Hardly a Lock
But Lockhart's My Favorite
By Stephen Underwood (steveu)
The races and stats have been posted for all to see
the time for some good old-fashioned opinion. So just who does steveu
think is going to win the Foot Locker boys race on Saturday anyway?
Well, I gotta start by looking at the kids who finished the highest
and not just because they are the top returnees,
but for what they're doing right now. I've got to think it's going
to come down between Virginia's Bobby Lockhart, Kentucky's Bobby
Curtis and Michigan's Tim Moore. They finished 13th, 10th and 8th
last year respectively and all have fashioned unbeaten seasons this
Curtis has the most national props, winning races at both Great
American meets. He was just third at FL South, but don't be deceived.
He was coming off an illness and may have not shown all of his cards.
He has the most feared kick of the clear contenders, having displayed
it in the aforementioned GACCF races and the Nike Indoor mile last
But Lockhart, running fast but without too much comp this fall,
showed all anyone needed to see with his course-record-tying win
at FL South. Moore wasn't as fast at FL Midwest, but the conditions
were obviously much worse. Both look particularly strong and will
need to make their decisive moves before the final stretch. It says
here that they don't want to mess with Curtis's kick.
The wild thing about this year's race - things seemed so clear-cut
last year with Ritz and Webb - is that there are so many other kids
who could either win, nab a top three from one of the others, or
at least battle for the top five.
We can begin with the Northeast, where experienced finalist Peter
Meindl of New York has fashioned an unbeaten campaign. After placing
21st last year, the NE Region champ is ready to battle with the
big dogs this time. His region teammates have been tough all year
on the challenging NE courses, but do they believe they can contend
near the top?
From the Midwest, Wisconsin's Chris Solinsky is definitely showing
that confidence and desire to battle the leaders. He feels he should
have stayed with Moore in Wisconsin and is clear about battling
with the top five. Ohio's Allen Bader was second to Curtis at the
GA race in San Fran and Nef Araia from Indiana seems to have that
It's hard to discount any of the runners from the South, given
the wild spate of fast times, but it's also true that beyond Lockhart
and Curtis, none of them have been here before. But North Carolina's
Matt Debole (FL South runner-up), seems to have the moxie to contend
and his statemate, Milos Mitric, has shown the ability to lead big-time
fields and may feel he has something to prove. Really, there are
several who might get up there in what should be the top region.
The real wild cards are from the West. Very few had heard of Utah's
Nurani Sheikh on a national level before last Saturday. But anyone
who doesn't think he has a chance to win is nuts; he ran down a
great field last week. And ever since he started flirting with 9-flat
last spring, California's junior Yong-Sung Leal has been on almost
everyone's top five list. He, like Curtis, could match or beat his
region placing. Also from the Golden State, Billy Nelson could be
a factor at the very top.
So I would say there are at least nine runners who have a legit
chance to finish 1st-3rd
and probably twice that who could
be top 5 to 7 on a good day. But in the end, I'm going to turn to
the senior from John Handley.
The big difference between this year's Bobby Lockhart and last
year's model is confidence and disposition
in addition to
a healthy training bump. He wears the smile of a winner; a winner
at this level. I think there's going to be an imposing pack of contenders
in the first half of the race, but with a half mile left, I think
Virginia is going to have it's Foot Locker champion.
Foot Locker National Finals