Tessa Barrett wins FootLocker National Finals, Northeast wins team title, by Larry Eder

The 2013 FootLocker National Finals is the thirty-fourth year that this fine event has been run. To say that the FL Nationals has been the beginning of many an elite American distance runner's careers, is, an understatement. 

Deena Kastor, Ryan and Sara Hall, Adam Goucher, Julie Culley, Meb Keflezighi, Alysia Montano, Lukas Verzbicas, and Ed and Jorge Torres were all there to cheer on forty of the best high school cross country runners in the country. 

Both races were very different, and both races were very exciting. 

But, on a warm, windless day in San Diego, what would you expect? 
The girls race went out very fast, hitting 65 seconds for the first 400 meters. As front running pack continued to evolve, the pack hit 800 meters in 2:35 and the mile in 5:20, it became quite evident that Tessa Barrett and Stephane Jenks were trying to win the race. Taylor Werner, the tough little senior from Bloomsdale, Missouri were pushing. 

Tessa Barrett looks like she is always charging. Barrett pushed on the downhills, then, she pushed on the uphills: Tessa Barrett did not stop. 

Barrett's tactics took tolls on others though. The field hit two miles in 11:03 as Barrett started to build a short lead over Stephane Jenks, who started to fall back an finally finished ninth. Hannah DeBalsi and Caroline Alcorta moved up through the race, especially between 1 1/2 miles and the two mile distance and started to go after Tessa Barrett.

But, today was Tessa Barrett's race. Barrett just pumped her magic arms and those legs started to charge, and charge they did. Hannah DaBalsi got as close as anyone did to Barrett, finishing ten seconds behind the winner. 

Tessa Barrett, by being amazingly aggressive and focused the entire race, threw off all other competitors with her hard charges with every challenge. 

"This is surreal", noted Tessa Barrett after the race. Deena Kastor, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist, and four time FootLocker qualifier, called Tessa the "new queen of high school cross country running". That had to have some effect. 

So, on Saturday, December 14, 2013, on Morley Field, at Balboa Park in San Diego, California, a race for the ages took place. Tessa Barrett, the senior from Abington Heights in Waverly, PA, won the 2013 FootLocker Nationals, in a fantastically aggressive race that kept the fans on their feet, with a strong time of 17:16. 

And, the 34th FootLocker Cross Country Championships, presented by ASICS, was in the record books. 

2013 Girls FootLocker National Finals, 1. Tessa Barrett, NE, 17.16, 2. Hannah DalBalsi, NE, 17.26, 3. Caroline Alcorta, SO, 17.31, 4. Anoush Shehadeh, NE, 17.35, 5.Anna Maxwell, West, 17.39, 6.Brianna Schwartz, NE, 17.43, 7.Lucy Biles, West, 17.43, 8. Makena Morley , West, 17.43, 9. Stephane Jenks, MW, 17.43, 10. Taylor Werner, MW, 17.44, #flcc#asicsrunning,#prepcrosscountry

The NorthEast won the Girls Team title at the FootLocker Cross Country Championships this year, with 26 points. The Northeast girls were just, well, dominating. 

2013 Girls FootLocker National finals, Team Results: 1. Northeast (1,2,4,6,13,20,22)-26 pts., 2. West (5,7,8,14,15,26,28)-49 pts, 3. South (3,11,12,19,21,25,27)-66 pts., 4. Midwest (9,10, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24)-70pts., #asicsrunning#flcc,#prepcrosscountry

For more on the FootLocker Regionals and National races, please go to www.footlockercc.com

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