Top 10 Girls Nike South Invitational Predictions

This year the girls field is as stacked as it is year after year. The CCCAT No. 1 ranked Flower Mound is making their second travel meet for the regular season to The Woodlands as is the No.2 ranked Southlake Carroll 

They are coming into the equation after scratching out of the 35th Arkansas Chile Pepper Invitational.

Many teams are looking to square up their top runners against a deep field. The barrage of quality teams in the field continues with No. 4 ranked The Woodlands looking to defend their home turf along with No. 7 ranked Kingwood, and No. 10 Bridgeland entered.

The unranked Klein girls are led by senior Kathryn Koonts who placed runner-up at last week's Hoka McNeil Invitational. As a team, Klein will be looking to take advantage to move up in the 6A girls rankings after coming off a team win at McNeil.

The Katy girls are also looking to make a heavy statement as well with Maddy Hunter leading the Tigers den. The Clear Falls girls are looking to come back stronger this Saturday with their third runner Hailey Castillo back in the lineup after not running last weekend at McNeil.

Nike South will be the battle of many of the Texas giants. 

With many teams traveling from within the lone state here is the list of the top ten predictions. 

Last year's 2022 Nike South Elite Girls race

10.) Felicity Hamilton (Klein Cain)

Senior Felicity Hamilton had a fantastic start to the season and is looking great moving into the championship season, Hamilton finished eighth place in a loaded field at the McNeil Invitational displaying that her fitness is as sharp as can be. The Samford University signee set a new personal best time earlier in the season running 17:57 at the Seven Lakes Showcase XC Invitational just behind Rowan Saacke who had just set a new course record, she has finished in the top eight at every meet the Klein Cain program has traveled to. With the Klein Cain school record being 17:55 set by her teammate Rebecca Wylie back in 2020, she has the record in sight and has a huge opportunity to break it with this loaded field.  

9.) Liliana Campos (Conroe Oak Ridge)

This season Campos opened her season at Friday Night Lights where she finished fourth place individually and has had multiple great performances throughout this regular season, she tied her personal best time of 18:21 in the 5k this weekend at the McNeil Invitational. Campos is one to keep an open eye out for moving down the road once championship season comes. Lilly is coming off a historic season as she keeps creeping on that school record set back in 2017 by Sophie Lasswell running 18:12.5. Balancing cross country country and volleyball in the fall is no joke but Campos sure does a great job of being able to balance both out at the same time throughout the fall season. Can Campos inch her way closer or maybe even break eighteen this coming Saturday?

8.) Stoya Laydevant (The Woodlands)

Last year Laydevant ran 18:28 at Nike South where she'd finish eighteenth as an individual, she improved her time down to 18:00 where she completely ran all on her own a couple of weekends ago in Houston at the 2023 Strake Jesuit Jesuit XC Invitational. Laydevant is coming off a 16:56 3 mile from two weeks ago at the 2023 Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, the lady Highlanders are coming off a week without racing and are looking to have fresh legs come race day. Is this weekend the meet where she has the home field advantage to break the eighteen minute barrier and keep moving her way up in the Highlander rankings and possibly breaking a school record that still stands from 2008 by Sarah Andrews clocking 17:07.7?

7.) Rowan Saacke (Katy Tompkins)

For Rowan Saacke the boat has been rowing breaking course records and blowing personal best times out of the water. Saacke opened her first meet at Friday Night Lights finishing third place as an individual, followed by setting a new course record at the Seven Lakes Showcase XC Invitational clocking in a 17:42.8 which snaps the course record run by Texas cross country legend Heidi Nielson who ran 17:55.9. Two weeks ago the Tompkins team traveled to the McKinney, Texas to compete at the Lovejoy XC Fall Invitational, and Saacke would break her old personal best time clocking in 17:39 flat on a Texas tough course at Myers Park. Milesplit spoke with Tompkins coach Walt Yarrow this week and said "She's good coming off of a rest week". Is this weekend the meet where Rowan Saacke breaks another personal best, she didn't compete in last year's Nike South meet due to sickness.  

6.) Alexandra Walsh (Southlake Carroll)

Entering the season Walsh and the Lady Dragons have their eyes on the prize and that's to bring home the gold everywhere they land. Walsh opened up her season running 10:45.19 for 3200m on the track at the Southlake Carroll 2 Mile meet followed by 17:01 for the three mile distance at the Southlake Invite and raced another fast three mile race in California that everyone famously knows as Woodbridge Cross Country Classic, she clocked an impressive 16:42.9 in the process. Walsh is looking to get her and the Carroll Dragons on the right track right before the championship season starts.

5.) Staucie Lees (Grand Oaks)

Lees opened her senior year cross country season with a 4k race at Friday Night Lights and has only been defeated once this season and that was at the Texas A&M HS Invitational falling to Madison Peters. Last year Lees finished ninth as an individual she ran her old personal best time of 18:04.1, and she recently ran 17:34 flat at her home meet at the Grizzly XC Invite destroying her previous personal best time by 30 seconds this previous weekend. Is this the race where Lees gets to settle who is the top Houston girls' runner?

4.) Alexandra Fox (Flower Mound)

Fox and the majority of the Flo Mo gang have only raced a handful of races to help sharpen themselves up for the postseason, she opened up the season at the  Marcus Coach T Invitational where she finished third place overall while clocking a 17:36.8 and is coming off a red hot performance from California two weeks ago from The Woodbridge Cross Country Classic where she ran 16:23.5 for the three mile distance and in the process just out kicking her teammate Samatha Humphries at the finish line. Keep in mind folks, Fox is the bronze medalist from last year's UIL 6A State Cross Country Championships and knows a thing or two about competing at the highest level. 

3.) Kathryn Koonts (Klein)

Koonts has been on fire all season and seems like no one can take the fuse out that she has burning for the 2023 cross country season, she opened her season at Friday Night Lights running a 4k personal best clocking in an impressive 14:44 and has recently displayed what her fitness level is at recently this previous weekend at the McNeil Invitational finishing second place while clocking a time of 17:48.4in a deep field. Koonts is going to display this weekend why she is a force not to be taken for granted. Can Koonts keep reeling her way closer to the Bearkat school record set back in 2020 by Klein Alumni Kristen McHugh where she clocked a 17:34.73?

2.) Samantha Humphries (Flower Mound)