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5 Things we are looking forward to at Foot Locker Nationals

Published by
DistancePreps.com - The Future Runs Now   on Dec 11 2013, 12:08 AM

5 Things we are looking forward to at Foot Locker Nationals


 

 

1.  Without a doubt, after seeing the frozen, cold, damp, rainy, windy weather at NCAA's and NXN most recently, it's the weather.  It's a large part of why this is our favorite national event.  True, every once in awhille it's get's a little nippy for us Floridians in SOCAL, like the 60's, but for the most part it warms up nicely during the day and is rather holiday like in the evenings.  Give us San Diego over Portland in December, 10 times out of 10.

 

In case you're wondering, here is the beautiful forecast for Foot Locker Nationals this weekend:


 

Need a little reminder of why California beckons us during December- The Beach Boys fit the bill.



 

2.  The Boys from the "Dirty Durty South" doing battle with hopes of getting the "Triple"; their 3rd consecutive team title at Foot Locker Nationals.  You know, if you think about it, it wasn't that long ago that the South was the laughing stock of the regional teams at Foot Locker Nationals.  The overarching thought was the South wasn't tough enough, hardy enough to compete with the rest of the hardened racers from the around the rest of the country.  The South was seen as flatlanders who couldn't handle the "Hill" at Balboa once, much less a second time around, and they just always, well,  ran out of gas. 

 

All of that has changed now and it seems rather coincidental with them getting a little bit of an edge once they embraced being the "Dirty South".  Extra points to those who point out how the "Dirty South" came about and who spear-headed the change in confidence?  With Furman bound, 3200m ready, Aaron Templeton leading the fastest South team in recent memory, in a year when even 14:55 didn't cut the muster, we're seeing multiple hand gestures for the South Boys come Friday and Saturday.

 

3.  The Introductions and pageantry of Foot Locker Nationals ranks 3rd on our list.  It always give us chills when runners we've followed, who have worked so hard to realize their dreams, pop out from behind the Foot Locker stanchion and into the national spotlight, quite possbily for the first time ever in their careers. 

 


 

They say everyone in their lifetime gets their 15 minutes of fame.  Can it ever be more so true than at Foot Locker Nationals?  When Tim O'Rourke starts reeling off your accomplishments in his deep baritone and the internet masses are solely focused on you, there is nothing more bone-chilling than realizing the Foot Locker experience is alive and well and "Dreams" do come true.

 


 

4.  The characters.  Yes, those individuals that stay with us long after the races are over.  We've seen them in the results, the headlines, the video interviews and news articles but then you get to know them in person and it makes the event just so much more enjoyable. 


Case in point. Jakub Zivec, 2008 Foot Locker Nationals.


 

5.  A trip to Foot Locker Nationals is special because it's held at the charmingly beautiful Hotel Del Coronado.  Built in 1888, this historic and some say spooky, if not haunted hotel on the Beach, is a real gem whose exterior and interior beckons us each and every December. 

 


 

Built with this is mind,

""It would be built around a court...a garden of tropical trees, shrubs and flowers,.... From the south end, the foyer should open to Glorietta Bay with verandas for rest and promenade. On the ocean corner, there should be a pavilion tower, and northward along the ocean, a colonnade, terraced in grass to the beach. The dining wing should project at an angle from the southeast corner of the court and be almost detached, to give full value to the view of the ocean, bay and city."

 

With a slow creaky elevator, a huge welcoming christmas tree in the foyer and the sweet melody of old-time carolers greeting us through her doors in the early evening, the Hotel Del beckons once again.


The Hotel Del Coronado has found its' purpose as the home away from home to many a Foot Locker finalist over the years.  From the ice-cream sundaes to the skating rink to the beach football, the Hotel Del makes us realize that like all things, you need a vision of where it is you want to go in life and being a Foot Locker finalist or fan alike is a step in the right direction.

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19 comment(s)  
ILDistanceFan

Bsarno1, on , said:

Exactly Chris....NXN and FL are great event for the kids, but a true national championship..nah...just like the bowl games are to college football. They are fun to watch and convey some bragging rights but because there are more than one only create speculation. As to the corporate branding, would NXN be held at that forsaken racetrack if Nike's headquarters was in Greenwich, CT?
Enjoy the races,,I will..another holiday treat!


In any sport, at any level, there are champions and there are "bests". Does the best competitor in each event nec'ly win the Olympics? Not always. Sometimes it's the athlete or team best prepared for that meet or game (those conditions, that type of competition, etc). Other times, flukes occur that upset the balance. Some years, it feels like if you ran the race 10 times you'd get 8 different results (Ind or team); other years, it looks like the same team/person would win no matter the conditions.

Either way, champions are champions. We can always discuss who is "really" the best, but I'd take the championship competition over the "on paper" competition any day. I love to see Watchout's or Tully/Bill's analyses, and to do my own statistical comparisons, but am really thankful the NXN team competition exists.
Chris Nickinson

Bsarno1, on , said:

Exactly Chris....NXN and FL are great event for the kids, but a true national championship..nah...just like the bowl games are to college football. They are fun to watch and convey some bragging rights but because there are more than one only create speculation. As to the corporate branding, would NXN be held at that forsaken racetrack if Nike's headquarters was in Greenwich, CT?
Enjoy the races,,I will..another holiday treat!


Wut?

NXN is held on a golf course inside a race track because it's the best facility in the Portland area to meet all the criteria of the meet's needs. If Nike HQ was in another city I'm sure they'd hold the meet in that city.
Bsarno1

Chris Nickinson, on , said:

This is getting really off topic but bowl games are in warm climates for the benefit of the (corporate) fans buying (expensive) tickets. Everybody loved watching the snow games this weekend.

Anyways, Steve was right. Both are great events. I do wish there was a way to have just 1 combined championship but until this the kids win with the extra attention.

Exactly Chris....NXN and FL are great event for the kids, but a true national championship..nah...just like the bowl games are to college football. They are fun to watch and convey some bragging rights but because there are more than one only create speculation. As to the corporate branding, would NXN be held at that forsaken racetrack if Nike's headquarters was in Greenwich, CT?
Enjoy the races,,I will..another holiday treat!
DrBob
Wow, remind me to leave the weather out of it next time :) For the record, I've been to both and they are both great events. I'm just really looking forward to attending Foot Locker for the reasons mentioned. If I was going to NXN, I would easily have 5 Things I'm looking forward to as well.
Chris Nickinson

Bsarno1, on , said:

Football has the same quirk. Biggest bowl games take place as much as a month after end of regular season. NFL Super Bowl in New Jersey in winter is just as misplaced as holding it in Florida, or, gasp, indoors.


This is getting really off topic but bowl games are in warm climates for the benefit of the (corporate) fans buying (expensive) tickets. Everybody loved watching the snow games this weekend.

Anyways, Steve was right. Both are great events. I do wish there was a way to have just 1 combined championship but until this the kids win with the extra attention.
Bsarno1
Really who cares? South produces good runners, especially sprinters. San Diego's weather is not typical for XC championships in most of the country. But neither is the frozen tundra in Oregon in December. There is no perfect place for XC in December, but you can't hold a national championship in October in Oregon, Illinois or New York. So why not reward those kids who have excelled all autumn with a fun weekend and a time in the spotlight, even though many already are gearing up for indoor or in the sunbelt outdoors. Football has the same quirk. Biggest bowl games take place as much as a month after end of regular season. NFL Super Bowl in New Jersey in winter is just as misplaced as holding it in Florida, or, gasp, indoors.
Good for the South if the sons and daughters of Dixie do well Saturday...Prove nothing.
Chris Nickinson

SteveU, on , said:

I dunno, methinks you guys are giving Dr. Bob a little too much grief. He has a right to love Foot Locker if he wants. I mean, everyone has a right to have their favorites (though we media types sometimes need to exercise diplomacy) and express opinions. Still, the pushback seems a little hard ... just a little ;)

Me? I love and appreciate BOTH events equally ;)


Posted Image

I was just advocating for accurate weather reports :)
SteveU
I dunno, methinks you guys are giving Dr. Bob a little too much grief. He has a right to love Foot Locker if he wants. I mean, everyone has a right to have their favorites (though we media types sometimes need to exercise diplomacy) and express opinions. Still, the pushback seems a little hard ... just a little ;)

Me? I love and appreciate BOTH events equally ;)
watchout

DrBob, on , said:

Moxie, a certain swagger. The South Boys have won the last 2 Foot Foot Locker team titles. Call it what you want, but if they win this one on Saturday going 3 in a row, NXN or no NXN, it's an admirable feat that isn't just told by the numbers. Moxie.

I'm pulling for FSU by the way Watchout but you have to admit, no way anyone saw a rebound the likes of Auburn. Sure they have great athletes and maybe we can point to their recruiting numbers or BCS ranking against opponents but the bottom line is they too have something going. I like to think of it as the X factor. X being somewhat unknown and unquantifiable.


"Moxie", meaning aggressiveness, courageous, vigorous, etc. - is pretty much the opposite of choosing to go to warm/sunny/dry San Diego out of fear/dislike of 40 degree weather and possibly some mud. In my opinion, at least. (not saying that's the only reason FLS kids, sans Texans, have opted for FLN more often than not, but you can't say that hasn't been a factor for at least a handful of the kids)

I agree that it would be quite impressive if the South can win the footlocker region scoring for a third year in a row. And, as I said in my post, the region is on an upswing whether the talent is spread among two meets or not.

And I agree about Auburn, two years ago I didn't see this coming. I thought they looked pretty solid in their game against Washington State - a .500 team in the Pac-12, sure, but a solid team nonetheless. Knowing this was a down year for the SEC, I'm not that surprised that Auburn came out on top, but if you asked me if they would have done that in the pre-season, I'd never believe it - Alabama was the only team I thought that would be in the picture for a trip to the BCS title game. I'll be rooting for FSU - it wouldn't say much for the final BCS title game if it's won by a team that's barely better than .500 teams in the two major conferences.
DrBob
Moxie, a certain swagger. The South Boys have won the last 2 Foot Foot Locker team titles. Call it what you want, but if they win this one on Saturday going 3 in a row, NXN or no NXN, it's an admirable feat that isn't just told by the numbers. Moxie.

I'm pulling for FSU by the way Watchout but you have to admit, no way anyone saw a rebound the likes of Auburn. Sure they have great athletes and maybe we can point to their recruiting numbers or BCS ranking against opponents but the bottom line is they too have something going. I like to think of it as the X factor. X being somewhat unknown and unquantifiable.
watchout

DrBob, on , said:

Think back to the last few years as well though and think about which teams if any, have had more moxie than the "Dirty South". When you have teams that can rally around a cause for the greater good (and it's something Foot Locker has struggled with and part of the reason why NXN has flourished) and go above and beyond expectations, well, that's why we have the Auburn's of the world (They are from the South as well ! )



I'm not sure you really ought to be so proud of a team that consistently beats .500 teams in major conferences (Pac-12 and SEC) by ~ one touchdown.

I don't know what you're trying to get at with the "moxie" point... I mean, especially considering it's the South athletes more than others that have tended to avoid the tougher racing situation at NXN after all (as you point out in the OP of this thread, FLN having vacation weather while NXN is more like actual fall/winter weather for the bulk of the nation).
watchout

dkap, on , said:

History buffs will know the answer to this better than myself, but could the South's FL emergence coincide with other regions taking NXN more and more seriously? Take the top boys at NXN and add them to the West team, for example, and you'd have a pretty loaded squad. I imagine it's similar for the Northeast.

Dan


That is undoubtedly a large part of it.

Now, I think the South would have still made up some of the ground, but I think it's pretty telling by looking at the average region scores from 2000-2006, and the average region scores from 2007-2012 at FLN and going by FL regions at NXN:

Pre-2007:
39.50 West
47.07 Midwest
67.29 Northeast
73.43 South

Post-2007 at FL:
Midwest 41.00
South 54.58
West 63.00
Northeast 65.83

Post-2007 at NXN:
47.67 West
54.25 Midwest
67.25 South
67.75 Northeast

Post-2007 average (NXN+FLN):
Midwest 47.63
West 55.33
South 60.92
Northeast 66.79


... what this suggests to me:

1. The Midwest has gained a little ground at FLN, though lost a little at NXN. As athletes in the Midwest can do both, and their region has never had schedule conflicts, they are probably the gold standard to compare to (and, given that it's one of the two deepest regions, any splitting of talent from one race to the other would theoretically affect them less than most regions)... if that's true (that it is the "gold standard"), it implies that NXN has been a little deeper on average - and I'd agree with that, because while at the top I think it's pretty even - FLN maybe having slightly more of an advantage more years than NXN has in terms of top-10 athletes, I think the Top-35 at NXN is pretty comparable to Top-25 at FLN -- likely due to the greater number of competitors at NXN, meaning a finish that high takes a better effort (you're beating more people to get to that spot in the field).

2. The West has lost a LOT of ground at FLN, and lost a little at NXN. This suggests to me that more national caliber kids opt for NXN than FLN out west (not surprisingly, since CA is it's own region and 2 regional sites > 1 -- in other words, NXN is MUCH more accessible out west than is FLN).

3. South has gained ground at both meets, suggesting it would have gained ground regardless of circumstances. However, the gain at Footlocker is on a MUCH larger scale (averaging almost 20 points better, compared to 6)

4. Northeast has been very consistent, meaning the talent going to FLN/NXN from the Northeast is quite representative of the split nationwide.


tl;dr - South would have gained either way, but results suggest that the split has allowed the region to gain much more ground at FLN than at NXN, and more than they would have if there was still only one meet.
DrBob
Think back to the last few years as well though and think about which teams if any, have had more moxie than the "Dirty South". When you have teams that can rally around a cause for the greater good (and it's something Foot Locker has struggled with and part of the reason why NXN has flourished) and go above and beyond expectations, well, that's why we have the Auburn's of the world (They are from the South as well ! )
Chris Nickinson

dkap, on , said:

History buffs will know the answer to this better than myself, but could the South's FL emergence coincide with other regions taking NXN more and more seriously? Take the top boys at NXN and add them to the West team, for example, and you'd have a pretty loaded squad. I imagine it's similar for the Northeast.

Dan


That's a big chunk of the equation. The Northeast and West regions have lost a lot of talent to NXN because of scheduling. I can say specifically that more & more California kids are choosing to run 1 less race (less wear & tear on the body) by running NXN.

On top of that, the FL South region has been "fast" for a good decade now but only 2 yeas have they done well at the national meet. Times from the region are deceiving because of McAlpine's course.
DrBob
Dan,

That's probably part of the equation but I think just as likely is the South has turned it up a notch and success breeds success. This year is a perfect example. When you have guys like Templeton cruising to a 14:36 (believe me he had more in the tank if needed) and 11 guys 14:57 or better, the depth has really increased across the board. There's a certain hunger you need at Nationals and the strength of the pack is vital.
dkap
History buffs will know the answer to this better than myself, but could the South's FL emergence coincide with other regions taking NXN more and more seriously? Take the top boys at NXN and add them to the West team, for example, and you'd have a pretty loaded squad. I imagine it's similar for the Northeast.

Dan
Joe Lanzalotto
Yes, its very importent to have warm, sunny weather for a warm, sunny weather sport like XC.
DrBob
We drew with a wide brush ! Give us San Diego any time ! We're Floridians.
Chris Nickinson
It wasn't damp or rainy at NCAAs or NXN the day before or race day. Cold and windy, yes, but the sun was out for both.
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