Eight elite athletes from throughout the state wrapped up their cross country seasons at Saturday's Foot Locker National Championship, which took place at Balboa Park in San Diego.
Leading the way for the Michigan contingent were Abby Vanderkooi and Carter Solomon, who both produced top 5 finishes while competing against the nation's best runners. Vanderkooi went 17:14.00 for third place to punctuate an exceptional freshman campaign that saw her take the Division 4 State Championship and break the elusive 17 minute standard in the 5K distance on a trio of occasions. Solomon came in fourth due to his 15:25.30 clocking. The junior class athlete demonstrated a patient, mature racing approach as he steadily moved up in the field as the contest unfolded. He was seventeenth at the 1 mile point, ninth at 2.5 miles and sixth at 3 miles with only 100 meters left to go.
(MileSplit's Cory Mull caught up with Carter post-race)
In the ladies race, Jaden Theis and Ericka VanderLende both notched top 10 placements with their times of 17:30.00 and 17:43.90, respectively. Theis, a junior, came in sixth and University of Michigan commit, VanderLende took tenth. Adelyn Ackley, who was making her second consecutive appearance at Foot Locker Nationals, finished sixteenth due to her 18:05.70 effort. The Midwest squad earned the team title with 20 points.
On the men's side, Evan Bishop followed up his 20th place showing at last week's Nike Cross Nationals, by taking ninth at Foot Locker with his 15:31.50 result. Michigan's Zach Stewart and Brendan Favazza also represented themselves admirably on the famed Balboa Park course. Stewart went 15:56.70 for seventeenth and Favazza collected a twenty-seventh place finish with his time of 16:11.10. The group from the Midwest led the team standings with 25 points.