The mud and slop of Portland Meadows 2012 may well turn into a skating rink for Nike Cross Nationals 2013. The forecast for Saturday’s races shows a race-time temp hovering in the low to mid 20sF for 10:05a.m. girl’s championship race, only a degree or so higher for the 11:35am boy’s championship. And since it will be between 19F and 36F from now till Saturday, we may need to pull out a Zamboni to prep the course. Thankfully, it won’t be wet as no rain is in the forecast.
In the highly anticipated girl’s race, Simi Valley, California senior Sarah Baxter looks to complete her high school cross country career undefeated. She has won the last two NXNs, besting newly named USATF Youth Athlete of the Year (perhaps of the last generation) Mary Cain in 2012. Cain is now running as a pro for the Nike Oregon Project.
Baxter has been untouchable this year, and will be a prohibitive favorite on Saturday. However, there is competition, and it isn’t to be lightly regarded. Topping the list of the upset-minded is Alexa Efraimson, a Camus High School junior in Washington State who finished fourth last year, and Niwot, Colorado senior Elise Cranny, number seven in 2012. Continue reading