PHILADELPHIA – Christie Bernier of Auburn placed eighth Saturday in the Junior women’s racewalk of the 113th Penn Relays.

Bernier, an Edward Little High School sophomore, was joined in competition by Lauren Forgues of Boothbay and the University of Maine. Forgues finished second in the Open women’s division.

Coach Tom Menendez of Lewiston considered the finish a victory for Bernier, who bettered her time over last year’s Penn Relays debut by nearly two minutes and also topped Forgues’ time in the event as a high school sophomore five years ago.

Ages 14 to 19 are eligible for the junior women’s class.

“She told me that she made a bet with Lauren,” Menendez said of Bernier. “I told her she could do whatever she put her mind to. I really didn’t expect her to do it. That’s quite an accomplishment.”

Twenty-six women across three divisions began the 5-kilometer race with a mass start.

Catherine Davis, a college freshman from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Athletic Club, won the Junior race. Maria Michta, a senior at C.W. Post College, edged Forgues for the Open gold medal.

Bernier will compete again nationally in June at the USA Junior Championships in Columbus, Ohio.

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