Lassen youth perform at Pacific USA championship

The Pacific USA Track and Field cross country championships were held Nov. 20 at the Willow Hills cross country course in Folsom.

Local students Rhys Cooper, 11, and Rocklin Albonico, 7, ran in the competition after their impressive 2016 season of cross country.

The championship was held for the Pacific region, which includes the San Francisco Bay Area, Northern California and Reno.

The course for the championship race had multiple steep hills and muddy areas, making the race more difficult than what met the eye.

Cooper competed in the 11-12 age group. For this age group, the course was a bit more than 3 kilometers. Cooper finished in fifth place with a final time of 11:26.22, only 30 seconds behind the first place winner.

Cooper’s time was fast enough to qualify for the USATF Region 14 championship race. Region 14 includes all of California and Nevada with the exceptions of Orange County, California and Las Vegas.

Albonico competed in the 8-9 age group despite being only 7. The distance for this age group is 2 kilometers. Albonico finished eighth overall with a final time of 8:33.81, only 26 seconds behind the first place winner.

Albonico also qualified for the USATF Region 14 championship race to be held at the same course in Folsom.

Additionally, the USATF national event is the Junior Olympics. The event will be held in Hoover, Alabama, on Dec. 10.