Glenbard West's Hart second at nationals
It takes guts to lead from the start against 40 of the nation's fastest girls runners.
Glenbard West junior Katelynne Hart's strategy was rewarded with her second straight runner-up finish at the 40th Foot Locker Cross Country National Finals on Saturday in San Diego.
"I was so excited about today," said Hart, the three-time Illinois Class 3A champion with four other state track titles to her credit.
It was particularly exciting after a bout of nerves left Hart disappointed by a 16th-place finish a week ago at the Nike Cross Nationals.
"I definitely think I put a lot of pressure on myself" at Nike, she said.
On Saturday she pressured the rest of the field, which included Naperville North's Alex Morris, seventh at Nike.
Hart led at each half-mile increment until Sydney Masciarelli of Northbridge, Massachusetts, pulled even at the 3-mile mark.
The two jostled for the lead until Masciarelli "pulled away in the last 10 meters," Hart said. Masciarelli ran the 5,000 meters in 17 minutes, 0.3 seconds with Hart in at 17:01.
"Today I went in with an open mind and I just wanted to run happy and compete with the best," Hart said. "I think that open mind just really helped me do well today."
Morris, a senior, finished in 15th place to earn All-America status.
"Both weeks have been a really amazing experience," Morris said.
Prospect's Josh Methner finished in sixth place in the boys race. York's Ethan Kern finished 35th.