West Street banner celebrates Warwick track star's national victory

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:45

    WARWICK-Warwick Valley High School junior Aislinn Ryan has probably earned more frequent flier points than most students her age. As a top runner on the school's cross country and spring track teams, Ryan, the daughter of Paul and Pat Ryan of Warwick, has traveled throughout the country and as far as the West Coast to compete in numerous track events. Two years ago she ran 12th in the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship at Balboa Park in San Diego. But recently, on Dec. 11, 2004, Ryan did something even more special for her school and for Warwick. She had returned to San Diego to compete in that same race at Balboa Park and she finished first, winning the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship. "To the best of my knowledge," said her coach, Rich Furst, "this is the first time one of our students has captured a National title." Several Warwick citizens and business owners agreed and thought that particular honor deserved special recognition. Mayor Michael Newhard, Ellen Berry, owner of Berry Abstract Co. and Ann Vogel, owner of Nationwide Insurance all chipped in to purchase a banner honoring Aislinn Ryan. A crew from WVT Communications then hoisted it across West Street, just a short distance from Main Street. "That was a very nice gesture," said Furst. "Aislinn deserves the honor." Candidates for the National Foot Locker Cross Country Championship must first finish among the top competitors in four regional 5K races, which take place across the country. The National Finals are then held at Balboa Park along a difficult and hilly course. Fortunately for Ryan, her training grounds include the hills of Wa