Portsmouth’s Merrill 91st at Nike Cross Nationals
December 4, 2017
BY STEVE TURGEON
Special to the RIIL
Portsmouth high school junior Nikki Merrill finished 91st in a star-studded field at the Nike Cross Nationals (NXN) at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon on Saturday.
Merrill, the Rhode Island state meet runner-up, covered the 5K course in 19:14.6. She was the only Rhode Island runner in the 199-person field.
New York sophomore Katelyn Tuohy took the individual girls’ crown, cruising to victory in 16:44.7. She broke the course record set by Katie Rainsberger in 2015 by 11 seconds. Tuohy left little doubt she was the best of the elite runners gathered for the 14th NXN, dropping the field with an opening 5:06 mile.
The Nike Cross Nationals draws some of the top boys and girls high school runners from across the country. Twenty-two club teams and 45 individuals qualify for the annual event through eight regional qualifying meets.
Merrill earned her trip to the nationals with a fifth-place finish at the Northeast Regional Championships last weekend at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY.
State Champion Ellie Lawler of South Kingstown will also compete in a national meet next weekend at the Foot Locker National Championships in San Diego, Calif.
Photo courtesy of George Ross Photography.