Though the local contingent of runners in Saturday's Foot Locker Cross Country Championships in Balboa Park may not have done quite as well as they had hoped, just to be part of an elite field of the best 40 boys and 40 girls in the country is an honor.

Rancho Bernardo High's Molly Grabill finished ninth, three places better than she fared last year. Grabill, who will be enrolling at the University of Oregon in the fall, completed the 3-1-mile (5,000 meter) course at Morley Field in 17:46 and earns All-American honors as one of the top 15 finishers.

Matt Carpowich, a Torrey Pines High senior who will attend Stanford, was 17th in the boys race at 15:38 t0 earn second-team All-America recognition, and La Costa Canyon junior Darren Fahy placed 30th in 15:51 and has an opportunity to return next year.

The annual event first was run in San Diego in 1979 and has been shifted to Orlando on seven occasions. Lukas Verzbicas of Orland Hills, IL (14:59) became only the third boy to win in back-to-back years, and Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall, NY, improved on her fourth-place finish last year to win the girls race in 16:53.