The start for the 11- and 12-year-old girls, with a field of 422, at USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships, Dec. 13, 2014, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (Tina Lount)
Top: Claire Yerby, 12, of Half Moon Bay, and Kyra Pretre, 12, of Woodside before their race. Bottom: Justin Pretre, 9, and Kyra Pretre with the All-American medals for their top-20 finishes. (Tina Lount)
Four runners from the Woodside Wildebeests club had top-40 finishes at the youth national cross-country championships Saturday in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
• Kyra Pretre, age 12, 20th place; 3 kilometers in 10:50
• Landon Pretre, age 7, 28th place; 2 kilometers in 8:11
• Claire Yerby, age 12, 38th place; 3 kilometers in 11:05
Each in the youngest year of their age groups, Justin was the third-fastest 9-year-old and Landon the fifth-fastest 7-year-old.
"I am so impressed with the determination of these kids - they ran hard and focused," Wildebeests coach Tina Lount said. "It takes courage for kids to get on the line with 300 to 400 of the fastest kids their age in the nation and go race. They left it all out on the course and have to be incredibly proud of themselves."
Other standout Peninsula runners at the event were Colton Colonna, 14, of Menlo iGreyhounds (22nd); Sophia Gallo, 10, of Palo Alto Lightning (24th); and Emilio Cardenas, 10, of Peninsula Flyers (32nd). Keyed by the performances of Christopher Pearson (43rd) and Justin Chiao (48th), the Peninsula Flyers' 12-year-old boys finished 11th of 28 in team competition.
More than 3,400 athletes ages 7 to 18 competed in the event, at distances of 2 to 5 kilometers. The largest field was 11- and 12-year-old girls, with 422 competitors.
The runners qualified for nationals through two rounds of Junior Olympic competition at the end of the USATF youth cross-country season.
The Wildebeests fielded 15 cross-country runners this season, with seven advancing to the Region 14 Junior Olympics last month in Folsom and four going on to nationals.