Sydney Thorvaldson Grabs Statement XC Win In Lubbock

The girls race at the Lubbock Christian University High School Cross Country Invitational (The race starts at the 3:17 mark)

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Sydney Thorvaldson ended any doubts on Saturday whether she was the nation's top cross country athlete in 2020, as the Rawlins (WY) High School senior defeated a selection of the country's best girls runners en route to a win at the Lubbock Christian University High School Cross Country Invitational in 16:30.1.

The win marked Thorvaldson's eighth of the season, and her second in a national invitational, giving her a total of six sub-17 minute performances on the season, including two under 16:30. 

Denton Guyer's Brynn Brown, fresh off her state 5K record effort in Texas, finished second overall in 16:56.1. Her performance also marked her sixth sub-17 performance of the season and her first loss. 

Crescenta Valley's Mia Barnett was third overall in 17:14.9, while Katy Cinco Ranch's Sophie Atkinson was fourth in 17:18.4 and Western Muskeon Christian's Abby Vanderkooi was fifth in 17:40.9.

Both Thorvaldson and Brown entered the race ranked No. 3 and No. 2, respectively, in the MileSplit50 rankings, while No. 1 Jenna Hutchins, the junior from Science Hill High School (TN), had run an all-time nation-leading 15:58.42 on Nov. 21 in Alabama. 

However, while Hutchins had gone undefeated throughout the fall season, she did not face as stiff competition throughout. 

Also in race in Lubbock on Saturday were the No. 5 Atkinson and No. 6 Vanderkooi, who both finished in the top five.

Thorvaldson entrenched herself in the lead early, only paced behind by Brown, and looked confident as she descended on to the Lubbock course from Wyoming, where she had been training and competing at elevation for months. 

* Rawlins' Sydney Thorvaldson from 2019

While Thorvaldson began to stretch out the lead early in the first mile on a course that would loop three times, Brown firmly stayed in second looking to hold on.

Meanwhile, Crescenta Valley's (CA) Mia Barnett, Katy Cinco Ranch's Sophie Atkinson and Western Muskegon Christian's Abby Vanderkooi all settled into third, fourth and fifth. 

Woods Cross' Carlee Hansen was sixth overall in 17:56.6.

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