Katie Knight capped a spectacular junior season by finishing third Saturday in the eighth Nike Cross Nationals at Portland Meadows.
The North Central junior, who won the State 3A championship in November, ran the 5,000-meter course in 17 minutes, 45 seconds. Knight was 7 seconds behind meet winner Sarah Baxter of Simi Valley, Calif.
The Nike Cross Nationals is considered the national championship race for high school teams and individuals.
Knight, who finished eighth at Cross Nationals as a sophomore, had a slight lead midway through the race and dueled with Baxter until the final 500 meters.
“You hope to get higher and higher every year, so I’d call it a job well done,” Knight said.
Knight finished two places ahead of Amy-Eloise Neale of Glacier Peak High in Snohomish, Wash., who beat her at the Cross Nationals regional qualifier in Boise three weeks ago. No Spokane girls teams qualified for Cross Nationals.
In the boys race, North Spokane XC Club (North Central) placed seventh among 22 teams. Led by Taylor Wilmot, North Spokane scored 257 points. The boys team champion was Lincroft of New Jersey with 91 points.
Last year, North Spokane finished sixth at Cross Nationals.
Wilmot finished 49th overall, running the 5,000-meter course in 16:01. Wilmot was 58 seconds behind meet champion Futsum Zeinasellassie of Indianapolis.
Rounding out North Spokane’s scoring runners were Keith Williams (79th), Austen Frostad (94th), Samuel Holland (101st) and Nikolaus Taylor (130th). A total of 199 boys qualified for nationals.
An NC boys team finished second in the open race led by the 12-13 finish of Andrew Vandine and Cale Lester. Deer Park was fifth.
Foot Locker regional
Nathan Weitz of Shadle Park finished second and Andrew Gardner of Mead fourth at the Foot Locker West Regional at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif., to qualify for the national championships.
Weitz finished the 5,000-meter race in 15:30, just a second behind winner Darren Fahy of Carlsbad, Calif. Andrew Gardner finished in 15:41, just behind the third-place winner with the same time.
Weitz and Gardner will race Saturday in San Diego for the national title.
The top area girls finisher was Kendra Weitz, sister of Nathan, who was 13th in 18:44. The top 10 finishers advance to the national race. Karlie Garcia of Roseville, Calif., was the winner in 17:46.