Well its here! Thanksgiving weekend!!! Nike Cross and Footlocker Northeast Regionals are Saturday! Who has the best shot at punching a ticket to a National Championship??? For those that do not know the difference, Footlocker is the older sibling for individuals, no teams, and the top 10 finishers qualify for a trip to the national championship in San Diego, California. In 2014, the now famous (and recently bloodied), Eli Moskowitz (Souhegan) qualified and represented the 603 quite well. Nike Cross, NXN, was created to crown a National Team Champion. The top 2 teams in each region automatically qualify for the trip to the national championships in Portland, Oregon, but as Coe-Brown showed us in 2013, 4 teams across the country can nab an at-large bid to the meet as well. Individuals can also qualify from each region by placing in the top 5 individuals who are not on a qualifying team, as Coe-Brown’s Liz Danis demonstrated last year and Oyster River’s Maegan Doody the previous year.
All eyes will certainly be on Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, NY as NH has 3 phenomenal favorites poised to qualify for Footlocker Nationals. New England Champion and US #20 Exeter’s Jackie Gaughan may very well win the Northeast. She has been on an absolute tear as she has dominated NH and New England this season. She has yet to be challenged in the last mile of a race, and continues to break course records. It will be interesting to see just how fast she can run with great competition, particularly from pre-race favorite Jessica Lawson of Corning, NY.
Also in great contention is NH’s other dominant force in Oyster River’s Patrick O’Brien. Also dominating NH, he gave a gutsy performance at New Englands placing 2nd to US #3 DJ Principe. Demonstrated by having a great closing mile, New England’s seemed like the tip of the iceberg for O’Brien, who looked like he was simply testing the waters. He will have more help to run extremely fast this Saturday and that recipe should create a qualifying slot.
Of course, refusing to be counted out or overshadowed, Bedford’s Leya Salis is one of the race’s favorites as well. Coming off the best race of her life at New Englands, where she placed 2nd, Salis is brimming with confidence and along with Gaughan and O’Brien, has a legitimate shot at punching her ticket to San Diego. Oyster River’s Danielle Slavin represents a darkhorse in this race. She seems to be getting stronger and has saved her best races for the last month of the season.
Full Entry lists for Footlocker were not posted as of Thursday morning (gotta go eat some turkey sometime), so if you know of other Granite Staters competing, please comment below.
This year, 4 NH teams are making the trip to Nike Cross Northeast Regional in Wappinger’s Falls, NY where the historical Bowdoin Park runs quite similar to Derryfield. Making their 5th consecutive trip is Coe-Brown girls (NH #4), running as Black Bear XC Club. However, with the future being now, Souhegan (NH #1) represents NH’s best shot for a team to punch a ticket to Oregon and will run as Sabers Running Club. While they may not be considered a ‘favorite’, do not rule them out. Vermont and NH schools tend to surprise many of the predictions mostly due to the difficulty of Bowdoin’s course. Keep in mind, Souhegan was within striking distance of New England Champion Champlain Valley, Vt., which is currently ranked 3rd in the Northeast behind a couple New Jersey teams. Further, by competing at the event last year, nothing will be knew, especially how to attack the course. Expect Souhegan to be in contention at the very least to be only the third school from NH (Hanover & Coe-Brown) to compete in the Nike Cross Nationals.
Concord boys (NH #1) are entered in the boys race for the first time as the The Tribe XC Club. With graduating only one senior (Jamie Wilkes), this seems to be a fact finding trip for the Crimson Tide in preparation for a possible qualifying berth next year. Overall, this truly a toss up race team wise among several teams with three New Jersey teams topping the Northeast poll. Coe-Brown boys (NH #4) are also entered and will run as the Black Bear XC Club.
Individually, Bishop Guertin’s Caroline Fischer has a legitimate shot at qualifying as an individual this year. Although she is only a freshmen, she has a rich experience of qualifying for and competing in national championship races via the USATF Junior Olympics. Her teammate Caroline Towle is also entered. West’s Julia Robitaille, coming off probably the best race of her life at New Englands, could also threaten for a qualifying slot or at least an All-Region team. She has great momentum, and Bowdoin seems to be built for her.
Follow the links below to more information and last year’s results about each meet. Happy Thanksgiving!!!