Kevin Antczak of Mainland Regional High School advanced to a national championship with a historic performance Saturday afternoon.
He wasn't the only runner to excel Saturday. Jackson Braddock of Southern Regional also advanced to a national race.
Antczak finished fourth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional with one of the best performances ever by a New Jersey runner at historic Vancortlandt Park in the Bronx section of New York. He qualified to run at the Foot Locker National Championship in San Diego on Dec. 14.
Braddock finished fifth at the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast regional in Wappinger Falls, New York. He qualified to compete in the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon, on Dec. 7.
The cross country season in New Jersey ended last weekend with the Meet of Champions. But the Foot Locker and Nike events give runners the opportunity to compete against national competition.
Antczak finished the 5,000-meter course in the Bronx in 15:24. Patrick Anderson, of Pittsburgh, won in 15:17. The top 10 finishers advanced to San Diego.
Antczak is the just the second Atlantic County male runner to qualify for the Foot Locker National Championships. Lou Corgiliano, of Hammonton, qualified in 2013.
Antczak’s time is the second fastest ever by a South Jersey runner at Vancortland Park. Jason DiJoseph of Paul VI ran 15:17.6 to win the 1988 race.
In Wappinger Falls, Braddock covered the 3.1-mile course at Bowdoin Park in 15:57.6. William Chaffin, of Concord-Carlisle, Massachusetts, won in 15:49.6. Braddock advanced to the Nike Cross Nationals as an individual qualifier.