By Christopher Hunt
Rosyln’s Emily Lipari already had a handful of reasons that she could have faltered and nobody would have blamed her. Overnight rain soaked the course. She had to travel across the country to compete in the most competitive race she’s ever seen.
But she’s never been fazed. Not this season. She’s ever given much thought to failure or even acknowledged it.
“I wasn’t even nervous,” Lipari said. “I felt really good. I was so loose. I was like, whatever happens, happens. I’m only a sophomore so hopefully this was the first of many chances.”
She made the most of this opportunity. Lipari placed sixth at the Foot Locker Championships today at Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif. She finished in 17 minutes, 46 seconds. When the season started Lipari was looking to place in the top three at the state meet. She had only hoped to qualify for Foot Locker nationals. Now she finds herself an all-American.
“I was just thinking, Wow,” said Lipari, the New York State Federation champion and Class A champ. “I’m just so stunned. … All this success is just unbelievable.”
Lipari got swallowed in the pack early then bounced between ninth and 10th place for most of the two-lap course. But with 200 meters left she unleashed a finishing kick that nearly put her in the top five.
The team scored came down to the sixth runner. Northeast and South tied at 42 through five until the Northeast’s Cheslea Ley (Kingsbury Regional, N.J.) finished 18th. South’ s Ashley Brasovan of Wellington High in West Palm Beach, Calif., won in 17:20.
The Northeast boys finished second as a team led by state federation champ Brandon Jarrett of St. Benedict’s (N.J.). The senior finished sixth 15:16. Pat Dupont of Fairport led the New York contingent in 17thm finishing in 15:43.
Seton Catholic’s Mary Kate Champagne, who has committed to Providence, placed 30th in the girls race in 18:40. Champagne, the Class D state champ, finished third that the Northeast Regional two weeks ago at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
“I wanted to come in the top 15 and get all-American,” she said. “I’m a little disappointed. We went out at a pretty normal pace for the first mile but in the second mile it was about 20 seconds faster than it was at regionals. Everything was just so overwhelming. I think the time difference got to me. I was tired.
“It was a great experience. It’ll really help me for college, for NCAA’s. I really couldn’t have imagined ending my high school career any other way. .. Everyone here is good. Everyone is used to winning their state meet. Everyone is used to beating everyone else. Put them all together and it’s just like... Whoa.’
Junior Shelby Greany of Suffern, the only three-time qualifier in the field, finished 24th in 18:25. Greany struggled with the unstable footing but she said was happy with her race and a strong finish over the last mile.
“I made up a lot of ground,” she said. “I didn’t pass a lot of people in the end, the race was spread out, but I feel like I finished a lot strong than I did last year.”
Greany has fought off bronchitis twice this season and a bout with the strep throat. She felt healthy today she said.
“The season as a whole I’m kind of disappointed,” I think I raced well with how I felt and I did the best I could. I’m just sick and tired of being sick. That’s definitely my goal for upcoming indoor season. I’m healthy now and I just want to do the things to stay that way.”
Reach Christopher Hunt at email@example.com.
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FLNE Girls race winner Neely Spence (PA)
The best of the best in Northeast came together at Van Cortland Park two weeks ago at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional. The top ten boys and the top ten girls each qualified for Foot Locker Nationals this coming weekend in San Diego. See who qualified and what they have accomplished.
Foot Locker Northeast Athlete Capsules
Boys (Alphabetical Order)
Chris Aldrich (Sr., WC Henderson, PA)
Regular Season: Placed second overall in the Boys Class E race at the Manhattan Invitational. Aldrich ran 12:38, finishing 11 seconds behind race winner Max Kaulbach.
State: Placed second in the Pennsylvania AAA state race in 15:59. He finished 29 seconds behind race winner and Foot Locker finalist Mark Dennin.
Foot Locker: Placed fifth overall in 15:27, five seconds behind second place finisher Mark Dennin.
Notes: Entered the cross country season with modest PR's of 4:16 (1600) and 9:31 (3200). Ran faster than Foot Locker finalist Mark Dennin at their district meet by four seconds, running his 5k PR in 15:02.
Andrew Brodeur (Sr., Brick, NJ)
Regular Season: Won his race at the New Jersey Shore Coaches Invitational by 17 seconds in 16:10. Placed second to Foot Locker finalist Brandon Jarrett at the New Balance Jersey Shore Invitational, running 15:29
State: Placed second at the New Jersey Meet of Champions, losing only to race winner and Foot Locker finalist Brian Leung. He ran 15:51 in the race, 18 seconds behind Leung. Brodeur also placed second behind Leung at the New Jersey State Meet, where he ran 16:05 in the Group IV race.
Foot Locker: Placed ninth overall in 15:36, finishing 14 seconds behind second place Mark Dennin.
Notes: Overlooked all season long in New Jersey, most due to the fact that his times did not match up to the Jersey "Big 3" of Brian Leung, Brandon Jarrett and Doug Smith.
FLNE winner Donn Cabral (CT) leading the race
Donn Cabral (Sr., Glastonbury, CT)
Regular Season: Ran many smaller races throughout the season, not running much competition until the final weeks where he soundly beat everyone with what seemed like sit and kick tactics.
State: Won the LL class race at the CIAA Class Championships, then backing that up with a win at the CIAA Open Championships a week later. Cabral ran 15:52 to win by 16 seconds at the Class Championships, coming back with a three second win in 15:32 at the Open Championships.
Foot Locker: Won the Foot Locker Northeast Regional race in 15:09. Beat runner-up Mark Dennin by 15 seconds.
Notes: Won the New England Championships in 15:32. Finished sixth at Foot Locker Northeast Regionals in 2006, earning a twenty-first place finish at the national meet. He enters this year's Foot Locker Nationals as one of the heavy favorites to challenge for the win after dominating his competition late in the season.
Mark Dennin (Sr., Boyertown, PA)
Regular Season: A lot of racing success during the regular season set Dennin up well for a big peak at the end. An early season 29 second loss to Foot Locker finalist Vince McNally at the Steel City Invitational was his first big test.
State: Won the Boys AAA race at his state meet in 15:30, beating runner-up and fellow Foot Locker qualifier Chris Aldrich by 29 seconds.
Foot Locker: Placed second overall in 15:24, finishing behind race champion Donn Cabral by 15 seconds.
Notes: Placed third at the Mid-East Championships, finishing behind Foot Locker qualifiers Mike Fout and Maverick Darling. Dennin ran 15:22 at Mid-East, 17 seconds behind second place Darling. He enters as one of the big darkhorse runners based off his mile PR of 4:24.
Patrick DuPont (Sr., Fairport, NY)
Regular Season: Won the Boys Varsity D race at the Manhattan Invitational in 12:29, winning the race by 12 seconds.
State: Won his section at the New York State Meet while running the fastest time of the day in 15:35. He beat his next closest competitior by ten seconds. Won the New York Federations by three seconds in 15:52 over runner-up Kyle Merber.
Foot Locker: Placed fourth overall in 15:26, finishing two seconds behind second place finisher Mark Dennin.
Notes: Throughout the season, DuPont clearly established himself as the top runner in New York. DuPont ran the fastest time for a New York athlete at Manhattan, New York State Meet and New York Federations. He is a steepler during the track season, entering his senior year with a 9:35 PR in the event.
Brandon Jarrett (NJ) places eighth at FLNE
Brandon Jarrett (Sr., St. Benedict's, NJ)
Regular Season: Did not finish in his match up against in-state rival Doug Smith at the Manhattan Invitational. His top performance of the season came at the New Balance Jersey Shore Invitational where he beat Foot Locker qualifier Andrew Brodeur by 26 seconds, winning the championship boys race in 15:03.
State: Did not compete at the New Jersey Meet of Champions.
Foot Locker: Placed eighth overall in 15:31, seven seconds behind runner-up finisher Mark Dennin.
Notes: Placed eighth at Foot Locker Northeast in 2006. Then went on to place twelveth overall at nationals to earn all-American status as a junior. He is the number two returnee from last year's meet, trailing only Foot Locker South Regional winner Colby Lowe.
Andrew Judd (Sr., Conard, CT)
Regular Season: Competed in some very low-key competitions during the regular season.
State: Judd placed first in the Class L race at the CIAA Class Championships, winning by seven seconds in 16:06. Also finished fourth place overall at the CIAA Open Championships. He finished in 15:48, sixteen second behind first place finisher and Foot Locker qualifier Donn Cabral.
Foot Locker: Placed tenth overall in 15:40, sixteen seconds out of second place. Earned the final spot by six seconds.
Notes: Placed tenth at the New England Championships in 16:15. Few expected Judd to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals.
New Jersey's Brian Leung leads the Northeast squad
Brian Leung (Sr., WW-PS, NJ)
Regular Season: An early season win at the prestigous Shore Coaches Invitational in 15:52 signaled the arrival of Leung on the national stage. He won his division by over a minute, running the fastest time of the day. He ran 12:17 at the Manhattan Invitational to win the Boys Class F race by three seconds over Virginia's Peter Dorrell.
State: Won the New Jersey Meet of Champions by 18 seconds in 15:33. Leung also won the Group IV race at the New Jersey State Meet in 15:41, beating second place by 24 seconds.
Foot Locker: Placed third overall in 15:25, finishing only one second behind second place finisher Mark Dennin.
Notes: Leung showed a breakout year was in the cards from his first race of the year. From there he only got stronger, winning meets across the board as the season continued. Marking himself as the top runner in New Jersey gave him much confidence. Ran 9:14/4:18 on the track as a junior.
Vince McNally (PA) running at FLNE
Vince McNally (Sr., Conestoga Valley, PA)
Regular Season: Early season wins at Gettysburg and Steel City kick-started McNally's season on the right note. He beat fellow Foot Locker qualifier Mark Dennin at Steel City by 29 seconds, finishing in 15:36.
State: Placed eighteenth overall in the Boys AAA race at state despite being sick and fading late in the race.
Foot Locker: Placed seventh overall in 15:30, seven seconds out of second place.
Notes: Despite fading at the end of the season due to an illness, McNally's season compared to most of the top runners season's throughout the country. Placed thirteenth at Foot Locker Northeast as a junior, following that up with a strong track season, including a 4:08 mile PR and a sixth place finish at Nike Outdoor Nationals.
Zach Rivers (Sr., Victor, NY)
Regular Season: Rivers ran a handful of very strong races throughout the season, but never faced incredibly strong competition.
State: Ran the eighth fastest time of the day at the New York State Meet in 15:57, placing third in the Class A race, twelve seconds behind the race winner. Placed third overall at New York Federations. Ran 15:58, finishing only six seconds behind race winner and Foot Locker qualifier Pat DuPont.
Foot Locker: Placed sixth overall in 15:29, running five seconds behind second place Mark Dennin.
Notes: An overlooked athlete heading into the Foot Locker Northeast Regional, Rivers never showed the same finish as he had at the regional competition. He is a consistent runner. He is a steepler and two mile runner during the track season it seems, with a 9:40 steeplechase PR to his name.
Girls (Alphabetical Order)
MaryKate Champagne (Sr., Seton Catholic, NY)
Regular Season: Placed seventh overall at the Manhattan Invitational in the Girls Easterns race. Her time of 14:33 put her 15 seconds behind sixth place.
State: Won the Class D section at the New York State Meet in 18:03, finishing 21 seconds ahead of second place. Her time on the day put her as the sixth fastest finisher in the entire meet.
Foot Locker: Placed third overall in 17:44, finishing only seven seconds behind race winner Neely Spence.
Notes: Finished fifteenth overall at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional in 2006. Her smaller school kept her from competing against most of the top runners in New York throughout the season. Showed a mix of strength and speed at Nike Outdoor Nationals last spring, placing third in the two-mile run in 10:25, earning her a top five all-time spot on the New York state history lists. She tends to peak very well at the end of the year.
Kacey Gibson (Sr., Neshannock, PA)
Regular Season: Ran in a few smaller meets, but started off her season by winning the Big Red Invitational by over a minute. She gradually decreased her finishing times during the season, peaking very well at the end.
State: Placed second overall in the Class AA race to Foot Locker finalist Carly Seymour, while running 18:29, the third fastest time of the day regardless of class.
Foot Locker: Placed seventh overall in 17:51, fourteen seconds behind first place winner Neely Spence.
Notes: Just missed qualifying for nationals in 2006, finishing twelfth, four seconds behind tenth place. She doesn't carry in the fastest track or cross country PR's but her toughness and experience should carry her far. She's been overshadowed a bit by the success of in-state competitors Carly Seymour and Neely Spence.
The chase pack at Foot Locker Northeast Regionals
Shelby Greany (Jr., Suffern, NY)
Regular Season: Ran 14:15 in the Girls Easterns race at the Manhattan Invitational, placing third overall in the high powered meet.
State: Finished second overall at the New York State Meet in the Class AA race, running 17:52 and only losing to Hannah Davidson by seven seconds. Her time earned her the fourth fastest time of the day. Placed fifth overall at the New York Federations in 18:42.
Foot Locker: Placed ninth overall in 17:56, nineteen seconds behind first place finisher Neely Spence.
Notes: Greany is the only three-time Foot Locker National qualifier on the Northeast team. As a freshman Greany finished thirty-eighth overall, while finishing nineteenth last season as a sophomore. She finished second at NON's last spring in the steeplechase, losing by one second to Hannah Davidson in 6:44. Showed a lot of leg speed as well in the spring, running 2:14 for the 800 a few times.
Emily Jones (Jr., Bromfield, MA)
Regular Season: Placed fourth in the Girls Easterns race at the Manhattan Invitational, running 14:16. She finished only one second off of third place and six seconds from second place. Placed second to Foot Locker qualifier Keely Maguire at the Brown Invitational, finishing eighteen seconds back in 17:31.
State: Won the DII race at teh MIAA State meet. Jones won by 15 seconds over Keely Maguire while running 16:06 on the 2.9 mile course.
Foot Locker: Placed second overall in 17:41, only four seconds behind race winner Neely Spence.
Notes: Qualified for Foot Locker Nationals last year as a sophomore, placing twenty-fifth overall. Tends to finish each season peaking very well.
Chelsea Ley (So., Kingsway, NJ)
Regular Season: Ley's statement race came during the first weekend in October, winning her section of the Shore Coaches Invitational in New Jersey. Her time of 18:24 put her as the only finisher on the day to break 19 minutes, a sizeable results in a meet that included most of New Jersey's best runners.
State: Ley placed second at the New Jersey State Meet in the Group III race, two seconds off the winner Melanie Thompson in 18:20. Also placed third overall in the New Jersey Meet of Champions, running 18:08 and six second off of race winner Thompson.
Foot Locker: Placed tenth overall in 18:00, finishing twenty-three seconds behind race winner Neely Spence. Earned the final spot by beating the eleventh place finisher by eleven seconds.
Notes: A dominating start to the season slowed towards the end, however her success' this season and continued improvement should be noted.
New York's Emily Lipari finished sixth overall at FLNE
Emily Lipari (So., Roslyn, NY)
Regular Season: Ran an undefeated season all the way until Foot Locker Northeast. She ran under 18 minutes for 5k in her last four meets of the regular season, including a big win at the Section 8 Championships. Faced very little competition until the post-season.
State: Won with the fastest time of the day at the New York State Meet, winning the Class A race in 17:31. Also won the New York Federations by five seconds in 17:58.
Foot Locker: Placed sixth overall in 17:48, finishing eleven seconds behind race winner Neely Spence.
Notes: Her 2007 cross country season was her breakthrough season. She won the freshman mile at Nike Outdoor Nationals this past spring. Won the New York Outdoor State Championship in the 3000m run with a time of 9:45.
Keely Maguire (Sr., Triton Regional, MA)
Regular Season: Won the Brown Invitational over Foot Locker qualifier Emily Jones by 18 seconds, finishing the race in 17:13.
State: Placed second at the MIAA State Meet in the DII race behind Jones. Maguire ran 16:21 for 2.9 miles, losing by 15 seconds, but beating third place by 27 seconds.
Foot Locker: Placed fifth overall in 17:46, finishing only nine seconds out of first place.
Notes: The energetic senior earned her first trip to Foot Locker Nationals after an impressive season. Consistent improvement has been Maguire's story since her sophomore year when she transferred to Triton.
Kathleen McCafferty (Sr., Oak Knoll, NJ)
Regular Season: Won the majority of her meets throughout the season, including big wins at her conference, county and NJISAA (Prep) Championships.
State: Ran 18:13 to win her group at the New Jersey State Meet, running the fastest time of the day and winning her race by 59 seconds. Placed fourth overall at the New Jersey meet of Champions, running 18:28 to finish 26 seconds behind the race winner.
Foot Locker: Placed eighth overall in 17:53, sixteen seconds behind first place finisher Neely Spence.
Notes: McCafferty entered her senior cross country season as an established veteran, but not an all-star of sorts. She ran strong at the end of the year when she faced some of the state's best runners, finally making the jump from good runner to great runner.
Carly Seymour (PA) places fourth at FLNE
Carly Seymour (Sr., Central Cambria, PA)
Regular Season: Won the Manhattan Invitational Girls Easterns race by 15 seconds over a very, very strong field. Her time of 13:55 ranks her as one of the all-time greats on the tough Van Cortland course.
State: Easily ran the fastest time of the day at the Pennsylvania State Meet. She won the Class AA race in 17:49, finishing as the only runner to break eighteen minutes on the day.
Foot Locker: Placed fourth overall in 17:46, finishing only nine seconds behind in-state rival Neely Spence.
Notes: Finished third at Foot Locker Northeast in 2006, qualifying for Foot Locker Nationals, where she would finish ninth place overall. She returns this year as the seventh returnee.
Neely Spence (Sr., Shippensburg, PA)
Regular Season: Ran unchallenged the entire year while putting up some very impressive marks.
State: Won the Class AAA state race despite being sick. Her time of 18:14 won her the race by 25 seconds.
Foot Locker: Won her second consecutive Foot Locker Northeast Regional. Spence won the race in 17:37, four seconds ahead of runner-up Emily Jones.
Notes: Placed eighth overall at Foot Locker Nationals as a junior last season. She returns this year as the sixth returnee. Spence placed second in the two-mile at Nike Outdoor Nationals while running 10:20.