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Posted on Sat, Dec 12, 2009 : 7:01 p.m.

Pioneer's Nathan Karr 39th at Foot Locker Cross Country Championships

By Rich Rezler


Pioneer High School senior Nathan Karr, wearing the red uniform of the Midwest team, crosses the finish line at Saturday's Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in San Diego. (photo courtesy of Foot Locker Cross Country)

While the main reason for the trip to San Diego didn’t go as Pioneer High School senior Nathan Karr hoped, he’s still the clubhouse leader in the Best Birthday Gift for Your Little Brother contest.

Karr finished 39th out of 40 runners at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships on Saturday. “The race did not go well at all,” Karr said in a telephone interview Saturday. “I felt very tired. I think the long season is starting to get to me.”

The only Michigan runner in the field, Karr completed the 5-kilometer Balboa Park course in 16 minutes, 35 seconds. Lukas Verzbicas from Orland Hills, Ill., won in 15:08 to become the first sophomore champion in the event's 31-year history.

Karr finished just 12 seconds behind first-place Verzbicas at a Midwest regional qualifying race. While the finish was disappointing - Karr said he was shooting for a top-15 finish, which would have earned him All-American status - he said he was proud to have earned a spot among the 40 best runners in the nation. Plus, a trip to San Diego and three nights at the luxurious Hotel del Coronado wasn’t a bad perk. Pioneer coach Don Sleeman made the trip to watch Karr compete, as did his parents and brother, Adam, who celebrated his 16th birthday on Saturday. “That was my birthday present to him, a trip to San Diego,” Karr said. One of Karr’s Michigan travel partners, Megan Goethals of Rochester High School, edged Chelsey Sveinsson of Dallas in a photo finish to win the girls championship race. Both girls were timed in 17:07. Sveinsson looked to have the race won, but let up too early and began to raise her arms in victory. A charging Goethals lunged past her at the tape. Goethals, the Midwest regional champion, was surprised she came back to win. "I don't know what to think," said Goethals, who finished third last year, one place ahead of Sveinsson. "Shock and amazement." The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Jean Karr

Fri, Dec 18, 2009 : 11:26 a.m.

What a great way to end the Cross Country year with a trip to San Diego to compete with the top runners in the US. As the only male runner from Michigan it was a great time. Now Nathan and the Pioneer team can look forward to a great track season I wish them all the best.