Northeast Regional Cross Country Championship held at Van Cortlandt Park

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THE BRONX -

Thousands of runners participated in the 39th annual Foot Locker Northeast Regional Cross Country Championship Saturday taking place on a course that both Olympians and national champions have completed.

The course at Van Cortlandt Park is made up of 5,000 meters, or just over three miles, of gravel, grass and dirt paths with plenty of hills.

Runners from a dozen states participated in the two regional qualifying championships.

The top 10 fastest high school boys and the top 10 fastest high school girls moved on to San Diego, where they will compete against the qualifiers from each of the other regionals, the South, West and Midwest.

"Here at Van Cortlandt Park, the toughest part is the back hills. I always say you'll find religion back there, because with all the ups and downs there's certain to be lots of 'oh Gods'," says Phil Zodda, Northeast Regional director.

Dalton Hengst was one of the top 10 qualifiers for the high school boys.

"You train for, to be in the mix of the guys as the best in the Northeast," Hengst says. "It's great to see all the work come together and pay off at the right time."

There was a 3,000-meter course for those not participating in the two qualifying championships.

There are also different age classes, ranging from 10 years old and younger to 40 years old and older.

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