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December 8, 2012

Peabody's Rocha second at Foot Locker National Championships

Peabody High senior Catarina Rocha earned her second straight All-America honor at Foot Locker's Cross Country Championships held at Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif.

Rocha finished second in the national finals with a time of 17:29, just behind winner Anna Roher from Indiana (17:25).

"It's exciting. I felt like I ran my best and left it all out there," Rocha said Saturday afternoon from San Diego.

The 2-time Massachusetts all-state champion won Foot Locker's Northeast Regional two weeks ago and hung in a pack of the top runners for most of the finals. Rocha was running fifth heading into a steep hill with about 600 meters to go and turned on the burners to pass two Midwest runners near the finish line for second place.

"It was a little surprising. I wasn't sure if I could catch them so it was really exciting," Rocha said.

A 3-time participant at Foot Locker nationals, Rocha finished 31st as a sophomore, then earned All-American honors by finishing 7th in 2011. Her second place effort was the best finish ever by a girl from the Bay State, and she's one of only two Massachusetts girls to ever earn two All-America nods.

For the complete story, please see Monday's edition of The Salem News.

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