Course for Western cross country championship changes on account of rain

Francis places 30th, Krehlik ninth and Bursell 18th

Posted: Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Foot Locker Western Regional Cross Country Championships, held Saturday at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., were disappointing for Juneau-Douglas High School sophomore Leah Francis.

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Ranked sixth going into the race, Francis said she was not happy after Saturday's 5K run, when she placed 30th overall.

"I didn't really race it," Francis said.

According to John Bursell, chaperone and coach for the event, there were a number of hurdles for Francis and her teammates, senior Katie Krehlik and freshman Zack Bursell.

"There was a huge rainstorm yesterday," Bursell said. "There was so much rain that the whole course, which is normally held on dirt trails, turned to mud. It was a huge mud bath."

"It was so slippery, there were some hills you couldn't even run up. You could barely walk up them," Bursell said.

For safety reasons the course was changed.

"It was really flat, and I like running hills," Francis said. "It was on pavement. And there was a sharp corner too that we had to go around twice."

"We were all prepared for a hilly cross-country course," Bursell said.

The course change was a big surprise for everyone.

Krehlik placed ninth in the senior race, and Bursell placed 18th in the freshman race.

The top 10 boys and 10 girls from the West regional will compete against runners from the Midwest, South and Northeast regional meets in the 29th annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championships National Finals on Saturday in San Diego, Calif.

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