PORTLAND, OREGON, December 07—On the NXN girls side, the almost unbelievable happened (or the unbelievable almost happened) as Katelyn Tuohy got one of the closest races of her scintillating high school career.
As usual, the senior from North Rockland High (Thiells, New York) charged to the front early. However, what was notable was that Sydney Thorvaldson (Rawlings, Wyoming) chased after her. Not with her exactly, but Thorvaldson, a junior who ran a 10:01.52 for 3rd in the New Balance Indoor 2M last winter, made it clear she wasn’t inclined to let the favorite run away with it all.
At the mile, Tuohy led at 5:15.5, with Thorvaldson a few strides behind at 5:16.6. Thorvaldson led a small breakaway pack that included Claire Walters (Fayetteville-Manlius, New York), New Balance mile champ Marlee Starliper (Northern, Dillsburg, Pennsylvania) and Taylor Ewert (Beavercreek, Ohio).
In the race’s mid-section, Tuohy ran scared, looking over her shoulder and building what looked to many like an insurmountable margin. The footing had grown more difficult, with the entire path—grass chewed up after the boys race—now dominated by mud.
At 2M (10:51.2), Tuohy held a lead of about 30m. Thorvaldson and Ewert, the walk/steeplechase specialist, ran together at 10:57.9 as the chase pack started to break up. The two staged a see-saw battle over the next mile, with Ewert making several attempts to break away from Thorvaldson. Yet the two were driven on by the sight of Tuohy, looming ever nearer.
At 2.75M, the New Yorker’s lead had dwindled to less than 4 seconds. Still plenty, but on the final hill the two challengers charged side-by-side after her. At the top, they caught her briefly. Just as the runners came around the turn for the final straightaway and it looked like Tuohy was going to get passed, she responded with a desperate kick. Fans screamed as Tuohy held on in the closest NXN finish ever, scoring her third straight win in 17:18.4. Ewert eked out 2nd in 17:19.1 and Thorvaldson 3rd in 17:19.4.
Said the winner, who was well off the course record 16:37.8 she set last time, “This year I was really stressed out before the race and it kind of affected how I felt. But I’m really happy that I was able to tough it out the last 200m because I was really hurting.”
Ewert seemed thrilled to even get near, saying, “I knew it was going to be close, so even with 400 to go I wasn’t sure. I knew that coming up to this race we had planned to make a big move on that last hill and just kick like hell that last little bit, so when I got there I just kept kicking. I just can’t believe it.”
The team crown went to the Kinetic Running Club (Saratoga Springs, New York) on a 78-point performance that put them well clear of the 160 of Central Oregon (Summit, Bend). Despite many close finishes, it was the first win for the team since it captured the inaugural NXN title in ’04. Said soph MacKenzie Hart, “We had so much to prove with a lot of really good athletes graduating and we’re so young, we really wanted to do it.” None of the 7 are juniors or seniors.
NXN GIRLS RESULTS
1. Kinetic 78; 2. Central Oregon 160; 3. Niwot 171; 4. Lone Peak 188; 5. Clovis 201; 6. North Spokane 204; 7. Manlius 206; 8. Highlands Ranch 242; 9. Temecula 266; 10. Purcellville 310; 11. Portland 320; 12. North Naperville 323; 13. Beavercreek 327; 14. Edina 333; 15. Ft. Lauderdale 353; 16. Muskego 354; 17. Newbury Park 358; 18. Forest Park 359; 19. Hunterdon 384; 20. Ridgewood 390; 21. Carroll 426; 22. Prosper 483.
1. Katelyn Tuohy (New York) 17:18.4; 2. Taylor Ewert (Beavercreek) 17:19.1; 3. Sydney Thorvaldson (Northwest) 17:19.4; 4. Claire Walters (Manlius) 17:28.4; 5. Marlee Starliper (Northeast) 17:35.9; 6. Carlie Dorostkar (California) 17:36.4; 7. Brooke Rauber (New York) 17:38.6; 8. Charlotte Bednar (Northeast) 17:40.5; 9. Kate Peters (Forest Park) 17:43.7; 10. Fiona Max (COregon) 17:50.2;
11. Erin Strzelecki (Midwest) 17:51.3; 12. Corie Smith (Clovis) 17:56.2; 13. Jenna Schulz (New York) 17:56.5; 14. Ella Kurto (Kinetic) 17:58.3; 15. Samrawit Dishon (Niwot) 17:58.7; 16. Annalyssa Crain (Midwest) 17:58.8; 17. Tatum David (Midwest) 18:01.5; 18. Julia David Smith (Northwest) 18:02.4; 19. Sarah Connelly (New York) 18:02.6; 20. Kelsey Harrington (Southeast) 18:04.4;
21. Meghan Ford (Heartland) 18:07.0; 22. Mattalyn Geddes (Northwest) 18:07.9; 23. Brynn Brown (South) 18:08.8; 24. Sasha Neglia (Southeast) 18:09.1; 25. Samantha Blair (Southwest) 18:16.9; 26. Eliza Arrington (Lone Peak) 18:17.2; 27. Lauren Ping (Southwest) 18:17.8; 28. Alexandra Klos (California) 18:18.1; 29. Analee Weaver (Heartland) 18:19.5; 30. Kora Malecek (Heartland) 18:23.0;
31. Riley Stewart (Southwest) 18:24.2; 32. Lea Hatcher (Southeast) 18:24.6; 33. Savannah Scriven (California) 18:24.9; 34. Marie Hostetler (Heartland) 18:25.2; 35. McKinley Wheeler (Kinetic) 18:26.1; 36. Maggie Gamboa (NNaperville) 18:26.8; 37. Colleen Stegmann (South) 18:28.0; 38. Mackenzie Hart (Kinetic) 18:28.0; 39. Sheridan Wheeler (Kinetic) 18:28.2; 40. Avery Clover (South) 18:32.6;
41. Zoe Duffus (Midwest) 18:32.9; 42. Teaghan Knox (Central Oregon) 18:34.9; 43. Jenna Mulhern (Northeast) 18:35.2; 44. Chloe Gonzalez (Hunterdon) 18:36.6; 45. Meg Madison (Northeast) 18:41.7; 46. Tsion Yared (Ft Lauderdale) 18:42.7; 47. Lanie Szuch (Highlands Ranch) 18:43.4; 48. Athena Young (Southeast) 18:44.2; 49. Erinn Hill (NSpokane) 18:44.4; 50. Katelynne Hart (Midwest) 18:45.3. (201 finished).