Six South Dakotans will compete in the annual Midwest Regional Foot Locker Cross Country meet this Saturday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Last year's Foot Locker meet was then-sophomore Addison DeHaven's introduction to the elite level of high school distance running as he finished 9th in the Midwest Region. With DeHaven's 2011 finish, he will forever hold the "Foot Locker Finalist" title- an honor only thirty-nine other prep runners in the United States could lay claim to last year.
DeHaven, now a junior for the Brookings Bobats, is joined by World Junior Triathon Bronze medalist and Rapid City Stevens junior, Tamara Gorman as the top South Dakota male and female contestants entered into this season's meet.
When asked about his training heading into the Foot Locker Midwest Regional, DeHaven, the 2012 Class AA state champion and 9:04 3200 meter runner said training was going "fairly good, everything hasn't gone spectacular but everything hasn't been a bust either."
As for the race itself, DeHaven is taking a veteran-like approach.
"I want to just try and get to the line feeling as good as possible and run a hard, complete race, which I feel like I haven't done all season. If I do all the that, I feel like I could be flying on a plane to San Diego in two weeks."
Also expected to show well for South Dakota are Sioux Falls Lincoln's up-and-coming distance runner and 4:21 miler, Luke Jelen, along with Class B multi-time state cross country champion, Duane Jongeling.
Jelen, in his final high school cross country season, looks to the Foot Locker Midwest Regional to provide a challenge.
"Since then (the Nike Heartland meet) I have been running consistent mileage and have done some workouts, including a 3200m solo time trial, which went really well. My body has been feeling good since the official season ended and I am ready to run well at Foot Locker," commented Jelen.
"I expect the race to be fast and competitive and I am using it to prepare myself for Division 1 college cross country. A regional race like this is a big step up from most of the meets we run in South Dakota and it will be fun to challenge myself against the best runners in the Midwest region," stated Jelen.
Running in the Girl's Seeded race will be Tamara Gorman, who is coming off a world-class triathlon performance (where she split 17:32 on the 5k run) just over a month ago in New Zealand.
"It was a big switch coming back from Worlds. I was putting every bit of energy into triathlon and then, all of a sudden, it turned immediately into a specific running focus. The quick shift was something I had a difficult time with it. Not necessarily switching training, but copping with all of the homework and getting back into the normal routine. Going into the Nike meet, I believe I was still recovering from the world championships, and may have had a bit of the flu. I feel settled and ready for Foot Locker and am expecting to have a good showing."
Last season's Foot Locker Midwest was an historic day for South Dakota as both Tony Smoragiewicz, now a Michigan Wolverine, and DeHaven both qualified for the Foot Locker National meet in San Diego, California. While a performance like that would be tough to duplicate for a state of any population, look for this current group to make a splah, nonetheless.
Can't make it to Kenosha, but want to see how DeHaven, Jelen, Jongeling and Gorman fare on Saturday? Follow the Foot Locker regional meet this Saturday at MileSplit on the Foot Locker Midwest meet page found HERE.
The Girl's Seeded race begins at 10:40 CST with the Boy's Seeded race to follow at 11:25.