Garcia kicks to Foot Locker West Regional victory
There was no catching Karlie Garcia on Saturday.
The Oakmont High School junior took charge about two miles into the 33rd annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships West Regional and won by nine seconds.
Garcia was timed in 17 minutes, 46 seconds over the 5K course at Mt. San Antonio College one week after losing her lead in the stretch and finishing second by one second in the Division III race at the CIF Cross Country Championships in Fresno.
Oakmont coach Ryan Nugent said Garcia overcame being “buried off the line” and caught the early leaders by the half-mile mark. Garcia led halfway into the race and extended her lead on the last two hills and into the stadium. Kelsey Braithwaite of Perry, Utah, was second in 17:55.
“After getting kicked down at state the weekend before, we worked a lot on her finishing kick,” Nugent said of Garcia. “While she wasn’t seriously challenged in the last 400 meters, her kick was solid, and I hope will be even better in San Diego.”
The top 10 finishers, including eighth-place Clare Carroll of Vista del Lago in 18:33, qualified for the National Finals on Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego. Garcia finished 15th in the National Finals in 2009, her freshman year.
Darren Fahy of La Costa Canyon won the boys race in 15:29. Trent Brendel of Granite Bay finished 61st in 16:47, and Hunter Tyler of Woodcreek was 107th in 17:12.
In other races, Marisa Carino of Oakmont placed third in the frosh-soph girls 5K in 19:34, and Katie Mersereau of Granite Bay was 19th in 20:42. Roseville resident Neilson Powless finished 11th in the frosh-soph boys 5K in 17:12.