Milesplit.US Cross Country Journals
Margo Malone was 4th in AAA in the PIAA State Championships at Hershey in 18:49, just seven seconds behind the winner... and just three weeks later in New York, she was fourth again, but this one punched her ticked to Portland and Nike Cross Nationals, where she was the top Northeast Region individual finisher. She and her younger sisters - Shannon (a junior), and Mary (a freshman) - are 60% of what could be the top returning team in PA in 2011.
Malone has PRs of 4:56.83 for the 1600, and 18:23 in the 5000 during cross country.
Left, at the finish at NXN - photo by Matt Shatkus, NJRunners.com
(Jr., North Hills HS, Pittsburgh PA)
Journal Entry (December 13, 2010 - A week after her return from NXN, Margo Malone reflects on how she learned of the meet, and her strong - but muddy - 23rd place showing.
I was asked to share my experience of Nike Nationals and was happy to do it because Nike did such an amazing job! My journey to Nike Nationals (NXN) all started a couple years ago. My aunt, who happens to live in Portland, Oregon came to visit my family and brought a NXN program book with her. She had just seen the race and told me how exciting it was. Ever since then I had it as a goal to someday run there myself. We were hoping to compete as a team but due to the extent of some injuries and the commitment to stretch our season out a few more weeks we could not. So…I ended up going with my best running partners, my sisters Shannon who is a sophomore and Mary who is a freshman.
At NXN (left in Northeast jersey) Courtesy of Nike and RunnerSpace
The regional meet at Wappingers Falls, NY alone was a great experience. The unknown level of competition combined with the experience of a new course made it challenging. I was thrilled to earn my ticket to go to NXN! One of our team goals for next year is to qualify as a team, so we could share this experience together.
I was also happy to meet and make the trip out west with Wade Endress, the only other NXN qualifier from Pennsylvania. Wade has always been on our radar in Western, PA as a great runner and now I know a genuinely nice guy. I wish his the best of luck next year at Penn State!
In addition, I met an enormous amount of talented runners in Portland all sharing the same passion. By the time the race started, I felt like I was stepping into a box with my teammates, The Northeast Girls.
NXN was everything I imagined and more! Nike truly thought of everything to make our experience special. It started out with our decked-out hotel covered with 8 floors of flags in the interior lobby and our personalized NXN room keys. Shortly after everyone checked in we departed for Nike to go on a campus run, hang out in the extremely cool athlete lounge, get some crazy gear and shoe fitting at the top-secret footwear distribution. Dinner was followed by the Opening Ceremony, with 13 of the top Nike Elite athletes. And to top the night off they rolled a pimped-out vintage VW-Bus with our names painted on the side! This was only day ONE!
Day two we got down to business by going to the Portland Meadows for some course information and a run-through. The course was unlike anything I have ever competed on. The rains in the beginning of the week added to the already designed mud puddles. It had its challenges but looked fun.
Race day just added to the whole surreal feeling of my trip. I felt honored to be able to toe the line with some of the best girls in the nation! Even though the race was very tough, physically and mentally, the smile that I carried the whole trip remained.
I want to thank everyone who was involved in making NXN possible! It was truly a remarkable experience that will stay with me for the rest on my life.
Also on a side note, I just got done watching the Footlocker race; congratulations to my teammate Zach, who had a fantastic season, also to the other two Pennsylvania runners; Angel and Chris!