Foot Locker Cross Country
Nov 25 - Dec 9, 2006

a DyeStat featured meet

Foot Locker finals index -

Gallery of Finalists - Northeast girls

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. Neely Spence
8, Shippensburg PA - home schooled

Overview:  Healthy now as a junior, and able to run in PIAA meets now as a homeschooler competing for Shippensburg, Neely showed all of PA (and later, the region) what insiders had known all along: That she was one of the country’s best runners.  With a patient plan for late peaking, though, she didn’t show her full hand all season, even in the state meet where she won Class AA, but with a slower time than Class A.  Then at the NYRRC race at Vanny, she ran a blistering 17:37 that revealed her fitness and prefaced her FL NE triumph.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  1st FL NE 17:41, 1st NYRRC 17:38, 1st AAA state 18:07, 1st Mid-Penn 18:07, 1st Paul Short 17:47,
2006 Track:  3rd PA Dist Fest 4:58.92, Kaiser Classic 4:43.65-1st 1500/10:14.31-1st 3k,
2005 CC:  19th FL Northeast 18:31, 3rd NYRRC 18:35, 5th Paul Short 22:03 (6k vs. collegiates)
2005 Track:  5th Bison Classic 5k 17:27.39 (vs. College)

Win/Place/Show:  WIN – As a regional champ, Spence is pretty much obliged to battle for the win, but the question is whether she has the talent of the other regional winners in one of the best top-heavy girls fields ever.  As one of the oldest of the top eight or so contenders, she must use all of her smarts in making the right moves at the right times.  The pace may be blistering, so she might do well to lay off it and pick off those who falter later.  She’s obviously good on tough courses, but Balboa is sort of in-between. 

2. Hannah Davidson
2008, Saratoga Springs NY - Saratoga HS

Overview:  For someone who looked as if they were slipping at the end of last spring, Hannah has come back and been fantastic all fall.  Her only losses were on an off day where she went out too hard at Class AA state, and getting nipped at FL NE.  But she dominated Feds and won the region’s biggest invite of the year in Eastern States.  She won a nice handful of other invites, beating the likes of Ashley Higginson NJ and New York’s best.  It was almost a perfect season for the junior.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  2nd FL NE 17:42, 1st Eastern States (2.5M) 14:14, 1st Feds 18:05, 2nd AA state 17:41, 1st Suburban Council 17:22, 1st Spiked Shoe 17:24,
2006 Track:  2nd NON 3kST 6:58.79, 9:47.94 3k 1st Sect2, 8th State 3k 10:09.22, 6th Arcadia 10:36.58, 4:43.43i 1500 1st Sect2, 5th Boston 4:57.73yi,
2005 CC:  36th FL Finals 18:40, 9th FL Northeast 18:08, 7th NTN 20:11, 3rd Feds 18:40, 2nd 2A State 17:33, 1st Suburban Council 17:04 (3M), 9th Great American ROC 18:16, 2nd Eastern States 14:43 (2.5M), 2nd Brown 18:41
2005 Track:  2nd Penn 9:56.46 (3k), 2nd NON 6:48.64 (2kST)
2004 CC:  23rd FLN 18:40, 3rd FL NE 17:52, 6th NTN 18:34

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE – As good as she is and as well as she’s run, Davidson might still not quite have the wheels to race with what may be one of the best girls’ fields ever.  The 1-2s in the MW, South, and West were that good.  It’s likely the pace will be VERY fast, and given what happened to her at AA state, she’d be wise to lay off it and try and catch a few contenders as they fall off.  For once, she will be a Saratoga runner at FL Finals who did NOT run NTN the previous week, so she’ll be well rested.  If she runs smart, top 7 or even 4-5 is possible.

3. Carly Seymour
2008 - Ebensburg PA - Central Cambria HS

Overview:  Third place seems to be a good spot for FL regional surprises this year.  After what Seymour did at Vanny, both FL West boys and girls 3rd-placers were stunners.  Carly had a fine season, barely getting beaten at AA state by Kacey Gibson, getting great experience with a 6th at Easter States, and winning everything else.  Still, no one was prepared for what she did at FL NE, especially after she got behind early.  But she blew past more than 30 runners all the way to 3rd.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  3rd FL NE 17:44, 2nd AA state 18:01, 6th Eastern States (2.5M) 14:30, 1st District 6 18:12, 1st Penn St. 18:18, 1st Altoona 17:53, 1st Forest Hills 18:16, 1st Laurel Highlands Conf. 17:47 (3M)
2006 Track:  3rd AA State 10:57.17, 2nd LHU Classic 5:08.82
2005 CC:  1st AA State 18:56,

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – It will be much tougher to catch runners if Seymour gets a slow start here.  Still, there are always those who falter at the end, making a top 10 possible.  Like Spence, though, there’s more improvement to come for Seymour and a top 15-20 finish is more likely this year, setting her up to do much better next year (only problem, not many of the best girls will graduate!)

4. Ashley Higginson
2007, Marlboro NJ - Colts Neck HS

Overview:  With defending MOC champ Danielle Tauro taking the first part of the season off, Higginson stepped firmly into the role as Jersey’s best runner.  She ran fast and won often during those weeks, losing only to Davidson twice, with a fine 2nd at Eastern States.  When Tauro did return, Ashley gave her all she wanted both at Group and MOC.  After holding back a bit for a solid 4th at FL NE, she then led her Colts Neck teammates to NTN where she won it all.  Like her teammate on the boys side, Craig Forys, it’s been a very special season for Ashley.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  1st NTN 19:18, 4th FL NE 17:52, 2nd MOC 17:50, 2nd Grp4 18:10, 2nd Eastern States (2.5M) 14:16, 1st Cougar Inv 17:34, 2nd Spiked Shoe 17:49
2006 Track:  1st Penn 3k 9:42.07, 13th NON 10:43.00y, 10:38.42 3rd NJ MOC, Grp3 10:42.19-1st/4:58.46-5th
2005 CC:  26th FL Northeast 18:48, 7th NJ MOC 18:26, 2nd Grp3 18:55, 5th Eastern States 14:48 (2.5M), 4th Paul Short 18:05
2005 Track:  10:02.48 (3k) 3rd Penn, 10:47.91 2nd NJMOC, 17th NON 10:54.25y
2004 CC:  DNC FLNE

Win/Place/Show:  PLACE – As good as Higginson is, this week will be a huge challenge.  Not only will her competition be better than what she’s faced in the NE, but most of them will be fresher than she will be.  Last year, NTN champ Betsy Bies did very well to take 10th place and, similarly, that would be a great finish for Ashley.  If she runs her normal steady race, she could get that or a few spots better.

5. Alison Smith
2007, Columbia MD - Atholton HS

Overview:  Smith’s times in MD don’t get a lot of regional press, but when she ventures outside, she makes it count, like when she was 7th in Eastern States.  That was no doubt good prep for moving up from 16th to 5th in FL NE this year.  Her time on the harrowing Bull Run course at state in winning 2A wasn’t great, 19:29 for 3M, but came despite a horrendous tumble that she courageously came back from for the title.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  5th FL NE 17:55, 7th Eastern States (2.5M) 14:34, 1st 2A State 19:29 (3M)
2006 Track:  2A State 2:15.96-1st/DQ 1600/11:02.30-1st, 4th NIN 4:57.09y,
2005 CC:  16th FL Northeast 18:29, 1st 2AState 19:25, 3rd Harford 17:49 (3M)

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – Smith did a great job in making the big dance, but the competition will be brutally tough.  This year, the top 15-20 will be a good showing and anything better would be outstanding.

6. Shelby Greany
2009, Suffern NY - Suffern HS

Overview:  Shelby’s run strong all season in improving her time on almost every course.  Like Davidson, she’s had to take over a team that lost strong senior leadership.  She’s been right in the mix, 2nd/3rd, in each of her biggest races, leading up to FL NE.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  6th FL NE 17:58, 2nd Feds 18:27, 4th AA state 17:53, 3rd Eastern States (2.5M) 14:18, 2nd Warwick D1 18:01 (4th overall), 3rd Wildcat 20:00,
2006 Track:  6:52.0 2kST 2nd Cornwall, 1st Loucks 6:57.56 2kSt, USATF 10:38.30 3k-7th/4:36.15 1500-11th, (top relay splits 2:12.8/3:34.4-1200/4:54.1), 1st Stanner 4:58.74yi
2005 CC:  38th FL Finals 18:58, 10th FL Northeast 18:09, 4th Feds 18:43, 4th 2A State 17:48, 1st Section 17:33, 7th Eastern States 14:55, 1st Wizard 17:57, 2nd Queensbury 17:59
2005 Track:  2nd Corn Steeplefest 6:56.2 (2k ST), 1st Section 10:07.8 (3k)
2004 CC:  FLNE DNC

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – A big motivator for Shelby will be improving on last year’s 38th-place finish, where she had a rare bad race.  She’s been very consistent this year, so that should not be a problem.  Something in the 15th-20th range would be outstanding.

7. Liz Deir
2007, Lima NY - Honeoye Falls HS

Overview:  One thing you can say for Liz – she’s consistent.  She doesn’t get much competition in NY’s Class B, but she’s been 8th and 7th at FL NE the last two years (right at 18:00), and she ran the same time at FL Finals last December.  At Class B state, running alone, she almost nabbed the best time of the day.  She did beat the Hilton top two early in the year.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  7th FL NE 18:00, 5th Feds 18:30, 1st Class B state 17:39, 1st McQuaid 17:04, 1st East Aurora 18:15, 1st Wildcat 18:49
2006 Track:  6:45.19 2kST 3rd State, 6:54.94 2nd Sect5, 4:51.92 1500 4th Sec5-A
2005 CC:  19th FL Finals 18:00, 8th FL Northeast 18:01, 7th Feds 18:55, 1st State B 18:09, 2nd McQuaid (Seeded Med.) 17:26 (3M), 3rd Queensbury 18:17
2005 Track:  5th State 6:55.64 (2kST)
2004 CC:  46th FLNE 19:31

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – Deir ran pretty well to her potential last year with her 19th in 18:00.  She has a good chance to improve that down to 15th or better, but she may need to run faster to do it.

8. Allison Sawyer
2007, Hilton NY - Hilton HS

Overview:  When Sawyer’s been good, she’s been very, very good – such as winning Class AA state in NY, getting 8th at FL NE, or 3rd last weekend at NTN.  At Feds (6th) and Eastern States (15th) – ok, but not as good.  She has been the leader of Hilton’s bid into NTN this year, getting plenty of support from Caroline Schultz and others.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  3rd NTN 19:31, 8th FL NE 18:01, 6th Feds 18:45, 1st AA state 17:36, 15th Eastern States (2.5M) 14:51, 2nd Wildcat 19:22, 2nd Warwick D2 (2nd overall) 17:55)
2006 Track:  State 6:55.47-4th 2kSt/9:56.85-4th 3k, 1st Sect5 2kSt 6:51.22, 1st Sect5AA 1500 4:43.35, 14th NIN 5:09.43yi
2005 CC:  13th FL Northeast 18:19, 8th NTN 20:21, 8th AAState 18:07, 4th McQuaid 18:03, 8th Queensbury 18:54

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – Sawyer is kind of borderline between place and show.  If she still has enough in the tank to run like she did at NTN, or NY AA state, she could sneak into a top 10 spot.  But 15-20 is probably more realistic.  If she can run a strong second half like she did at AA state, picking off those wasted by what will surely be a brutal pace, it will be to her advantage.

9. Emily Jones
2009, Harvard MA - Bromfield HS

Overview:  Jones has been the dominant runner in New England this year as a soph, winning her state and all invitationals in that region, including her fine run at Brown.  Her foray down to Eastern States was invaluable, as she was a strong 4th behind NY/NJ powers.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  9th FL NE 18:03, 1st All-State D2 18:39, 1st Central MA D2 16:48 (2.9M), 4th Eastern States (2.5M) 14:26, 1st Brown Invite 17:49, 1st Boston Inv. 18:26,

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – Eastern States was Jones’s biggest meet to date and this is a whole lot bigger.  If she runs as well or better than she ran at Vanny that day, something better than 15th could be possible, but 15th-20th would be a pretty good goal.

10. Caroline Schultz
2007, Hilton NY - Hilton HS

Overview:  Schultz saved her best for Vanny as she beat many outstanding runners to nab 11th at FL NE.  When Danielle Tauro announced she would not run FL Finals, she was moved up.  Caroline’s 18:03 at Warwick Wave Mania for 4th in D2 (6th overall) was a top effort.  She was 12th at Feds and 5th at AA state as she helped lead Hilton’s 1-2 punch.

Leading Stats
2006 CC:  13th NTN 20:01, 11th FL NE 18:15, 12th Feds 18:58, 5th AA state 17:57, 23rd Eastern States (2.5M) 15:09, 4th Warwick D2 18:03 (6th overall)

Win/Place/Show:  SHOW – Schultz’s best shot is to not go out too hard and keep her teammate Allison in sight.  It will be tough for both of them as they’ve raced hard now several weeks in a row.  Top 15-20 would be very good.



photo by John Dye from NTN


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