The Broomfield High School Girls Cross Country team earned the Wildcard bid for Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) held at the Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon on Saturday December 3. Twenty teams from eight regions across the country, along with 45 top individuals will be competing at NXN. The top two teams in each region make the finals along with four at-large bids.
Broomfield High Cross Country Head Coach Greg Weich explains, “[NXN] is the pinnacle of high school running in this country. It’s what FootLocker was 10 years ago, it’s an honor to go.”
The Broomfield’s girls are the Colorado State Champions two years in a row this year and were ranked #2 going into the NXN South West regionals, but finished a disappointing third.
“We didn’t race that well. I guess how it probably worked out is that the committee saw that we beat the regional champion twice in the regular season. So that probably propelled us to get that at-large bid. That, and the 2nd place team in that South West regional was ranked 3rd in the country and they beat us by 27.”
Going into the season at their training camp in August the team set up their goals for the season: Repeat as State Champions with the hope of making the national race. His top two girls went 3/4 at State.
After finding out about their at-large bid, the team will revisit their goal setting for NXN. “We talked about being top 5. But if you are at-large bid then getting something like top 10 it a good goal to shoot for. I think we have the potential.”
Coach Weich had to keep his team ready to compete just in case. “The top 2 [at state] knew for two weeks they were going, but we had to continue to train hard not knowing if we were going to go. So we had a focused week, and it was good to hear we made it, so now we can train with a more focused purpose,” he added.
“Race day strategy is so course specific. I saw the course map and profile with rolling hills. It’s going to be muddy, but it looks like it will be a fair course.I’ll have to wait to get out there to decide”
Weich summed up this week’s preparation, “Let’s not do anything dumb this week, let’s not get sick.”
“Its cool for me, but it’s a really fun experience for the girls. They get to meet olympic athletes and they get a bunch of free gear, they treat the kids like it’s the Olympics.”
As the gun sounds athletes will jockey for position across a flat, open 370m straightaway. At the end of 370m, competitors make their first turn onto the rolling terrain of the main loop. As runners near the completion of the first main loop, they will proceed to take a slight right turn towards the 1-mile mark.
As runners pass the 1-mile they’ll make their way onto the back loop where the biggest hill on the course resides. As runners crest the hill they make a sweeping 180-degree turn to start the long loop back towards the start line.
As runners pass the start line, they’ll jump back on the main loop to circumnavigate it a second and last time. After completing the main loop runners will peel off and head towards the finish. Just before the 3-mile mark athletes hit two short, steep climbs sure to burn at this stage in the race.
After cresting the final climb runners can show off their kick on the 400m flat, fast straightaway into the finish line.