Westport’s Hannah DeBalsi Takes 2nd At National Cross Country Race

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Westport's Hannah DeBalsi, left, a sophomore at Staples, and Darien's Alex Ostberg get ready to run in the Foot Locker cross country national championships. Photo Credit: Contributed by Petter Ostberg

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport’s Hannah DeBalsi, a sophomore at Staples High School, finished second Saturday at the Foot Locker cross country championships in San Diego.

DeBalsi covered the 5K course in 17:26, just 10 seconds behind winner Tessa Barrett of Abington Heights, Pa. The race featured the top 40 girls in the country.

Barrett took the lead early on in the race. DeBalsi, who was fourth with about one mile to go, made a strong charge and tucked right behind the Pennsylvania runner with about 1,000 meters remaining. But Barrett pulled away once again and finished 10 second ahead of DeBalsi at the finish.

“She had a good kick,’’ DeBalsi said. “I went for it, but she just had a better kick.”

Barrett was the Northeast Regional champion. DeBalsi finished third in that race. The Top 10 from four regional races earned the spots to race in San Diego.

“Coming into the season, I want to make Foot Locker,’’ DeBalsi said. “This was the best experience. They really take care of all the runners.”

In the boys race, Darien's Alex Ostberg finished 11th and Fairfield Prep's Christian Alvarado was 20th.

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