Annapolis junior Maria Coffin became the first girl from Maryland to qualify for Foot Locker Nationals since 2011 (Hannah Oneda) finishing third at the Northeast Regional at Van Cortlandt Park in New York City with a time of 17:42.
Gaining valuable experience racing earlier in the season with a top 10 finish and fastest time ever by a Maryland girl on the 2.5 mile course run at Van Cortlandt Park for the Manhattan Invite, Coffin had an even better performance on Saturday racing alongside or ahead of some of the runners who finished ahead of her at Manhattan.
Coffin was only a second behind the Manhattan Invite champ and course record setter Jessica Lawson from New York and ahead of New Jersey's best in Brianna Gess (5th, 17:44) and sub 10 minute two miler Hannah Debalsi of Connecticut. Debalsi was a Foot Locker Nationals runner-up two years ago and Gess was an All-American, so Coffin has to go to San Diego with a goal of becoming an All-American herself.
Post-Race Interview with Maria Coffin
Yes it definitely gave me greater confidence. Just like new balance outdoor last year I got the chance to see how I placed nationally. It's awesome that now I get the opportunity to race with not only runners in the region but across the nation.
Rest of Maryland at Foot Locker Northeast Recap:
Next best finisher from Maryland in the race was Oakland Mills junior and 2A state runner-up Brit Lang in a time of 18:42 for 16th place. Lang improved 15 seconds from her 2014 race in the same meet to finish her high school cross country career on a high note.
One of the other strong hopefuls for nationals from Maryland in 2A state champ Hayley Jackson of Patuxent struggled on this day finishing 87th place in a time of 21:00. Jackson had bested Coffin for top time of the day at the Maryland State Cross Country Championships just two weeks ago with a 18:23 performance at Hereford.
Maryland's top finisher in the seeded boys race was the recent 1A state champ Will Merritt of Smithsburg, who turned in a time of 16:34 for 53rd place by the junior. Next finisher from Maryland in the race was 2A state champion Brian Cave of South Carroll in 86th place with a time of 16:59.
Foot Locker Northeast Regional Results:
More race videos, photos, and interviews to come from Foot Locker Northeast!