Foot Locker Boys Preview: Mcgorty, Wharton lead chase pack of Cheserek Stephen Underwood Dec 06, 2012

Twelve months ago, St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) junior Edward Cheserek was bound for San Diego atop a towering wave of momentum that would dwarf any surfers’ swells from the nearby Pacific Ocean.  Coming into the Foot Locker Finals, he had smashed seven course records during a season for the ages, including becoming the first under 12:00 at Van Cortlandt (Eastern States), taking down Joe Rosa’s Holmdel Park record in Jersey, and a host of others.  (Photo by Don Rich)

NXN Girls Wrap: Dominate Runs for Manlius and Baxter Stephen Underwood Dec 02, 2012

The girls of Fayetteville-Manlius (N.Y.), known as Manlius XC here, came into Saturday’s Nike Cross Nationals girls’ championship race in Portland with six consecutive titles under their belt.  Yet, there were questions.  F-M had, at the Eastern States Championships in October, been beaten for the first time in any meet in six years (by Tatnall DE) – though F-M had been without its #1 Jillian Fanning.  Would they finally relinquish the NXN crown?  Who would beat them?

NXN Boys Team Preview Stephen Underwood Nov 30, 2012

It’s fascinating how the history of Nike Cross Nationals has evolved in terms of comparing the girls’ and boys’ championships.  With the girls, you had a program in Fayetteville-Manlius which has won six titles in a row -- not to mention another in the same state, Saratoga Springs, which has claimed three consecutive runner-up finishes.  For the boys, however, there has not only never been a repeat champion, but no club has won two titles overall in the 8-year history of the event.  Eight different NXN boys’ championships, eight different winners.

NXN Boys Individual Preview Stephen Underwood Nov 29, 2012

If you see Nick Ryan going out hard Saturday during the Nike Cross Nationals Boys Championship race at Portland Meadows, perhaps grabbing a sizable lead in the first mile, you best not let him go this time.

NXN Girls Team Preview Stephen Underwood Nov 28, 2012

They are questions you’ve posed and heard regarding the Nike Cross Nationals girls’ team title every year since 2007.  Why?  Well, because until the answers change, what other questions are there to ask?  Can the Fayetteville-Manlius (Manlius, N.Y.) girls (known here as Manlius XC) win again?  And if not, who can beat them? (Photo by Pat Bendzick)

NXN Girls Individual Preview Stephen Underwood Nov 27, 2012

If you’ve watched US#1 Sarah Baxter destroy hallowed course records of Amber Trotter at Mt. SAC and Julia Stamps at Woodward Park during this epic 2012 fall campaign, you might have said, “Wow, she looks like she could be running with the boys.” (File photo by Pat Bendzick)

Leingang style: Foot Locker Midwest Boys Preview Stephen Underwood Nov 23, 2012

The Foot Locker Midwest boys’ championship race can’t quite match the front-end, national championship-level firepower of the girls’ race.  Still, there’s a big handful of 2011 Finals returnees, aspiring national championship doublers and talented state champions that will be present Saturday. 

The Big 4 Showdown: Foot Locker Midwest Girls Preview Stephen Underwood Nov 23, 2012

It’s an easy one – the clash of the “Big Four” (see analysis below) Michigan stars Erin Finn and Julia Bos, and Indiana standouts Anna Rohrer, and Ashley Erba should be the most exciting individual war for any of the Foot Locker or NXN regional races this season and there are several reasons why...

D1 Girls: Finn is flyin’ again Stephen Underwood Nov 04, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich. – As the field at Michigan International Speedway Saturday made the big turn after the long starting straightaway, turning to cross the actual speedway about 500 meters in, Grosse Pointe South teammates Hannah Meier and Kelsie Schwartz led the field by 10-15 meters, while Erin Finn was tucked back quietly in a group behind them.  Knowing that Finn was still on the road to recovery from an iron deficiency, one could hardly keep from wondering if she was up to defending her 2011 MHSAA Lower Peninsula State Finals Division 1 girls’ crown.

D1 Boys: Highland-Milford’s crew one of best ever Stephen Underwood Nov 04, 2012

Highland-Milford’s boys cross country team is never far from the top.  As Coach Brian Salyers likes to point out, his squad has placed in the top ten in the MHSAA Lower Peninsula State Finals Division 1 race during 15 of the past 16 years.  In 2003-2004, they won back-to-back titles.

D2 Girls: No doubt who’s Bos Stephen Underwood Nov 04, 2012

Julia Bos would have loved a big personal best to close out her in-state cross country career.  She had to settle, instead, for merely a very dominant repeat victory in Saturday’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Finals Division 2 race at Michigan International Speedway.

D3 Boys and Girls: Sweep city for Lumen Christi Stephen Underwood Nov 04, 2012

BROOKLYN – Jackson Lumen Christi’s boys coach David Miller laughed as a reporter asks him how many state titles he and his powerful boys have won now, during the Division 3 awards ceremony at the MHSAA Lower Peninsula Finals Saturday at MIS. It’s clear he’s been asked that a lot.

Division 4 Girls: Ode to Olling Stephen Underwood Nov 04, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich. – Breckenridge junior Kirsten Olling wanted to make sure no one had any designs on taking her title away from her at Saturday’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Final Girls Division 4 race at Michigan International Speedway.

Division 4 Boys: Flight of the Concord Stephen Underwood Nov 04, 2012

BROOKLYN, Mich – There were the Kyle Stack-led champs of 2009.  Then came the titlists of 2011, headed up by Spencer Nousain.  Now, in 2012, a sophomore has led them, with Jesse Hersha’s 15:32.3 ruling over the field by more than 20 seconds in Saturday’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Final Boys Division 4 at Michigan International Speedway.