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Eureka’s Long set to run in Foot Locker’s Midwest Regional cross country race

Fresh off winning another state cross country championship and signing a college letter of intent with Stanford, Eureka senior Hannah Long will keep on running.

Long will compete Saturday (Nov. 29) in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships Midwest Regional. She will be running in the high school girls division on the Wayne Dannehl Cross Country Course at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in Kenosha, Wis.

As a junior, she finished fifth last year with a time of 17 minutes, 46 seconds. As a sophomore, Long came in seventh in 17:33.

The high school division of the  regional is open to U.S. high school students. The state where a runner resides determines in which regional meet he/she must participate. Runners must participate in the region to which their state has been assigned.

States competing in the Midwest Regional are Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and U.S. citizens in Overseas Military Installations.

The course is 5,000 meters and consists of grass and dirt paths.

Long  captured her third consecutive Class 4 girls state cross country title in the recent state meet in Jefferson City.

She followed that accomplishment by signing her letter to attend Stanford, which is located in Palo Alto, Calif. There was a signing ceremony at Eureka.

“Eureka made signing day really special,” Long said. “My parents, brothers, and teammates were all there watching me sign.”

For Long, the signing with Stanford came about after looking at all the possibilities she had before her.

“Well, it was about a year-long process of reviewing the universities and their academic and athletic programs,” Long said. “Stanford is excellent in so many areas — academics, athletics, facilities, and after college networking.  The coach, team, and support of the athletic depart are all exceptional. The athletes on the track and cross country team will help push me to improve.”

Stanford, under coach Chris Miltenberg, has been successful. Long enjoyed meeting him. He has not given her any indication what he has in mind for her yet.

“Nothing specific yet,:”Long said about what will be expected from her. “They have to get to know me, my running strengths and style.  We will together establish goals for year one, two, three and four, and then after college.”

She  visited the campus Oct. 4 – 6.  It didn’t take her long to appreciate it.

“The campus is so beautiful, the buildings are a Spanish Mission style and really neat,” Long said. “It is a warm environment most all year around, which will help with training. The coaches are full of energy, very driven and focused to helping each individual athlete improve.”

Just about every Division I school  contacted Long by either email or telephone.

“There were about 15 to 20 college coaches that visited my house this summer,” Long said.

Add that all together and it was a tough decision to reach for Long.

“The choice was hard to make,” Long said. “I met so many great coaches and college runners. Each university has a program that is unique and such good qualities.”

Eureka coach Kally Fischer agreed.

“It was very tough for her,” Fischer said. “It’s one of the hardest decisions she would have to make of her young adult life.”

Fischer said Long made a good choice in picking Stanford.

“It’s a perfect fit for her,” Fischer said. “It has an outstanding cross country and track program, a rich tradition and history of a successful program, and it can offer her the world in academics and as her running career blossoms.”

Stanford has won five NCAA team cross country championships, which ranks second for the most titles. The last one came in 2007.

Going from high school to Division I can be tough. However,  Fischer said Long already has begun the transition to Division I.

“I believe we have been planting that seed for the past couple years with her elite racing experience and racing opportunities,” Fischer said. “I also believe that Stanford will do great things to ensure her transition is smooth and a successful one.”

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