One-by-one, the top runners from across the nation were introduced to the crowd at Balboa Park in San Diego before the start of the Foot Locker Nationals. In a sport where races can feature hundreds of athletes, it was a rare moment for the individuals to be recognized like the starting lineups before a basketball game.
“Wearing bib 12, a senior from Shoreham-Wading River High School in New York, she’s run 2:11 for 800 on the track,” the public address announcer began in the introduction of Katherine Lee.
Under sunny skies, Lee smiled wide as her name was called. And for a runner who’s already accomplished so much this season, there have been plenty of reasons to smile. Lee, in her final high school cross country race, added to her legacy Saturday by finishing fourth out of 40 runners in the prestigious race. She ran 17 minutes, 38.3 seconds and was the top runner from the northeast region.
Claudia Lane of Malibu High School in California won the race for the second straight year. She ran 17:03.4.
Lee said she arrived in San Diego Thursday, where she was greeted by ideal racing conditions compared to the chilly recent races in New York.
“It’s been really nice and an awesome reward for a good season,” she said in a telephone interview.
Racing on the course for the first time, Lee said she didn’t have a specific goal in mind in terms of a time or place.
“I really just wanted to hang with girls that I thought were going to place high on the podium and hang off of them and kick at the end,” she said.
Lee, who will run for Georgetown University next year, said a lot of the competitors were going to schools she had considered during the college search process.
“It’s really cool to run with them and I’ll probably see them in the NCAA at some point,” she said.
Photo caption: Katherine Lee crosses the finish line Saturday morning at the Foot Locker Nationals in San Diego. (Credit:PhotoRun.net for Foot Locker)