This past summer, St. John’s Prep’s Tristan Shelgren met with his cross-country coaches to discuss his goals and game plan for his senior season. He left that meeting and printed out a picture of the FootLocker National Championship logo, and hung it on his door. He wrote on it, “This is what you do it for.”
Months later, at the FootLocker Northeast Regional Championship at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, N.Y., Shelgren not only “did it” for a shot at nationals, but he proved to be the top boy in the region, as he traversed the historic course in 15 minutes, 32 seconds.
With the win, Shelgren qualified for the FootLocker National Championship Dec. 9 in San Diego. The top 10 finishers at each regional qualifier advance to the national stage. Shelgren’s win came just one week removed from an All-State championship at the Wrentham Developmental Center.
“I probably pushed it to the back of mind,” Shelgren said in regard to his goal as his season progressed. “All the other races had to be like a Bill Belichick, ‘One day at a time. One race at a time.’ ”
Shelgren, of Boxford, placed 14th at last year’s FootLocker Northeast Regional with a time of 16:04, which was 16 seconds shy of qualifying among top 10.
“Last year, the guys were pretty rough. We were elbowing back and forth. I wasn’t used to that from all my races back in Massachusetts,” Shelgren said.
Brookline’s Lucas Aramburu finished third (15:37.8) and also qualified for nationals.
“I heard Lucas during the race and I thought, ‘Wow, good for him,’ ” Shelgren said. “Then I turned around and there he was third. Lucas is a great competitor and a great kid. Just having someone I know going [to nationals] is a fantastic experience.”
Damien Dilcher of Brick, N.J., narrowly edged out Aramburu to place second at 15:37.
Among the other Bay State participants, Brandon Hall of Hopedale finished 18th (16:13), Jack Yanko from Amherst finished 23rd (16:24), Ethan Matthews of Ayer was 24th (16:25), and Richard Sturtevant of Leyden was 27th (16:28). John Mariano from Quincy finished 35th (16:35), while Division 2 state champion Sam Acquaviva of Newburyport placed 44th (16:42).
In the girls’ race, Littleton’s Sarah Rothman was the highest local finisher at 13th (18:46). Her twin sister, Kaitlyn, finished 27th (19:22). Watertown’s Emily Koufos finished 36th (19:42).