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National championship season is here and on Saturday the nation's best teams will take to the line at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon, in order to be crowned team champion.
A race that normally brings all the thrills and spectacle of a national championship should be no different in 2019. Will two of California's top schools -- Newbury Park and Great Oak -- continue to dominate? Can the two-time defending team champion Loudoun Valley (VA) Vikings earn another title? Is there a team that can sneak into a podium or top-five spot?
Only time will tell, but below is a preview of the teams and individuals we think you need to keep an eye on for Saturday's championship boys race.
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 boys will toe the line first. The official start time is 10:05 a.m. PST.
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2018: 1. Loudoun Valley (VA), 77; 2. Great Oak (CA), 114; 3. Dakota Ridge (CO), 115; 4. Bishop Hendricken (RI), 206; 5. Fayetteville-Manlius, 206
2017: 1. Loudoun Valley (VA), 89; 2. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 159; 3. Mountain Vista (CO), 163; 4. Downers Grove North (IL), 187; 5. Springville (UT), 200
2016: 1. Bozeman (MT), 105; 2. American Fork (UT), 141; 3. Brentwood (TN), 163; 4. Davis (UT), 180; 5. Naperville, 181
2015: 1. Great Oak High School (CA); 2. American Fork (UT); 3. Dana Hills High School (CA); 4. Sandburg High School (IL)
2014: 1. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 111; 2. Wayzata High School (MN), 159; 3. North Centra (WA), 178; 4. Liverpool (NY), 191; 5. American Fork (UT), 195
2013: 1. Gig Harbor (WA), 111; 2. Christian Brothers Academy (NJ), 139; 3. Brentwood (TN), 174; 4. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 216; 5. Carmel (IN), 225
2012: 1. Arcadia (CA), 108; 2. American Fork (UT), 122; 3. North Spokane (WA), 146; 4. CBA (NJ), 167; 5. Cardinal O'Hara (PA), 223
2011: 1. Christian Brothers Academy (NJ), 91; 2. Southlake Carroll (TX), 95; 3. Davis (UT), 157; 4. Arcadia (CA), 183; 5. Palantine (IL), 255
2010: 1. Arcadia (CA), 92; 2. Fayetteville-Manlius (NY), 135; 3. Columbus North (IN), 165; 4. Fort Collins (CO), 171; 5. Christian Brothers Academy (NJ), 179
|MileSplit Staff||1st Team||2nd Team||3rd Team|
|Cory Mull||Newbury Park||Corner Canyon||Great Oak|
|Bryan Deibel||Great Oak||Newbury Park High School||Loudoun Valley|
|Parker Navarro||Newbury Park||Great Oak||Loudon Valley|
TEAMS TO PAY ATTENTION TO:
Newbury Park (CA): Following its CIF Division 2 State Cross Country Championship win, the boys of Newbury Park moved up in the polls to No. 1. And aren't they as dangerous as ever. With two senior teammates in Nico Young and Jace Aschbrenner, Newbury Park has a legitimate shot to control the points with a 1-2 finish. As long as the rest of the lineup can follow suit, this team might capture its first national title. After finishing fourth in 2018, Young will be going after his first NXN title.
Great Oak (CA): One key bit of news for the Wolfpack. They'll be without one of their starting runners when race day commences. And yet, the beauty of Great Oak's season is the depth in which this team competes. GO should be fine. But it will be incumbent for all members of this team to truly run as a pack from start until finish. And it's not only going to require a strong compression -- this team has to rock'n'roll with a top-notch average to beat the likes of Newbury Park, Loudoun Valley and Corner Canyon. At CIF, Great Oak had a 25 second spread.
Loudoun Valley (VA): This is what it's come down to. Can Loudoun Valley three-peat? No year will be tougher than this one, with a group of athletes who largely relied on veteran leadership the last two seasons to pull through. But senior Carlos Shultz will be a guiding force for the Vikings. He was the first to finish at NXN a year ago. And if he can set the right tone for this group, Loudoun Valley will have a shot. This team is made up of seven seniors!
Corner Canyon (UT): This Utah club could be a sleeper pick to win NXN in 2019. If the trio of Mark Boyle, Caleb Johnson and Easton Allred grab top 15 placements, there's a reason to argue they could pull it out. Corner Canyon dominated NXR Southwest, scoring 89 points on a 15:25 average -- and that was on a down day for Johnson. These kinds of races never shake out entirely true to form, but if Corner Canyon can bottle up a little bit of that race day magic, some special things can happen.
TOP RETURNERS FROM 2018:
3. Cole Sprout, Valor Christian (CO), 4. Nico Young, Newbury Park (CA), 5. Easton Allred, Corner Canyon (UT), 8. Matt Strangio, Jesuit (CA), 10. Connor Ohlson, Dakota Ridge (CO), 15. Josh Methner, Hersey High School (IL), 16. Evan Holland, Ashland (OR), 18. Nathan Green, Borah, (ID), 20. Evan Bishop, East Grand Rapids (MI) 26. Anthony Monte, Austin Vandegrift (TX), 28. Ethan Kern, York (IL), 30. Carlos Shultz, Loudon Valley (VA)
|Cory Mull||Josh Methner||Ryan Schoppe||Evan Holland|
|Bryan Deibel||Nico Young||Evan Holland||Cole Sprout||Josh Methner||Matt Strangio|
|Parker Navarro||Cole Sprout||Nico Young||Ryan Schoppe||Evan Holland||Josh Menther|
- Cole Sprout, Valor Christian (CO): Sprout is the top returner to NXN, last year as a junior Sprout clocked a 15:02.70 to finish third behind seniors Liam Anderson (CA) and Cole Hocker (IN). Sprout has run well all season long including a course record at the Liberty Bell Cross Country Invitational (14:38.40), a runner up finish at The Nike Desert Twilight meet in Arizona (14:16.01), he was the Class 5A Colorado State Cross Country Champion (15:12.70) and most recently he won the NXR Southwest championship (14:41.38). He's currently ranked No. 3 on the MileSplit50 rankings.
- Nico Young, Newbury Park (CA): Nico Young kicked off his season with the fastest ever high school 3-mile at the Woodbridge Cross Country Classic running 13:39.70. Since then he hasn't looked back winning every meet he's run in definitive fashion. At the Clovis Invitational, he beat Arizona's Leo Dashbach clocking a 14:29.90 for 5K for a meet record. At the CIF state meet on the same course he ran slightly faster clocking a 14:28.50. Young has been ranked No. 1 on the MileSplit50 since Woodbridge. He's the second-fastest returner in the field.
- Josh Methner, Hersey High School (IL): In 2018 Methner was an All-American at both NXN and Foot Locker Nationals. This year, the University of Notre Dame signee was the NXR Midwest Champion in 14:57.70. What really makes him a guy to watch is the fact that he beat a 44-year-old 3-mile Detwiler Park course record at the Illinois State Cross Country Championships in 13:49.90)
- Evan Holland, Ashland (OR): Holland set meet records in back-to-back races, doing so first at his Oregon Class 5A state championships in 14:30.40, then doing so again at NXR Northwest, winning his second straight regional in 15:02.90. He's a sleeper pick to win.
- Matt Strangio, Jesuit (CA): The University of Portland signee was eight in this race last year, but has visions of going after a title on Saturday. He won his second straight CIF Division I State Cross Country title on Nov. 30 in 14:43.50.
- Ryan Schoppe, La Porte (TX): Schoppe has broken out in a big way late in the season. He posted the second-fastest high school 5K ever recorded in November, winning the UIL Class 6A State Cross Country Championships in 14:14.02. He broke 15 minutes two other times. This will be his first appearance at NXN.
- Nathan Green, Borah (ID): Green was second at NXR Northwest in a time of 15:13.30 and ran a career-best 5K of 15:00.24 on Oct. 10. He was 18th in this race last year and he's the highest returning junior in the field.
- Caleb Brown, Shelby (OH): Brown finished second at NXR Midwest in 15:02.50 and ran a PR of 14:51.20 on Oct. 19 at his OHSAA XC Regions. He won his first Ohio State Cross Country title on Nov. 2, posting a time of 15:05.10.
- Mhalicki Bronson, Defiance (OH): Bronson was the surprise Midwest athlete of 2019, scoring a third-place finish at NXR Midwest a year after finishing 103rd overall. Bronson's season has been chalk full of PRs, including a career-best time of 15:00.30 at the Portage Invitational on Oct. 5.
- Carson Belnap, Stansbury (UT): Belnap was the Class 4A Utah State Champion clocking the fourth-fastest time of the day. More impressive was his run at NXR Southwest where he finished runner up to Cole Sprout.