Foot Locker Cross Country
Nov 25 - Dec 9, 2006

a DyeStat featured meet

Foot Locker finals index -

Gallery of Finalists - Midwest boys

text by Steve Underwood, photos by PhotoRun

(Explanation of Win/Place/Show section:  As an extra feature, the “Win/Place/Show” section predicts where each finalist can reasonably aspire to finish, with “Win” meaning going for victory, “Place” meaning top 5 or 10, and “Show” meaning top 15-20.  Although only half of the runners will finish in the top 20, it is reasonable to say that’s what each athlete hopes to do, at the very least (no one “wants” to finish in the bottom half), and can do if they have a great day.

1. Hassan Mead
2007, Minneapolis MN - Minneapolis South HS

Overview:  Hassan came into this fall known only as a solid second-season transfer from Washington that might be a factor over hill and dale.  Now he’s one of the best runners in the country.  The difference was simply a summer of dedicated training instead of hoops, his other love.  A thrilling and fast win over Elliott Heath at Faribault really gave his season some oomph and by the time he won Griak in late September, he was known statewide and regionally.  After winning state by a narrow margin, Hassan was there to take over when Evan Jager faltered in Kenosha, winning by five ticks in a come-from-behind effort to lead the MW team.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  1st FL MW 15:05, 1st AA state 15:10, 1st Griak 15:48, 1st Faribault 14:58, 1st Metro 15:24,
2006 Track:  2A state 9:15.93-4th/4:19.51-6th

Win/Place/Show:  WIN – Hassan wasn’t the favorite to win FL MW, but maybe he should’ve been given a shot, what with his unbeaten season in a tough state and smart running style.  While he still doesn’t have the notoriety of a Craig Forys and Matt Tebo, this is still a year without a really big, fast favorite.  Hassan will need to get out somewhat faster to be in good position here, but he can still sit back and move hard the second half of the race and be successful.  He’s at least a good underdog to win.

2. Anguel Tolev
2007, Thornton CO - Thornton HS

Overview:  It would sound like a broken record when we’re done, but Anguel and the other three Colorado finalists can all be said to have made it because of the tough competition they faced all season long.  Few states in the country had so many good runners battling back and forth for several weeks like CO did.  Anguel really didn’t win a major race overall, but he was always up there in the thick of things, finishing with a 2nd to Richard Medina at 5A state with the 2nd best time of the day.  He then proceeded to run a strong, daring race at FL MW and didn’t let up until he’d crossed the line.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  2nd FL MW 15:10, 2nd 5A state 15:52, 1st Liberty Bell D1 15:30 (3rd overall), 3rd Centerra 15:56, 2nd Centaurus 16:10,
2006 Track:  7th 5A state 9:48.01,
2005 XC:  4th 5A state 16:16,

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE/SHOW – It will be four times as hard for Anguel to do Saturday what he did in Kenosha and get away with it.  He doesn’t have – or at least hasn’t yet shown – the wheels to make those kind of moves against a field full of sub-9 runners at the top.  That’s not to say he really isn’t ready for a top ten or better, but it wasn’t a great, top-heavy MW region this year.  He might want to start out closer to the middle, then make his move to the top ten and see if he can hang there.

3. Elliott Heath
2007, Winona MN - Winona HS

Overview:  Elliott could have hardly foreseen the Hassan phenomenon taking over his state his senior year, especially after he won state with 9:05 and knew he’d be ready for a great fall campaign.  But he still won a lot of races and had a great 2nd to Hassan at Faribault.  Jon Stublaski surprised him into 3rd at state, but Elliott got right out there at FL MW and battled all race long into the top three, following brother Garrett by a few years as a Heath family Finals qualifier.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  3rd FL MW 15:10, 3rd AA State 15:15, 2nd Faribault 14:58, 1st Matterhorn 15:22, 1st Ev Berg 15:09, 1st Lakeville 15:32,
2006 Track:  2A State 4:14.73-3rd/9:05.92-1st
2005 CC:  71st FL Midwest 16:06, 1st 2A State 15:36, 1st Ev Berg 15:56, 1st Lakeville 15:29
2005 Track:  4:17.57 3rd State
2004 CC:  44th FLMW 16:25

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE/SHOW – Really, almost all of the Midwest qualifers between 2nd and at least 9th are in a similar boat.  If they run really well, they can potentially make top 10 or so, and top 15-20 is a very reasonable goal.  Heath’s strengths are well-balanced and simply not starting out too fast or too slow should give him a good chance to maximize his potential.

4. Emil Heineking
2007, Chardon OH - Chardon HS

Overview:  After injury kept him from fulfilling his potential on the track last spring, Heineking went unbeaten in OH all fall, with consistent 15:10-20 clockings and a few wins over out-of-state standouts, like when he beat VA’s Mike Spooner.  He ran the same way at FL MW that you would have expected him to and PR’d with a solid 4th.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  4th FL MW 15:10, 1st ME MOC 15:47, 1st D1 state 15:16, 1st MW MOC 15:14, 1st Spartan Boardman 15:36, 1st Strongsville 15:13, 1st Region I 16:29,
2006 Track:  2nd D1 State 9:22.73, 9:11.15i 1st Kent State,
2005 CC:  15th FL Midwest 15:33, 5th D1 State 15:44,

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE/SHOW – Like Heath, Heineking has reasonable top ten potential if he really runs well, but going for 15-20 is probably a most likely approach to take for success.

5. Evan Appel
2009, Littleton CO - Dakota Ridge HS

Overview:  Evan is, without question, one of the most impressive sophs in recent years and his surge the 2nd half of the race into 5th was one of the more surprising developments of the race in Kenosha.  Like the other three CO qualifiers, he battled back and forth all fall, always in the mix.  But he also got valuable experience at Griak, where he was 2nd to Mead.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  5th FL MW 15:12, 2nd Rocky Mountain Champs 15:51, 2nd Griak 15:55, 3rd 5A state 16:05, 4th Centerra 15:59, 2nd Liberty Bell D2 15:36 (5th overall), 1st Runners Roost D1 16:03, 3rd Cherry Creek 15:58, 2nd District 15:04,
2006 Track:  8th 5A state 9:50.70,
2005 XC:  81st FL MW 16:10, 9th 5A state 16:30,

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – Despite his impressive improvement, it’s probably quite the long shot to expect Evan to get a top ten this year.  To shoot for top 15-20, with two more years to improve, would probably be wise.

6. Joseph Mahilafasha
2009, Denver CO - Denver North HS

Overview:  Joseph probably has the most talent of the Colorado quartet and showed it with some of his fast wins, like Liberty Bell and Centaurus (tough course).  His slower winning time at 4A state (5A went 31 seconds faster) was misleading, many said, and they were proven right as Joseph was there in the 3rd mile with Hassan battling for the win.  The soph’s inexperience caused him to move too early, and he lost some places at the end, but he qualified easily.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  6th FL MW 15:13, 1st 4A state 16:10, 2nd Centerra 15:43, 1st Liberty Bell D3 15:12 (1st overall), 1st Centaurus 15:55, 1st Dave Sanders 15:07,
2006 Track:  5A state 4:25.16-6th/9:26.29-3rd,
2005 XC: 17th 5A state 16:44,

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE/SHOW - Joseph has the best chance of the MW team middle-of-the-packers to break into the top ten.  But he has to be careful to not make big moves at the wrong time that will cost him later.  He needs to get to know the course Friday and know where he wants to show his cards.

7. Bobby Moldolvan
2007, Fort Wayne IN - Northrup HS

Overview:  There’s never been any question of Bobby’s talent the past three years; it’s just been a matter if he could do it in the biggest races.  During the past two falls, he won his semistate in IN, only to place just 8th at state.  At FL MW in 2005, he followed that with a 57th – yet in the spring he ran 9:07 to win the 3200.  Finally in Kenosha two weeks ago he ran smart and put it all together in the biggest XC race of his life to make the big dance.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  7th FL MW 15:13, 4th ME MOC 15:59, 8th state 16:18, 1st NH Semistate 15:24,
2006 Track:  9:07.99 1st State, 9:12.81 1st Regional, 18th NON 9:21.74y (4th Sect. 1)
2005 CC:  53rd FL Midwest 15:57, 8th State 15:44, 1st Semi-State 15:49,

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – A top 10 is probably out of reach, so a good goal would be to shoot for 15th-20th Saturday, running the same way he did in Wisconsin.

8. Richard Medina
2007, Grand Junction CO - Grand Junction HS

Overview:  Many would say that Joseph Manilafasha is more talented, but it was Medina who, after a slow start, had the best record in CO and the best time at state (winning 5A).  Medina’s track prowess, which included a 4th in the Golden West 3200, and senior experience no doubt played a role.  He didn’t have a great race at FL Midwest, but got in 8th.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  8th FL MW 15:18, 1st 5A state 15:39, 1st Centerra 15:22, 1st Liberty Bell D2 15:19 (2nd overall), 3rd Runners Roost D1 16:37, 1st BYU 15:50,
2006 Track:  5A State 9:13.90-1st/4:21.18-4th, 4th Golden West 9:15.79
2005 CC:  28th FL Midwest 15:40, 2nd 5A State 15:58

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE/SHOW – If he runs as he did at state, or as in his biggest invitational wins, a top ten isn’t out of the question for Medina.  Shooting for 15th-20th is probably more realistic.


9. De'Sean Turner
2007, Indianapolis IN - Warren Central HS

Overview:  Turner wasn’t quite as impressive at points during the season as he was in leading his school to NTN last fall, but he did take his first state title in October.  He certainly had one of the most courageous runs at FL MW, battling a bad flu to take the next-to-last spot. 

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  9th FL MW 15:18, 3rd ME MOC 15:58, 1st State 15:54, 1st FC Semistate 15:09, 1st Region 15:13,
2006 Track:  4:08.78 2nd State, 4:15.97 1st Region, 11th USATF Jr. 1500 3:59.00
2005 CC:  15th FL Finals 15:29, 6th NTN 16:54, 10th FL Midwest 15:18, 2nd State 15:26, 2nd Semi-state 15:07, 1st Culver 15:27, 1st Region 15:13
2005 Track:  6th State 4:17.23, 9th State 9:24.21 (PR 9:23.32)
2004 CC:  DNC FLMW

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE/SHOW - De’Sean was a warrior last year with the strong FL MW-NTN-FL Finals triple; this year he won’t have the NTN fatigue going on.  If he’s recovered from his illness and runs really well, improving on last year’s 15th is a possibility.

10. Dan Chenoweth
2007, Geneseo IL - Geneseo HS

Overview:  Dan certainly wasn’t who everyone expected as IL’s sole qualifier this year.  But the inability of Jager and Havel to move on certainly gave him a better shot.  And it’s not as if he isn’t able to race with those guys.  He beat Havel at Palatine early in the year during one of his best wins, and was a very solid 4th at state.  He prepped for FL MW with 6th at ME MOC.

Leading Stats
2006 XC:  10th FL MW 15:19, 6th ME MOC 16:03, 4th AA state 14:24 (3M), 1st Palatine 14:17 (3M), 2nd Woodruff 14:39 (3M), 1st Sectional 14:51 (3M),
2006 Track:  1st Sterling Relays 4:19.30, 3rd MW Distance Gala 9:14.74, AA state 9:22.15-6th/4:19.81-qual,
2005 XC:  35th AA State 15:02 (3M)

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – It’s hard for the #10 qualifiers to realistically assess their goals in a field like this.  But it’s worthwhile noting that Dan was just nine seconds out of 2nd at FL MW.  If he runs really well, he could place higher than his seed suggests.


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