1. Will Katelyn Tuohy Get Upset At NXN?
The logical answer to this would be no. Tuohy, a sophomore at North Rockland High (NY) who finished 13th in 2016, has had a season for the ages and will look to finish off a breathtaking fall with her first Nike Cross Nationals title on Saturday at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon. What exactly has Tuohy accomplished in New York?
Not only has she broken records at Van Cortlandt Park (4K), Bear Mountain and Bowdoin Park, but she's dominated in-state power Kelsey Chmiel, a junior at Saratoga Springs, in three straight races. Chmiel has the third highest speed rating on the year at 158. According to TullyRunners' ratings, Tuohy has unleashed one of the best seasons in girls prep history, logging marks over 160 five times and a 172 at New York Federation. No other girl in the country outside of Claudia Lane - who will be at the Foot Locker West Region on Saturday and therefore won't compete with Tuohy - has produced a mark above 158.
What will the field offer in terms of competition? Perhaps Tuohy's most logical competition comes via Texas and McKinney North's London Culbreath, who hasn't had anyone to run with over the course of her campaign. She produced her season-best 16:56 at the UIL Class 6A Championships and went on to win NXR South with a rating of 152. On Thursday, she maintained her goal is to stick with Tuohy. And fun fact: Culbreath was the highest freshman finisher a year ago, ahead of Tuohy in 12th.
Then there's others like Glenbard West (IL) sophomore Katelynne Hart, who will likely go out with the lead pack as well. She finished 18th a year ago as a freshman and has dominated competition in Illinois for much of the season, producing a 16:08 best at 3-miles. Then there's sleepers like Buchanan (CA) High's Corie Smith, Bozeman (MT) High's Camila Noe, Math & Science Academy's Tierney Wolfgram and Mountain View's Lexy Halladay.
This race should be strategic through at least the first 2.5K. But don't be surprised when Tuohy breaks the field.