Toms River South's Kroon finishes 28th in San Diego

Toms River South's Kroon finishes 28th in San Diego

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Toms River South's Kroon finishes 28th in San Diego

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Toms River South harrier Kyle Kroon capped a breakout junior season on Saturday morning by finishing 28th in 15:54.6 at the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships at San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Kroon, who finished fifth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional on Nov. 24 to qualify for San Diego, unofficially split 4:48 for the first mile and 9:56 for the second mile. He was the third New Jersey runner to cross the line.

Kenyan sensation and St. Benedict’s Prep senior Edward Cheserek became the fourth two-time winner in Foot Locker Nationals history in 14:57.03, while NJSIAA Group IV champion Shawn Wilson of Cherokee was 23rd in 15:43.2.

“The heat was exhausting out here and I couldn’t get used to the difference in time zones,” Kroon said. “It was tough, but the experience I had was amazing. I can’t be too mad. 28th isn’t bad when you’re going up against 40 of the top runners in the nation.”

After winning Group IV, Wilson made news by skipping the Meet of Champions four days later to prepare for Foot Locker Northeast, where he was third.

Runner-up Sean McGorty of Virginia took a lead pack that included Cheserek through the first two miles in 4:45 and 9:45, respectively. Cheserek made his move over the final half-mile and kicked his way past McGorty, who ran 15:02.7 to stay up for second.

For Kroon, his trip to San Diego caps a season that saw him take second at the Ocean County Championships, Group III and the MOC, while winning South Jersey Group III.

“Coming to San Diego and racing against the top talent in the country is definitely going to help me with my confidence moving forward, especially at state-level meets. Taking part in something like this makes you feel like you’re more of an elite athlete.”

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