At last year's Foot Locker Northeast Regionals, Natick's Grace Connolly was fourth overall.
The cross-country season is over for most of our Massachusetts' athletes, but a handful will hit the dirt trails this weekend at either the Foot Locker Northeast Regionals or the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast (NXN-NE) Regionals.
Judging by what we know so far, we could have a few our top runners (and teams) advancing to their respective national meets on the west coast.
At Foot Locker, which will be held on Saturday at historic Van Cortlandt Park in New York, recent Division 1 state champions Grace Connolly of Natick and Tristan Shelgren of St. John's Prep have a very good possibility of placing among the top 10 to punch their ticket to San Diego for the national meet.
Connolly will be looking to make her second straight appearance to the nationals. Last year she finished fourth at the regionals and then earned All-American status by placing ninth overall at the nationals.
Shelgren appears to be ready for a peak performance in his race. He was dominant against his MA rivals this season, capped by his first individual crown last Saturday at the All State Meet. At last year's Foot Locker regionals, Shelgren was 14th overall. Ten runners that finished ahead of him in the race have since graduated. With the season he has been having so far, it would appear that the Eagle standout's chances are high in earning a qualifying spot this weekend.
The NXN-NE meet, where the top two teams and first five individuals (not on a top-two team) punch their ticket to Portland, Oregon for the nationals, the Bay State has some strong candidates for a 3,000-plus mile trek.
Recent Division 1 boys' state champion Saint John's appears to have a chance to battle up front at Bowdoin Park in Wappinger Falls, NY, site of the regionals. Earlier in the year, Saint John's tested their strength on the challenging course by winning the Division 2 race of the Bowdoin Classic. Wellesley and Newton North, led by No. 1 runner Andrew Mah, are two other squads that will be competing on Saturday in the boys' competition. In the girls' race, Wellesley, Milton and Tewksbury Memorial will be toeing the line with New England's best.
Nike Cross Nationals Northeast/New York Regionals
at Bowdoin Park, Wappinger Falls, NY
9 a.m. - Boys Open NY
9:30 a.m. - Girls Open NY and NE combined
10:05 a.m. - Boys Open Northeast Green Race
10:35 a.m. - Boys Open Northeast Black Race
11 a.m. Anthem and Introductions
11:10 a.m. - Open Awards
11:30 a.m. - Boys NY Championship Race
12:05 a.m. - Girls NY Championship Race
12:40 a.m. - Boys NE Championship Race
1:15 a.m. - Girls NE Championship Race
1:40 a.m. - Championship Awards and Nationals Registration
Foot Locker Northeast Regionals
Van Cortlandt Park, New York
9:45 a.m. - Open Race
10:10 a.m. - Freshmen/Sophomore Race Boys
10:35 a..m. - Freshmen/Sophomore Race Girls
11 a.m. - Marty Lewis Championship Boys
11:30 a.m. - Championship Girls
12 p.m. - Junior/Senior Boys
12:25 p.m. - Junior/Senior Girls
12:50 p.m. - 13-14 Girls/Boys
1:15 p.m. - 11-12 Girls/Boys
1:40 p.m. - 10 & Under Girls/Boys