Locals qualify for nationals
Annie Brinson, Nick Schlager and Gloria Sosa of the Sierra Flyers youth running club all punched their tickets to nationals thanks to top-five performances in their respective age group races at the Junior Olympic Region 14 Cross Country Championships held on Sunday in Fresno, Calif.
Brinson ran to second-place in the Young Women’s race, Schlager took third in the Youth Boys race and Sosa took fourth in the Intermediate Girls division during competition at Woodward Park, which served as the site of the California state high school meet one day before. The top 20 individuals and three teams in each race qualified for the Junior Olympic nationals in Smithfield, R.I., on Dec. 10.
Brinson, a Carson High senior, ran a personal record 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) time of 20 minutes, 3 seconds to place second in her race. Teammate Meagan Myers also placed seventh (21:24). Brinson passed the opening mile in 6:08 as she attempted to break 20 minutes, and even though she fell short of the goal, she still ran a personal best by 12 seconds.
Sosa, a sophomore at Carson High, also ran a 5K personal record time of 20:08 in the Intermediate Girls race. Flyers teammate Kristin Dockery took ninth in 21:11.
“Gloria just continues to get better and better,” Flyers coach Dennis Brinson said. “I expect her to be in the 18’s by the time she is a senior.”
Schlager, the regional Midget boys champion last year, took third with a 14:35 clocking over the 4K course and teammate Brent Moyle was 12th (15:09).
Just one day before, Schlager had played in a soccer tournament in Sacramento, where he helped his team win one game and tie another. He came back and ran well on Sunday, according to coach Brinson.
“He said his quads were a little sore before the race,” the coach said. “He started out in 17th place at the first mile, with Brent in 22nd. With a mile to go, Nick had moved up to 10th and Brent was 15th. Nick finished third, just a yard behind second-place, and Brent 12th. They both ran an excellent race.”
Brinson pointed out that even though the midget girls and boys didn’t qualify individually, they did qualify for nationals running for Silver State Striders teams that placed third. Alexandra Schlager finished 23rd the 3K Midget girls race (13:00), while Samantha MacCarty took 24th (13:13) and Erika Sosa 32nd (13:44). Peter Brinson finished 22nd in the Midget boys race (11:55) and Nicky DiCianno 39th (14:35).
In the 4K Youth girls race, Hannah Riedl finished 17th (16:53) and Laura Sosa 31st (18:10).
“Hannah wasn’t feeling her best, but mentally toughed it out in her race,” Brinson said. “She was 12th in the first mile, dropped to 15th in the second and held on for 17th at the end. There was a group of eight girls breathing down her neck at the two-mile mark, but she held them off.”
Next week, the Flyers travel to Southern California to run in the Foot Locker Western Regionals at Mt. San Antonio College.