SAN DIEGO – Zach Perrin, a senior at Kalispell Flathead, earned All-American honors Saturday at the 34th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships at Balboa Park.
Perrin, who is being courted by a handful of college running programs, finished 10th in a field of 40 runners with a time of 15:32 on the 5,000-meter course.
“It was a good day, super-fun for sure,” Perrin said. “The goal was top 15 because that’s All-American, so I was pretty excited. I gave it all I had.”
Kalispell Glacier senior Troy Fraley finished 18th in 15:42. He missed earning All-American status by two seconds.
“I wasn’t particularly pleased but I’m not super bummed out about it,” said Fraley, who placed second in regionals on Dec. 1, six spots ahead of Perrin.
Bigfork sophomore Makena Morley took 24th in a field of 40 girls in 18:12. Missoula Hellgate senior Paige Gilchrist was 29th in 18:23.
“I was a little disappointed because last year, getting ninth, and going back and getting 24th,” Morley said. “I was just really tired and I think the pressure got to me a little bit. Luckily I’ve got two more chances at this.”
Gilchrist also felt she didn’t have her best day, but was honored to be racing against the top competition in the country.
“It was a pretty phenomenal experience,” she said. “Going into this cross-country season I truly didn’t expect to be where I am right now. I’m super excited that I ended up qualifying for Nike, qualifying at regionals to reach the Foot Locker nationals. It wasn’t my favorite finish of the year, but I can still say that I raced against 40 of the other best runners in the country. It was humbling, but I’m pretty proud of that.”
Ed Cheserek of Newark, N.J., took top honors in the boys’ race in 14:59. Anna Rohrer of Mishawaka, Ind., won the girls’ race in 17:25.