MileSplit's Foot Locker Power Rankings - South Boys
Youth is served as the South boys line it up again for another fall. Last year, the South Region had six boys that were non-seniors, the most out of any region. With those six all returning (no transfers), and a lot of other distancemen stepping it up during the spring, this year's Foot Locker South Regional should be might competitive.
MileSplit's Foot Locker Power Rakings - South Boys
1. Colby Lowe (Sr., Southlake Carroll, TX) - Lowe has been one of the best runners in the South since his freshman year. He has won numerous titles, qualified for FL Nationals and now has a chance to mark himself as the top runner in the nation. Lowe finished in tenth place last year at Nationals, which tags him as the number three returnee. Leading one of the top teams in the land, Lowe will be in the spotlight all season long, and will need to lead his squad with conviction. What really sets him apart from others in this region is his amazing leg speed. Efforts of 8:59 and 4:09 really set him up as someone who can make a late move in a big time race.
2. Girma Mecheso (Sr., Berkmar, GA) - The number two returnee in the nation is not going to surprise anyone any longer. After a stellar fall, which saw him win the Georgia State Championship and then earn himself a spot on the South roster for FL Nationals, Mecheso really made a statement when he finished ninth overall. While he didn't show the same speed as some of the other guys on this last during the track season, 9:13/4:17, Mecheso's strength is what carries him.
3. Ryan Hill (Sr., Hickory, NC) - The winner of last year's South Regional did not necessarily have his best race at Foot Locker Nationals. Hill won with a big kick at regionals, but didn't have that same leg speed in San Diego. His monster track season, which saw him run 9:03 in the two mile and a 4:13 mile, prove that he is determined to not only make it back to nationals this year, but to finish extremely high up on the final results.
4. Sean Keveren (Sr., Brentwood, TN) - The senior from Tennessee didn't have his best day last fall at FL Regionals, as he finished a respectable twentieth, but well out of qualifying for FL Nationals. Another year to get that much stronger, and another year of amazing track performances, Keveren seems ready to take that next big leap. During the spring, Keveren ran 8:55 for two miles and ran a solid 4:11 mile as well. Those type of times make him one of the top runners this year alone.
5. Thomas Porter (Jr., Mountain View, VA) - Qualifying for FL Nationals seemed to be enough for Porter in '06. While he was only one of three sophomores competing in the race, and the last qualifier out of his region, Porter this year will have much higher expectations for himself in his junior campaign. As the #2 3A returnee behind Midlothian's Jason Witt, Porter will be trying to take home that crown first, before he goes after qualifying again for FL Nationals. With some solid experience now under his belt and with a slew of talented Virginia guys to push him all season, Porter should be ready to roll come late November.
6. Jason Witt (Sr., Midlothian, VA) - Leading one of the top teams in the country is no easy feat. Witt will have a choice to make unfortunately this year. With his team being ranked #1 in the SE NTN Region, assuming Midlothian wins all their meets, Witt will have to make a choice between leading his team through the NTN Regionals to nationals, or running Foot Locker South to qualify for FL Nationals. Surely he will go the team route, but regardless, the number eight returnee from last year's regional is one to look out for.
7. Griff Graves (Sr., Abingdon, VA) - A stud since he was a freshman in high school, Graves will be looking to make FL Nationals one more time. Last year his twenty-eighth place finish could be labeled as a disappointment, after finishing third in the region. However, Graves still laid it out there and was a dominant force in Virginia all season long. While he comes back as the easy favorite to win the individual 2A title in Viriginia, Graves will need to step it up big from his lackluster track season if he hopes to continue his cross country dominance.
8. Peter Dorrell (Sr., Blacksburg, VA) - The fourth of four Virginia men that made the list. Dorrell had perhaps the best track season out of anyone in the state. His 3200/1600 double win at state was impressive. What was even more impressive were his times. His 9:11 two-mile and 4:17 mile times rank him way up there when compared to others in the region. Assuming he can keep that speed up, and add a little strength to the mix, the sky is the limit for his last harrier season.
9. Taylor Gilland (Jr., Chapel Hill, NC) - 4A state champ last year during the XC season. Gilland then put up a spring to remember, especially for a mere sophomore. Gillard ran some very impressive track times. His 4:13 mile marks him as one of the top sophomores in the land, as does his 9:14 3200m time. Continuation of improvement is key to making FL Nationals, especially as a junior.
10. C.J. Brown (Jr., Southlake Carroll, TX) - Having a teammate to always follow must be nice for someone that is so increadibly fast. Brown will be teaming up front in most races with teammate Lowe (FLS #1), as the two will lead one of the best teams in the land. Brown showed his incredible speed, running 4:12 in the 1600m as only a sophomore. That speed doesn't come around very often, and when you nurture it in a top-notch program, special things happen.
11. Reed Conner (Jr., The Woodlands, TX) - The Woodlands constantly puts out impressive track performances. Luckily, those times usually carry on over to the fields of Texas. The Woodlands have more Foot Locker qualifiers than any other team in the nation (except perhaps York and Mead...still need to check on that stat). Conner had a huge spring, with big PR's of 9:14/4:17. Assuming he gets a bit stronger for that third mile, Conner should be right up front at FL South.
12. Luke Lovelace (Sr., Chapin, SC) - Lovelace's 36th place finish last fall at Foot Locker Nationals simply won't settle this year. Despite having less than stellar track performances from the spring, Lovelace is still one to count in the mix come FL South time. Winning both the 1600 and 3200 at state was a nice accomplishment, and being the number five returnee is a big step forward for the senior from Chapin. Do not count out Lovelace, even though he may lay low for a while.
Others To Keep An Eye On:
Bill Matthews (Jr., Mountain Brook) - Last year's defending 6A state champion will have his hands full with another couple of runners, but if he can pull out another victory then he should have a solid showing at FL South as well. Transferred to Baylor in TN.
Patrick McGregor (Jr., Hoover) - The junior had a great fall last year, finishing second as a sophomore in the big class state championships. This year he should be looking to make his mark on Alabama history, taking home the state title.
Daniel Manco (Sr., Ferguson) - Ranked the top runner in the state by the coaches and FLRunners.com, Manco is Florida's hope to get to FL Nationals. He is a strength runner, which should help him quite a bit over the 5k distance.
Joseph Franklin (Sr., Godby) - While he may not have the strength to hold up at the top level for a 5k, Franklin is one of the biggest talents around. As a junior, he tore up the track, running 4:08 in the 1600m and 1:50 in the 800m. Those types of times can never be overlooked.
Matt Cleaver (Sr., Wheeler) - While he will be overshadowed by the accomplishments of FLS #2 Mecheso, Cleaver should be making a name of his own this fall. As the #2 Georgia returnee, Cleaver's nice 4:21/9:24 efforts this spring should provide some confidence.
Gordy Dooley (Sr., St. Henry) - The top runner in Kentucky by far. Dooley is doing things that haven't been done since the great Bobby Curtis. Dooley tried for the distance triple this past spring, merely finishing second in the 800m, and winning both the mile and two mile.
Cody Hughes (Sr., Anna) - Despite have sub-par track performances to his name, Hughes showed an amazing knack to come up big last fall, as he finished just off the final spot for FL Nationals. He comes back as the #6 returnee in the region.
Rory Tunningley (Sr., Lockhart) - Running under 9:20 in the Texas heat always makes a good impression. Tunningley did just that this spring, as he ran a solid 9:18 3200m effort and is one of the top returnees in Texas.
Alex Ott (Jr., Turner Ashby) - As the number two returnee in 2A in Virginia, Ott should have some big expectations of himself coming in the fall. His top three finishes at the state track and field championships should help too, with times of 4:20 and 9:27.
Brian Landry (Sr., T.J. S&T) - Another Virginia runner in the mix of things. Landry doesn't have the same high profile as some of the others on this list, but he tends to be very tough in cross country, and his 9:26 at state doesn't hurt either.
Joe LoRusso (Sr., Oakton) - The number three returnee in 3A. LoRusso will have his share of challenges during his final harrier campaign, but that shouldn't slow him down.