Courtesy By: Altoonamirror.com
Seymour, the PIAA Class AA champion both as a sophomore and senior and silver medalist as a junior, placed ninth for the second straight year in the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships at Morley Field in Balboa Park.
Seymour, one of 38 runners participating at the highest level in the nation, finished with a time of 17 minutes, 48 seconds on the 3.1-mile course. She earned second-team all-American status.
“I was hoping for a higher finish,’’ Seymour said, “but I ran about 20 seconds faster than I did last year. With the competition being as good as it was, I was pleased in that regard.’’
Junior Ashley Brasovan from West Palm Beach, Fla., won the race with a time of 17:20. Past champions Kathy Kroeger of Franklin, Tenn., and Jordan Hasay of Arroyo Grande, Calif., both juniors, finished second and third, respectively, at 17:28 and 17:31.
Shippensburg’s Neely Spence, who won the Northeast Regional in the Bronx, N.Y., two weeks ago, finished fourth in 17:35. Seymour qualified for nationals by placing fourth at the Northeast Regional.
Other top 10 finishers were Claire Durkin of Columbus, Ohio, in fifth (17:44), Emily Lipari of Greenvale, N.Y., in sixth (17:46), Aurora Scott of Portsmouth, Va., in seventh (17:46), Katie Flood of Des Moines, Iowa, in eighth (17:47) and Kauren Tarver of Wrightwood, Calif., in 10th (17:53).
“Being here last year helped me a lot,’’ Seymour said. “There were a lot of talented runners. You have to run a smart race because if you do something wrong, it will cost you.’’
Seymour, who ran out in front in most of her high school races, stayed back in the pack Saturday while Hasay set a fast pace for two-thirds of the race. Brasovan eventually caught Hasay and won by eight seconds.
“I was pretty far back at the start,’’ Seymour said. “I got pushed back, but I relaxed. At about the two-mile mark, I had moved up to 13th, and then I kept moving up from there.’’
“Based on what we had communicated, we thought it was best to not go out too fast,’’ Central Cambria coach Randy Wilson said. “In New York, we thought she went out too fast. She stayed with the pack for a little bit [Saturday], and there were a lot of college coaches there who were impressed with how she worked her way through the field. She ran a great race.’’
Wilson said Seymour’s time was even more impressive considering the course was muddy.
“Carly runs a grueling schedule,’’ Wilson said. “She ran a record-breaking time (17:07) in October - two months ago. Some of the kids here run five races all season, and they gear their whole season for this race. Carly is part of a team and runs dual meets, invitationals, district meets. To come in ninth against this competition is a testament to her work ethic. Coming up the last hill she looked to be out of gas, but she just blasted the rest of the way.’’
Seymour arrived in San Diego on Thursday with her family, which includes Central Cambria runners Kelsey and Kendall, and Wilson. Foot Locker had several activities for the runners, including a motivational speech from U.S. Olympic Men’s Marathon Trials champion Ryan Hall.
The event completed Seymour’s decorated scholastic cross country career, which also included a PIAA Class AA team title for Central Cambria.
“Cross country defined me as a person,’’ Seymour said. “Growing up, I always wanted to make a difference, and I think cross country was my calling. It really defined who I am and my purpose in life. It was all I could ask for. I’ve had so much success, and I feel very lucky.’’
Seymour set a standard that will be hard to match, not only at Central Cambria but the entire region.
“She showed other people that if you don’t have big dreams you’re not going to accomplish a whole lot,’’ Wilson said. “She showed the team, the community, the school that it can be you, but you have to put in the effort - not just every day but how you eat and sleep. She epitomized that.’’