Grant Fisher wins the 2013 FootLocker Cross Country Championship National Finals, with the West taking the team title, by Larry Eder

Just as we were considering the fantastic girls race that we had just witnessed, the boys introductions were being done. 

Peter Henkes, the Midwest regional FootLocker meet director for the past 29 years, told me that Grant Fisher could be a real tough one today. I always consider the Midwest runners to be some of the toughest runners in Foot Locker national races. 

But this race started out very, very slow and with 40 runners in contention at the first mile, one just knew that we were looking for a really tough finish! 

And the FootLocker course is set up for a great rush over the finish...
That pack of 40 boys went out pretty hard over the first four hundred meters, but the, slowed it down and seemed to be lumbering through the course for the first half of the race. At just about the mile point, hit in just under five minutes, the four regional winners were all up front, followed by the entire field. 

The day was warm, dry and dust was everywhere. The boys were pumped up for running hard and fast, and they did just that, over the second half of the course. 

It seemed like everyone tried to make a run for it. But, John Dressel did it best. First, he charged up the hill just before two miles, making the race a race between himself and Grant Fisher. Dressel responded and pushed back into the lead and started breaking away. Then, Fisher pulled Dressel back on the downhill and went by on the downhill, much to the astonishment of the crowd. 

Grant Fisher wanted to win this race. But, guess what? So did John Dressel. As they came up the final hill, John Dressel gutted his way back into the lead, with Fisher next to him. Fisher edged to the front with 200 meters to go, and Dressel stayed right next to him. 

The crowd screamed as the announcer noted that the race was neck and neck, and at 150 meters, there was no clear winner. 

John Dressel, for the third time in the race, had built up a lead over Grant Fisher. With one hundred meters to go, Grant Fisher started to pull John Dressel back, one meter at a time, and finally, Grant Fisher was nearly up on John Dressel. Who would win? 

Grant Fisher pulled up on John Dressel, and with seventy-five meters to go, Grant Fisher went right next to Dressel. In looking at the video, it is evident that both Fisher and Dressel were tired, and Fisher bumped Dressel, and Dressel faltered.  John Dressel gave the first glimpse of a man who had some limits, as he faltered. John Dressel never recovered from that bump, and could not muster another challenge to Foster. 

With that short lapse by Dressel, Grant Fisher just charged by, and put three seconds in the last seventy-five meters! 

Grant Fisher became the 2013 FootLocker National Champion, in a time of 15:07 for the win. John Dressel finshed second in 15:10 and Matthew Maton finished third in 15:19. 

To further wet the appetites of cross country and track geeks around North America, all three of the top three are juniors! We could see them next year for a reprise of this race! 

" I had a plan, but this race did not go to plan, as all runners would find out", noted a tired Grant Fisher. " I wanted to run well, so I am very happy with the race. I was having a very tough time up the first hill. I do not know how I did it." Fisher told Deena Kastor, who interviewed the medalists right after the race.

Grant Fisher, was the guy who could do no wrong today. John Dressel battled Fisher to the very end , and in the end, Grant Fisher just got by Dressel. Dressel will replay the race over and over in his head, but today was just Grant Fisher's day. 

"It was a great race and fun trip," noted John Dressel. In the understatement of the weekend, John Dressel, still exhausted from his tough duel, paid complements to the event that the FootLocker has become over the past 34 years. 

Boys FootLocker National Finals, 1. Grant Fisher, MW, 15:07, 2. John Dressel, West, 15.10, 3. Matthew Malon, MW, 15.19, 4. Mickey Burke, NE, 15.20, 5.Joseph Hardy, West, 15.22, 6. Elijah Armstrong, West, 15.22, 7. Connor Mantz, West, 15.23, 8. Blair Hurlock,West, 15.24, 9. Aaron Templeton, South, 15.29, 10. Josef Holt-Andrews, NE, 15:30, #flcc#asicsrunning

Boys FootLocker National Finals, Team Results, 1. West, (2,3,5,6,7,8,12)-23pts., 2. Northeast, (4,10,11,14,17,18,21)-56 pts., 3. Midwest, (1, 13, 15,16,19, 27, 28)-64 pts., 4. South, (9, 20, 22, 23, 24,25, 26), 98pts., #flcc#asicsrunning

For more on the FootLocker Cross Country nationals, and regionals, please go to


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