NXR Southwest: Girls Colorado Preview

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Jenna Fitzsimmons and Mountain Vista will eye that automatic berth to NXN.

Now that the state meet sorted out the best in Colorado, we have a few remaining questions. Nike Cross Regionals - Southwest, better known as NXR, is on tap this weekend, and Colorado's best will toe the line and race for a spot at the coveted Nike Cross Nationals, better known as NXN.

So, how does a squad - or individual - get from NXR to NXN?

The top two teams, and top five individuals not associated with a team, will automatically qualify, and the third and fourth place teams will be considered for an At-Large berth. Additionally, NXR will grant 10 At-Large individual qualifiers.

At-Large qualifiers will be selected by a committee Nov. 24.

Who in Colorado has the best shot of making it to the green pastures of Portland, Ore. for Nationals?

Let's start with the teams...

The Favorite: Mountain Vista

Vista Nation has been dominate all year, and look to be in the best position to nab one of the two automatic berths. They've been on top of the Southwest polls all season, and are currently ranked No. 5 in the latest MileSplit 50 National Rankings.

Additionally, they finished sixth at nationals a year ago.

Mountain Vista dominated the 5A state meet with a staggering 44 points, and in the Colorado Power Merge, they come out on top with 97 points. This is additionally important, because their competition Saturday will come from the Centennial State...

The Battle For Second: Niwot and Battle Mountain

These two squads battled down to the fifth runner at State, with Niwot taking a slim 12 point victory. Niwot's victory gave them the edge in the Regional Poll, which has the girl's in green sitting No. 2 behind Mountain Vista, and Battle Mountain No. 3. 

The question will be if Niwot can duplicate their state victory over Battle Mountain. Both squads have an edge that practically cancels out any clear favorite.

On one hand, Battle Mountain is a squad that went on to finish third at NXN a year go. They were the cinderella team of nationals. What this says is that they know how to run well when it counts the most. They're currently ranked No. 29 in the latest MileSplit 50 National Rankings, though they were just a mere 12 points behind Niwot at State, there's very little margin of error for both squads. Additionally, finishing third at NXN is no easy feat. If they've done it once, they can do it again. 

Niwot, on the other hand, only has to duplicate their state victory to (likely, pending no out-of-state-squads...) nab that No. 2 automatic berth. They're ranked No. 15 in the latest national polls, and the one card they've got in their back pocket is the health of Samrawit Dishon, who was the second fastest Coloradan at Desert Twilight this year. She finished 15th at State and fourth for Niwot. A healthy Dishon gives Niwot a much-needed edge in their quest to prolong their season into December.

The Dark Horse: The Classical Academy

Alan Versaw's Burgundy Girls nabbed the Upset of the 2018 Colorado State Meet with their dominating win over heavily-favored Peak to Peak. TCA tallied just 34 points that day, which resulted in a rocket ship that took them from unranked in the Southwest Polls to No. 6. 

In the Colorado Power Merge they come in No. 4, just 14 points behind Battle Mountain. They've already pulled off one major upset this season. 

Can they do it again?

Next Page: The Individual Race...