What's Next For The Texas Teams And Individuals AT NXN?

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The Keller girls have been on a mission all season long. Their steps have been under the lights, on center stage, and when they ran they have been in the spotlight. They repeated as UIL 6A state champions and their seniors have all signed to go onto college. With all of their accomplishments and accolades, this weekend is what they have been running for since this time last year.

There has been talk about Keller being the best girls cross country team to ever come out of Texas. That talk is all subjective, but one thing is for sure, if they are to get on the awards stand the talk will be justified. If they win NXN, the claims will be justified as everything comes down to this race for Keller. 

At the NXR South race, they had a "non Keller-like" type of race day. However, they were still able to qualify for NXN. Being one of the top programs nation wide all season, Keller took their first loss of the season at the South regional. That may have been just what the doctor ordered as they are still going to NXN, but not so entitled. After having reality that an awards stand spot will not be given to them, but they'll have to take it if it is to be, Keller could be wide awake and ready to do some damage.

The other girls squad who will battle for the right to be called the best team in the nation is Southlake Carroll. At the end of each year, Carroll can just about make their hotel reservations for the next year as NXN is a frequent vacation spot, but they still have business to tend to. This group of Carroll girls have been battling all season long. They have battled Texas' best week in and week out all season long. Parts of that road has been smooth and some parts have been rough. Carroll is heading into the NXN coming off of a smooth NXR South victory. The next step is for Carroll to battle one last time this cross country season and we will see where they stand amongst the nation's best.

Other girls with big expectations for a big weekend are:

London Culbreath - The McKinney North sophomore has already been through all of this last season. She won the NXR South meet and then went to NXR undefeated as a freshman. She placed 12th overall in her first national level meet. This season, Culbreath is a year stronger, faster, and wiser. She has raced far less than last season and is actually be at her peak for the season. She will be looking to turn around the only loss of her high school cross country career and get that NXN crown to add to her district, regional, state, and NXR South titles. Culbreath has the similar stats to the favorite Katelyn Tuohy, but Culbreath has more speed. Her 800m PR is superior to Tuohy and that be the difference. Culbreath has the victory in their only head to head battle from last year's NXN by .02 of a second.

Carrie Fish - Frisco Liberty and UIL 5A runner-up, Carrie Fish will make her first trip to NXN. Fish finished second in the NXR South race to qualify. Fish has had an amazing senior cross country season that she hopes will end on a high note at NXN.

Quinn Owen - Marcus senior Owen had been one of the Marcus leaders for years. Owen had a successful senior individual season as she competed in the biggest meets against the best competition in Texas. She finished 10th at the UIL 6A state meet and third at NXR South. Last season, Owen was just returning from sickness and missed qualifying for NXN by a few places and even fewer seconds. Now, she will have her first shot at a national level race to showcase her speed and ability.

Ashlyn Hillyard - The Plano junior has had an amazing season. She started off on fire and is looking to end her season in the same manner. Hillyard didn't win the UIL 6A title at the state meet, but she took third place overall and then bounced back at NXR South to place fourth overall and get a NXN individual qualifying spot. Hillyard placed seventh overall at the 2016 NXR South just missing a qualifying spot by one. Now that she has qualified for this year's championships, the next thing is for her have a major race.

Allison Wilson - Wilson will be new to the national scene, but she is not unknown here in Texas. As a sophomore in 2016, she placed 8th at the UIL 6A state meet and was also eighth place at the NXR South race just missing out on qualifying for NXN by two spots. This season, Wilson moved up the ladder just a little bit by placing seventh at state and fifth. That little bit was enough to be an All-Stater again and now she is heading to NXN to make a national name for herself.