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Wednesday

April 2014

16

Cross country

Seidel wins national showcase

Senior reaches yet another milestone, wins Foot Locker title

Molly Seidel is taking this thing national.

The University Lake School senior, who recently tucked away her fourth career state cross country championship and became the second Wisconsin female runner to do so, added national champion to her résumé with a first-place finish in San Diego on Saturday in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships.

Seidel won the Midwest Regional in Kenosha earlier this year, setting up the opportunity to race against the best high-school runners in the country.

"Yeah, it's been pretty amazing, absolutely incredible," Seidel said via telephone to Mark Stewart of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "I still can't really believe it. But it does have a nice ring to it.

"I was definitely aiming to try for the top five," Seidel added. "I was confident in my training but wanted to be realistic and not set my sights too high."

Seidel completed the course at Morley Field in Balboa Park in 17:22, two seconds ahead of West Bloomfield, Mich. junior Erin Finn, who took command of the race early and led the vast majority of the 5,000 meters.

Seidel also announced she will run both cross country and track at Notre Dame next season.

The senior, who will aim to win her fourth straight track titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters this fall, lingered with a pack of runners 8-10 seconds behind Finn until the 10-minute mark, when she pulled away to become the clear-cut No. 2 runner. Seidel caught Finn at the 14:10 mark on an incline and took her first lead.

But Finn wasn't finished. At 15:30, the Michigan runner who took third at the regional race at UW-Parkside swung back ahead, flying by on the sharp descent down the hill. Forty seconds later, Seidel had the lead back, this time for good.

Third-place finisher Laura Leff of West Genesee High School in Syracuse, N.Y., finished in 17:34, a full 10 seconds behind Finn.

No Wisconsin girl has ever won the Foot Locker national meet, which began in 1979. Stevens Point senior Chris Solinsky won the boys race in 2002.

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