* Noah Valyo (left) won the seventh NPOTW poll; Joe Barrett (right) is one of five nominees for this edition of the National Performer of the Week
Photo Credit: Dan Loughlin/MileSplit & Derrick Dingle/MileSplit
After Hurricane Ian caused last year's Great American XC Festival to be canceled, over 3,000 athletes were ready to compete at WakeMed for the first time since 2021.
Athens Drive senior Noah Valyo may have been the most excited to be back.
The North Carolina State commit dropped the hammer, winning the boys championship race in 14:42.6, which was a new PR and the fourth-fastest time in course history.
In the midst of his historic run, Valyo surpassed some legends on the all-time WakeMed course list, including Olympian Sean McGorty, NCAA champ Charles Hicks and the legendary Drew Hunter.
Last week, Valyo picked up a season-high 66-percent of the total votes, the first nominee to collect more than 60-percent in 2023.
Congrats to Valyo on his first NPOTW honor this season, and as always, good job to the other four nominees as well.
Here are this week's five nominees for the National Performer of the Week.
Drew Griffith, Butler (PA): There wasn't anything else Griffith could have done this weekend to impress even more. The Notre Dame commit didn't just win the MileStat.com XC Invitational, but he dominated, winning by 22 seconds. Griffith clocked 14:21, the fastest 5,000m time in Pole Green Park history. It was also a new PR and marked his fifth straight win. Griffith, along with a strong group of five other guys came through the first mile in 4:39, before putting a huge gap between him and the field over the course of the next mile. Just for kicks, this was a whopping 28-second improvement from his previous best.
Nolan McGinn, Fayetteville-Manlius (NY): Just like Griffith, McGinn won his race this weekend, improving to a perfect 6-0 for his senior campaign. On the last day of September, McGinn covered three miles in 14:36.4 at the McQuaid Invitational. In his first race since, McGinn won big at the Chittenango Bears Twilight, running 15:47.7. On top of the win, it was also a new course record, at a venue that has only ever seen six high schools break 16:00 on the challenging course. McGinn bettered the previous record by three seconds exactly, one that hadn't been touched since 2016.
Daniel Simmons, American Fork (UT): The future Brigham Young Cougar has raced six times this season, and has yet to lose, winning on average by 26 seconds week-after-week. This time, Simmons took gold at the Utah 6A Section A Divisional, cruising to a 15:22 victory at nearly 4800 feet of elevation. As of now, Simmons owns the top-three times in Lakeside Sports Park history, with his early season clocking of 15:07 marking the course record. As he has nearly all year, Simmons won by a healthy margin and additionally led American Fork to another team title as they prep for both the state and national postseason.
Sam Scott, Minneapolis Southwest (MN): In his first race since finishing runner-up and being one of three boys to break the previous course record, Scott was back on the grass last week at the Minneapolis City Conference Championships, winning in 15:08.4. Scott had a comfortable 42 seconds of open grass behind him as he won his third race on the year. Scott added his third city title to his trophy case, and earned his first win at the meet since 2021. Scott still sits #2 all-time at Gale Woods Farm, and is the fastest athletes not under 15:00 in course history.
Joe Barrett, Christian Brothers Academy (NJ): The rain didn't bother the junior over the weekend, as Barrett picked up his first-ever victory at the Manhattan Invitational. Barrett joined a prestigious list of athletes, making himself the tenth fastest to ever trek through Van Cortlandt Park. Just a junior, Barrett is now the fourth-fastest non-senior in course history behind a handful of guys, one of those being Edward Cheserek. Now, Barrett is 3-0 this fall, and picked up a statement win in less-than-ideal conditions, becoming the most recent winner of the Eastern States Championship race.
NPOTW's Previous Winners:
Week 1: Daniel Hruska, Cherry Creek (CO)
Week 2: Ethan Edgeworth, Cold Springs (AL)
Week 3: Bazil Mathes, Monticello (VA)
Week 4: Will Conway, Floyd Central (IN)