Alex Barry is among the elite runners in the nation - not bad for an 11-year-old.
The Sequim Middle School sixth-grader raced to an 86th-place finish out of 246 runners in the midget boys (11- and 12-year-olds) division at the USA Track and Field Association cross country championship at Pole Creek Park in Mechanicsville, Va., on Dec. 13.
Barry, who runs for the Federal Way Track Club, completed the 3,000-kilometer (1.86-mile) course in 11 minutes, 20 seconds, or a 6:05.6-minute pace.
To get there, Barry placed sixth with an 11:59 mark at the Pacific Northwest Association race at Woodland Park in Seattle on Nov. 8, competing against runners from Western Washington and Oregon.
A week later, he placed 13th in the regional USA Track and Field race - also at Woodland Park in Seattle - on Nov. 15 with a time of 11:40; the regional race featured the same runners from the previous race, plus additional runners from Eastern Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
Barry said he plans again to run in next year's national championship, a race set for Dec. 12, 2009, in Reno, Nev.
Samuel Blake of California won this year's National Junior Olympic Cross Country midget division race with a 10:18 finish.