By Joe Naiman
Dylan Blankenbaker placed 14th at the Nike Nationals cross country meet Dec. 3 in Portland.
“I was excited about it,” Blankenbaker said. “Finishing 14th in the nation wasn’t terrible.”
The Ramona High School senior posted a time of 15:42 on the 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) Portland Meadows course.
“I’m happy with it,” he said. “I gave it everything.”
The time was the second-fastest for a California runner. He trailed only Jonah Diaz of Palos Verdes High School.
“It was just a really deep field,” Blankenbaker said. “It was just an honor to be able to even run.”
Blankenbaker had run the Portland Meadows course earlier this year during the Sept. 24 Nike Pre-Nationals but had not previously competed in the Nike Nationals.
“The kind of competition was above and beyond anything I’ve ever had,” he said. “For my first time going there, I think it was a really quality performance.”
Blankenbaker noted that the level of competition will help him with his college career.