CA 18:53
35 Adrianne Soo (12)             South     Durham Academy                     Chapel Hill            NC 18:53
36 Diane Robison (11)            Midwest   Parkway Central H.S.               Chesterfield           MO 18:54
37 Ashley Isham (11)             South     Vista Ridge H.S.                   Cedar Park             TX 19:00
38 Megan Marsico (11)            South     Glenvar H.S.                       Salem                  VA 19:06
39 Kimberly Spano (12)           South     North Mecklenburg H.S.             Huntersville           NC 19:07
40 Erin Cawley (12)              Northeast Newark Valley H.S.                 Newark Valley          NY 19:08