So we are NOT talking about kids that don’t run NXR in order to run Footlocker. We are talking about an extra 5 individual spots that will be chosen from individuals that ran at NXR. This might open a spot for say the number 6 individual runner from a really strong regional race.
Not correct. Some of the other posters understand, though. This really applies to only a select few elite runners, since only 5 boys and 5 girls in the entire country will be chosen as at-large individuals for NXN.
Remember that for some, where the NXR and FL regional races are the same day, it would be impossible to run in both races, so this new Nike rule gives hope to some very talented top runners that both NXN and the FL final can be entered without having to run NXR. Where injuries or burnout or danger of overracing are concerns, the new Nike opportunity creates more options.
According to the Nike Cross Nationals FAQs found on RunnerSpace.com (at http://nxn.runnerspace.com/eprofile.php?event_id=13&title_id=197&do=title&pg=1&folder_id=376&page_id=1322):
ALL ELIGIBLE HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY ATHLETES, INCLUDING THOSE THAT DID NOT COMPETE AT A NIKE CROSS REGIONAL EVENT, WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR AN INDIVDIUAL AT-LARGE BERTH.
A top national-caliber runner on a team which a) is not likely to qualify for NXN, even with his/her participation (or which clearly doesn't stand a chance), or b) can still make a reasonable fight for an NXN berth without him/her, or c) has the dilemma of the NXR and the FL regional on the same day, may choose to gamble on running only the Foot Locker regional and not the NXR. And then, no matter what the Foot Locker regional result is, if the elite runner wins one of the 5 at-large spots for NXN, then at least he/she is still in one of the two national finals.
But it’s a major gamble. Katelyn Tuohy would be a certainty to be chosen for one of the at-large NXN spots without running her NXR qualifier. Cole Sprout, too. Very few others, though.