Brickell hoping for strong finish at nationals

For the last month, Josh Brickell was focused on qualifying for the Foot Locker Cross Country national championship.

When the Peachtree Ridge runner finally reached his goal two weeks ago, it took a few minutes to realize what he had just accomplished.

With that goal crossed off, Brickell now has his sights set on another accomplishment. The junior will run in the 40-man race in San Diego on Saturday with hopes of putting an exclamation mark on an already standout season.

"I definitely had to really re-evaluate my goals," Brickell said. "I was so focused on just regionals, but now I'd like to get top 15 and make All-American. But I guess my my main goal is top 10."

It may seem like lofty expectations, but there's not much else for Brickell to accomplish. He's already a two-time state champion in cross country. The Daily Post's Runner of the Year finished fourth at the regional meet in Charlotte on Nov. 26. He set a personal record of 14 minutes, 41 seconds. Brickell made a late charge after the two-mile mark to catch the lead pack. He finished just four seconds behind the race winner.

"I figured I had to make a move, but it was a little too late," Brickell said.

Brickell will try to continue the state's recent success at the national meet. Grayson's Kirubel Erassa qualified for nationals in 2009 and Berkmar's Girma Mecheso went in 2006. Both finished in eighth place, which is the highest finish ever by a Georgia runner.

The berth in the national meet is one of the major highlights in Brickell's already decorated career. He also holds state titles in the mile and two-mile in track and field.

"It's an extremely big accomplishment," Brickell said. "It definitely ranks up there."

A strong finish at nationals this weekend could exceed them all.