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Westport's DeBalsi Earns All-American Honors At National Cross Country Race

Westport's Hannah DeBalsi, No. 14, runs with a pack of girls at Saturday's Foot Locker cross country national championships in San Diego.
Westport's Hannah DeBalsi, No. 14, runs with a pack of girls at Saturday's Foot Locker cross country national championships in San Diego. Photo Credit: Photorun.net

WESTPORT, Conn. -- Staples High School senior Hannah DeBalsi concluded her scholastic cross country career Saturday, Dec. 12, with an All-American finish at the Foot Locker finals in San Diego.

DeBalsi finished 12th among the country’s 40 best runners. She finished in 17:49.8 in her third trip to Foot Locker. The top 15 runners earn All-American honors. Weini Kelanti of Virginia won the race in 17:09.7.

“I’m a bit disappointed,’’ DeBalsi said. “I wanted to get a little higher. I didn’t feel good from the start, but I’m happy I pushed through it.”

DeBalsi said she felt under the weather all week. The Stanford-bound runner finished third among the 10 girls from the Northeast Region who qualified for nationals. DeBalsi finished fifth in the Northeast qualifying race.

DeBalsi, the State Open champion, burst on to the scene as a freshman at Staples and has been among the nation’s top runners ever since. She entered high school with little running experience, and played softball up until she blossomed as one the nation’s elite runners.

“When I first started I didn’t even know what Foot Locker was,’’ DeBalsi said. “It has been a great experience. I’m beyond excited to get Stanford and get going with them.”

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