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West Runners

10th at Nationals

West High girls cross country proved it was one of the top teams in the nation on Saturday, finishing 10th at the first-ever Nike Team Nationals in Beaverton, Ore.

"Before the race, we all talked to each other," said West senior Julia Frudden. "There was no reason for us to be intimidated. We are ranked 12th in the nation and we should be here. No one needed to feel we didn't deserve to be there."

The Women of Troy ran above and beyond their rating on Saturday at the 20-team event, which featured the top prep teams from across America. Kinetic XC Club of Saratoga Springs, New York, won the girls race with 51 points. West was 10th with 248 points.

"I think everyone had a good race and everyone was happy with their time," Frudden said. "We were just happy to be able to experience it."

Ramsey Kavan of the 3-D Running Club of Yankton, S.D., won the girls race, finishing the 5K course in 18:05.37. West was led by the state's runner-up, Sarah Wickman, who finished 17th in 19:13.18.

"It was a lot different," said Wickman. "I was just hoping to do the best that I could. I really wasn't expecting to get 17th. It was fun running with all these great runners."

In total, 140 girls ran in the race. Along with Wickman, West also featured Janet Dobyns (22nd, 19:33), Claire Hall (51st, 20:15), Frudden (64th, 20:28), Christine Skopec (94th, 20:59), Elise Walz (124th, 21:40) and Maggee Mitchell (126th, 21:41). Jordan Stahlecker also made the trip to Oregon, but did not run.

Nike arranged for all of the athletes to come to Oregon to compete. Teams were selected based on regional rankings. The top two teams over eight regions were invited, plus four at-large selections.

All the high school teams went by club names for the national event. West High was Runwest at the meet, which featured some eye-popping race innovations.

The race used a multiple loop race course so spectators could watch the entire race from an enclosed 3,000-seat grandstand. There were JumboTron screens and fans were able to track team scores at every kilometer, thanks to FinishLynx tracking technology.

The Women of Troy arrived in Oregon on Thursday, and were able to meet several elite Nike track athletes. Runners from all over the country were able to mingle and have fun, as well.

"All of the teams had to do 60-second skits," said Wickman. "It was fun seeing what people came up with."

Frudden, one of just two seniors in the group that went --- Dobyns is the other --- said it was a fitting end to her career.

"It was a great way to go out," she said. "We got to have this big experience and run against great athletes. We're all so close to begin with, but we bonded a lot more."