Claire Graves, above, talks after the 2013 Foot Locker West race
Citrus Valley sophomore Claire Graves still has one more race in her high school cross country season.
After finishing seventh at last Saturday’s Foot Locker West Regional at Mt. San Antonio College, Graves advanced to this Saturday’s Foot Locker National Championships at San Diego’s Balboa Park.
Last year, on a sloppy, wet day, she finished 21st at the West Regional, while this year, she finished the five kilometer course in seventh place. The top 10 advance.
“I wasn’t prepared to run in mud,” said of last year’s race. “My shoes weren’t proper for that.”
This year, with the weather more favorable, she focused on finishing in the top 10, rather than a time.
“I wasn’t worried about my time. Usually, I’m a front-runner, but I didn’t want to go out super-fast,” she said.
But, last week was on a course with which she was very familiar. This one will be new.
“I have friends who have run that course,” she said. “It’s fairly flat. I’m not too worried. I’m hoping to come in the top 15 and end the season on a good note.”
Other top county runners ran at Foot Locker West, including Sultana’s Stefani Gaskell, who was 22nd (19:12.4),
The Nike Nationals were also run last week, in Portland, Ore. and Big Bear’s Caleb Webb was third in 15:21, while Jurupa Hills was 10th, led by Devon Reed, who was 31st overall (15:54).