NXN Midwest Team Preview: Who Will Make it to Portland?

Girls Preview (Jump to Boys)

Team Scores Based Off of: 5K | 3 Mile

Photo Credit: Marisa Anderson

Carmel (IN) -- With some action at the IL State Meet, let's stray from the national rankings and jump to Carmel. A team that has dominated the Midwest region on the girls side over the years, the Greyhounds look to do so again this year. Led by junior Sarah Leinheiser, Carmel grabbed the state title with ease two weeks ago. Leinheiser's time of 17:30 on Lavern Gibson was one of the fastest times in State Meet History with only National Champs Anna Rohrer and Ashley Erba recording faster times at the State Meet in recent years. Add that with Stacy Morzov, fifth as well as Christina Geisler and Maddie Dalton also finishing in the top 20 in Indiana, and this team is lethal through four. While we did see a 50 second gap between their fourth and fifth place runners, Carmel still had the best #5 runner at the State Meet. Watch for the defending NXN MW Champs to win again Saturday.

Photo Credit: Christian Lisle

Centerville (OH) -- Still jumping around in terms of the national rankings, lets talk about another team that won both the individual and team title. Led by Lainey Studebaker, Ceterville won the OH State Meet with 71 points, over 50 points ahead of any other team in the field. Their key was a strong #1 paired with a pack after that. They put their two through five within ten seconds of each other.

Photo Credit: Colin Boyle

Minooka (IL) -- I'm going to continue to stray for the rankings year and talk about Minooka, an unranked team that won the State Title over US#6 Naperville North by a mere three points. Naperville North had a better #1, #4, and #5, but the middle runners were the difference maker for Minooka. Ashley Tutt led the way with her fourth place finish, but Emily Shelton and Mackenzie Callahan grabbing 19th and 20th was crucial for Minooka's success. If you can be the top team from Illinois in Terre Haute then you are almost guaranteed a berth to NXN. With this team being the top team from State, if they can replicate that performance this weekend they could be heading to Portland.

Naperville North (IL) -- With who we expect to be the individual champ on Sunday on their team, the fate of Naperville North will be decided in the waves of runners crossing the finish line later in the race. Judy Pendergast has established herself as a national contender after a 15:53 state meet record on Saturday. Second place a year ago, Naperville North is deserving of being considered. However, here is an interesting fact -- last year at NXN MW, Naperville North tallied 113 points to make it to Portland. This past Saturday they scored 147 points.

Yorkville (IL) -- In the 2A Race, things weren't as close as the 3A Race. Yorkville took the title with ease scoring 58 points. A team that lost one of their top runners, Skyler Bollinger (transfer to Great Oak), that didn't seem to slow down this squad. Led by Alexis Grandys, third, they put four in the top 15

Photo Credit: Jackson Schultz

Lafayette (MO) -- While they have dominated competition they've faced similar to their boys, not much have talked about their girls in terms of making it to nationals. After what they did at the state meet that should change. Anna West continued her winning ways. Her only loses this season have come at the hands of Taylor Werner. Her teammate, Sarah Nicholson, grabbed second place in 18:01. Their third runner, Grace Breiten, finished 11th, a huge reason why they went on to win with only 55 points. Just looking at times, four and five being near 20 minutes could pose a problem for the Lady Lancers. While I think Terre Haute might be a bit faster than Oak Hills, to put it in perspective all of the top five teams last year had their five across under 19:20.

Photo Credit: Richard Kettel

Birmingham Seaholm (MI) -- Fourth last year, the 2015 MI State Champs should be included on as a team to watch out for. While they did lose a strong 1-2 punch in Audrey Belf and Rachel Dadamio, they have proven to be the top team in Michigan, one of only five states represented in the region. They had a strong pack of four at state finishing 11th through 19th before a bit of a gap between fifth runner Emily Rooney, 53rd. While a lot of the top Midwest teams haven't faced each other yet, when Seaholm went up against OH State Champs Centerville, Centerville edged the MI team out by two points to grab the victory. That being said, watch for a close race not only between these teams but the entire top slew of contenders on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Colin Boyle

New Trier (IL) -- Third in 3A, New Trier scored lower than nationally Yorkville in the State Meet Merge. The Trevians return six of their seven from their fifth place squad at NXN MW from a year ago.