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Kennedy enjoys life, perks on the run

| Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, 10:28 p.m.

Already considered one of the best 40 prep cross country runners in the country, Kiski Area junior Brent Kennedy couldn't help but view his trip to California for nationals as sort of a vacation.

“After regionals, I was thinking, you're going to the West Coast and the beach,” Kennedy said. “It's a fun time for sure. But I started being more focused on the race as we got closer.”

Always his own harshest critic and never content on merely qualifying, Kennedy was disappointed with his 34th-place finish Saturday in the 34th Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships at San Diego's Morley Field at Balboa Park.

“The race itself didn't pan out the way I had hoped,” said Kennedy, who finished in a time of 16:04.2. “I can't be unhappy because I made it this far, but I am not satisfied.

“The course wasn't anything I couldn't handle. It was just unbelievable competition.”

Still, the benefits of simply qualifying for the country's top high school race could be countless for Kennedy. He said there were numerous Division I coaches in attendance.

Villanova and Syracuse have reportedly taken interest in Kennedy, who won the WPIAL Class AAA title this season and finished second at the PIAA meet.

Senior Kenyan Edward Cheserek of Newark (N.J.) repeated as Foot Locker champion, finishing in 14:57.3.

Kennedy thinks he can learn from watching Cheserek compete.

“I had dinner with (Cheserek), and it was great to talk to him about training and things he does,” Kennedy said. “He's so down to earth. He is quietly confident.”

Three other Pennsylvania runners, Max Norris of Narberth, Brendan Shearn of Frackville and Austin Pondel of Columbus, took 17th, 21st and 32nd, respectively.

Kennedy also competed for the Northeast team, which finished fourth out of four teams.

“The whole even was a lot of fun,” Kennedy said. “I want to do it all again next year.”

Sophomore Anna Rohrer os Mishawaka, Ind., won the girls race in 17:24.8.

Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-224-2696 or bbeckner@tribweb.com.

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