Results - John Dye Gallery of Northeast Girls Finalists -
2008 Foot Locker - Northeast
11/29/08 at Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, New York
Emily Jones MA wins in 17:31
Duel with Lanie Thompson fizzles; New Jersey has its most ever 4 qualifiers
by Rich Bevensee
|The much-anticipated duel pairing two of the top six girls ranked in the DyeStat Top 25 had all the makings of a classic late-season race.|
Lanie Thompson of Voorhees in Glen Gardner, NJ, ranked fifth in the country, entered the race as New Jersey’s two-time state champion and unbeaten in all races this season. Emily Jones of The Bromfield School, Mass., ranked seventh, (right, photo by John Dye) entered the meet as the three-time Massachusetts Division 2 state champion and unbeaten against all comers this season.
One month ago, they posted nearly the exact same times on the same site in separate races at the Manhattan Invitational. Finally, both girls are headed to prestigious Division 1 programs next fall and anxious to leave a lasting imprint on their final cross-country campaigns.
But the duel fizzled before the race began to boil. Just about the time Jones took over
the lead with less than a mile remaining in the race, Thompson couldn’t find her usual late-race gear and she fell off the pace set by a three-headed lead pack.
After hitting the two-mile mark in 11:40, Jones eluded Shelby Greany of Suffern, N.Y.,
and Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., in the final mile to claim her first
regional title in 17:31.1 at the 30th Foot Locker Northeast Regional yesterday at Van
Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
Jones, who joins Ari Lambie (2002) as the only Northeast winners from Bromfield, will celebrate her third straight trip to the national championships Dec. 13 at San Diego’s Balboa Park.
``The race went just like I hoped it would,’’ said the Georgetown-bound Jones, second last year in 17:41. ``There were three of us coming down the big downhill and I took the lead there and just gave it my all. To read about all the best runners all season and then race against them, this is really fun. I don’t know about where I should finish at nationals but in terms of training and racing, I am right where I want to be.’’
Greany, a senior who earned her fourth straight trip to San Diego, finished second in 17:37.7. Cuffe, a sophomore, placed third in 17:39.0.
Thompson, fourth in 18:05.9 and not accustomed to losing, was disgusted with her performance and vowed to improve in 2 weeks’ time.
``As soon as the gun went off, I felt tired,’’ Thompson said. ``I knew I wouldn’t have a good race. I’m looking forward to nationals and beating the girls who got me today.’’
Thompson, who committed to Oregon last month, had three straight weekends of racing leading into the regional, while Jones had a week off before the Foot Locker race because her state meet was two weeks ago. But Thompson refused use to her demanding race schedule as an excuse for failing to win the Northeast crown.
``It may have been a factor but I would never point my finger to that and say that’s the reason. I don’t make excuses,’’ Thompson said. ``I didn’t feel my best and I had a bad race. It happens.’’
Jones and Thompson ran similar times at the Manhattan Invitational Oct. 11 on Van Cortlandt’s 2.5-mile course. Jones won the A Division race in 14:12.7, while Thompson won the Eastern States Championship20race in 14:12.8. They were the two fastest girls’ times of the meet.
Jones is now 2-0 against the New Jersey star. Last spring at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, Jones placed second in the girls’ 3,000 in 9:40.35 and Thompson placed third in 9:44.87.
Jones said she was surprised that Thompson was not with the lead pack as they headed for the final downhill and 1,000-meter straightaway.
``The four of us were really pushing on the back hills," Jones said. ``When we hit the final downhill I knew Shelby and Aisling were with me and I didn’t see Melanie. I really thought she would come back on us and make it a race.’’
Greany, one of the rare four-time national qualifiers, was especially pleased with her performance in light of a few changes to the course due to construction around Van Cortlandt. She finished ninth in last year’s regional.
``I got a personal best by 20 seconds so I’m thrilled,’’ Greany said. ``If you PB’ed on this course, you would have PB’ed on the other course definitely. I’ve had a tough season and I didn’t run well at state and (N.Y.) Fed, but this is the race I’ve been waiting to peak for.’’
Emily Lipari, a junior from Roslyn, N.Y., and the New York Federation champion, caught a flu bug before the race and slipped to a disappointing eighth in 18:14.8. Lipari finished sixth in 17:48 in the Northeast last season, and she was the region’s top representative at nationals last season, placing sixth overall in 17:46.
``I’m so upset,’’ said Lipari, sixth last fall. ``I was hoping to do a little better than last year, but I guess I should be happy about getting in the top 10 since I’m sick.’’
New York and New Jersey tied for the most berths for the national race with four runners each. It was a state record for New Jersey, which had qualified three runners four times.
Foot Locker changed its qualification rules in 2005 when the number of automatic national qualifiers was bumped up from eight to 10.
In addition to the aforementioned athletes, the following girls also qualified for the national meet: Chelsea Ley (fifth, 18:08.3), a junior from Kingsway, N.J., and a two-time national finalist; Katie Kellner (sixth, 18:09.7), a senior from West Windsor-Plainsboro South; Kirsten Kasper (seventh, 18:10.1), a senior from North Andover, Mass.; Erin Cawley (eighth, 18:14.1), a senior from Newark Valley, N.Y.; and Laura Vigilante (10th, 18:15.4), a junior from Mendham, N.J.
Greany, who has designs on improving on her 24th-place finish at nationals last season had some advice for the first-time qualifiers. She finished 19th as a sophomore and 38th as a freshman.
``My freshman year I was star-struck,’’ Greany said. ``Everyone deserves to be there whether you won the regional or you finished 10th. When you get there, you just have to run your race. You’re going to beat people who you shouldn’t beat and there will be people who beat you who shouldn’t. Just don’t worry about any of the big names that you've read about all season.’’
Results by WWW.ELITERACINGSYSTEMS.COM
|4||Thompson, Melanie||12||High Bridge||NJ||18:05.9|
|6||Kellner, Katie||12||West Windsor||NJ||18:09.7|
|7||Kasper, Kirsten||12||North Andover||MA||18:10.1|
|8||Cawley, Erin||12||Newark Valley||NY||18:14.1|
|11||Davidner, Jenna||11||North Easton||MA||18:29.7|
|13||Coughlin, McKenna||10||Johnson City||NY||18:35.2|
|15||Venables, Megan||10||Laurel Springs||NJ||18:38.9|
|18||Rowe, Hannah||11||Saint Johnsbury||VT||18:42.7|
|20||Whitney, Colette||11||High Bridge||NJ||18:47.0|
|23||Yep, Becky||11||Ellicott City||MD||18:48.6|
|25||McGlinchey, Meghan||12||West Deptford||NJ||18:50.9|
|27||Bower, Natalie||12||Pleasant Unity||PA||18:57.2|
|39||Cirino, Erica||11||Lloyd Neck||NY||19:11.6|
|53||Loretto, Krissa||12||Toms River||NJ||19:35.3|
|66||Gray, Haley||12||East Burke||VT||19:56.3|
|75||Cleary, Jennifer||11||Chesapeake City||MD||20:22.9|
|88||Kendzor, Jessica||11||Wappingers Falls||NY||20:39.3|
|89||McMahon, Julia||11||Staten Island||NY||20:39.9|
|97||Pontecorvo, Victoria||12||Staten Island||NY||20:57.3|
|108||Solch, Amanda||12||Mountain Lakes||NJ||22:07.2|
|109||Brancale, Lorraine||11||Staten Island||NY||22:09.2|
|119||Nixon, Mia||10||New York||NY||24:25.7|
Footlocker Northeast Regional Cross Country Championships
Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, New York November 29, 2008