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Brickell seeks top five at Foot Locker nationals

Josh Brickell has a chance to cement his claim as one of the state's top all-time runners.

The Peachtree Ridge cross country runner will compete in the 34th annual Foot Locker National Championships on Saturday in San Diego.

No Georgia runner has ever finished in the top five, a goal Brickell has in mind.

"I want to be able to finish top 10 again," Brickell said. "The main thing is top five. I would be really happy with that."

Brickell, a three-time cross country state champion and Daily Post Runner of the Year, qualified for nationals last season. He's the third Georgia runner to qualify for Foot Locker nationals twice. The senior posted a time of 14 minutes, 41 seconds to finish eighth, trying Grayson's Kirubel Erassa in 2009 as the best finish by a Georgia runner.

"His biggest goal is to improve upon what he did last year," Peachtree Ridge coach Ron Clanton said.

Brickell finished fourth at regionals last year and took second two weeks ago with a time of 14:49 to qualify for Saturday's race at Balboa Park. The 5K race will feature the nation's top 40 runners from four different regions.

New Jersey's Edward Cheserek is the defending national champion.

Brickell is one of the state's most decorated runners with three cross country championships and three state titles in track.

"This is my last cross country race. I've kind of gotten used to that," Brickell said. "It was my last time running at state, last time putting on a Peachtree Ridge uniform. I guess it is kind of sad, but it's a long season. So it's nice to get a break."