UPDATE: Eighth Grader Grace Ping WILL Race Nike Cross Nationals

11/24 Update: In a bit of holiday magic, it seems as though Grace Ping will be allowed to race after all. 

"The compliance department for NXN had concerns with UHSAA's stance on how this could impact my eligibility," Ping said. "These concerns have been resolved. Thanks to Nike for being awesome and I can't wait to race!"

The 13-year-old ran 16:36 to place 16th at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in San Jose, Calif. today.


Nike reps could not be reached for comment.

What do you think? Should middle school athletes be allowed to compete at NXN? Tweet us your thoughts using #Sub4 and we will pick the best for our next #Sub4 episode next week.


Original story below:



Grace Ping is not allowed to race at Nike Cross Nationals. Her father, Ryan, said tonight that Nike called the Ping family to inform them she was ineligible for the national meet despite placing fourth at the NXN Southwest Regional this past weekend. The top five individuals from each regional who are not on a qualifying team automatically advance to nationals.

The NXN eligibility rules state: "All teenage cross-country runners and clubs are welcome to participate in their respective Nike Cross Regional ('NXR') Championships... You can compete in Nike Cross Nationals or Nike Cross Regionals if you are in good standing with the NCAA, on track to graduate per your high school's guidelines and have not been dismissed from your club for disciplinary reasons."

Ping was allowed to race at regionals, but not nationals. The Ping family did not know that she would be ineligible for the Portland championship until Monday night.

The eighth-grader placed 14th at NXN in 2015 as a seventh grader under slightly different circumstances. Last year, she lived in Minnesota where middle school athletes are allowed to compete for their high school. This summer, the Ping family moved to Park City, Utah, where middle schoolers are not allowed to compete against older athletes.

Ping owns five world age group records. Her most recent record run was in the 5K at this past June's New Balance Nationals Outdoor, where she set a 12-year-old world record of 16:44.8 behind Weini Kelati. She debuted in the Saucony Flo50 national cross country rankings this morning at No. 9 after her performance this weekend.

Alan Versaw of Colorado wrote an opinion piece about the Grace Ping dilemma that you can read here.

Watch Grace Ping place fourth at NXN Southwest this weekend:


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