TFS Athletics – Sophomore Evan Prince ran 16:34.07 to place 142nd of 403 harriers in the championship boys division at the Foot Locker South Region cross country race, held at McAlpine Park in Charlotte, NC.
Though not his personal best time – he had to stop and put on his shoe with the timing chip because it had been clipped off by another run at about the 1K mark – Evan ran his best strategic race of the year by combining poise and patient competitiveness to run 5:13 (in 209th place) at the mile, 10:46 (169th place) at the two mile (second mile 5:33), and the final 1.1 miles in 5:48, moving up another 27 spots.
His shoe sapping time ranked him 193rd of 1623 high school entrants among all races, placing him in the top 12% of all runners. He also beat other runners who had defeated him earlier in the season. The goal of running in the championship division instead of the sophomore race was to have a memorable, usable learning experience that would carry over to future racing.
Describing the shoe incident that cost many valuable seconds and even way more places, Evan said, “Time went by really slowly and people went by really fast!” Evan is the first TFS harrier to race at Foot Locker South since Alex Hubbard in 2002.
The day encompasses 15 races at a popular park, a continual throng of well wishers and proud parents, and thousands of legs and lungs hoping for glory until the inevitable, overwhelming fatigue sets in. A very good course, a broad spectrum of competition, beyond retail souvenir apparel, a gazillion volunteers, rows of porta potties, and more cliches that can fit in a movie all combine for significant memories and a hunger for more.
Five regions across the U.S. qualify the top ten male and female harriers to race December 14 at the 41st Foot Locker national championships at Balboa Park in San Diego. A competing meet – Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) – has eight regions vying for a separate national championships on December 7 in Portland, OR for the 16th NXN national championship. Both meets provide opportunities for cross country runners to compete at the pinnacle of national high school racing.