San Diego, Ca. — It is all grist for the running mill, this Nike Cross Nationals versus Foot Locker Cross Country Championships debate: Which high school championship is better? Which one will outlast the other? Who wins? Who loses? Goodness me. For as in all things running, it seems, the sport has found a way to engage in an internecine battle rather than work as one to take on the outside world which is where the real fight should be waged.
Of course, Nike and Foot Locker were once partners in the Foot Locker Championships until Nike departed to create Nike Team Nationals in 2004 after Foot Locker turned down the offer to add a team element in San Diego. The competition then really heated up when Nike introduced an individual championship and renamed its meet Nike Cross Nationals in 2007.
But whichever high school national cross country event you may prefer, NXN or Foot Locker, this much is true, the sport at the high school level has all the passion and energy that is missing at the professional level. And one important reason is the built-in rooting that comes from a fan-base that is actually attached to the athletes they care so deeply about. (more…)