Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thomas Porter of Mountain View High School was the top Virginia finisher yesterday at the Foot Locker Nationals, earning all-American honors on the five-kilometer course at Balboa Park in San Diego.
Porter finished last in the race in 2007 -- he developed plantar fasciitis in his right foot days before the meet, couldn't quell the pain and struggled to 40th place -- but was healthy and confident yesterday, picking off several of the country's elite distance runners to finish third in 15 minutes 26 seconds.
"Last year, I kind of felt shortchanged," said Porter, the 2007 All-Met Cross-Country Runner of the Year. "This year, I put out the best race I could've put out."
Of the four Virginians in the 40-runner field, Edison senior Leoule Degfae was next after Porter. He placed 12th in 15:46. The top 15 finishers were named all-Americans.
"I felt pretty good about what I could accomplish here, but I never knew I could get top 15," Degfae said. "I'm still amazed. I don't think I can sleep tonight."
Porter also advanced to the Foot Locker race in 2006 and is just the second runner from the Washington area to become a three-time Foot Locker finalist in the 30-year history of the meet.
-- Carl Little