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Red Cloud Athletes Qualify for National Cross-Country Meet

Two Native American youth have qualified to take part at the 2011 United States of America Track & Field Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships next month.
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Two Red Cloud High School athletes will join more than 3,000 other competitors in South Carolina on December 10 at the 2011 United States of America Track & Field Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships.

To qualify for the national competition, sophomore Daniel Lucero and freshman Percival I’atala came in first and fifth respectively at the USATF Dakotas X-Country Championships held November 5 in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

“Now that we are heading to nationals, I know that we will be going up against some of the fiercest competition in the United States, but it is these kinds of meets that push me to do better,” Lucero said. “I am going to train as hard as I can.”

Lucero finished the Intermediate Division 5K run with a time of 18:22 and I’atala finished with a time of 23:26.

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“It was a hard meet because it was really windy, so I’m glad we finished,” I’atala said. “I’ll be finding ways to increase my speed before South Carolina.”

They will be representing the Dakotas Region in the Intermediate Category, which includes youth born from 1995-1996.

Their coach at Red Cloud, Matt Rama, couldn’t be prouder of them. “It’s a tribute for these young runners to receive an opportunity like this, they worked hard all season long. I am proud of their dedication not only to Red Cloud, but to running and the spirit of the sport.”

The Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships brings together youth from 16 regions to compete in six different age groups.