Panisse completed the 5,000-meter course at Sunken Meadow State Park on Long Island with a time of 18:29, good for seventh place. The top ten girls and boys finishers will head to San Diego to compete against runners from all over the country.
The race wasn't a cakewalk for the Bellerose resident. Competing against the top runners on the East Coast, Panisse sprained her ankle climbing a hill in the first mile and had to push through the pain to finish.
Panisse became the first female runner from New York City to qualify for the Foot Locker Championship, which began in 1993. The last city runner to qualify for a national championship was Hunter's Nnenna Lynch, who qualified for the Kinney Championship in 1988.
Angel Piccirillo of Homer City, Pa., won the Northeast Regional with a time of 18:01, the third fastest time for a female runner in the history of the course. Laura Leff of Syracuse, N.Y., was in the lead at the one-mile mark, but at approximately two miles, Piccirillo and Abbey Leonardi of Kennebunkport, Maine, caught up to Leff to pass her soon thereafter.
Leonardi and Piccirillo ran together until the last 50 meters, when Piccirillo surged ahead to capture the title.
Edward Cheserek of Newark, N.J., won on the boys side. He broke the course record with a time of 15:20. The previous course record of 15:42 was held by Chad Noelle of Greene, N.Y.
For the first mile of the race, a pack of runners remained together until Cheserek made his move, claiming the title 25 seconds ahead of Daniel Lennon, a senior at Peru Central High School, who finished second in 15:45.