Saturday, December 07, 2013

Friday's NXN Run Through

By Eric Jahn

On Friday all the runners got a chance to go over the course, check out the conditions, and adjust their race plans for tomorrow's NXN Nationals.
The Wayzata girls tour the Portland Meadows course.
Photo by Eric Jahn

Anything that had been soft or liquid yesterday has turned solid.  Puddles were ice, mud was frozen, and stretches of long grass were crunchy with lumpy ground underfoot.  NXN veterans commented on the conditions they found:
Minnesota champ Obsa Ali said "There is nothing I saw that would suck your spikes off like last year."  He said that the cold he had at State last month is gone, and he hopes to contend for the title.
Connor Olson, MSHSL runner-up, said "Anything is better than last year.  But the ground is hard and uneven, and it won't race fast.  We will probably go with a medium-length spike."
Heartland champion Addison DeHaven of Brookings was much more optimistic.  "I think the course record will go down tomorrow.  There could be several guys under 15 minutes.  I plan to be in position at two miles, and be ready to go when someone makes the move."
Wayzata head coach Dave Emmans, who came out to Portland to cheer on his team, said that conditions today "looked like we were back in Minnesota.  Kind of reminded me of the Ice Bowl in 1967 between Green Bay and Dallas when the wind chill was -40.  There are many teams who will show up tomorrow and just tank."
The Wayzata girls were encouraged by developments.  They surprised last year by a seventh place finish in the slop, and they feel that the arctic conditions plays to their strength.  Anna French said "We have already been running in the snow this month.  Our race strategy won't change.  We will put ourselves in position early and move up through the field."  

Edina's Jonathan Shirley models the uniform
for today's race.  Might want to
consider an extra layer under
that singlet.

Also on the squad this year is Alayna Sonnesyn, an elite national-class Nordic skier.  She feels that the skiing background that she, French, and Michaela Keller-Miller have will pay off on the slick and icy course at Portland Meadows.  Jenna Truedson of Bemidji agrees.  "We just got 14 inches of snow in Bemidji.  The more like skiing tomorrow, the better."

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