SAN DIEGO – Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka is a national champion once again.
The Mishawaka High School senior and long distance superstar captured a first place title at the 36th Annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals at Morley Field, Balboa Park on Saturday.
Rohrer won the national title for the second time in the last three years.
In the girls’ five-kilometer race, 2012 Foot Locker National Champion Rohrer won in 17:13, while defending Foot Locker National Champion Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc, Michigan, used a decisive late charge to capture the boy’s title in 15:03.
Four-time national qualifier Makena Morley (third in 17:29) set a swift early pace in the girls’ race, with the pack trailing single-file. At the one-mile mark, Rohrer eased into the lead with a split of 5:19. By the halfway point, Morley slipped to third and Ryen Frazier of North Carolina had the grit to hang with Rohrer. From there, it was a two-girl race until Rohrer made her move just before the field’s second trip up the big hill located on the back side of the course. On the muddy ascent, Rohrer, utilizing powerful arm action, gained separation and never looked back. Frazier held on for second (17:23), with Morley finishing third. Rohrer covered the race distance with splits of 11:02 at the two-mile mark, and 16:40 at the three-mile mark en route to her second Foot Locker national title (17:13) in the last three years.
Rohrer won her second cross country state championship in November at the IHSAA State Finals in Terre Haute in a record time of 17:08.8. Rohrer, who was also honored with the Mental Attitude Award at State, won her first title as a sophomore in 2012. She then was sidelined in 2013 due to a foot injury. Rohrer also won the 3,200-meter run in a state record time of 10:14.43 at the IHSAA State Finals this past June in Bloomington. The title was her second in that event in her prep career.
In the boys’ race, defending champion Fisher of Michigan (first in 15:03) was among the early lead pack, which included Iowa’s Thomas Pollard, who controlled the pace through the first mile. Things started to bunch up a bit after a 4:42 opening mile, and by the second mile it was a race for the taking with a pack of nine in contention, including all four regional champions. But it was defending national champion Fisher who waited until the big hill, with 800 meters remaining, to make his pivotal move. With Fisher having broken away, it was Wisconsin’s Olin Hacker who kicked past multiple runners in the final 400 meters into second place. West champion Elijah Armstrong of Idaho was third in 15:13. South champion Drew Hunter of Virginia ran as high as second in the final mile and held on in the charge to finish fourth (15:14).
The Foot Locker Cross Country Championships is comprised of four regional 5K races, which took place across the country in the Midwest (Kenosha, Wis.), Northeast (Bronx, N.Y.), and South (Charlotte, N.C.) on Nov. 29, with the West (Walnut, Calif.) on Dec. 6, culminating in the National Finals on Saturday.