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Cross Country 1999

Foot Locker West Results

Seeded Boys - Analysis  

by Doug Speck

Boys Race

The Boys' race had a number of very strong athletes also. Attention up front centered around two undefeated athletes, with Josh Rohatinsky (Utah) last year's champ here, and Ian Dobson (Oregon) both very strong in a number of competitons this fall. Josh was fifth last year and Dobson seventh in the National competition, and all who viewed their running duly impressed. The refusal by Foot Locker officials to allow limitation of this field sent almost 250 athletes off at the start here, with some horror stories in the early traffic along the way. Erik Heinonen, South Eugene star, was part of a group that was tripped in the early running, and was able to work himself up from 175th to 10th, some impressive running, but futile and frustrating as far as Nationals Qualifying was concerned. The better athletes sensed the need to get out quickly. Humberto Vargas (Belmont, LA, Ca) and Jon Rankin (Spring Valley, Monte Vista, Ca) led early, with the pace through the mile 4:35. By that point Rohatinsky and Dobson had eased into the lead, racing along side by side, with the rest of the field backed off a bit, as if they had already given the first two spots to those individuals.

Up and over the hilly switchback loop past the mile the front duo from Utah and Oregon rolled along, with Golden Harper (Utah), Fernando Cabada (Ca), Augie Escobar (CA) and assorted others trailing a bit behind. Stride for stride off the hill on to the airstrip in front of the huge crowd, Rohatinsky and Dobson purred along, with Harper and Escobar leading a second pack of seven a ways behind. Behind Reservoir Hill the report was that Rohatinsky and Dobson were close, with the run up that final tough hill one viewed with real interest. Last year Rohatinsky had made his big move into the lead during this last up-hill segment, and he later related things fell into place that way once again this time around, with a "heads-down" determined effort that had him pull away from Dobson to a slight breaking of contact by the top (12:30 at that two and a half mile point). Josh continued to power on the down-grade, with Dobson later commenting his thoughts late in the race here were to insure qualifying, leaving a listener with the sense that he and Coach Marnie Mason-Johnson (herself an eighth placer in the Foot Locker (then Kinney) National Finals in 1984 for Klamath HS) were leaving a little in the tank for next week. As the race headed for the track and 250 meters to go, Golden Harper and Augie Escobar continued to run strong, with a next group of four moving away from the rest of the field for the qualifying spots. Daniel Mejia (Ca) blasted the final 600 meters to move into fifth, one second behind Escobar at the end, with Cal State Div I champ Travis Laird, Eric Logdson (Or), and surprising Jesse McLeod (Ca) the only shocking surprise on this half of the qualifiers. McLeod, buried in the far Northern Section of California at Lassen HS in Susanville, was second in the California State Meet in Division IV, with a time that did not indicate qualifying possibilities here. However, when they went out on the course he raced hard and finished strong, marking another come through performance by an athlete from a school that has a long distance tradition, started under Coach Bob Wall, still a teacher at the school.

The Boys' squad will be a good one, with all having shown their ability to race very strong away from home, with the Nationals contest an interesting on on this side, individually and from the team standpoint. See you in a week in Florida!!!



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