Brickell places eighth at Foot Locker nationals

Photo: Victah Sailer 2011 FootLocker Cross Country Finals Balboa Park, San Diego, Ca   December 10, 2011

Photo: Victah Sailer 2011 FootLocker Cross Country Finals Balboa Park, San Diego, Ca December 10, 2011

Josh Brickell's already decorated running career picked up another accolade on Saturday.

The Peachtree Ridge runner placed eighth at the Foot Locker Cross County National Championships in San Diego. The top 15 finish earned Brickell All-American honors and ties the best finish ever by a Georgia runner.

"I wanted to finish in the top 15 as an All-American, so I guess getting in the top 10 was just icing on the cake," Brickell said by phone Saturday afternoon.

Brickell was the Daily Post's cross country runner of the year this season after winning his second Class AAAAA state championship. The junior qualified for Foot Locker nationals for the first time by placing fourth at the South regional meet two weeks ago. He set a personal record of 14 minutes, 41 seconds.

Brickell had another impressive time on Saturday at the national meet at Balboa Park with a time of 15:25. Edward Cheserek from Newark, N.J., won the 40-man race with a time of 14:52.

Molly Seidel from Hartalnd, Wisc., won the girls race with a time of 17:22. Grace Tinkey from First Presbyterian Day in Macon was the top finisher from Georgia with a sixth place finish and a time of 17:37.

Brickell began the race with a slow start. After the first mile, he was near the back of the pack.

"People went out really hard. I didn't know what to expect," Brickell said.

Brickell quickly moved his way to the front of the race. With 1,000 meters left he was in the top five after going down a big hill. He finished in a pack of seven runners to take eighth. Brickell was just four seconds behind the third-place finisher.

Brickell's eighth-place finish at the meet ties the best finish by a Georgia runner. Since the race began in 1978, only Berkmar's Girma Mecheso in 2006 and Grayson's Kirubel Erassa in 2008 have placed as high.

"It's impressive and I'm very happy to be in the same group with them," Brickell said. "They are doing well in college. As a junior it encourages me for the future."