Update 4/12/21

The NIRCA Fall 2021 National Championship is (tentatively) on!

Based on the current info available, we are thrilled to announce that Fall XC Nationals is planned for November 6th, 2021 in Shelbyville, IN. These plans are subject to change as new information emerges, so keep checking here for immediate updates as they are available.

2016 XC Nationals: Women's Individual Preview

November 9th, 2016

With no clear-cut favorite and no top ten finishers returning from a year ago, the women’s individual championship is up for grabs in Hershey.

It’s hard to imagine that in NIRCA’s eleventh National XC Championship there could still be something that has never happened before. But when not a single top ten finisher from the previous year is returning, that is certainly a first for the NIRCA women’s field. Thus the 2016 individual title looks to be anybody’s game. And with only eight of the top 30 medal winners back, the awards podium in Hershey will be filled with new names and faces.

The highest returning finisher from a season ago is not only one of the leading contenders based on previous year’s results but also on her recent performance at the Great Plains Regional. Missouri’s Caitlin Hammons (11th in 2015) cruised to a comfortable 42 second win, covering the Ames, IA course in 23:03. The next three finishers in the Great Plains will not be making the trip to Nationals, leaving Hammons as the region’s best hope for an individual champion. Minnesota’s Evelyn Frenz (5th at Great Plains) was the next best finisher making the trip, running 24:18.

Hammons

 

The Great Lakes Region however features a number of runners who medaled in Lexington and are all coming off very good regional meet performances. That list of contenders starts with the 2016 Great Lakes champ Emily Wagoner from Indiana, who picked up a win in Shelbyville with a fast 22:17. Wagoner was 16th last year and only lost once in NIRCA competition this fall, to Central Michigan’s Taylor Augillon at the MC5 early on. Augillon will not be competing on Saturday.

Michigan State has two returning medal winners and a third realistic hope for an individual champion. Erin Zimmer and Nicole Mosteller were 12th and 25th last year and both are back. Zimmer has been dominating this season, coming off a runner-up finish to Wagoner at the Great Lakes Regional, running 22:36. Right behind her at Regionals, and all year actually, is Tarah Thompson who is another sub-23 runner for the Spartans. Thompson was 62nd in Lexington and 54th in East Lansing in 2014 but clearly much improved this year.

Michigan’s Colleen Conroy is another midwest runner who has title aspirations. After a 94th place finish in 2015, she has made big strides this season, placing fourth at Great Lakes in 22:59.

Elizabeth Buckley comes in as the Mid Atlantic Regional champ and will be making her first appearance at NIRCA Nationals. The Virginia Tech star pulled away from the field in Bethlehem, PA and won convincingly in 22:24, well ahead of runner-up Roxanne Ramirez from Delaware (22:46) and Hookie teammate Amy Edgemond (22:48), both of whom will also be in the mix. The Penn State duo of Noemie Noullet and Ariane Abadi finished fourth and fifth at Mid Atlantics and can make a push for the individual title. Noullet was 26th last year and while Abadi didn’t medal in 2015, she was 11th at 2014 Nationals. Both runners have the added incentive of scoring low points for their team.

Possibly the favorite to represent the Mid Atlantic Region in the chase for an individual title is a familiar name in NIRCA circles, though she won’t show up on the regional meet results. University of Pennsylvania grad student Liz Novack has a resume full of accolades at two different schools. As an undergrad at Penn State she was an All-American, finishing as high as 10th at the 2012 National meet. While at UPenn, Novack was the 2015 Mid Atlantic runner-up but has yet to compete at a National meet for the Quakers, until this Saturday. Earlier this year she won the Princeton Invitational by almost a minute over Penn State’s Abadi.

Novack

 Dana Fry from Oregon is the third highest returning finisher in this race, having placed 13th a year ago. Fry did not compete at the Pacific Regional but most recently ran a 23:57 6k on what appeared to be a difficult course and a 19:28 5k in early October. Also out of the Pacific Region is UC Davis’s Sally Keating. Just 47th a year ago, Keating recently blew away the field at the Pacific Regional at Crystal Springs, winning in a NIRCA-best 21:43. If she can duplicate that effort in Hershey, the west coast may have its first ever women’s champion. Stanford’s Amia Nash is the next best finisher from the region who is making the cross-country trek to Hershey, having run 23:32.

The Southeast Region accounts for the final two medal winners from a year ago with North Carolina State’s Carmen Davis and UNC’s Caroline Jennings. Davis was fifth at Regionals in 24:01 while Jennings did not compete in the meet but will be at Nationals along with teammate Bridget Sullivan. Earlier this year, Jennings recorded an 18:24 5k while Sullivan ran an 18:05 in that same meet.

Keating

Making her Nationals debut, and trying to steal the show in her first time here, is Duke’s Katelyn McCracken. She obliterated the field at the Southeast Regional to win in 23:08, won the NC State Invite with a 19:24 5k and also posted an 18:15 5k at UNC’s Invite. McCracken will be one to keep an eye on. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PREDICTION: It is a wide open field this year but expect a veteran runner to take the title. UPenn’s Liz Novack surges on the rolling hills for the win while Sally Keating from UC Davis nabs the silver. Mizzou’s Caitlin Hammons retains her All-American status, this time moving up to third place in the nation.
Disclaimer: Previews and predictions are the opinion of one NIRCA board member who tracks race results from NIRCA member clubs throughout the Fall season. These previews and race predictions do not necessarily represent the view or stance of the Association’s Board or membership and should be viewed as educated guesses to generate excitement and conversation for the upcoming National Championship weekend! Please enjoy at your own risk.

Highest Returning Finishers from 2015
Caitlin Hammons, Missouri, 11th
Erin Zimmer, Michigan State, 12th
Dana Fry, Oregon, 13th
Emily Wagoner, Indiana, 16th
Nicole Mosteller, Michigan State, 25th
Noemi Noullet, Penn State, 26th
Carmen Davis, North Carolina State, 28th
Caroline Jennings, North Carolina, 29th

NIRCA Women’s National Champions (2006-2015)

Year

Champion

College/University

Time

Course

2015

Kaitlyn Johnson

Georgetown

22:00

Masterson Station Park, Lexington, KY

2014

Cara Donohue

Minnesota

22:24

Forest Akers Course, East Lansing, MI

2013

Betsy Suda

Florida

22:22

Parkview XC Course, Hershey, PA

2012

Becky Boyle

Indiana

22:31

Parkview XC Course, Hershey, PA

2011

Betsy Suda

Florida

21:27

McAlpine Creek Park, Charlotte, NC

2010

Danelle Woods

Illinois

21:54

IU XC Course, Bloomington, IN

2009

Lauren Philbrook

Penn State

21:59

Eagle Crest Golf Course, Ypsilanti, MI

2008

Kelsey Armstrong

Clemson

22:30

Penn State Golf Course, University Park, PA

2007

Jen Laser

Indiana

23:45

IU XC Course, Bloomington, IN

2006

Ruth Mick

Penn State

22:35

Lock Haven XC Course, Lock Haven, PA

2016 NIRCA Women’s Regional Champions

Region

Champion

College/University

Time

Great Plain

Caitlin Hammons

Missouri

23:03

Great Lakes

Emily Wagoner

Indiana

22:17

Mid Atlantic

Elizabeth Buckley

Virginia Tech

22:24

Southeast

Katelyn McCracken

Duke

 23:08

Northeast

Annie Geasa

Boston Univ.

24:55

Pacific

Sally Keating

UC Davis

21:43 

All-Time Top 25 6k Performances at NIRCA XC Nationals

1

Betsy Suda

Florida

21:27

McAlpine Creek Park

2011

2

Becky Boyle

Indiana

21:42

McAlpine Creek Park

2011

3

Danelle Woods

Illinois

21:54

Indiana XC Course

2010

4

Lauren Philbrook

Penn State

21:59

Eagle Crest Golf Course

2009

5

Kaitlyn Johnson

Georgetown

22:00

Masterson Station Park

2015

6

Cassi Knight

Penn State

22:04

Indiana XC Course

2010

7

Lauren Philbrook

Penn State

22:13

Indiana XC Course

2010

8

Kristen Mohrer

Oregon

22:15

Eagle Crest Golf Course

2009

9

Megan  Mocogni

Illinois

22:21

Masterson Station Park

2015

10

Betsy Suda

Florida

22:22

Hershey Parkview Course

2013

10

Mollie Pozzolo

Michigan

22:22

McAlpine Creek Park

2011

12

Ganna Bowen

North Carolina

22:23

McAlpine Creek Park

2011

13

Cara Donohue

Minnesota

22:24

Forest Akers Golf Course

2014

14

Kristen Mohrer

Oregon

22:25

Indiana XC Course

2010

15

Maddie Stark

Penn State

22:26

Eagle Crest Golf Course

2009

16

Emma Grimes

Illinois

22:29

Forest Akers Golf Course

2014

17

Kelsey Armstrong

Clemson

22:30

Penn State Golf Course

2008

18

Sarah Brewer

Michigan

22:31

Eagle Crest Golf Course

2009

18

Becky Boyle

Indiana

22:31

Hershey Parkview Course

2012

20

Amanda Zamora

Illinois

22:32

McAlpine Creek Park

2011

20

Julianne Schnepp

Penn State

22:32

Indiana XC Course

2010

20

Rachel White

Michigan

22:32

Penn State Golf Course

2008

23

Michaela Alamillo

Oregon

22:33

McAlpine Creek Park

2011

24

Ruth Mick

Penn State

22:35

Lockhaven XC Course

2006

24

Cara Donohue

Minnesota

22:35

McAlpine Creek Park

2011


Tommy Otterbine, NIRCA

#nircanats #previews