Individual Girls: Baxterrific (Simi Valley); Runner Up: Alexa Efraimson
Individual Boys: Estevan De La Rosa (Arcadia); Runner Up: Bryce Millar
Team Girls:Fayetteville Manlius (Manlius XC Club); Runner Up: Unionville (PA)
Team Boys: Fayetteville Manlius (Manlius XC Club); Runner Up: Arcadia (CA)
The Ladies:This race has all the drama. Sarah Baxter running for an unprecedented third straight NXN title and FM running for a ridiculous - RIDICULOUS - eighth straight title. On the individual side, there is a lot of hype around Alexa Efraimson - many are picking her to win over Baxter. I’m not buying it. Not even a little bit. Baxter has shown that she can run in any weather on any course. She has not lost a high school cross country race. Say again? She has not lost a high school cross country race. As long as she is smart out there (as in, don’t go out in a sub 5:00 mile, Sarah), she will win. On the team side, FM finally has their hands full. Unionville has beaten them twice this year (45 to 79 early on and 89 to 92 more recently). Let’s be clear, championships are not won in September or October (or November in this case). They are won in December. As far as Unionville goes, one of its scoring runners has mono. So that sucks for them. With that being said, I still think they hang onto the runner up spot.
The Fellas: Things here are a bit less clear. There are at least ten different guys that could win this race. I think this one will come right down to it. Look for the strong finishers to represent. I’m taking a shot here and picking De La Rosa over (local) Millar. Don’t get me wrong, I do think Bryce will win a NXN title - I just think it will be next year. (Footnote: I’m hoping Mike Brannigan can somehow pull this thing out - such a great story!) On the team side, CBA (NJ) are favorites, but honestly, it’s a mess at the top. This thing could fall in any direction. So… I’m going with the locals ***STOP*** what? I actually have two local teams to choose from. Out of the 22 teams at NXN, two of the schools are within ten miles of where I sit at this very moment. I expect Liverpool to finish top 6 (because NY is awesome) but FM will take it. They’re peaking at the right time and they’ll have just watched the girls win their eighth straight NXN title (Footnote: the FM boys have one senior in their top seven - they will win the NXN title next year and it will probably be with a record low score).
Last year, the race was run in slop. It’s remarkable that there weren’t more injuries. This year, pumps have been added to the course to dry it out a little (Remember Reebok Pumps? - I wonder why nobody runs in them). Not only that, the weather has been fair this week. The course will be faster than last year (which isn’t saying much). This could give a slight edge to some of the teams who are used to running on dainty, groomed golf courses (I’m looking at you, California). It’s going to be relatively cold (this is very relative, as high 20s might feel a little balmy to some of the schools). It should be fun.
- Baxterrific will run clear of everyone, including Efraimson
- FM girls will win their eighth straight NXN title
- De La Rosa in a sprint (photo?) finish
- FM boys will win their first NXN title
- FM will be the first school to have girls/boys champions the same year
Go to http://nxn.runnerspace.com/ for the meet schedule and live coverage on Saturday.