Glusac, Das Neves Win National Meet Berths
Milena Glusac of Fallbrook High will try to become only the fourth junior girl to win the Kinney National High School Cross-Country championships at Balboa Park’s Morley Field next Sunday.
She earned that right at Saturday’s Western Regionals in Fresno by pacing the field and completing the 5,000-meter Woodward Park course in 17:11.
Also next Sunday, Helix’s Daniel Das Neves will try to become the first junior boy to win the Kinney National.
He placed sixth at the regionals in the most hotly contested boys race in the race’s 13-year history. The top nine finishers finished within 11 seconds of one another. Das Neves’ 15:11 was good for sixth place.
Margarito Casillas, a junior from Glendale Hoover High, edged out the pack and finished first in 15:02.
Unfortunately for San Pasqual’s Nazario Romero, the final runner in that lead pack of nine to cross the finish line, only the top eight finishers advance.
Romero missed by a second, coming in at 15:13.
Glusac covered the first mile in 5 minutes, 12 seconds, a breezy time considering the 51-degree temperature and the steady rain that fell throughout the race.
She shaved 14 seconds off her time in the same race a year ago. In addition, she was only four seconds off the record set by Oregon’s Marnie Mason in 1984 and equaled last year by Deena Drossin.
A race official said Glusac easily could have bettered the record, but appeared to be holding back in an attempt to save some energy for next week’s race. As it was, Glusac finished 70 yards ahead of second-place Heidi Van Borkulo (17:23), a senior from Seattle.
“I went out fast this year compared to last year,” Glusac said. “And I was better able to maintain my pace. My goal was to win.”
The only other finisher in the girls’ race from the San Diego Section was Mt. Carmel’s Susan Scott, who placed 16th at 18:27.
In the boys’ race, San Pasqual’s Brian Keim also placed 16th at 15:34.
Das Neves said he wasn’t running to win.
“My goal today was to qualify for the Kinney Nationals,” said Das Neves, who has two distinct advantages.
One, he is a 19-year-old exchange student from Brazil, and two, he trains daily with world-class distance runners Joaquim Cruz and Jose Luis Barbosa under the eye of Coach Luis de Oliveira, considered among the top distance coaches in the world.
Romero still might have hope to back into the national meet. If one of the top eight finishers cannot make it and drops out, Romero would become the first alternate. In fact, if that were to happen, it would be the second time that a San Pasqual runner has so entered the race. Francis O’Neill took that route in 1987.