Two weeks after putting on the performance of his career in winning the Virginia AAA championship, Chantilly senior Brad Siragusa reached new heights at the Foot Locker South Regional race at McAlpine Park in Charlotte. Siragusa captured sixth-place in a personal-best 5-kilometer time and clinched a berth in the Dec. 10 Foot Locker National race in San Diego.
Staying in the top 15 for most of the race, Siragusa made a final surge -- as he usually does -- to secure sixth place. The top 10 qualified for nationals at San Diego's Balboa Park. Siragusa is the first Washington area boy to qualify for San Diego since Handley's Bobby Lockhart and Georgetown Day's Ben Stern advanced in 2001.
"I really had no idea what to expect," Siragusa said. "I thought I could put myself in good position to do well."
Siragusa was on the cusp of qualifying positions as he reached the final stretch yesterday, a lap around a lake.
"I was basically going back and forth between 10th and 11th place with another guy," Siragusa said. "On the final lap, the last thing I wanted was to finish 11th. I was just trying to make sure that didn't happen."
Atholton's Smith: Area Best
At the Northeast Regional, Atholton's Alison Smith could barely stop smiling when she made it to the awards podium. She got everything she wanted out of her race.
"I really came in here with no expectations," the junior All-Met said. "It was a no-pressure race for me. I'm really happy with the way I ran."
Smith ran aggressively from the start and held her position most of the way through. She finished in an area-best 18 minutes 28.8 seconds, good for 16th overall at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y. Nicole Blood of Gansevoort, N.Y., won the girls' race in 17:42.
Georgetown Prep senior Steven Duplinsky, a two-time All-Met considered Maryland's best chance at a national qualifier this year, did not run because of a cough and cold that kept him from practicing for the past four days.
Duplinsky, who won every race he competed in this season -- including a junior division championship in September at the World Triathlon Championships in Japan -- said he decided not to run after a failed attempt at a short practice run Friday.
"It's really frustrating because this was the one race I had been focusing on, and then I don't even get to run in it," Duplinsky said.
Matt Centrowitz of Broadneck was the area's highest boys' finisher. He placed 41st in 16:15.0. Centrowitz was eighth at the mile mark but faded in the later stages. Arizona State-bound Mikias Gelagle of Eleanor Roosevelt finished 63rd in 16:27.5; Ayalew Taye of Portland, Maine, won in 15:21.
Smith said yesterday's race would be the last time she ran as a member of the Atholton cross-country and track team. She said she plans to compete only for a club team recently started by former Atholton coach Brian Funk -- now at Wootton High.
"Things weren't going the way I wanted them to go with the team," Smith said. "It was a very tough decision for me."
Flynn reported from Washington; Hunt from New York.