The Menlo School girls soccer team will have to wait a little longer for senior Lizzie Lacy to join the team this season.
Lacy kept herself out of that winter sport for another week after she took third among 143 seeded girls at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships West Regional in Walnut on Saturday.
Menlo's Robert Miranda, meanwhile, was fifth (17:10.4) among 207 freshmen boys and Gunn junior Gillian Meeks was 14th (18:58.1) among the seeded girls.
By finishing among the top 10, Lacy is headed to the national championships this Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego.
Lacy finished Saturday's 5K run (3.1 miles) in 18:03.4 at Mount San Antonio College in Los Angeles County -- trailing only Makena Morley of Montana (17:33.5) and CIF Division IV state champ Caroline Pietrzyk of Malibu (18:01.6). The Foot Locker Cross Country Championships began in 1978, then known as Kinney, to bring together the best cross-country runners of each state.
According to school records, Lacy is the first Menlo athlete to advance to the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships. Lacy, who took third in Division IV at the state meet on Nov. 29, said she went in with a clear strategy.
"I felt so great throughout the whole race, and I'm so happy with how well I followed my strategy and how well it worked out for me in the end," Lacy said. "After starting much too quickly in the state race last weekend, I really focused on not starting out too fast, and focused on staying with Caroline. I knew that she would run a smart race because Mt. SAC is her home course."
That is was Lacy's first time racing on the course didn't faze her.
"I ran the first mile exactly as I had wanted to, and once I found Caroline I stayed with her throughout the race as we kept passing people until the end," Lacy said. "I am incredibly happy not only with my third-place finish, but for my ability to follow my strategy as well as I had . . . I felt great throughout the entire race, never becoming overly tired."
Lacy surpassed her own school record with her 18:00 time at the state meet. Now, she's proven to be one of the best among the top runners in the Western Region's 12 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming), as well as US. territories.
"I'm just really excited for Nationals and receiving this incredible opportunity to spend a few days with many exceptional athletes and some really great people as well."
Miranda's season, meanwhile, ended with his fifth place in the freshman race on a grand stage, capping a phenomenal start to his high school career.
Meeks missed a trip to the national meet by four spots, despite running fast enough to win the Senior and Junior races.
Palo Alto's Kent Slaney, meanwhile, was 23rd out of 367 runners in the Sophomore boys race with a 17:24.6 clocking.