Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc continued to beef up his resume after taking first place at the Foot Locker Nationals cross country meet Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego.
Fisher, the junior who won the Michigan state Division 1 cross country championship last month, clocked 15:07 for the 5,000-meter course, outdueling John Dressell of Colbert, Wash. in the final 100 meters to become the fifth runner from Michigan to win a national title since the meet’s inception in 1979.
Fisher, along with Ryan Robinson, a junior at Waterford Mott who placed 21st in 15:49, were the only representatives from Michigan in a race among 40 of the nation’s top high school distance runners.
“I was just hoping I wouldn’t be lapped,” said Robinson. “All these kids are just so fast. But to finish as well as I did was pretty cool. To get near the top half is a pretty big accomplishment for me. I was the 10th junior, and obviously that’s a testament how great the junior class of 2015 is.”
That includes Fisher, who already has a state cross country title and a 3,200-meter run title in track in his collection.
He was among the 10 lead runners early in the fast-paced race but with a mile remaining, he moved up with a pack of five leaders.
He moved into second place with less than three-quarters mile remaining and stayed there with three other challengers all within a couple of seconds of each other.
With less than a half-mile remaining he secured second place and trailed by a second before taking the lead, moving past Dressell on a downhill stretch with about 600 meters remaining.
Dressell, though, retook the lead with less than 400 meters to go as the pair collided elbows on the final stretch in a mad dash to the finish line. But Fisher surged ahead once again in the last 150 meters and raised his arm in triumph in crossing the finish line. Dressell was second in 15:11 and Matt Maton of Bend, Ore. was third in 15:19. The top three runners are all high school juniors.
In the girls race, Tessa Barrett of Waverly, Pa. won in a time of 17:16 and Hannah DeBalsi of Westport, Conn. finished second in 17:26. Lauren Brasure of Rockford, one of two Michigan representatives, was 24th (18:13) and Kirsten Olling of Wheeler was 31st (18:29).
The top 40 high school runners from around the nation, who qualified in four regional meets, competed in the annual race.