Better and Better

by Marc Narducci | Dec 13, 2023
Better and Better
 Liliah Gordon was hoping for a better result, but she reveled in competing against some of the best high school cross country performers in the country.

A junior from Northern Burlington High, Gordon’s cross county season concluded on Saturday (Dec. 9) while competing in the 44th annual Foot Locker Cross County Championships National Finals at San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Gordon finished 33rd out of 40 competitors in a time of 18:49.8. The winner was sophomore Elizabeth Leachman of Boerne Champion High School in Boerne, Texas in a time of 16:50.7.

“The race wasn’t exactly what I expected but the experience itself was amazing,” Gordon said in a phone interview. “It was awesome being surrounded by so many talented girls.”

Just earning a trip to San Diego was quite a feat. 

There were four regional championships held and the top 10 finishers in each region earned a berth in the national championships. 

Gordon placed seventh in a time of 17:51 during the Northeast Regional competition which took place on Nov. 25 in Boston. 

“This was my first year making it to San Diego and some of the girls have been there three times,” Gordon said. “I didn’t really know what to expect and next year if I can make it through again, I hope I can do better.”

This ended yet another outstanding cross country season for Gordon. She won her second straight sectional and state titles. As the NJSIAA Group 3 state champion, she won in a time of 18:14, winning by a comfortable 13 seconds.

Gordon then finished fifth in the NJ Meet of Champions in a time of 18:19.

After that she prepared for the Foot Locker regionals and then the national championships.

Gordon admits that she felt extra pressure heading into the regional competition in Boston.

“Definitely, because it’s been a goal of mine since my freshman year (to qualify for the championships),” she said. “My freshman year I didn’t have a good day and my sophomore year, it was closer, but this year I upped my game. I was nervous going in, but I knew I could do it if I stayed focused.”

Getting to San Diego was yet another goal that Gordon met during her exemplary junior cross country season. 

As she prepares for winter track, Gordon can take pride in all she accomplished this cross country season.

“Winning the states and sectional for the second year in a row was great,” she said. “Now I will have more goals to set for next year.”

And one of those goals will be a return trip to San Diego. 

Photo Courtesy:PhotoRun.net for Foot Locker Cross Country

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Author: Marc Narducci

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