The Foot Locker South Regional Champion John Tatter (R.J. Reynolds) has made history today at Foot Locker Nationals. Tatter will bring home a 4th place finish clocking 15:27.9! David Melville (Northern Guilford) took 20th in the boys field and Mariah Howlett (Lake Norman Charter) was 20th on the girls side!
We though Tatter was going to be in contention for a top 5 spot and even a win, but as the boys race went off Tatter was no where to be seen while Melville lead through the first half mile. The whole field was within a second or two of each other for the first half of the race with many lead changes. Once the boys hit the first hill things started to string out a little.
A few athletes pushed the pace on the steep downhill, and you could see Tatter running in the top 10 looking comfortable biding his time. Athletes would make their move up front, and Tatter casually moved up. Melville hung in the middle of the pack throughout most of the race.
Two Illinois athletes, Danny Kilrea and Dylan Jacobs pulled ahead of the field as they reached the final mile. Tatter along with South teammate Graydon Morris (TX) had worked their way into the top 5, and were making up ground on the top 2. The hill was the breaking point, Jacobs gapped Kilrea and the top 4 broke away from the rest of the field. Morris was just ahead of Tatter with Kilrea only a few meters ahead.
Jacobs finished through the line running 15:19.7. The sophomore Morris made up a ton of ground and finished 2nd. Tatter caught Kilrea, but was not able to get around him taking 4th overall win 15:27.9!
Tatter's 4th place finish is the best finish by a North Carolina boy at Foot Locker Nationals topping Matt Debole's 5th place finish in 2002!
Melville had one of his best races of the season. He was the 9th qualifier out of the South region, but finished 20th at Nationals! The hilly course certainly played to his strengths today.
The girls race was different than the boys. Claudia Lane (CA) took the race by the horns from the gun and lead wire to wire. At the beginning of the race you could see Howlett sticking her nose in there sitting amongst the leaders of the chase field. Howlett sat around 12th through the halfway point in the race.
The field began to string out as the race went on. Howlett was with a large group of her South teammates trying to push for a top 15 All-American finish. Howlett was able to run 18:29.0 to finish 20th overall! A great end to the year where Howlett debuted in October after coming off injury!