6 Advance, Pajak wins the 2023 Foot Locker NE Title

Above: Race Video from the Foot Locker Northeast Boys Championship

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Pennsylvania's control over the Northeast has been undeniable.

In 2023, four boys and two girls punched their tickets to represent the Northeast at the Foot Locker National Championships in San Diego, California. Eight boys and four girls earned All-Region rights.

A Pennsylvania boy has won the Foot Locker Northeast Title for the third time in the last four years.

Patrick Anderson earned the honors in 2020, Drew Griffith won in 2022, and now Ryan Pajak is a Foot Locker Northeast Champion.

Pajak's route to victory was nothing short of exceptional. Alongside Massachusetts' Paul Bergeron and Tamrat Gavenas, Griffith and Pajak cleared the first two miles in 9:38. The two Pennsylvanians continued to press. Around the final corner, Pajak led Griffith by two strides.

The Ringgold native found another gear, snagging some turnover and creating a three-second gap between himself and Griffith. Ultimately, Pajak would cross the line in a course record 14:51. Drew Griffith was second, completing a PA 1-2.

A few seconds back, Colin Whitaker (Lampeter Strasburg) found himself in a tight battle for fourth as four runners finished within two seconds. Whitaker would finish sixth in 15:09. He finished eighth in 2022. Jack Bertram (North Allegheny) also positioned himself well in the mid-parts of the race and came across the line in ninth (15:22). He became the third District 7 Boys to earn a qualifying spot to the 2023 Foot Locker Championship.

Vinay Raman (Hershey), Caleb Prettyman (Franklin), and Rowan Carr (Penncrest) all earned Second-Team All-Region honors. Raman finished in 15th with his 15:51, while Prettyman and Carr finished in 17th (15:55) and 18th (15:56). Luke Bodden finished in 26th to earn Third-Team All-Region honors with his 16:02.

Two PA State Champs finished inside the Top-5 on the girls' side. They'll compete at the National Championship meet.

Logan St. John Kletter and Virginia Kraus expertly managed the race at hand. Through the first mile, the duo were side by side at 5:24. At Mile Two, Kraus slipped two seconds back from Kletter, but the two were still in a pack of three with New Jersey's Emma Zawatski between the Pennsylvanians. 

Kletter continued to create that separation over the final mile, crossing the finish in fourth with a stellar 17:30. She was two-tenths back from third. Kraus finished in fifth with her 17:40. Those two finishes were the best by a Pennsylvania girl since Jenna Mulhern placed fourth in 2021.

Lillian DiCola finished just outside the Top 10. She landed in 14th, earning Second Team All-Region Honors with her 18:26. Olivia Cieslak finished in 25th to earn Third Team All-Region Honors.

Top 5 Finishers