* The MileSplit LIVE gang discusses Katelyn Tuohy's last cross country race in a North Rockland jersey
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The time has finally come for Nike Cross Nationals. And what a championship event it's expected to be.
Two-time defending champion Katelyn Tuohy is back, along with defending team champion Summit (OR) High School, which is looking to hold off 12-time champion Fayetteville-Manlius -- and many others.
Temperatures are expected to be in the 40s by race time and potential rain is expected at Glendoveer Golf Course, making this race a little more interesting. The girls will toe the line after the boys. Official start time is 11:35 p.m. PST.
Check out the full breakdown below.
Edina (MN), Muskego (WI), Naperville North (IL), Beavercreek (OH), Summit (OR), North Central (WA), Prosper (TX), Southlake Carroll (TX), Lone Peak (UT), Valor Christian (CO), North Hunterdon (NJ), Ridgewood (NJ), Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), Saratoga Springs (NY), Loudoun Valley (VA), Pine Crest (FL), Buchanan (CA), Great Oak (CA), Portland Jesuit (OR), Portland Lincoln (OR), Niwot (CO), Newbury Park (CA)
2018: 1. Summit (OR), 120; 2. Naperville North (IL), 186; 3. Wayzata (MN), 207; 4. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 212; 5. Niwot (CO), 2019.
2017: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 89; 2. Naperville North (IL), 94; 3. Battle Mountain (CO), 162; 4. Keller (TX), 2015; 5. Bozeman (MT), 210.
2016: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 41; 2. Davis (CA), 181; 3. Great Oak (CA), 185; 4. Carmel (IN), 194; 5. Willmar (MN), 218.
2015: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 55; 2. Davis (CA), 144; 3. Great Oak (CA), 171; 4. Saratoga Springs (NY), 207; 5. Pennsbury (PA), 241.
2014: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 70; 2. Great Oak (CA), 149; 3. Carmel (IN), 173; 4. Naperville North (IL), 198; 5. Desert Vista (AZ), 199.
2013: 1. Wayzata (MN), 108; 2. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 120; 3. Davis (UT), 157; 4. Carmel (IN), 182; 5. Monarch (CO), 211.
2012: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 54; 2. Southlake Carroll (TX), 198; 3. Carmel (IN), 209; 4. East Aurora (NY), 212; 5. Saratoga Springs (NY), 218.
2011: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 60; 2. Saratoga Springs (NY), 84; 3. New Trier (IL), 177; 4. Tatnall (DE), 178; 5. Carmel (IN), 195.
2010: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 27; 2. Saratoga Springs (NY), 104; 3. Saugus (CA), 117; 4. Jesuit (OR), 227; 5. Tatnall (DE), 244.
CONFIDENCE PICKS BY THE MILESPLIT LIVE GANG:
- CORY: 1. Summit (OR); 2. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY); 3. Naperville North (IL)
- BRYAN: 1. Summit (OR); 2. Saratoga Springs (NY); 3. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY)
- PARKER: 1. Summit (OR); 2. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY); 3. Great Oak (CA)
TEAMS THAT COULD CHALLENGE FOR PODIUM/TOP 10:
Summit (OR): Summit is in a good place to repeat as Nike Cross Nationals champions. But the Storm would be careful not to get over confident. While speed ratings project Summit as the better overall team than the likes of Fayetteville-Manlius, Saratoga Springs and North Central, among others, anything can happen on race day. What buoys this team, however, is its depth beyond its No. 5.
Barring any catastrophe in the middle of its lineup, Summit will still have the back-end strength to score the points its needs to compete for a title.
Saying that, it will go a long way if senior Fiona Max, the team's No. 1, can set the tone and score a top five finish within the team race. She's coming off a NXR Northwest performance where she finished second overall to Sydney Thorvaldson, posting a 155 speed rating. So it's not out of the question.
Sophomore Teaghan Knox will also play a critical role near the front. The young runner has blossomed in 2019, but she'll need to have a championship-style race to make sure Summit is on pace against the likes of other team's No. 2s.
Fayetteville-Manlius (NY): The Hornets, with 12 national titles to their name, just seem ready to go.
This girls team is always a constant threat to not just podium but win. Last year's loss to Summit may have stung, but this year's crop of ladies has charged ahead and filled in the gaps.
Senior Claire Walters is as good as she's ever been, posting a 161 speed rating at NXR New York, while freshman Hannah Kaercher has developed into a legitimate No. 2, jumping into the 140s. The past few meets have seen F-M tussle with Saratoga Springs, though the results have gone in favor of the Hornets. The most recent, a 47-49 win over Saratoga at NXR New York, saw the team put down an 18:45.2 average, led by a top-end 17:27.1 performance from Walters.
Walters and senior Phoebe White have been on this Glendoveer Course over the past four seasons, even dating back to their eighth-grade days. So experience could play a difference here, too.
Saratoga Springs (NY): The only big difference that separates F-M and Saratoga is the potential for a top five place, individually. Otherwise, this New York team has incredible depth, with its one-through-five tightly wound, a compression of less than 60 seconds.
To win, though, Saratoga will need a special performance: Sophomore Ella Kurto would do wonders to have a career day, while this team -- consisting of three sophomores, two freshman and two eighth-graders! -- will need to forget about their age and just run. There's a good chance Saratoga podiums with a consistent effort.
Buchanan (CA): Buchanan is running with extreme confidence lately. And that fact is only buoyed by the fact that it won the CIF Division I Cross Country Championships last week at Woodward Park over rival Great Oak. In that performance, the team put together a 17:56 average across a 1:34 spread -- though the compression between its No. 2-5 runners was 49 seconds. Senior Corie Smith's performance, then, will be critical. If she can score a top five finish within the team race individually, there's a good chance Buchanan can put together a podium effort.
North Central (WA): The Indians could shine at NXN. The team's speed rating average of 132.8 at NXR Northwest was third highest among all teams at the regionals, ahead of Saratoga Springs (131) and Buchanan (132.2) but behind Summit (136.6) and Fayetteville-Manlius (135).
The only issue North Central faces is a depth. After its No. 5 runner, that consistency drops off considerably, and the team will be left with a lot of points on the board. So a performance at NXN will require the team's leaders -- four seniors are on the roster -- to step up and guide the ship. Junior Allie Janke, who came back into the picture late in the season after an injury, was fourth at NXR Northwest and offers a chance to score a top 10 finish in the team race, individually.
Lone Peak (UT): The NXR Southwest champs enter NXN with a ton of confidence. Undefeated all season -- with wins at Bob Firman and the Utah State XC Championships -- there's no doubt this has been a banner season for the Utah team. But what, exactly, is in store for them at Glendoveer? Talent floods the course unlike any race across the season, but Lone Peak shouldn't be intimidated: It's been able to answer those challenges all year long. The squad's overall speed rating average at Southwest was 129.8, which puts them among some of the best teams looking to podium.
Great Oak (CA): The Wolfpack are always in the hunt for a podium, and 2019 is no different. The team's hopes this year will hinge on consistency across the board. What has boosted Great Oak so much in recent years -- and especially so this season -- is unity in the lineup. Despite a four-point loss to Buchanan at the CIF State Cross Country Championships, Great Oak still posted a 27-second spread across its scoring five. And the team was without senior Tori Gaitan, who had run well for much of the season. If that spread remains low, and a possible Gaitan return is in order, this team has the potential to podium.
Beavercreek (OH): A big blow to Beavercreek's hopes came after NXR Midwest, when junior Juliann Williams found out she had sustained a significant injury -- a broken foot. Interestingly enough, Williams still finished that race, posting a time of 18:41.7.
At NXN, that will limit the Ohio team from any big hopes of a podium. Like last year, senior Taylor Ewert is a threat to place among the top five, while seniors Savannah Roark and Jodie Pierce have the potential score inside the top 20 in the team race. If senior Kendall Hobbs and sophomores Grace Daily and Megan Nowe can have career races, Creek could potentially still score a top 10 finish in the team race.
TOP RETURNERS FROM 2018:
1. Katelyn Tuohy, North Rockland (NY); 3. Taylor Ewert, Beavercreek (OH); 5. Claire Walters, Fayetteville-Manlius (NY); 6. Brooke Rauber, Tully (NY); 9. Mattalyn Geddes, Twin Falls (ID); 11. Fiona Max, Summit (OR); 12. Charlotte Bednar, Lawrenceville School (NJ); 13. Sydney Thorvaldson, Rawlins (WY); 14. Lauren Ping, Winona Cotter (MN); 15. Sasha Neglia, Dobyns-Bennett (TN); 16. Katelynne Hart, Glenbard West (IL); 18. Tori Gaitan, Great Oak (CA); 22. Jenna Schulz, Liverpool (NY).
CONFIDENCE PICKS BY THE MILESPLIT LIVE GANG:
- CORY: 1. Katelyn Tuohy, NR; 2. Claire Walters, FM; 3. Marlee Starliper, NHS; 4. Katelynne Hart, GBW; 5. Fiona Max, SHS
- BRYAN: 1. Katelyn Tuohy, NR; 2. Sydney Thorvaldson, RHS; 3. Claire Walters, FM; 4. Taylor Ewert, BHS; 5. Marlee Starliper, NHS
- PARKER: 1. Katelyn Tuohy, NR; 2. Marlee Starliper, NHS; 3. Katelynne Hart, GBW; 4. Claire Walters, FM; 5. Taylor Ewert, BHS
* Photo Credit: USA Today Sports
Katelyn Tuohy, North Rockland (NY): This is Tuohy's race to win. The two-time defending Nike Cross Nationals champion has been on the top of the American high school girls cross country scene for three years running now, and this final high school race will provide a fitting conclusion to an incredible career. The only question, seemingly, is whether she'll break her own course record from 2018, when she ran 16:37.80 on this Glendoveer Course. Tuohy's season has been steady and dominant, though this could be her best race of the fall yet. Her best efforts of 2019: 17:06.60 at NXR New York; 17:02.50 at NY Federation; and 16:22.80 at the Great American Cross Country Festival.
Marlee Starliper, Northern (PA): Outside of Tuohy, Starliper has posted the top overall performance this fall. And that took place last week at Foot Locker Northeast, where the Northern High School senior went 17:03.6 on the 5K course at Van Cortlandt, second-fastest all-time. That performance gave her a 163 speed rating. Can Starliper challenge Tuohy for a title? As they say, 'Anything can happen on race day,' though it seems unlikely here, especially considering Tuohy's experience, her general dominance in cross country, and her ability to hold a feverish pace longer than most. Starliper could have her best nationals performance, though, and it will be her first entry at Nike Cross Nationals.
Katelynne Hart, Glenbard West (IL): Hart has routinely been in the mix for an All-American place at Nike Cross Nationals and in 2017 she finished fourth overall as a sophomore. She took a bigger risk last year as a junior, making a move too early, then faded to 16th. But chances are, Hart will be completely locked in for her final attempt at NXN. The only question will be just how, and when, she'll make her moves in this race.
Sydney Thorvaldson, Rawlins (WY): Perhaps a wildcard at NXN is Thorvaldson, who scored a meet record at NXR Northwest this season in Idaho. Because she's only faced Tuohy twice -- both coming at Nike Cross Nationals -- there's a little bit of mystery surrounding just how well she'll do in 2019. Thorvaldson finished 13th last year despite being less than 100-percent, and she was ninth as a freshman. As a junior, she's been undefeated and has been crushing things since September, when she posted a 5K time of 16:40.60 at the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational. Thorvaldson's performance at NXR Northwest was rated at a 160.
Claire Walters, Fayetteville-Manlius (NY): Walters finished second to Tuohy at NXR New York and the New York State Class A Championships, though the Fayetteville-Manlius star is always in the hunt for a top five place at NXN and has finished fifth here in back-to-back seasons.
Taylor Ewert, Beavercreek (OH): Ewert's patience last year led to a third-place finish at Nike Cross Nationals. So in 2019, expect the same calculated precision from the Ohio-based senior, who's best effort this season was her third-place performance at NXR Midwest in 17:08.60.
Brooke Rauber, Tully (NY): Rauber overcame some sinus issues at NXR New York to finish fifth overall. But health restored, Rauber should be a threat to once again get a top six place at NXN. She's done so the past two seasons, picking up back-to-back sixth-place efforts. And her junior campaign has been her best yet, with her third win at the New York Class D Championships, and another big outing at McQuaid.
Brynn Brown, Denton Guyer (TX): An injury limited Brown from September through the state championship period in Texas, though she was ready in time for NXR South, where she took a win in 17:46.74. Brown's still rounding back into form. But she's a definite All-American contender.
Fiona Max, Summit (OR): Max has responsibilities long past her individual goals, and that's to lead Summit back to a national title for the second straight year. Max has only dropped two races -- NXR Northwest to Thorvaldson and the Nike Portland XC Invite to Lexy Halladay. But her best race came on Nov. 9 at the Oregon State Championships, where she put down a 16:51.80 5K, a career best. She's ready to roll on Saturday
Carlie Dorostkar, San Diego Canyon Crest (CA): The newly crowned CIF Division 1 State Cross Country Champion will likely follow suit in a long line of California standouts. Dorostkar ran 16:45.40 at California's state championships and has the potential to even podium here at NXN.
Sasha Neglia, Dobyns-Bennett (TN): Neglia has been lights out since November, when she won her third Division I state title in Tennessee in four years, beating Jenna Hutchins, and then went on to win her second straight NXR Southeast title, posting a 5K PR of 17:02.50. She finished 15th in this race last year.
Corie Smith, Buchanan (CA): She finished second in the CIF Division I State Championships and posted a 5K best of 16:53.90 at the Clovis Invitational in October.
Riley Stewart, Cherry Creek (CO): No doubt in the mix for a big finish in 2019, Stewart won NXR Southwest in 17:03.73, a career best for 5K, and finished sixth at Foot Locker Midwest. She was 37th in this race last year, but expect a much better finish from the Colorado state champion on Saturday.
Kate Peters, Lincoln (OR): The uber talented runner from Portland has gone 16:58.70 for 5K and finished third at NXR Northwest. She should be able to adapt to the conditions pretty fast and should have a strong finish.
Lauren Ping, Desert Vista (AZ): She's a two-time NXN All-American and these conditions suit Ping well. A end-of-season has also likely only strengthened Ping, who will look to improve on her 14th-place finish from a year ago.
Alexandra Klos, Vista Del Lago (CA): Klos posted a 5K best of 16:57.00 at the Clovis Invitational in October and won her CIF Division 2 State Cross Country Championship in 17:13.10.
Charlotte Bednar, Lawrenceville School (NJ): She was 12th in this race last year and has won ever single race she's run in this year -- mostly recently at NXR Northeast in a time of 18:00.00. She ran a PR of 17:28.00 in October.
Jenna Schulz, Liverpool (NY): Schulz is among a handful of girls from New York who are expected to run well at NXN. She was third at NXR New York and posted a best of 17:03.10 at McQuaid in September.
Mattalyn Geddes, Twin Falls (ID): Geddes, who was ninth in this championship event last year, has been rolling over her last three races, posting three straight sub-18 performances. She was fifth at NXR Northwest, and posted a career best of 17:27.60 in October.
Eliza Arrington, Lone Peak (UT): Lone Peak's No. 1 needs a good performance to help solidify this squad as a potential podium team. She was second at NXR Southwest in 17:18.83, which was a career best.