Another week is in the books in cross country.
Yet again, we had some very good performances from a variety of athletes and teams across the country. A squad in Utah continued to show us why we should never doubt them, a program in Ohio gave us a glimpse of their potential, and two teams in Illinois taught us that a rivalry borne is a rivalry that never ends.
This weekend's review will touch on a few of the biggest storylines. Stay tuned for more coverage on MileSplit throughout the week as we dive into more analysis, trends and stats.
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The First Review On Beavercreek Is In
There's an idea in cross country that if you want to really challenge yourself, you need to compete out-of-state against teams and athletes you wouldn't normally face.
And that's even more of a reality for programs who are eyeing up qualification for national meets like Nike Cross Nationals.
No. 6 ranked Beavercreek (OH) had been there, done that -- it competed in Kentucky and Indiana a year ago -- and the results had paid off. The team won a state title in 2018.
But this fall could go to a place this program has never been before. And so by traveling to the MSU Spartan Invitational this early in the season, the Beavers were going to find out what they were made of.
Turns out, that mojo is still there. In spades.
Beavercreek won a very competitive race on Friday in Lansing, Michigan, scoring 86 points to win the elite girls section over No. 25 ranked East Grand Rapids, which was second with 122 points--Ohio stalwarts Hilliard Davidson and Centerville were third and fourth, respectively.
So what did Beavercreek learn?
The team has some real talent. Frontrunner Taylor Ewert had a heck of a battle up top, finishing second to Zofia Dudek (17:08.6) by nine seconds. Senior Savannah Roark was seventh, Jodie Pierce was ninth and Juliann Williams was 10th. That led to speed ratings of 154-141-140 and 132.
The only question mark with the squad comes after those four runners. The team's fifth was just over three minutes past Ewert's time. And on a national stage, that disparity can seem excruciating when every point matters.
But there's no doubt that Beavercreek has the talent. Now can they just put it all together when it matters most.
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American Fork's Boys Are No Joke
Consider this for a moment.
The course at the BYU Autumn Classic on Saturday was, as one inside source told us, long by nearly 0.15 of a mile. That's considerable.
AF beat nationally ranked Corner Canyon by just nine points, averaging 16:25 across its scoring five with a 64-second spread.
But after a very fast early performance at the Pre-Region 4 Meet, this was the first legit indication that American Fork is no pushover in 2019. Last year's Class 6A champions seem to be the team to beat yet again in Utah and could be in contention for another Nike Cross Nationals berth the way this season is looking.
"I'm feeling really proud of my guys," Hysell said. "This was a really tough race. We got incredible competition here. I got so much respect for all the other teams. They're really doing good things. I'm proud my team was able to be up there and hold up to the standard. I wouldn't be able to race how I race without them."
Only seven runners ran under 16 minutes on the BYU course, with Hysell taking the win in 15:47.00. Sophomore Nate Jaster was 10th while the team's scorers rounded out at 36th-42nd-50th-place.
BYU Autumn Classic Results
|1||American Fork||125||1+8+32+38+46 (55+57)||1:04 1-5 Split | 16:25 Avg|
|2||Corner Canyon||134||5+11+14+29+75 (91+104)||1:14 1-5 Split | 16:26 Avg|
|3||Skyridge||160||7+13+34+50+56 (67+113)||0:51 1-5 Split | 16:33 Avg|
|4||Davis||164||9+19+23+44+69 (70+94)||0:56 1-5 Split | 16:35 Avg|
|5||Lone Peak||181||21+30+36+41+53 (54+160)||0:26 1-5 Split | 16:41 Avg|
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The In-State Battle Continues With Naperville North's Girls And Yorkville Continues With Aplomb
The battle for Illinois continues.
And right now, Naperville North has the inside track.
The Huskies won their second big meet in consecutive weeks on Saturday, scoring major points at the First to Finish Invitational at Detweiller Park. A week prior, the squad beat No. 13 Edina at the Spartan Challenge in Iowa.
Yorkville didn't run bad ... at all. The Foxes averaged 18:19 and saw a 65-second spread. But the Huskies were just a step better averaging 17:55 over a 60-second spread.
Yorkville had just one runner, Helena Kleronomos, inside the top 10. But it's 2-3-4-5 finished side-by-side from 22nd to 25th.
Both teams were missing what could be their top-end runners of 2019: Campbell Peterson for Naperville North and Kailey Fox for Yorkville.
A year ago Naperville North won nearly every single big matchup -- outside of Roy Griak. This was the first of many rounds. Stay tuned. It's sure to be a good one.
First To Finish Team Results
|1||Naperville North High School||46||3+7+10+12+14 (15+35)||1:00 1-5 Split | 17:55 Avg|
|2||Yorkville High School||95||5+21+22+23+24 (43+51)||1:05 1-5 Split | 18:19 Avg|
|3||Barrington High School||127||1+6+11+27+82 (91+111)||2:38 1-5 Split | 18:15 Avg|
|4||New Trier High School||210||19+26+45+46+74 (86+114)||1:02 1-5 Split | 18:56 Avg|
|5||Batavia High School||211||20+33+36+55+67 (78+94)||0:57 1-5 Split | 18:59 Avg|
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Jarrett Kirk, Brynn Brown Highlight Fast Texas MileSplit Invitational
Both athletes ran to Texas leading No. 1 times on Saturday at South Lakes Park, with Kirk hitting a career PR and US No. 2 effort of 14:40.00, while Brown produced a remarkable US No. 1 time of 16:12.00, which not only was a career PR but stands as the No. 2 time in cross country history for girls -- according to our database.
Brown knew she was in good shape. But that?
"It's kind of surreal," said Brown, who began the season ranked No. 10 on the MileSplit50. "I've been putting in the work this summer and I was expecting a pretty fast time out the gate, but to already be at this, at this point in the season, feels pretty incredible. I'm still kind of in shock. I haven't processed it."
It marked the fourth time since last year Brown had gone under 17 minutes for 5K in cross country and it represented a 33-second improvement from her previous best, a time of 16:45.36 at the UIL Class 6A Championships last year -- a race she finished second in.
Kirk, meanwhile, had yet to break 15 minutes for 5K before Saturday. A year ago he ran 15:08.22 at state and went 15:22.00 at Marcus I. But close doesn't count.
So when he returned to Marcus on Aug. 31, a little more fit and a little more confident, it showed. He went 15:05.63 on the clock. Then Saturday came. The course at South Lakes was flat and friendly.
Kirk knew what he had to do. He kept the gas on and never wavered. Better yet, Flower Mound's boys looked impressive, too. That's the part he said he liked.
"I felt really good," he said. "We knew going into it that our team had a really good chance to place well and get top 10. So we all just went out kind of guns a-blazing and got our guys in the front."
The Jaguars had their top four in the top 10.
|1||Jarrett Kirk||12||Flower Mound||14:40.00|
|2||Thomas Romanow||12||Flower Mound||14:53.00|
|3||Victor Neiva||12||Keller Central||14:59.00|
|4||Ben Shearer||11||The Woodlands Christian||15:03.00|
|5||Foster Wilfong||11||Boerne Champion||15:08.00|
|6||Jacob Ricks||11||Flower Mound||15:10.00|
|7||Walker St. John||10||Grapevine||15:20.00|
|8||Johnathan Flint||12||Flower Mound||15:21.00|
|10||Devin Duran||11||Boerne Champion||15:25.00|
|1||Brynn Brown||11||Denton Guyer||16:12.00|
|3||Natalie Cook||10||Flower Mound||17:37.00|
|4||Allison Buemi||10||Flower Mound||17:57.00|
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Jenna Hutchins And Lary Josh Edwards Have Taken The Next Step
If you didn't already know, Hutchins had quite the freshman season -- a state championship, a Foot Locker Nationals qualifier and an All-American finish. She opened her sophomore campaign last week to a meet record at the Cherokee Classic in Tennessee, then followed with an out-of-state trip to South Carolina on Saturday.
And Hutchins didn't disappoint. She continued in torrid form, scoring another meet record of 17:14.10 at the Eye Opener Invitational in Spartanburg.
But it was the way in which she executed, running away with the title with 26 seconds to spare on the next closest competitor, that really begins to tell you how much stronger she is in 2019. It marked an overall 5K PR by 11 seconds.
Edwards, meanwhile, was just as impressive at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational, flying to the finish in a winning time of 15:24.30 -- a 5-second win -- as he set a new PR by 18 seconds.
The University (WV) High School sophomore opened with a 4:40 first mile.
MileSplit's No. 3 Future Star was one of the most consistent freshmen in the nation a year ago, both in cross country and track and field. And this race -- on a college course, likely in front of some watchful eyes -- was an eye-opener in its own right.
"I feel really good," he said. "This summer I ran 15:22 in Portland, and that course is comparable to this, a downhill first mile and up hill two mile. It felt good to get that same time on a grass course."
Funny enough, neither Hutchins or Edwards currently lead the sophomore class with No. 1 times. In fact, they're both currently No. 2.
But times are one thing. Performances are another. Each athlete made statements this weekend.
Eye-Opener Girls Results
|1||Jenna Hutchins||10||Science Hill High School||17:14.10||1|
|2||Ava Dobson||12||St. Josephs||17:40.80||2|
|4||Kennedy Roush||9||J.L. Mann||19:27.00||4|
Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invitational
|1||Larry Josh Edwards||10||University High||15:24.30||1|
|2||Brendan Colwell||11||Penns Valley Area||15:29.20||2|
|3||Colton Sands||11||Penns Valley Area||15:43.00||3|
|4||Nick Fetzer||12||Westmont Hilltop||15:49.00||0|
|5||Ben St. Pierre||12||State College Area High School||15:50.20||4|