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DyeStat Cross Country 2000
Bobby Lockhart of the Shenandoah Valley
Thirty seconds faster than last year!
by John Dye
FORT FREDERICK STATE PARK MD, 9/30/00 -- Handley Winchester VA junior Bobby Lockhart lives in the Shenandoah Valley, far from the bright lights of elite high school running. But when he ventures out of the valley, he is ready for prime time.
Today, on the grounds of a fort that was built to protect colonists against the Indians in George Washington's time, Lockhart fired a warning shot to the rest of the country that he is ready again. He turned a 5000 meter cross country "race" into a lonely stroll in the park. Lockhart climbed the last hill to cross the finish line in 15:22, barely winded and 43 seconds ahead of the second place runner.
"I'm running about 30 seconds faster than last year," Lockhart said after the race.
That is a statement to ponder, considering that last year was a great one for Lockhart as a sophomore. In cross country, he was 4th in the Foot Locker South region and 16th at the national finals in Orlando.
In the Herbster Classic Mile at Charlotte last May, Lockhart was 3rd in 4:10.32. That's the race when Alan Webb captured the nation's attention trying for the first 4-minute mile by a high schooler since 1968.
In the Foot Locker Outdoor championships at Raleigh in June, Lockhart got a new PR in the mile at 4:08.56. That was good for 5th place, the third highest underclassman behind winner Ryan Hall of California 4:06.15 and Nick Schneider of Minnesota 4:08.33.
As for this year, Lockhart was not at Charlotte last week for the Great American Cross Country Festival, won by Alan Webb in 14:59 over the same course as the Foot Locker South. "I don't go to many big meets," Bobby said. "That was too early in the season for me." He said he is pointing for the Foot Locker cross country championships now.
Lockhart is in the same state as Alan Webb, but in the small school classification, so they won't meet in the state cross country championships this year. His biggest opposition in Virginia AA should be Bryce Ruiz of Williamsburg, double gold at the AAU Junior Olympics nationals in July, and Rockbridge County soph sensation John Crews, 13-second winner over Ruiz in 15:28 at the Virginia Tech Invitational September 16.
Bobby owns the meet at Fort Frederick, called the Frostburg Invitational until NCAA Division III rules made Frostburg State University give up sponsorship of the high school half of the agenda. He broke 16 minutes as a freshman (15:52), improved to 15:46 last year as a soph, and ran 15:22 today for his third straight title in the meet, now called the Queen City Striders Invitational after the Cumberland MD running club.
At the finish, Lockhart was greeted by his mother and step-father, Cookie and Evan Robb. "Too slow," said Bobby. "But you were all alone," said Cookie.
Bobby knows he won't be all alone at Charlotte November 25 when he toes the line in the South region of the Foot Locker cross country championships. Webb and others in the huge region that stretches from Virginia to Florida to Texas will be waiting. But Lockhart will be ready.
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