Kenosha, WI -- The 2023 edition of the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Championships took place Saturday morning at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course on UW-Parkside's campus. The morning had brisk end-of-cross-country-season weather with the temps in the mid 30s for the championship races.
Each race featured 10 boys and girls who would earn their spot and qualify for the 44th annual Foot Locker National Championship to be held in San Diego, CA two weeks from now on the lendendary Balboa Park cross country course.
There are four regionals across the country that qualify 10 individuals each with the Midwest, South, and Northeast all competing today. The West regional will take place next weekend due to the California state championships that were also scheduled for today.
Rachel Forsyth (MI) collected another victory to extend her perfect season to 12 wins, 11 of which have been sub 17 minute performances.
She would establish a 6 second lead over the field by the mile and extend it to 11 seconds by the 2 mile mark before crossing the line with a time of 16:57.76 to win by nearly 30 seconds and return to Foot Locker nationals after running the meet in 2021.
The Michigan State commit also nearly broke the meet record which is held by Anna Rohrer (IN) from 2012 where she ran a 16:54.00.
After finishing 4th at the Indiana state meet and 5th at NXR Midwest Addison Knoblauch (IN) managed to break away from the chase pack by the 2 mile mark to set herself up for a comfortable 2nd place finish in 17:23.98.
The Notre Dame commit gets redemption as she will qualify for NXN and Foot Locker nationals this year after being 2 spots off NXN and 3 spots off Foot Locker last season.
Also from Indiana coming in 3rd was the IHSAA state champion Libby Dowty (IN) with a 17:30.73. Dowty has had an amazing sophomore campaign with her "worst" performances coming from a 4th place finish at Nike Twilight and NXR Midwest.
Qualifying for nationals in the fourth position and running a steady race was Jessica Jazwinski (MI) with a 17:32.08. The junior has had a near perfect season aside from her season opener and had a 13 meet win streak including a dominant victory at the D3 LP Michigan state finals and looks to improve upon last year's 11th place national finish.
Coming just .18 seconds behind Jazwinski was Nicki Southerland (IN) in 5th with a 17:32.26. Southerland last raced at the Indiana state meet where she was runner-up for the third year in a row. Before FLMW she had not finished worse than 3rd. Southerland, along with Knoblauch, prove just how strong this Notre Dame recruiting class will be.
Payton Meineke (CO) finished 6th in a 17:35.50. She would start the race in 6th before trailing the chase pack of 8 girls in 10th at the 2 mile. The sophomore would work her way up to secure the national qualifying position after likely missing NXN with a 8th place finish. She also had a great season of improvement from last year including a 5th place finish at the 4A Colorado State Championships.
Fellow Coloradan and sophomore Emily Cohen (CO) would also qualify with a 7th place finish in 17:36.04 . She started with a more conservative 14th place at the mile with a 5:45 before making up ground to move up to 5th by the 2 mile. Cohen had a great race after a 4th place finish at the 5A Colorado State Championships and 17th place finish at NXR Southwest.
Victoria Garces (MI) dipped under 18 minutes for the 3rd time this season with an 8th place national qualifying finish in 17:40.00. She bounced back after a 48th place finish at NXR Midwest and has seen a season of massive improvement including a close 5th place finish at the D1 LP Michigan state finals.
Coming in the second to last advancing position just .06 behind Garces was Addison Dorenkamp (IA) with a 17:40.06. The Alabama commit was the 4A state champion for Iowa where she ran a near identical time. She barely missed an automatic qualifying position from a 7th place NXR Heartland performance and was able to hang on on FLMW after going out in 4th at the mile.
The last qualifying spot for this year's national championship went to Liv Phillips (IL) as she placed 10th with a 17:43.54. She wouldn't have to worry too much coming down the final stretch as she had nearly a 20 second gap over 11th. The Wisconsin commit had an excellent season over the 3 mile distance as she never finished worse than 2nd in her 9 appearances. She also had a strong comeback after a 26th place finish at NXR Midwest to punch her ticket to Foot Locker nationals.
First Girls Out
2nd: Indiana - 62 points
3rd: Wisconsin - 105 points
4th: Illinois - 108 points
5th: Ohio - 169 points
6th: Minnesota - 222 points
7th: Missouri - 473 points
His PR comes from earlier this month where he was runner-up at the D1 LP Michigan state finals with a time of 14:57.90.
The Michigan State commit has had an impressive season and has finished 1st or 2nd in 8 of the 9 races he has appeared in, including today's national qualifying performance.
Connell Alford (MI) would finish in a close 2nd place as he was only two seconds off of Westphal with a season best time of 15:01.30. He moved up well throughout the race as he passed 20 runners between the mile and finish line.
The Syracuse commit would take 10th earlier this month at the D2 LP Michigan state finals and rebounded well after narrowly missing the automatic qualifying spot for NXN by less than 10 seconds
Not many people have put on a basketball jersey and ran as fast as Cameron Todd (IN) did at FLMW. Todd moved up well throughout the race and mirrored Alford's strategy of picking off runners after the mile to take 3rd with a 15:03.97.
The Notre Dame commit is coming off impressive wins at the Indiana state meet and NXR Midwest Championships, both were he was sub 15 minutes. Cameron could have used today just to qualify (similar to his regional race in the IHSAA tournament where Tony Provenzano beat him) and it will be interesting to see how he races after running NXN next weekend.
Before the postseason Isaac Rivera (MO) had finished top 2 in every appearance. He would miss advancing to NXN with a 17th place finish two weeks ago and was able to rebound at FLMW coming in 4th with a time of 15:06.61. The Iowa State commit also won the Class 4 title at the Missouri state finals with a PR of 14:54.60.
Kole Mathison won NXN last year, now his former teammate gets a chance to compete at nationals with Tony Provenzano (IN) advancing with a 5th place finish in 15:07.60. The IU Bloomington commit finished 4th at the Indiana state meet this year and did not have the best showing at NXR Midwest. After the FLMW race from last year and NXR race from two weeks ago Provenzano was able to put together a consistent race to qualify.
Juan Gonzalez (NE) is coming off a NXN qualifying performance two weeks ago where he ran a blistering 14:33.80 at the NXR Heartland regional. This week he would qualify for another national meet with a 6th place finish in 15:08.68. The junior won nearly every race this season including the Nebraska Class A state championship.
Benjamin Anderson (CO) took the 7th qualifying position with a time of 15:09.73. Going into state the junior was undefeated before taking a 2nd place finish in the 5A race. Anderson would not have the best showing at NXR Southwest with a 44th place result before changing the narrative at FLMW to qualify for nationals
Ben Crane (IL) is another athlete that has been impressive all season long. He ran to top 3 finishes at every single Illinois 3 mile race including a 3rd place finish at 3A Illinois state finals where he would run a PR of 14:20.16. He would immediately get his 5K PR the next weekend at NXR Midwest with a 9th place finish before taking home 8th this year at FLMW with a 15:10.00
Coming in just under a second behind Crane was Micah Blomker (KS) who was 9th in a 15:10.99. Blomker was the 6A state champion for Kansas and recently finished 25th at the NXR Heartland regional. This weekend he would sit right on the edge in the 8th/9th positions throughout the race and managed to hold off a group of runners behind him to qualify for nationals.
Matthew Edwards (CO) is the second boys qualifier and fourth qualifer for Colorado after not qualifying anyone last year. He would face a tougher challenge down the final stretch when compared to the girls race as 7 boys would finish less than 10 seconds behind him. Edwards was the 3A Colorado state champion and was able to bounce back from a 30th place finish at NXR Southwest by narrowly taking the last Foot Locker national qualifying spot.
First Boys Out
Boys State Scores
2nd: Indiana - 71 points
3rd: Colorado - 89 points
4th: Missouri - 107 points
5th: Ohio - 127 points
6th: Minnesota - 133 points
7th: Illinois - 208 points
8th: Wisconsin - 232 points
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