Foot Locker’s Pair Of Unassuming Champions

“I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to prove to some people who didn’t think I was this level,” said Sydney Mascarelli. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

San Diego, California, December 08—Literally, the script ran true to form at edition No. 40 of the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. Twice. Temperatures in the low 60s enveloped the final meet on the prep hill-and-dale calendar, which saw the boys’ prerace favorite and the girls’ co-fave emerge successful. Interestingly enough, as recently as 10 days earlier, neither of the champions viewed themselves as the one to beat.

Girls: Sydney Masciarelli 17:00.3

For a relative running neophyte with loads of aerobic promise, Massachusetts’ Sydney Masciarelli (a soph at Marianapolis Prep in the neighboring state of Connecticut) received an early Christmas gift: Facing an experienced talent who loves to take out the pace.

With junior Katelynne Hart (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) characteristically undertaking the up-front rigors, Masciarelli bided her time to be just inside the Top 10 at the mile but close behind Hart’s 5:13 opener. Hart pressed the issue during the arduous middle-mile layout (crossing in a very impressive 10:50.3), extending her lead to 5 seconds but with Masciarelli now her chief pursuer. Over the final mile, Hart was clearly the more labored of the two, with Masciarelli darting into the lead entering the final turn. Hart, the 16th-place finisher at NXN a week earlier, summoned a final burst to briefly regain the lead only to have the move covered as they were matched stride for stride. Yet another Hart-to-Masciarelli lead change in the final few seconds capped the battle.

“This was incredible,” said Masciarelli, a 3-sport standout (along with soccer and basketball) who was hoping for a Top 15 finish in recent weeks but had a windfall of confidence after winning the Northeast Regional. “I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to prove to some people who didn’t think I was this level.”



1. Midwest 20; 2. Northeast 40; 3. South 72; 4. West 112.

Individuals (5K)

1. **Sydney Masciarelli (Northbridge, MA) 17:00.3; 2. *Katelynne Hart (Glen Ellyn, IL) 17:01.0; 3. ***Abby VanderKooi (Fremont, MI) 17:14.0; 4. *Taylor Ewert (Beavercreek, OH) 17:20.1; 5. Emily Covert (Minneapolis, MN) 17:29.6; 6. *Jaden Theis (Lansing, MI) 17:30.0; 7. **Kate Wiser (Southbury, CT) 17:32.2; 8. Grace Connolly (Natick, MA) 17:42.0; 9. ***Jenna Hutchins (Johnson City, TN) 17:43.4; 10. Ericka VanderLende (Rockford, MI) 17:43.9;

11. Abby Loveys (Mendham, NJ) 17:48.4; 12. Allison Wilson (Montgomery, TX) 17:50.9; 13. *Marlee Starliper (Wellsville, PA) 17:54.9; 14. **Sofie Matson (Falmouth, ME) 18:01.4; 15. Alex Morris (Naperville, IL) 18:02.2; 16. Adelyn Ackley (Mears, MI) 18:05.7; 17. *Alyssa Hendrix (Riverview, FL) 18:06.3; 18. **Brynn Brown (Denton, TX) 18:08.7; 19. Ava Peeples (Dallas, TX) 18:12.4; 20. Adoette Vaughan (Dallas, TX) 18:14.0;

21. ***Riley Stewart (Englewood, CO) 18:14.0; 22. **Allie Janke (Spokane, WA) 18:15.0; 23. Gabrielle Peterson (Healdsburg, CA) 18:16.4; 24. *Lexy Halladay (Kuna, ID) 18:18.7; 25. Kristin Fahy (Carlsbad, CA) 18:20.7; 26. *Valerie Lastra (Hialeah, FL) 18:22.8; 27. *Taryn Parks (Greencastle, PA) 18:27.2; 28. **Heidi Nielson (Katy, TX) 18:29.8; 29. *Mary Hennelly (Suffern, NY) 18:31.8; 30. **Audrey Suarez (Pasadena, CA) 18:31.9;

31. **Grace Ping (Winona, MN) 18:49.8; 32. *Nicole Vanasse (Martinsville, NJ) 18:54.5; 33. *Erinn Hill (Spokane, WA) 18:56.2; 34. *Anna Martin (Lehi, UT) 19:00.6; 35. Sarah Roffman (Littleton, MA) 19:08.0; 36. Olivia Markezich (Woodinville, WA) 19:15.2; 37. Colleen McCandless (Livermore, CA) 19:18.1; 38. *Hana Catsimanes (San Clemente, CA) 19:34.3; 39. *London Culbreath (McKinney, TX) 21:33.2;… dnf—*Victoria Patterson (Greenville, SC).

Boys: Cole Hocker 15:13.7

“I don’t think it could have played out any better,” said Cole Hocker. “When it was time to go, I felt totally in control.” (DON GOSNEY)

Despite a sparkling ledger over the course of the fall that saw him arrive at the Thanksgiving break unbeaten, Cole Hocker (Indianapolis Cathedral) admittedly saw himself as only “a Top 10 runner” nationally. But a runner-up finish against an uber-loaded loaded field at NXN changed all of that.

“This really changes my outlook for San Diego,” said Hocker at the time, knowing that 7 of the top 8 finishers at NXN had now wrapped up their seasons and were “out of the way”. His Foot Locker win was made to order, a controlled 4:47 clip for the opening mile followed up with a 9:55 clocking at the 2M checkpoint, in the lead for each.

It was on the second circuit of the pivotal climb entering the final kilometer that Hocker and Jake Renfree (Knoxville Catholic) pulled away from the rest of the 40-runner field. Hocker impressively crested the hill to take over the race, then aggressively glided through the ensuing downhill as Renfree wearied in trying to keep pace.

Hocker’s true superiority was evident on the final straight, bursting away in full command to cross unchallenged for first in 15:13.7. His combined gold/silver placings at NXN/FL ranks No. 2 all time to ’10 double champion Lukas Verzbicas. “I don’t think it could have played out any better,” said Hocker. “When it was time to go, I felt totally in control.”



1. Midwest 25; 2. South 35; 3. West 69; 4. Northeast 98.

Individuals (5K)

1. Cole Hocker (Indianapolis, IN) 15:13.7; 2. Jake Renfree (Knoxville, TN) 15:19.5; 3. *Graydon Morris (Aledo, TX) 15:25.1; 4. *Carter Solomon (Canton, MI) 15:25.3; 5. Drew Bosley (Thiensville, WI) 15:25.4; 6. *Joshua Methner (Mount Prospect, IL) 15:27.4; 7. Jack Stanley (Mendham, NJ) 15:30.1; 8. Colin Baker (Mt. Pleasant, SC) 15:30.9; 9. *Evan Bishop (East Grand Rapids, MI) 15:31.5; 10. Carter Cheeseman (Keller, TX) 15:36.6;

11. Kashon Harrison (Fruitland, NM) 15:37.4; 12. *Daniel O’Brien (Lynchburg, VA) 15:45.9; 13. *Thomas Boyden (Salt Lake City, UT) 15:46.1; 14. William Frankenfeld (Long Beach, CA) 15:52.4; 15. Connor Livingston (Livermore, CA) 15:53.8; 16. Daniel Bausch (Chugiak, AK) 15:55.7; 17. *Zachary Stewart (Brighton, MI) 15:56.7; 18. Lucas Aramburu (Brookline, MA) 15:57.3; 19. Ares Reading (Niwot, CO) 16:00.2; 20. Jonathan Velasco (San Marcos, CA) 16:01.9;

21. Cole Bullock (Chattanooga, TN) 16:02.8; 22. Nicholas Russell (Boise, ID) 16:04.3; 23. *Matthew Farrell (Glastonbury, CT) 16:04.9; 24. Devin Hart (Point Pleasant, NJ) 16:06.3; 25. Camren Fischer (Fayetteville, AR) 16:07.1; 26. Noah Hibbard (Temple City, CA) 16:10.7; 27. *Brendan Favazza (Clarkston, MI) 16:11.1; 28. Zachary Erikson (Idaho Falls, ID) 16:14.8; 29. *Patrick Anderson (Pittsburgh, PA) 16:16.4; 30. Mustafe Dahir (Wallingford, CT) 16:18.3;

31. *Samuel Lawler (Pittsford, NY) 16:18.7; 32. Richard Sturtevant (Leyden, MA) 16:19.5; 33. *Liam Murphy (Millstone, NJ) 16:20.3; 34. Cruz Gomez (Alamo, TX) 16:23.8; 35. *Ethan Kern (Elmhurst, IL) 16:23.8; 36. David Ahlmeyer (Hendersonville, TN) 16:24.9; 37. David Vannucchi (Onalaska, WI) 16:38.6; 38. Connor Nisbet (Wilmington, DE) 16:54.1; 39. *Silas Winders (Mansfield, TN) 17:03.7; 40. *Anthony Grover (Laguna Niguel, CA) 17:29.8. □