XC takes on NXR


Photo by and used with the permission of Kevin Loftus

Seven members of the boys cross country team (pictured at the starting line) and two members from the girls team competed in the NXR race last month. The boys placed 5th for the Midwest; junior Brooke Johnston placed 8th individually.

Kaitlin Geisler, Social Media Manager

Seven of the boys cross country team members and two members of the girls team drove cross country — or at least across state lines — to compete in the Nike Cross Regionals (NXR).
When Nike calls, high school cross country runners from multiple regions show up.

This year, Kevin Loftus, senior, and six of his teammates decided to make the trip to Indiana and compete as a team for the November meet.

“It’s a pretty interesting course. It’s different from other courses that we do because they made it specifically to be a cross country course,” Loftus said. “The first 1000 meters, may be a little over half a mile, is mostly downhill. And then the rest of it pretty much switches back and forth up the hill, so it’s pretty difficult.”

Despite the course difficulty, Loftus and his team placed 5th while competing at the midwest NXR.

“We were more competitive as a team this year. My freshman year we didn’t get put in the championship race,” Loftus said. “Then, my sophomore year we were in the championship race, but we weren’t anywhere near fifth. I think this was one of our highest finishes.”

If a runner wants to compete but can’t find enough people to make a team, the runner can compete individually, as Kristin Loftus, senior, and Brooke Johnston, junior, did.

“We didn’t have that many girls do it on our team. It was just Kristin and I, and we didn’t do anything together until the day of the race,” Johnston said. “I actually think I prefer competing with the school as a team better because it was a very big switch because our coach wasn’t able to be there.”

Kristin Loftus placed 80th and Johnston placed 8th out 195. They both still had a good finish as an individual, and Johnston said she had just as much fun.

“I think it’s just a good experience as well because it’s so different from the other meets that we run,” Johnston said. “There’s way more girls in this meet and you don’t know anyone so you’re not used to running with them. It’s just a huge group of girls right next to you so you know, you’re not gonna ever be on your own in this race. You’re always with other girls and that’s a nice experience.

While Johnston says she got to see some differences, Loftus says he got to appreciate all the team bonding.

“I think the best part of this trip is just getting to spend time with the team,” Loftus said. “You get to travel with your friends and just have fun. In general, it’s really difficult to advance and place super well, so people usually use this to just have fun. We got to compete and have fun at the same time, plus we placed well this year, which made it even better.”