Coming into the final weekend of high school cross country, there was no major favorite across the board of who would take home the crown as the 2018 Foot Locker National Champion. In the minds of many though, there was one guy who looked like he could do it, and that guy was Indiana's own Cole Hocker. After his performance last weekend at NXN, where he took 2nd, the idea of Hocker getting a national title was no longer a long shot with the competition he was set to face this weekend.
Hocker cruised through the first half mile, with everyone else within a couple seconds, in 2:17 holding onto a tie for 2nd with IL's Josh Methner. Things stayed the same for the next mile, this time Jake Renfree joining the front two, 7:16 for 1.5 mile.
The Indianapolis Cathedral senior ran a very smart race, allowing someone else to do the work, and he just drafted right behind. He didn't make a move to take over the lead until just after the final downhill. Still the push to separate himself from the rest wasn't enough to create a ton of space like he is used to having. He held roughly a 2 meter lead over Renfree now.
All season, Hocker has talked about being able to translate his track speed over to his cross country racing, usually pulling it out in the final 200 or so meters of the race. Today, he did just that, pushing for one final kick to give himself the separation he had been wanting and grab a national championship in the process. Hocker crossed the line in 15:13.7, 6 seconds ahead of 2nd place.
That 6 second margin of victory is the same that he was able to get at the Foot Locker Regional 2 weeks ago. Making it the closest finish of his senior season.
Cole Hocker is just the 2nd Indiana boy to win a Foot Locker National Championship and the 4th Indiana athlete to do so. He joins Mike Fout from LaPorte who won in 2007, Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka, 2012 and 2014 champion and Celeste Susnis from Kankakee Valley who won back in 1988. He also now is tied for best double national championship performance with all-time great Futsum Zienasellassie.