Well its here! Thanksgiving weekend!!! Nike Cross and Champs Northeast Regionals are Saturday! Over the better half of the last decade, NH has flexed its ‘per capita’ muscle with teams and individuals qualifying for with Nike Cross Nationals or Champs. This year Nike Cross NATIONALS is back! So, for teams, this is it. Identical to NCAA Regionals, the top 2 teams in each region get an automatic berth to Nike Cross Nationals held the following weekend in Portland, Oregon (all expenses paid by Nike!). Further, the top 5 individuals NOT on a qualifying team also make the meet. Regardless, this regional event itself is annually incredible!
Kinney/Footlocker/Eastbay is different this year as its title sponsor has changed to Champs Sports, but they have returned to 10 qualifying Champs Sports Nationals, rather than the 8 last year.
For those that do not know the difference, Champs is the older sibling for individuals, no teams, hoping to qualify for a trip to the national championship in San Diego, California. Nike Cross Nationals, NXN, was created to crown a National Team Champion. The top 2 teams in each region automatically qualified for the trip to the national championships in Portland, Oregon, but as Hanover showed us in 2007 and Coe-Brown showed in 2013, 4 teams across the country can nab an at-large bid to the meet as well. In 2017, Souhegan girls became the third NH program to qualify for a trip to Oregon. Individuals could also qualify from each region by placing in the top 5 individuals who are not on a qualifying team, as Bishop Guertin’s Caroline Fischer demonstrated in 2016, Coe-Brown’s Liz Danis did in 2015, Oyster River’s Maegan Doody did in 2014, and West’s Julia Robitaille did in 2017. And in 2021 Coe-Brown’s Aidan Cox won the Northeast Regional which would have qualified for NXN if there was a meet held.
Nike Cross Regionals Home Page
Live Webcast Link
This year, 6 NH teams and several individuals are making the trip to Nike Cross Northeast Regional in Wappinger’s Falls, NY where the historical Bowdoin Park runs quite similar to Derryfield, The course climbs the first half culminating at 1.5 miles, not 2 miles like Derryfield. Then it is a free fall down to the last 1k. But different from Manch, this is basically a flat loop with one final short hill. For the girls NH #3 Bedford (Bulldogs) and #8 Souhegan (Sabers) will be competing in the Championship Race. While Souhegan makes this an annual trip and knows the scene well, Bedford is making their debut at Bowdoin. Look for both teams to do quite well and finish better than predictions forecast. Individually, Coe-Brown’s Sheldyn Fisher and Dover’s Alyson Bortz are entered in the Championship Race. Fisher is coming off an All-New England performance 2 weeks ago, so look for her to take a shot at All-Northeast honors. Worthy of note, last spring’s D1 State 3200m champ, Concord’s Shelly Smith is entered in the Open race coming off of injury. Good to see.
The boys side has 4 NHIAA schools representing the Granite State. NH#1 Coe-Brown (Black Bears), NH#2 Souhegan (Sabers), and NH#3 Lebanon (Raiders) are slated to compete in the Championship Race while NH #10 Winnacunnet (Warriors) will be competing in the Open Race. Also, our friends from Phillips Exeter will be in the Championship race. They have once again dominated their league and are hoping for an NXN berth. Look for the Bears to bounce back after their first subpar team performance of the season. While Aidan Cox will secure a low-stick, the success of the Bears will be if their subsequent pack runs as a team led by Tyler Tkaczyk. That has been their strength all season; Jamie Lano right with Tkaczyk, while Nikhil Chavda and Gavin Demas stay relatively close. If they can do that, they will be a factor. Souhegan’s amazing pack time will be put to the ultimate test. If their pack can move up the ranks, they will have a good result. This may be a prep for next year as they do not lose a big number off of their varsity due to matriculation. Lebanon is making their debut at NXR. Buoyed by the super success of Birhanu Harriman and his surprising wingman, Thomas Wolfe, the Raiders have a great 1-2 punch. And do not overlook PEA as they won the Black Bear Invitational earlier in the year as well as placing high in the Manchester Invitational without their top runner.
Individually, the top 21 make All-Northeast and NH has a good number shooting for this goal. We have to start with Harriman and Gilford’s Patrick Gandini as they have seemingly been inseparable this season even when in separate races (Divisions). They are both making their debuts at the Bowdoin Park course and NXR. Cox is the defending champ and has been racing this course since middle school. He knows it well. If he is fully healthy, expect him to close quite well and also be a contender for berth to NXN. All three will have to be assertive as nothing is given to you at this level. There are 10+ individuals who have a realistic shot at top 5 including PEA’s Byron Grevious as he is certainly one of the favorites for the win overall. Wolfe, Tkaczyk and Lano should solidly be in the chase pack and contending for All-Northeast.
Champs Sports Northeast
A small but strong group of Granite Staters are making the trek to the Bronx and the famed Van Cortland Park. On the girls side MOC Champ, PCA’s Brianna Malone and Oyster River’s Mackenzie Cook and Haley Kavanagh will be taking on the entire Northeast. Coming off her 2nd place at New Englands, it would seem Malone has a real shot at top 10 which would qualify her for a trip to San Diego! And without entries being posted, that is all we are sure of! If you are an athlete or a coach who knows of other Granite Staters who are making the trip and competing, comment below!!! We want to support all!
Good luck to all!
2 thoughts on “What to Watch For! 2022 Northeast Regionals!”
Jonas Teeter is going as well to the Champs race
Matthew Giardina is running in the Champs meet.