Eureka’s Long heads to San Diego for national cross country race
By: Warren Mayes
Eureka sophomore Hannah Long will compete with 39 other top girls in the Foot Locker Nationals.
Long departed St. Louis on Thursday (Dec. 6) for San Diego. The 5K race will be Saturday (Dec. 8) at Balboa Park.
Long was one of the top 10 finishers in the girls Foot Locker Midwest Region Championships at Wayne E. Dannehl Cross Country Course last month in Kenosha, Wis.
“I placed 11th last year in the regional so I didn’t get to go to San Diego,” Long said. “I’m really excited about it this time.”
In the regional race last month, Long competed against other high school runners from Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. She finished seventh in 17 minutes, 33 seconds. Her pace per mile was 5:39.
Long said she was happy with her time. It was a big improvement over last year’s time of 17:47.
“That’s a big difference in time,” Long said. “I’m really happy about that.”
The course in San Diego is a demanding one, Long said. She is up for the challenge.
“From what I’ve heard, there’s a really big hill on the course,” Long said. “I think there’s two loops around the course in the race. It’s going to be fun.”
Long knows what she wants to do in the race.
“I want to try to run a relaxed race and not get out too fast,” Long said. “The rest of the race, I will give it all I’ve got and see how I place I guess. I’d like to do well.”
Long has done well all fall.
After winning her Class 4 district and sectional events, Long went to state. She finished second last year as a freshman.
This time, she topped that result. At the recent state meet in Jefferson City, Long won the Class 4 individual title in 18:06.91.
She followed that up with the top 10 finish at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional.
All this success means Long has shown she is one the best high school runners in the nation.
“I think this validates for me that I’m a top runner,” Long said.
Now she will test herself against the best from around the nation.
She has been to San Diego before.
“I actaully been there before but this time it will be business,” Long said.