2016 Nike Cross Southwest: A Few Shockers to Stir the Pot of the Expected

Top Moment of the Meet (1)

American Fork Boys Dominate: Davis Boys Rise Up from the Ashes

Camren Tood leads a Davis team that most had written off to a stunning second-place finish.

The near-universal consensus around the region was that the race, both in terms of individuals and in terms of teams, was American Fork's to lose.

One person, however, who didn't share in that perception was New Mexico's Kashon Harrison. Harrison took the race out hard early and, for a few brief moments under the sun, enjoyed the spotlight of the lead. 

Harrison's early surge, however, ultimately served mostly just to draw out the American Fork domination a little earlier than it might otherwise have emerged. Reigning NXN national champion Casey Clinger answered the call, reeled in Harrison, and sent him back to a pack of wolves in the next wave of runners.

It was not long before Harrison's early surge was nothing more than a footnote on the race. 

Behind Clinger, the lead group steadily and rapidly whittled itself down to the expected few. There were Clinger's teammates McKay Johns and Patrick Parker, there was Joe Benson from Utah, there was Isaac Green and Tanner Norman from Colorado, and there was Jordan Lesansee from New Mexico. And, very soon, there was a yawning gap back to the next group.

Next to make a break from the lead pack were Johns and Parker. Parker, who had slipped just a bit from his usual level of performance a month ago at the Utah state meet was showing no ill effects of any of that on the NXR-SW course. And, the suspected 1-2-3 finish from the American Fork boys began to crystallize. Benson broke from the others in the lead group and gave chase but would never be able to close the gap on Johns and Parker.

Green, Lesansee, and Norman exchanged places a few times along the way but would eventually finish in that order. 

As it turns out, American Fork had a bit of an unexpected issue at the #5 scoring position when Dalton Brems got sick during the race and slipped from his usual pace, but the 1-2-3-31 from the big three and Carson Clinger gave Brems more than enough margin to work with so that when Brems did arrive at the finish it the win was a done deal.

The battle for the team second, however, took a few twists and turns. Widely regarded as the chief contenders for that second slot to Nike Cross Nationals were Timpanogos, Olympus, and Palmer Ridge. All three of those teams struggled--each in their own unique way--but the one team that showed up in a big way was the team that most had written off for dead. 

Like an injured animal not quite yet ready to give in, Davis fought, clawed, and scratched their way through the field. Camren Todd and Joshua Peters led the way with sub-16 marks on a day when those marks were tough to come by. Davis managed to keep their 1-5 gap down to 39 seconds, and that was easily enough to hold off a charge from surprising Springville in third.