Wade Meddles continues to make the most of only his second season running high school cross country.
The Sierra Lutheran senior finished runner-up Saturday in the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships West Regional in Walnut, Calif.
Meddles led for much of the race until Brian Shrader of Flagstaff, Ariz., passed him in the final 200 meters. Their 5-kilometer times were 15 minutes, 25 seconds and 15:29, respectively.
Both runners advance to the national championship race Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego. Only the top 10 competitors from each regional qualified for the national finals.
Meddles is only the second Northern Nevada male to ever qualify for the Foot Locker Nationals (Douglas High's Bryan Carroll was the other in 1982).
The big weekend started Friday afternoon for Meddles, as he signed his letter of intent to compete for NAIA powerhouse Azusa Pacific in Southern California.
In late November, he won the NXN Southwest Championship in Tempe, Ariz., with a 15:08. He is currently ranked No. 17 in the nation by Dyestat, and will press for a Top 10 finish at the Foot Locker National Championship Meet at San Diego's Balboa Park Saturday.
"Wade is a great talent and an even better kid," said Azusa Pacific distance coach Preston Grey. "There isn't a college coach in the country who wouldn't love to have Wade. I think his decision to come to Azusa Pacific says some significant things about our school and the program."
In track & field, Meddles is the reigning Nevada state 1A champion in the 800- (1:59.80), 1600- (4:26.14) and 3200-meters (9:36.96). At this past summer's Adidas Golden West Invitational, he finished third in the 3200 with a PR of 9:10.68.
The 2008 NAIA cross country national runner-up, Azusa Pacific is coming off a rebuilding season in which the Cougars' string of 7 straight NAIA championship meet appearances was snapped. All but one runner is expected to return for the 2010 campaign.
"We're coming off a tough season," said Grey, "but Wade is a significant piece in getting us back to where we expect to be each year."
-- Azusa Pacific assistant athletic director Gary Pine contributed to this report