Gibbons Middle School seventh-grader Annabella Biancheri recently took cross-country running to two special levels.
The USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Cross-Country Championships were held Dec. 8 in Albuquerque, N.M., where the course was “at over 5,000 feet elevation,” says her father, Andrew.
Biancheri, 12, competed in the Midget Girls race as part of the Greater Lowell Road Runners running club.
Biancheri competed in the National Junior Olympics for the first time.
“It was really interesting, because it was a lot more people than our regional meets. There were 260 kids in my race,” says Biancheri, adding that she normally runs against about 70 kids.
Balloon Fiesta Park hosted the race.
“It was a pretty good course, except it was partially on a golf course, so there were some sand pits you had to run through, which slowed you down,” Biancheri says.
Biancheri was on the Gibbons cross-country team this season, too.
She says she began running at age five.
“My Dad runs a lot, so I started running with him,” says Biancheri, adding she runs two or three times per week.
She ran with a team based in Acton for a while before joining the Greater Lowell team two or three years ago. Her father runs for the Greater Lowell adult team.
“There’s not a lot around here. I think the closest youth team might be in Framingham,” her father says.
Biancheri clearly enjoys running cross-country.
“I’ll definitely run again next year,” she says.