An incredibly deep field is assembled for the United States XC Championships. The field boasts a handful of NCAA Qualifers, All-Americans from both NXN and Foot Locker, and the ACC Freshman of the year. With so many names, here are some of the top runners to look out for this weekend. The field is competing for the coveted spots on the United State XC Team for the IAAF World Championships in Poland.
Emily Stites: The top finisher from NCAA Nationals, Stites placed an incredible 26th at NCAA's as a true freshman. She ran a blistering 20:05 for 6K to cross the line as a third freshman. Stites also competed at the Great Edinburgh Classic where she was the top finisher with her 7th place finish.
Erin Finn: This girl is the real deal. The West Bloomfield (Michigan) star was seventh as a sophomore at Foot Locker Nationals and second as a junior. Her senior season was ended early when she failed to qualify for nationals. She got right back up and opened her indoor season with a blazing 10:18 3200m and followed that up with a 14:09 4K to win the NACAC Junior race.
Samantha Nadel: Nadel is a legend in the Northeast. A graduate from North Shore HS in NY, Nadel was the 2012 Millrose Games Mile Champ where she ran her PR of 4:46.11. She also graduated HS with a 3K time of 9:25. At Georgetownuji, Nadel finished 128th at NCAA Nationals as a freshman, dipping under 21 minutes for 6K.
Carrie Verdon: CA State XC Champ in 2011, Verdon was on Colorado's varsity squad as a freshman. She finished 136th at NCAA Nationals as a freshman and recorded a PR of 20:41 in her first season as a Buffalo. She is in great shape despite it being late January, as she is coming off of a 16:47 5K this past weekend.
Brianna Nerud: A teammate of Nadel's at North Shore, Nerud is the national HS record holder for the 3K steeple, running 10:00 for the event. In her freshman year at Syracuse she ran a 6K in 21:09.
Samantha George: The ACC Freshman of the year, George recorded a 6K time of 20:46 to place 13th at the ACC Championship. She is coming off of a fifth place at the NACAC XC Championships, showing she is ready to roll on the course.
Taylor Mannett: Another girl who will be heading down from Michigan, Mannett had a great freshman year as a Michigan Wolverine. She ran a best time of 20:52 for 6K and placed 169th at NCAA nationals. She recently ran at the Great Edinburgh Classic where she was 17th in the junior race.
Maddie Meyers: Meyers crossed the line at NCAA Nationals in 187th place as a freshman this year. The Washington Huskie is in great shape as evidence by her 9:33 3K this past weekend. The Washington native boasts a 6K PR of 20:53.
Olivia Pratt: The Butler Bulldog was 195th at NCAA Nationals as a freshman. Her best 6K time from the season was 21:27 at NCAA Pre-Nationals. Pratt is coming off a solid 3K this past weekend, running 9:48 for 3K.
Meghan McGovern: Another NCAA Nationals qualifier, McGovern was 228th as a freshman. She recorded a very similar time of Mannett, as she ran 20:56 as her best for the 6K distance. McGovern, a runner for Willam & Mary, was sixth at the NACAC Championship.
Katie Knight: Knight has established herself as one of the top HS distance runners in the nation. She finished third at NXN this year as well as last year. The future Washington Huskie has set incredible times from 800m to 5000m with PR's such as 10:20 for 3200m and 4:51 for a mile.
Maggie Drazba: At only 16 years of age, Drazba was last year's runner up. The future West Virginia runner is coming off of a 22nd place finish at Foot Locker Nationals. She has run 10:27 for 3200m and 4:53 for a mile, while having a solid 17:10 5K from the Foot Locker South Regional.
Hannah Long: Long has been a force in Missouri ever since she won the Forest Park XC Festival last year. She had a tough loss against Taylor Werner at that meet this year but continued on to win her first state championship this fall. She qualified for Foot Locker Nationals and made the most of the opportunity and took 10th place, beating out her MO counterpart. Long is no stranger to the Forest Park course, as she ran 17:07 for 5K this year at Forest Park.
Regan Mullen: Mullen chose the DII route and has found great success doing so. She finished 22nd at DII Nationals recording a 6K time a little over 21 minutes. She competed for Team USA at the NACAC Championships where she was 9th.
Kaitlyn Kramer: Kramer collected a solid PR for 6K running 20:57 at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. A NC State freshman, Kramer had a breakout season in college. She was 26th at ACC's and will join her teammate, Samantha George in St. Louis this weekend.
Taylor Werner: One of only a few runners to complete the NXN and Foot Locker doubles, she is the only freshman to pull off that feat. The top freshman, Werner burst on the scene on the Forest Park course, running 16:59 in her first ever 5K to win the Forest Park XC Festival. Werner capped off her season with a 13th place finish at Foot Locker, only a couple spots behind Missouri counterpart, Hannah Long.
Sydney Scott: The Colorado Native has faired well at West Viriginia. She has one of the better 6K times in the field with a PR of 21:21 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional where she was All-Region.
Alex Davis: The Plainview (Oklahoma) HS standout was 17th at this meet last year. However, the Baylor commit had quite the senior year. She won her state meet, was fourth at Foot Locker South, and went on to place 26t at Foot Locker Nationals.
Emily Nist: A teammate of Nerud's at Syracuse, Nist clocked in at 22:16 for 6K this fall. From Idaho, Nist ran 10:26 in her HS days. She showed she was ready to go for this weekend, running 17:24 last weekend at the Penn State National Invitational.
Emma Lisa-Murphy: Ran 21:35 in her freshman year as a Wisconsin Badger.
Laura Vazquez: Ran 21:40 in her freshman season at San Diego State.
Emma Abrahamson: 10:24 3200m, 4:55 1600m, 14th at Foot Locker West.
Ariel Michalek: Wisconsin Badger, redshirt in the fall, 4:53/10:33 HS PRs.
Kaitlyn Fischer: A local talent, Fischer has won many state championships in Missouri. She had a fantastic senior cross country season where she ran 17:51 at the Forest Park XC Festival and won her state meet. She has things going for her - her experience on the Forest Park course, and her ability to adjust to long distances. For many of these girls it will be there first 6K. While this is true for Fischer, she ran an absurd 36:13 for 10K this summer.
Nicole Mello: Mello was a Foot Locker qualifier as a junior, but missed out this past fall. A recent Mizzou commit, Mello was second at the Missouri State meet this fall.
Amelia Paladino: 30th at Foot Locker Nationals.
Lyndsey Mull: At UCLA, ran 4:49/2:14 in HS.
Miranda Prado: TX XC State Champ.