NXN Boys Individual Preview: Geberkidane, Brannigan and Anderson are the cream of the crop

The boys individual race at NXN will be missing a few key competitors (running at Foot Locker), but that is a trivial point.  The field this year is loaded and the race up front should be one for the ages.

The two favorites at the front end of the field are Cerake Geberkidane (CO) and Tanner Anderson (WA).  Cerake has been given a speed rating of 198 and Tanner has been given a 200, closer than can truly be quantified or predicted.  Of course, that is why they run the races.

Cerake has had a break out year which saw him tear apart one Colorado course at altitude after another.  He rolled to a 14:46 winning time in September to record the fastest time ever run for a high schooler on CO soil and then won the 5A state title by 42 seconds.  He followed that up with a win at the NXN Southwest regional in which he tore after it from the gun and then faded and hung on for the win.  Doubtful he’ll make that mistake again at nationals.  

Tanner trained hard this season to overcome a lack of good summer training and has been coming on very strong as of late.  Tanner won the WA 3A state title over a very competitive field including nationally ranked runners Joe Hardy and John Dressel.  He then won the NXN Northwest regional to earn his berth at the national table.

That is not to say there won’t be some very tough challengers.  Mike Brannigan (NY) and Kai Wilmot (WA) have also had very good seasons and both have looked strong late season.  Brannigan ran the second fastest time on the NXN New York regional course with a fast 15:29 clocking.  He put on an untouchable surge at 2 miles to show that he is fearless and very dangerous at the end of the race.  Wilmot will be looking to return to form and challenge up front in an effort to help his team, North Central, return to the podium again.    

Addison DeHaven (SD) is another late-bloomer who won the Heartland regional race over Obsa Ali and could definitely surprise the front runners in Portland.  Obsa finished 10th last year in the mud, so he has experience and is coming off another great year which saw him win a MN state title despite losing a shoe early in the race.  

The other challenger to a title could be last year’s surprise runner-up, Estevan De La Rosa.  Estevan’s big showing last year assisted Arcadia in capturing the team crown that year.  De La Rosa is stronger this year and looked scary good at the CA state champs despite finishing 2nd to Tal Braude.  

Despite the strong runners up front there are quite a few talented harriers behind them who would like to break into the top-10 overall.  To put it into perspective, there are 34 runners with speed ratings between 193 and 190, so needless to say anything can happen.  

A few of the stronger contenders include Connor McMillan (UT), Andrew Rafla (ID, Wolfgang Beck (WA), Bryce Millar (NY), Tony Russell (PA), Tom O’Neill (NJ), Trevor Hopper (CT), and Stuart McNutt (KS).  

My pick for the individual title is Mike Brannigan from New York.  The surge he put on after the hills at Bowdoin Park cannot be ignored and the difficulty of the Portland Meadows course should play into his favor.  Of course if Cerake Geberkidane cleans up his race strategy and runs smart early he has the strength to pull away from Brannigan late in the race.  And Anderson has a race savvy in championship situations that could make him dangerous if he is still in the mix late into the race.

See the full list of favorites with speed ratings below, courtesy of TullyRunners.com.  


Top Individual Runners (Both Team & Individual):  

Name Grade School State Speed Rating Region
Tanner Anderson 11 North Central WA 200 Northwest
Cerake Geberkidane 12 Denver East CO 198 Southwest
Mike Brannigan 11 Northport NY 195 New York
Taylor (Kai) Wilmot 12 North Central WA 194 Northwest
Addison DeHaven 12 Brookings SD 194 Heartland
Estevan De La Rosa 12 Arcadia CA 193 California
Obsa Ali 12 Richfield MN 193 Heartland
Connor McMillan 12 American Fork UT 193 Southwest
Andrew Rafla 12 Timberline ID 193 Northwest
Wolfgang Beck 12 Gig Harbor WA 193 Northwest
Bryce Millar 11 Fayetteville-Manlius NY 192 New York
Tony Russell 12 West Chester Henderson PA 192 Northeast
Tom O'Neill 12 Middletown North NJ 192 Northeast
Trevor Hopper 12 Ridgefield CT 192 Northeast
Stuart McNutt 11 Blue Valley West KS 192 Heartland
Aidan Goltra 12 Campolindo CA 192 California
David Luna 12 Indio CA 192 California
Austin Tamagno 12 Brea Olinda CA 192 California
Chandler Austin 12 Boone IA 192 Heartland
Mike McClemens 12 Christian Brothers Academy NJ 191 Northeast
Blake Haney 12 Stockdale CA 191 California
Logan Carroll 12 Gig Harbor WA 191 Northwest
Evan Stifel 12 St. Xavier OH 191 Midwest
TJ Hornberger 12 Lake Shore NY 191 New York
Connor Olson 11 Wayzata MN 191 Heartland
Josh Dyrland 12 Irondequoit NY 191 New York
Andrew Berge 12 Fayetteville-Manlius NY 191 New York
Jesse Reiser 11 McHenry IL 191 Midwest
Tristan Peloquin 11 Gig Harbor WA 190 Northwest
Albert Meier 12 Boone IA 190 Heartland
Taylor Caldwell 12 Brentwood TN 190 Southeast
Aaron Thomas 12 Brentwood TN 190 Southeast
Alec Thomas 12 Brentwood TN 190 Southeast
Benito Muniz 11 Carmel NY 190 New York
Aidan Tooker 10 Saratoga Springs NY 190 New York
Griffin Molino 11 South Williamsport PA 190 Northeast
Tim McGowan 12 Northport NY 190 New York
Alan Yoho 12 Flintridge Prep CA 190 California