Oakmont's Karlie Garcia placed fifth and Vista del Lago's Clare Carroll finished 27th in today's girls race at the 33rd Annual Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships in San Diego.
Garcia's fifth-place finish in 17 minutes, 36 seconds is the best by an area girls runner in the history of the event. Ponderosa's Jenn Schindler finished eight in 1996.
Garcia, a junior who won last Saturday's Foot Locker West Regional, finished 14 seconds behind winner Molly Seidel, a senior from Hartland, Mich.
Seidel, the Midwest Regional champion, chased downed junior Erin Finn of West Bloomfield, Mich., to win the race in 17:22. Finn, who had led most of the 3.1-mile race on the Balboa Park course, placed second in 17:24.
Sophomore Laura Leff of Syracuse, N.Y. was third in 17:34 and senior Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunkport, Maine, edged Garcia for fourth in 17:36.
"I was happy with my finish - it was a very fast-paced race," Garcia said by phone. "I really had no expectations. I just wanted to go out and run and see what happens."
Garcia said Finn and Seidel separted from the pack early and that she was among five runners who battled for third through seventh positioning the rest of the way.
It was Garcia's second appearance in the Foot Locker championships. She placed 15th as a freshmen in a time of 18 minutes. Garcia did not participate in cross country last season because of illness.
Carroll, running just her fourth race of the season because of a nagging left calf injury, finished in a time of 18:18.
That bettered her 30th place finish and 18:32 time at last year's event, when she competed as a freshman for Granite Bay.
"It's surprising because I've been injured most of the season," Carroll said. "So it was nice to improve on what I did last year.
"Running in the Foot Locker is a great experience," she added. "Hopefully I can qualify all four years of high school."