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State 4A champion Katie Thronson of Lewis and Clark will compete Saturday at the Foot Locker West Regional. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Top high school runners will compete in Foot Locker West Regional

Today is a big day for high school runners from the Spokane area, as the region’s top cross country athletes will be competing in the Foot Locker West Regional Cross Country Championships at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, racing against their counterparts from 11 other Western states, as well as U.S. citizens in overseas military installations.

The Spokane contingent at the West Regional meet – one of four Foot Locker competitions held across the country – is led by Wil Smith and Katie Thronson, both of Lewis and Clark.

Smith finished sixth in the boys State 4A cross country championships on Nov. 4, while Thronson – who has committed to Tennessee to continue her career – was the girls State 4A champion.

The Bloomsday contingent also includes Ben and Lizzy Shaw of Riverside, who finished second and third in their respective divisions in 1A.

The top 10 male and female runners at the West Regional will advance to the Foot Locker Cross Country Nationals at Balboa Park in San Diego on Dec. 9, joining top qualifiers from the Northeast, South and Midwest.

Last year, Thronson qualified for the meet, becoming the 27th Spokane-area runner to qualify for the Foot Locker National Meet since its inception in 1979. Thronson finished 33rd in the field of 40 national competitors.

“The Spokane area has a long and storied history of distance running as evidenced every year by the success of local runners who compete at the high school level,” Bloomsday race director Don Kardong said via press release. “Bloomsday is proud to recognize their achievements by sponsoring this trip to Foot Locker, where Spokane’s finest high school runners can test their mettle against the best from the West.”

This is the 25th year Bloomsday has sponsored the trip.