Rocha Sprints to 2nd in Foot Locker XC Nationals
Peabody's Catarina Rocha places second among the best of the best high school female distance runners in the country.
Catarina Rocha certainly made her last Foot Locker appearance a memorable one -- the elite runner and Peabody High senior claimed 2nd Saturday in the National Championships, reeling in two midwest runners in the last seconds of the race.
Rocha finished in 17:29, less than a second ahead of Minnesota's Maria Hauger and Colorado's Jordyn Coulter in 17:29.2 and 17:29.5, respectively.
Indiana sophomore Anna Rohrer was able to hold onto her lead right to the end (17:24.8), and as she passed the 3-mile mark Hauger and Coulter were hot on her heels with Rocha right behind them.
In the last 200 meters, however, Rocha pushed ahead to inch out both runners in a photo finish.
Rocha, speaking with Deena Kastor after the race, said she was feeling good in that last 200 and just pushed ahead.
This was Rocha's third straight appearance in the National Championships -- she finished 7th last year and 31st in 2010 as a sophomore. Two weeks ago, she easily beat the rest of the field in the Northeast Regional Championship.
Both of Rocha's parents also competed in the national championships back when they were in high school -- mom Gina (Braz) Rocha placed 21st in 1985 and dad Joe (who has also been Catarina's coach throughout high school) took 15th in 1982.