Olivia Theis didn’t have any big expectations when she decided to participate in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships regional meet last month.
The Lansing Catholic junior just thought the opportunity was one she had to take,
That decision has helped Theis stake her claim as one of the top runners in the nation.
Theis placed 14th overall at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championship meet Saturday in San Diego to earn third team All-American status.
“I was really surprised about it,” said Theis, who had a time of 17:55.4. “I went into the regional meet and didn’t really know what was going to happen. I just kind of tried it for the fun of it. When I got top 10 I was like ‘Oh my gosh, I’m going to California.’ It was just really exciting. Now that I’m here and did my race, it’s really cool. I can’t believe I’m actually here.”
Corunna senior Noah Jacobs also was a third team All-American and placed 14th in the boys race to cap his dominant fall that included finishing as the individual Division 2 state champion and also helping the Cavs to the team state title.
Jacobs, who will continue his career at Wisconsin,had a time of 15:24.8.
“I was in last place at one point, so knowing that I was very satisfied with how I moved up throughout the race and what my final result was and being an All-American,” Jacobs said. “There are definitely like some things I wish I could have changed like early on in the race. With the way that it unfolded, I ran just like I needed to to become an All-American. I used everything I had. I didn’t hold back. That was something I’m really proud of is that I could walk out being an All-American knowing I gave everything I had during the race.”
Jacobs and Theis each viewed the All-American status as a fitting ending to strong fall seasons of cross country.
“I couldn’t have asked for much better with being an All-American and qualifying for Foot Locker and then winning the team state title,” Jacobs said. “That was huge. I had a lot of support from people out here and at my school. They helped me do workouts and whatever I needed to do.
“Everyone was really supportive and it kind of ended in the best result I really could have asked for this cross country season.
Theis said she was “definitely satisfied” with her results this fall, which included finishing as the Division 3 individual runner-up and helping Lansing Catholic take second as a team at the state finals.
“I feel like my hard work paid off and that makes me really happy to know,” Theis said. “When you work hard you can get places.
“I’m just really excited to see what my team and I can do next year. I think it will be really cool.”
Contact Brian Calloway at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.