The sixth edition of the Nike Cross Nationals high school championship has begun to form as the first three regions held their qualifiers over the weekend. The northwest, heartland and midwest regions have all been hammered out and here are the highlights:
Northwest Region—Boise, ID—Eagle Island State Park
On the boy’s side, North Central (WA) took the team title for the third consecutive year. North Central’s ace, Ben Johnston, also claimed the second consecutive individual title for a North Central individual. The North Central boys will be joined by fellow Washingtonians from Ferris as the automatic qualifying teams from the region. Michael Williams (WA), Cody Helbling (ID), Chase Caulkins (ID), Garrett Zans (WY) and Allan Schroeder (WA) qualified individually. For the girls it was Jesuit (OR) and Bishop Kelly (ID) taking the top spots and qualifying automatically for the championship race. This marks the third consecutive title for the Jesuit girls, keeping pace with the North Central boys. Bishop Kelly’s Emily Nist outkicked Jesuit’s Annamarie Magg for the individual title. Following in places three through seven were the individual qualifiers from the region: Katie Night (WA), Amy-Eloise Neale (WA), Dana Morin (WY), Tansey Lystad (WA) and Andrea Nelson (WA).
Heartland Region—Sioux Falls, SD—Yankton Trails Park
Eden Prairie (MN) boys proved they could match their girls win from 2008 in claiming the heartland regional title. The boys from Minnesota will be joined in Oregon by Wayzata (MN), who qualified for the third consecutive year. The Eden Prairie boys were led by individual champion Aaron Bartnik, who outdistanced individual qualifier Marcus Paulson (WI) 15:33 to 15:37. Other individual boys qualifiers were Jake Erschen (WI), Andrew Stevens (KS), Jacob Sandry (MN) and Tony Smoragiewicz (SD). Dowling Catholic (IA) girls followed up their 2007 regional championship with another title. They will be joined by Elk River (MN) in Oregon. Dowling Catholic saw stellar performances from 1-2 finishers Katie Flood (17:19, course record) and Ashlie Decker. Individual qualifiers from the region were Shelby Houlihan (IA), Marya Haegler (WI), Maria Hauger (MN), Maddie McClennen (MN) and Rebekah Tomham (IA).
Midwest Region—Terre Haute, IN—LaVern Gibson Championship Course
On the NCAA championship course the boy’s of York (IL) won their fifth regional championship and qualified for their sixth consecutive national championship. Neuqua Valley (IL) followed up their 2007 victory with a runner-up placing in 2009. Zach Willis (OH) took the individual crown and will be joined by Tyler Byrne (IN), David Osborn (IN), Martin Grady (IL) and Michael Brajdic (OH) in Portland. On the girl’s side it was Magnificant (OH) and Palatine (IL) taking the top two qualifying spots. Magnificant won their second consecutive title, led by second-place finisher Madeline Chambers. Chambers was outkicked by individual champion Hannah Neczypor (OH) over the final stretch. Neczypor will be joined in Portland by Michelle Thomas (OH), Michelle Moriset (MI), Chelsey Phoebus (MO) and Waverly Neer (IN).