Five Surprises From Nike Cross Nationals

California Ups And Downs

The third-place finishers from both the boys and girls race were from the state of California. Both were somewhat unexpected. Liam Anderson was the third-place finisher on the guys side. Last year at this meet he finished 22nd, and on Saturday he made the jump to third in 15:07.60. He had a huge closing kick in the last 400m to sneak in just behind Brentwood's Brodey Hasty.

On the girls side, Saugus (CA) High's Mariah Castillo took home third-place honors in 17:36.80. Castillo had the third-fastest time at the California state meet, taking second in the Division 2 race, but she was the state's top finisher in Portland on Saturday. 

The boys and girls from Great Oak, ranked Flo50 No. 1 and 2 heading into NXN, had a bit of a rough race on Saturday. The boys ended up finishing sixth and the girls finished eighth -- still two strong top-10 finishes from an outside view -- but having talked with coach Doug Soles and the team all year, we know both were aiming for a podium finish.

Two things that bode well for both squads is that the girls return five of six finishers and the boys return four of their top seven. The other: both were also the top California region teams at the meet. 

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