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La Jolla High’s Chiara Dailey earns third-team All-American honors with finish in cross country nationals

La Jolla High freshman Chiara Dailey (right) runs in the cross country national championships at San Diego's Balboa Park.
La Jolla High School freshman Chiara Dailey (right) runs in the cross country national championships Dec. 10 in San Diego’s Balboa Park.
(Tom Stuart)
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La Jolla High School’s Chiara Dailey, the only freshman in the girls field in the 43rd Champs National Cross Country Championships on Dec. 10, earned third team All-American honors when she moved up late in the race to finish 14th.

The 14-year-old freshman, who recorded victories at two key meets in two months, has a plan for success.

Chiara finished the hilly 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) course at Morley Field in San Diego’s Balboa Park in 17:51.7. New York’s Karrie Baloga won the girls race by clocking in at 16:49.2 to lead the Northeast to the team crown.

Indiana’s Kole Mathison won the boys race in 14:56.6.

Earlier in Chiara’s first season on La Jolla’s team, the 14-year-old placed first at the Ravens Fleet Feet Cross Country Invitational in September and in the Mount SAC (Mount San Antonio College) Cross Country Invitational in October.

She said it didn’t take her long to realize the nationals race was different from her previous competitions as the group scorched through the first mile.

“In the middle of the race I felt comfortable and was kind of in a daze,” Chiara said. “After this, I know I have a lot of room to improve. There were a lot of good people in that race.”

— La Jolla Light staff contributed to this report.