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Sea Kings duo ready for meet

CROSS COUNTRY: CdM's Cummings and Buckley will compete in prestigious Foot Locker championships today.

December 09, 2006|By Matt Szabo

Corona del Mar High senior Sarah Cummings and junior Shelby Buckley have seemingly done it all this year.

The Sea Kings duo helped Corona del Mar High win its third consecutive CIF Southern Section Division III title, before defending their CIF State title in Fresno on Nov. 25.

Today, at Balboa Park in San Diego, they're going national.

By finishing in the top 10 individually at the Nike Team Nationals last weekend in Portland, Ore., Buckley and Cummings qualified for today's 28th annual Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships.

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The event combines the top 10 runners from each of four regions — West, South, Northeast and Midwest. CdM Coach Bill Sumner, who has been coach for 24 years, said he couldn't remember another school having two runners at the prestigious event.

"It means so much," said Cummings, the Princeton-bound senior who finished first individually at the CIF State Championships in Division III with her time of 17 minutes, 58 seconds. "I've had a great season, and this is a great way to finish off my high school cross country career. I can't believe I'm here with so many other great runners. It means a lot to me."

Buckley finished second at the CIF State Championships with her time of 18:18.

Last weekend in Portland, Cummings was eighth (19:39) on the muddy 5K course, while Buckley placed 10th (19:51).

CdM placed sixth as a team in Portland.

Sumner said he was especially proud of Buckley, who finished a disappointing 14th at the CIF Southern Section Division III finals on Nov. 18, a day which she was sick.

Buckley was as far back as 25th in the race at one point.

"Most of the credit for me having two athletes at Foot Locker goes to Shelby Buckley," Sumner said. "She had such a bad experience at the CIF finals, but she knows she contributed to it. She lost her focus.

"Now, she's so focused and she knows what she can do. Her target is her teammate, Sarah. Every race now, she's trying to stay as close to Sarah Cummings as she can. It started with that race, that bad experience. She never had to be at 25th, and she knows that now."

Last year, Annie St. Geme, now at Stanford, finished in 13th place for CdM at the Foot Locker National Championships.

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