Molly Seidel, the best girls’ high-school cross-country runner in Wisconsin, is also the best in the nation.
The four-time state champion from University Lake School won the 2011 Foot Locker Cross-Country National Championship in San Diego, on Saturday, a year after a hip injury kept her from the prestigious meet.
Seidel described her win as “total reconciliation.”
Others would describe it as guts.
Boxed in at the start, she fought through the pack of the nation’s 40 fastest girls and caught leader Erin Finn, of Bloomfield, Mich., with 600 meters to the finish. Finn responded and past Seidel on a downhill stretch.
“I’m not a very good downhill runner, I have to admit that,” Seidel said in a post-race interview.
She is a determined one, though, and surged back to pass Finn and outran her to the finish line by two seconds; 17:21 to 17:23, over the 5-kilometer course.
“This is incredible after last year,” Seidel said. “It took everything I had just to stay in there. The last 400 meters was one of the toughest I’ve ever raced.”
In October, Seidel won her fourth WIAA Div. 3 cross-country title and matched Suzy Favor-Hamilton, an Olympian, as the only runners in the state to sweep their high school championships.
Allie Fons, the state’s two-time Div. 1 champion from Franklin, finished 15th in the Foot Locker Nationals. Her time was 17:56. Just a sophomore, Fons will have a chance to join Seidel and Favor-Hamilton in the select four-peat ranks.
Check out the video of Seidel’s finish and her post-race interview.