The newly renamed Champs Sports XC Championship was competed Saturday at San Diego's Balboa Park. Under sunny conditions, the girl's race started with seven athletes within a second of each other in the lead through the half mile mark. At the mile mark, there were still seven athletes with Karrie Baloga of Cornwall Central (NY) leading the pack. Baloga is committed to Colorado next year and finished fourth last year at Balboa Park. Halfway through the meet the pack lessened with Ellie Shea of Belmont (MA), Ciara O'Shea of Madison Central (KY) and Paityn Noe of Ballard (IA) staying with Baloga. At the two-mile mark, Shea, Noe and Baloga were racing for the championship. In the last mile, Baloga built a five second lead and won in 16:49.2 for the eighth fastest performance at Balboa Park. Baloga has a unique distinction of racing Footlocker, Eastbay and now Champs Sports.
Click for the girl's photo gallery HERE
In the boy's race, Hunter Jones of Benzie Central (MI) took out the pace. Jones won the Michigan State Meet and NXR Midwest by breaking the course record by 26 seconds. At the one mile mark, Kole Mathison of Carmel (IN) and Rocky Hansen of Christ School (NC) caught up to Jones. At the halfway point of the meet, Mathison took control of the race. Mathison, like Baloga, is committed at Colorado and finished fourth last week at NXN. In the end, Mathison won by almost 11 seconds in 14:56.6 with Noah Breker of Robbinsdale Armstrong (MN). We also need to do a Samuel Hansen of Woods Cross (UT) appreciation post. Hansen finished 12th at the Utah State Meet. At the half mile mark, Hansen was last in the race and moved up to finish third on Saturday. A great race for Hansen!
Click for the boy's gallery HERE