---- — SAN DIEGO — Phillips Academy junior Anoush Shehadeh of Larchmont, N.Y., overcame a nasty early spill to place fourth at the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships yesterday.
The Big Blue great was clocked in 17:35 over the 5K Balboa Park course. Tessa Barrett of Waverly, Pa., won in 17:16.
“I’m so happy,” said Shehadeh. “I came here last year and due to outside circumstances, I didn’t finish. My goal was to finish.”
She obviously did much, much more than just finish with the stellar effort in one of the country’s two biggest high school cross country meets. The other is the Nike Meet, which was last Saturday in Oregon.
“I started out last or second to last,” explained Shehadeh, who placed second to Barrett by five seconds at the Northeast Regionals. “I completely face-planted within the first 400 or 500 meters and said, ‘No way!’
“Last year wasn’t my race. This year was. I tried to use my strength, gradually picking off people.”
A gutty final kick moved her up to fourth.
“It’s definitely a dream come true,” she said.
Junior Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc, Mich., won the boys race in 15:07.