Three Pennsylvania athletes are gearing up for a big Saturday in Portland.
Katie Dammer of Abington Heights, Liam Conway of Owen J. Roberts, and Spencer Smucker of West Chester Henderson all qualified for Nike Cross Nationals set for this weekend at the Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Oregon. Each cracked the top five earning individual bids to the national meet.
It will be a quick turnaround for the trio from last Saturday. Ahead of Saturday's race, let's meet the qualifiers.
Dammer (above) winning the Brown Race at the Paul Short Run in Bethlehem, Pa.
Dammer took third at NXR-Northeast last week. She ran 18:36 to book that trip to Portland. The Georgetown recruit has had a big senior season. She entered the state meet undefeated, picking up wins at the Lions Invitational at Moravian Academy, Paul Short, and the District 2 Championships. She went 17:50 at Paul Short for the win against a talented field.
At states, Dammer finished fourth, battling for the win throughout most of the race. After NXR, Dammer said she was disappointed with her states race, but feels redemption with her national qualifier.
Conway (above) crosses the finish line to win the 2017 PAC individual title
Conway also had a big senior campaign. he opened up his season with a win at the Centaur Invitational hosted by DeSales University. He took third at both the PIAA Foundation (Pre-States) Invitational and the Paul Short Run. At Paul Short, Conway ran 15:08, his PR for 5K. After that, he won his second straight Pioneer Athletic Conference title. He took third in District 1 and then eighth at states.
He saw himself as a "longshot" to make nationals out of NXR, but shocked himself with his second place finish at Bowdoin Park.
Smucker (above) winning the Ches-Mont League title
Smucker, too, will cap off his impressive cross country career on Saturday. Smucker took 11th at the Carlisle Invitational before taking home the Ches-Mont League title for the first time in his career. He was seventh at the District 1 Championships, but took ninth at states. That was Smucker's highest-ever finish at states and he was able to close out his PIAA career with four state medals in four years at XC states.
After placing 32nd at NXR-Northeast as a junior, Smucker moved all the way up to fifth at Bowdoin Park this year to earn a qualifying spot in Nike Cross Nationals.
We'll be following the progress of all three of these athletes on Saturday at Nike Cross National from Portland. Keep it locked here and MileSplit for updates!