Midwest Region Top Girls To Watch
1. Olivia Theis, Lansing Catholic (MI), senior
It would be conceivable to think that Theis is in store for a big performance here. After finishing 14th as a junior, Theis returns to Foot Locker as one of the favorites to produce a top-five finish. She's had one of Michigan's top seasons -- and certainly the best in school history -- and posted her best effort on November 4 at the state championships, running a PR of 16:52.10 in securing her first state cross country title. Theis has raced a lot in 2017, totaling at least 12 races across the fall, but she also hasn't raced in two weeks leading into Foot Locker. Theis is also coming off a win at Foot Locker Midwest in 17:13.40, posting arguably the second-best performance among the most difficult field at regionals. Theis, a University of Michigan signee, will likely close this season with a bang.
2. Katelynne Hart, Glenbard West (IL), sophomore
Hart has made the figurative "leap" in 2017 after a very successful freshman season, bumping up training, mileage, dedication, and now, success. She will arrive in San Diego after a tremendous performance at NXN, where she finished fourth, and likely has the same goals in mind here. The Illinois sophomore, who won her second straight state championship on November 4 in 16:22.0 and earned a win at NXR Midwest, was second at Foot Locker Midwest, only behind Theis. The sophomore has done it all this season -- she's gone out hard, she's solo'ed, she's race conservative and smart, and ultimately has the knowledge to produce another quality outing here. Hart will be among the lead pack and will likely run a smart race against a talented field. Another top-five finish isn't out of the question.
3. Emily Covert, Minneapolis Washburn (MN), junior
Covert didn't have her best race at NXN, finishing 77th in 19:08.60, but there was a reason for that, too. The junior was sick before the race, and it impacted her on a very difficult Glendoveer Course. It was unlike really any of Covert's performances through the season, including a third-place effort at Foot Locker Midwest (17:17.40) and a runner-up bid at NXR Heartland, where she went a career-best 16:55.71. Covert has been killing it all year, winning her first state title in Class AA (17:30.10) and another prestige victory at Roy Griak (18:13.0). With health back in her favor, Covert score a top-20 finish here at Foot Locker.
4. Sarah Schmitt, Naperville North (IL), senior
Schmitt has been running for her team all season, and that certainly paid off when Naperville North scored its best finish at NXN in the program's history, a runner-up bid. Schmitt's eighth-place race in Portland, Oregon, showed the senior did her part. But now Schmitt, a University of Indiana recruit, will have a chance to run on her own for the first time. And what can we expect? Schmitt has the potential to run a great race. Her PR at 5K came at the Foot Locker Midwest Regional on November 25 in 17:30.60, and she also secured a PR at the Illinois Class 3A championships at 3-miles in 16:33.0. While Schmitt hasn't won many races over her career, there is one personal best she could shoot for: Breaking Judy Pendergast's all-time best at Balboa Park, a time of 17:20.00. That's within reach here if Schmitt runs the right race.
Full List of Qualifiers
GLEN ELLYN IL
SAINT PAUL MN
WEST BLOOMFIELD MI