WALNUT, CALIF.-Running at the Foot Locker Western Regional Cross Country race on Saturday, Carson High freshman Shanna Sparks almost made Senator cross country history.
Sparks came within a few seconds of becoming the first Carson High runner to ever qualify for the Foot Locker National Championship. She finished in 14th place over the 3.1-mile Mt. San Antonio College course in 19 minutes, 11 seconds, not far behind the eighth and final qualifier for the national meet set for Dec. 11 in Orlando, Fla.
Ironically, that eighth place finisher was Green Valley's Abby Miller, who won the state 4A championship at Reed High on Nov. 6. Sparks finished second in the state meet. Miller has now qualified three times for the national meet.
Felicia Craig from Wyoming won the race over the highly competitive field in 18:07.
In the boys' race, Daryl Nourse was Carson's only entrant in 127th place with the time of 17:20.
Past area runners who have qualified for the national meet were Inga Thompson of Reno in 1981, Bryan Carroll of Douglas in 1981, and Jen Owens of South Tahoe in 1989.
In the youth races held concurrently with the high school races, Justin Grant, a sixth grader, placed fifth in the seventh-grade, two-mile race with the time of 12:10. Amanda Benson finished sixth in the girls seventh-grade, two-mile race in 13:30. Both runners compete for the Carson City Striders.