Cross Country gets another chance to run at Nationals

When the Nike Cross Country Nationals (NXN), which took place in Oregon, were cancelled on Sept. 24 due to new COVID-19 outbreaks, a new event was organized in its place. Newbury Park cross country and track coach Sean Brosnan and other cross country coaches from the county developed a new championship titled Runninglane Cross Country Championship set to take place Dec. 4 2021. The meet will be held at the John Hunt Cross Country Park in Alabama, where individuals and teams will run a 5K course around the area, including the NPHS girls and boys cross country teams.

After finding out about the original event’s cancellation, Brosnan recalls tirelessly working to find a solution. “That day I was on conference calls, probably half my day, trying to figure out who was gonna step up and put one on,” Brosnan said. Despite the small differences between this event and the original one, Brosnan has high hopes. “I actually think it can be one of the best ones out there…you have some of the best people in the country committed to go into it so I think it’s gonna be, it could be bigger because I think people are just a little bit desperate to get the championship back,” Brosnan said.

Along with the individual sections, teams will also have the chance to compete for additional gold, silver, and bronze divisions. One student in particular remarked on the new event as something to look forward to despite the original excitement for the NXN. “I think everyone on the team is sad that NXN was cancelled because it’s such a fun meet,” said Nora Lehto, sophomore, and teammate for NPHS cross country team. “But we are still very excited to race in Alabama and have all that competition in addition to the course being really fast,” Lehto said.

Runners from across the nation are ecstatic about getting another chance to compete in a new championship. Participants including NPHS cross country varsity runner Emilio Young, junior, are eager to begin the race. “It’s really incredible because we’ll still get to have a similar experience and race very similar opponents,” Young said.

While the new national championship was organized at the last minute, other teams did not hesitate to sign up and were filled to the brim with enthusiasm for the race. “Within a week, we had like 12 of the top 13 teams in the country [committed]. So everyone’s going to go [to the Runninglane Cross Country Championship],” Brosnan said.