SAN DIEGO — It was double trouble at the 2014 Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships at Morley Field, as seniors Anna Rohrer and Grant Fisher, both from the Midwest team, won the individual title for the second time. Rohrer and Fisher both nabbed regional titles two weeks prior, which qualified them to run among the top 80 men and women high school runners around the country.
For Rohrer, a 17:13 victory was a sweet end to her high school cross-country career. After suffering an injury last year and missing the championships, the Mishawaka, Ind., senior commanded the front from the first mile, making her race-changing moves on the course’s notorious hill, which all runners climb twice during the two-loop 5K. With a determined stride, Rohrer was relentless going into the second loop, putting more space between her and South regional winner senior Ryen Frazier, who cross the line second 10 seconds behind Rohrer to place second. Makena Morley, winner of the West regional qualifier and four-time national finisher, was third.
“I feel really tired and overwhelmed, but I feel good,” says Rohrer, who was national champion in 2012, putting her in the history books next to Nike athlete Jordan Hasay for second runner to grab national titles in nonconsecutive years. “I’ve had so many downs in my running, but this is what makes it worth it. This is why I love running.”
On the men’s side, defending champion Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc, Mich., waited patiently before deciding the race in the final 1,000 meters, cruising—or rather sprinting—into the final stretch to reach the finish in 15:03, less than 10 seconds ahead of Midwest teammate Olin Hacker. Running a somewhat pedestrian pace with a pack of nine through the first and second miles, whispers among spectators hinted that the race was now Fisher’s to lose. The senior, committed to running for Stanford next fall, has a 4:02 best in the mile and saved last year’s win for the final 50 meters.
Fisher is the fifth male to take home back-to-back national victories at Foot Locker.
“Especially with a field like this, you know there’s going to be a lot of tough guys,” Fisher said. “I’ve been working hard on hill training and preparing for this—this is the biggest race of my high school career.”
The Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships brings 80 of the best high school runners together to compete for individual and regional team titles every December in San Diego. Each team—Northeast, West, South and Midwest—comprises 10 girls and 10 boys who qualified through regionally to compete on the national stage.