PORTLAND — Abbey Leonardi, a senior at Kennebunk High, became the first Maine high-school runner in history to qualify for the Foot Locker Cross Country national finals three times.

Competing in the Foot Locker Northeast regionals Saturday morning at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, N.Y., Leonardi placed second to a girl from Pennsylvania in a time of 18 minutes, 5.7 seconds for the 5-kilometer course.

Angel Piccirillo of Homer City passed Leonardi with 200 meters to go and won the race in 18:01.4.

It marked the second straight regional runner-up finish for Leonardi, a four-time Class A Maine state champion who finished 22nd and 16th in two previous trips to the national finals in San Diego. Forty high school runners – 10 from each of four regions – qualify for the event.

Matthew McClintock, a senior from Madison High, finished sixth in the boys seeded race to also qualify for the national championships, scheduled for Dec. 11 at San Diego’s Balboa Park.

McClintock went out with race winner Edward Cheserek of Newark, N.J., then held on for sixth in 15:51.2. Cheserek set a course record of 15:20.5 and won by 25 seconds.

Cheverus senior Emily Durgin, who reached the nationals as a sophomore, did not run Saturday after discovering a slight break in a bone in her foot on Wednesday.

The 10th and final qualifying times from Saturday’s regional races were 16:03.9 for boys and 18:40.1 for girls.

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