Red Cloud student-athletes qualify for national cross country championships

posted on November 07, 2011

Two student-athletes from Red Cloud High School will join thousands of runners from across the Nation next month after having qualified for the 2011 United States of America Track & Field Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships.

Red Cloud Sophomore Daniel Lucero and Freshman Percival I’atala were among the young competitors from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin, who participated in the USATF Dakotas X-Country Championships Saturday, November 5, 2011 in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Lucero placed 1st with a time of 18:22 as his teammate I’atala came in 5th with a time of 23:26 in the Intermediate Division for the 5K run.

“It was really a great atmosphere with a lot of talented runners from across the mid-west,“ says Lucero, the high school standout who also finished sixth in the South Dakota State “A” Cross Country meet last month.

“After the state tournament, our family, friends and Coach Matt Rama thought it would be something fun for us to try,” says I’atala. “It was a hard meet because it was really windy, so I’m glad we finished! I’ll be finding ways to increase my speed before South Carolina,” says I’Atala. I’atala’s father, Tama chaperoned the boys to the USATF tryouts in Aberdeen.

“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,” says Lucero. “I am going to train as hard as I can for the next three weeks.”

The two will join over 3,000 high school standouts from across the nation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, December 10, 2011, as they represent the Dakotas Region in the Intermediate Category.

Red Cloud Cross Country Coach Matt Rama shared, “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.”

Sanctioned by USATF, the Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships invites young competitors from sixteen various regions in six different age groups every December to compete against one another. This event brings together over 3,000 qualifying competitors each year.

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.