NIKE TEAM NATIONALS TO BECOME NIKE CROSS NATIONALS IN 2008
For the first time in history, a single race-Nike Cross Nationals-will crown both individual and team national champions for high-school-aged runners.
BEAVERTON, ORE. (May 14, 2008) –Nike today announced that its Nike Team Nationals (NTN) team cross-country championship will expand this year to include individuals, becoming Nike Cross Nationals (NXN). The Nike Team Nationals event, which began in 2004, featured the 22 best teams of each gender selected via a series of regional qualifying events. This year, the top 22 teams will be joined by the 90 fastest individuals from non-qualifying teams. Nike Cross Nationals is the only national cross-country championship for both teams and individuals.
“Nike Cross Nationals is going to be the ultimate competition for high school cross country,” said Ken Dice, vice president of the Nike USA Brand. “It’s true cross country, and a true national championship. We’re inviting the best runners in the country, whether they compete individually or as part of a team. Nike Cross Nationals is going to take cross country to a whole new level of competition for these elite athletes.”
The teams and individuals competing in Nike Cross Nationals are selected through a series of regional qualifying events. The nine regions represented are: Heartland, Midwest, Northwest, Southwest, South, Northeast, Southeast, California and New York. There are also four at-large teams.
Two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein said, “The opportunity to compete both as one and as a team can’t be understated. Until now, there hasn’t been one event, one day, to award the national individual and team champions in the sport.” Ritzenhein has been involved with NTN since its inception, and has won individual cross country titles in high school while competing with a nationally ranked team. He added, “Everyone participating in Nike Cross Nationals will have the experience of a lifetime. I’m a little jealous Nike Cross Nationals didn’t exist when I was that age--I would have loved to have run in it.”
In the regional qualifying events, slated to begin in November, the two top teams and the top five individuals of each gender who are not on a team will advance to Nike Cross Nationals. The championship meet of Nike Cross Nationals will be held in Portland, Ore. on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008.
About Nike Cross Nationals
The Nike Cross Nationals is a part of the larger Nike Nationals championship series which includes the Nike Outdoor Nationals and Nike Indoor Nationals. The series of events was established in 2004 to help strengthen the national circuit for cross country and track and field competition. Following in the tradition of European cross country meets, the event will again feature a multiple loop race course with man-made obstacles built on the inside of the horse race track at Portland Meadows in Oregon. Spectators can enjoy a continuous live view of the race from the venue’s enclosed 3,000-seat grandstand. Again this year the Nike Cross National event is providing coaches handheld computer devices, utilizing FinishLynx tracking technology (created specifically for Nike Team Nationals, now Nike Cross Nationals), to see team scores posted to a live leader board every kilometer. The technology was first introduced in the races’ inaugural year and provides instant feedback on a teams' position in the race. In addition to real-time race tracking, event data is then transferred to live to www.nikecrossnationals.com following the completion of the race so spectators, participants and coach can replay the race of select teams and/or individuals exactly how it was run.