Cross country nationals brought out the best in Kate Wiser once again Saturday as the Pomperaug junior continued to cement her status as one of the top runners in the country.
Wiser finished ninth in the Foot Locker national race at San Diego’s Balboa Park with a time of 17:35.9. The place was good enough to earn All-American status for a second straight season.
“I was very happy,” said Wiser from San Diego Saturday. “The race went out very fast; the first mile was 5:16, which is one of the fastest miles I’ve run in a race. It was definitely quick.”
Much like last year’s race — when Wiser took seventh — she made a charge from the back of the field. Slowly picking off runners as the race went along, Wiser found her way to the front once more.
“That wasn’t what I wanted (this time),” Wiser said. “I didn’t have a good start. .. (To be named All-American) is amazing. It definitely the goal and what I was working for this season.”
Much like Wiser, Conard’s Gavin Sherry was aiming for a top-10 finish, but the sophomore snagged 14th in the boys event Saturday. Sherry ran a 15:36.8 while Manchester’s Aidan Puffer, another sophomore, finished in 21st (15:45.4).
Sherry conceded that nerves got the best of him out of the gate, a feeling that impacted his performance.
“It was kind of strange,” Sherry said. “Even the second we went out, I didn’t feel good. It might have been nerves, I hadn’t had a lot of nerves so far this year.”
Midway through the race Sherry was next to a familiar face he’s been competing with for multiple seasons in Puffer. The pair separated late on.
“Aidan and I have been racing for a long time,” Sherry said. “He’s a great competitor and even friend. He’s pushed me in both track last year and cross country this year. It’s been awesome racing with him.”