Loyola’s Matt Jablonski continues to make his mark on the national running stage and he turned in another tremendous performance on Saturday, placing second at the Nike Cross Country Nationals Southeast Regional to qualify for the Nike Nationals, on Saturday in Portland, Oregon.
Racing at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC, Jablonski covered the 5,000 meter course in 15:18.5, just behind winner Armando Del Valle (15:48.1) of Hellions Cross Country of Miami, Fl.
According to Chris Cucuzzella, one of Jablonski’s coaches at Loyola, qualifying for the Nike Nationals is a rare accomplishment for Baltimore area runners.
“In my 25 years of coaching there have ben only two boys from the metro area to advance to the National Cross Country Championships,” said Cucuzzella. Those runners were Calvert Hall’s Corey Smith (1996) and Broadneck’s Matt Centrowritz (2007).
Jablonski, who recently committed to continue his running career at Oregon, will get an early introduction to his future college town as he competes with qualifiers from eight different regional races on Dec. 4 in Portland.
The national championship race is contested on a multi-loop course with man-made obstacles on the grounds of Portland Meadows, a race track for horses. The entire course is visible from a 3,000 seat indoor grandstand, which allows spectators to follow all of the race strategy as it unfolds.