Can Anyone Challenge Katelyn Tuohy At Nike Cross Nationals?

Anthony Alvarez

By Cory Mull for MileSplit

Current University of Oregon sophomore Katie Rainsberger set the course record at Glendoveer Golf Course when she won Nike Cross Nationals in 16:56.8 in 2015, making her the only female runner to break 17 minutes on the course that has hosted NXN since 2014. Can No. 1 ranked Katelyn Tuohy take a crack at the record? Or will another athlete rise to the occasion in Portland on Saturday? Below are capsule previews of the top female athletes ahead of the national prep cross country championship.

Katelyn Tuohy | North Rockland (NY) | SO

She's broken multiple course records in New York this year, including important marks at Bowdoin and Van Cortland. She's the favorite here, but the question will be just what she will be able to do. Can she break Air Academy (CO) graduate Katie Rainsberger's course record of 16:56.80 from 2015? The overall meet record, run previously at Portland Meadows, is Camas (WA) graduate Alexa Efraimson's 16:50.10. Tuohy was 13th at this race last year.

London Culbreath | McKinney North (TX) | SO

The sophomore was the top freshman from a year ago. And she has the leg speed to kick with the best runners in the country. So what will the sophomore do this time around? She broke 17-minutes at the UIL Class 6A Championships with a 16:56, though she only had competition through one mile. With the right field, Culbreath could do something special

Emily Covert | Minneapolis Washburn (MN) | JR

The most improved runner from a year ago and arguably Minnesota's top runner all season will be an interesting study here. She finished second at NXR Heartland and was third at Foot Locker Midwest. Don't expect Covert to try and break anyone in the first 2K. Covert, the Class AA champion in Minnesota, has learned from her mistakes in previous years and could pounce late in a race for a top five finish.

Corie Smith | Buchanan (CA) | SO

Smith hasn't gotten enough credit for what she's been able to do in California. NXN will probably offer the toughest conditions of any one of her races, yet. But the winner of the Division I race in California and the runner-up at Clovis has the kind of potential that's waiting to blossom in a big race. She could break out much like Sunset's Ember Stratton's third-place finish in 2016.

Camila Noe | Bozeman (MT) | SR

The top runner out the Northwest and a University of Portland signee, Noe has taken care of business in 2017, winning the Montana Class AA Championship in 17:28.00 and the NXR Northwest race in a PB 17:13.50. While Noe's plan could vary based on how Bozeman approaches the team competition, don't be surprised if she goes top five.

Lydia Olivere | Padua Academy (DE) | SR

The Villanova signee has won every race but one in 2017 and posted a U.S. No. 13 time in the 5K of 17:02 at the Carlisle Invitational on September 30. But more importantly, Olivere has raced smart, taking her first win at NXR Southeast on November 25 after letting the race go out ahead of her. A senior looking to improve upon her 24th-place performance in 2016, Olivere should be a lock for top 15.

Katelynne Hart | Glenbard West (IL) | SO

A sleeper to crack the top 10, the sophomore won every single race in Illinois this season at 3-miles, including a U.S. No. 9 performance of 16:08.70. She finished 18th at NXN last season, but said recently her approach will be wiser this time around. Along with Culbreath, Hart has a major kick. She went 4:46.54 in the full mile in June.

Lexy Halladay | Mountain View (ID) | SO

Halladay likely has been waiting for a chance to really strike in a major meet. Her biggest win came in September at the Nike Portland XC Invite, when she beat Sunset's Ember Stratton and Boise Senior's Even Jensen. This could give the Idaho native ample opportunity to improve on her 16th-place finish in 2016.

Tierney Wolfgram | Math & Science | FR

Wolfgram cracked the tape at NXR Heartland in first, going under 17 minutes for the first time all season. And she runs well in cold conditions. So don't be surprised if this year's Class A champion in Minnesota has a top-10 race at NXN.

Sydney Thorvaldson | Rawlins High | FR

The freshman has dominated Wyoming all year, but the question is whether that work at elevation will translate to NXN? Rawlins went a career best of 17:36.10 at NXR Northwest and crushed major elevation runs in Colorado over the summer. But will all that talent come out of nowhere to finish top 10 at NXN?

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