Elite Junior Triathlete Wins Footlocker

Lukas Verzbicas repeats as the Footlocker Cross Country National Champion.

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Lukas Verzbicas repeats as the Footlocker Cross Country National Champion.

Written by: Courtney Baird

The triathlon world will have to wait to find out whether boy wonder Lukas Verzbicas will choose triathlon over running.

Verzbicas, who lives in Orland Hills, Ill., and who immigrated to the U.S. from Lithuania in 2002, today became only the third boy in history to win repeat titles at the Footlocker Cross Country National Championships, in San Diego, Calif.

Despite his dominance in the run, Verzbicas has been open about his interest in pursuing triathlon, often telling news outlets that he has a better chance of qualifying for the Olympics in triathlon than he does in running.

He was fourth at the ITU Junior World Championship in Budapest, Hungary, in September.

But today he said he has yet to make the decision over which sport to pursue.

“It won’t be both,” he told reporters after crossing the finish line of the 5,000-meter race in 14:59.

Verzbicas, who announced in the summer that he is graduating high school a year early, won the title today in dominating fashion, pulling away from Futsum Zeinasellassie of Indianapolis at around mile two.

With 200 meters to go, his experience in triathlon surfaced, as he noticeably slowed his pace—something runners traditionally avoid—and allowed himself the opportunity to soak up the victory.

He still crossed the line 11 seconds faster than Zeinasellassie, who is a junior.

Check Competitor.com for complete coverage of the 2010 Footlocker Cross Country National Championships.

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