Megan Venables closed out her high school cross-country career on Saturday by finishing fifth at the 32d annual Foot Locker National Championships at San Diego's Balboa Park.
The Highland senior finished in a time of 17 minutes, 34 seconds, recording the second-fastest time ever by a South Jersey runner on the 5,000-meter course. Michelle Rowan of Washington Township ran 17:02 when she placed second in 1983.
"It was the first time I've been here, so I didn't really know what a good time was on this course," Venables said. "I was satisfied with my time, but I was more concerned about trying to place.
"My plan was to try to stay back and not go out too fast. I just relaxed at the beginning and started to move up after the first mile. It worked out well for me."
With her fifth-place finish, Venables earned all-American status.
"I'm really happy and excited about being an all-American. It's a nice way to finish up the year," Venables said.
Cherokee junior Megan Lacy finished 24th in a time of 18:16.
"I went out faster than I really wanted to," Lacy said. "The race was pretty difficult from the beginning and I'm not thrilled with my time, but I enjoyed the experience. Hopefully, I'll come back next year."
The race was won by Aisling Cuffe of Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y., who clocked 16:52.