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Gardner 11th, Dressel 14th at Foot Locker

Two local runners – Mead’s Andrew Gardner and Mt. Spokane’s John Dressel – represented Spokane well at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego.

Gardner, a senior, finished 11th overall and Dressel, a sophomore, took 14th.

Gardner completed the 5-kilometer layout in 15 minutes, 34 seconds.

“I tried to stay with the main group and then tried to move up toward the end, but didn’t do as well as I would have liked,” said Gardner, who finished 10 seconds faster at last year’s meet. “I just need to learn from the experience.”

Over the weekend, Gardner decided he would attend the Air Force Academy next year, something that was weighing on his mind prior to the race.

“When I got a chance to visit with them, I thought it would be a place where I could prosper and do well as a person,” he said.

“I thought it was the right decision for me and a place where I could be really successful.”

Dressel, making his first appearance in the national race, finished in 15:37. He was one of only two sophomores to compete.

“I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be,” he said. “I just felt confident in what I was going to do and I didn’t have the pressure on me.”

Dressel is hoping this experience will help propel him even further in the sport throughout the next couple of years.

“I think it’s just going to help me strive to come to nationals again the next two years,” he said.

“I really want to get in the top five next year but I also want to see if I can win it next year. It’s something to strive for.”

Ed Cheserek of St. Benedict’s Prep School in Newark, N.J., won the event with a time of 14:59. Cheserek became the fourth boy to repeat as champion.