Junior Casey Clinger Wins Thrilling Boys’ Race At 2015 NXN; Great Oak (CA) Claims First Team Title

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By LetsRun.com
December 5, 2015

Unlike the girls’ race at 2015 Nike Cross Nationals at Portland’s Glendoveer Golf Course, the boys’ race was packed with drama as there were still over 10 runners in the lead pack with a mile to go in the race. Ultimately, American Fork (UT) junior Casey Clinger was the lone man left standing, as he kicked away from Carmel (IN)’s Ben Veatch to win the national title in 15:03.2. That was the start of a brilliant day for American Fork, who leaped from fourth in the Southwest Regional to second today at nationals. But even Clinger’s heroics weren’t enough to stop pre-race favorite Great Oak (CA) (competing as Temecula XC), who earned their first national title with 114 points.

The individual race was compelling, as the first two miles (4:41 and 5:02) did nothing to break up the lead pack. At 4k, Paul Roberts of Colorado began to string things out and the lead pack was down to him plus Clinger, Veatch and Wayzata (MN)’s Jaret Carpenter. With around 800 to go, Roberts and Carpenter had appeared to drop the other two, but Clinger and Veatch countered back and pretty soon, they were the ones dropping Roberts and Carpenter.

Great Oak celebrated their team title

Great Oak celebrated their team title

There are two short, steep inclines just before the final turn, and that’s where Veatch attempted to make his move, pushing hard up the first. Clinger was ready for it, however, and he responded by matching Veatch’s move and then moving past him on the second uphill, maintaining that gap until the finish line. Veatch settled for second as Alek Parsons of Ogden (UT) made a late charge for third.

We tell you what it all means below with our quick take analysis. *Full Boys Results Here

Quick Take #1: Clinger’s victory may have come as a surprise to some — but not LRC nation

California’s Austin Tamagno, an Oregon signee and 2014 Foot Locker fifth placer, was the pre-race favorite in our eyes, but not everyone viewed it that way. Check out this thread, where one message board poster made the case for Clinger prior to the race.

*MB: AUSTIN TAMAGNO will be upset by CASEY CLINGER at NXN

Here’s what the thread-starter wrote:

Clinger exulted as he crossed the finish line

Clinger exulted as he crossed the finish line

Utah’s Casey Clinger will dominate. He is just a junior but last year as a sophomore he posted (AT ALTITUDE) 4:12 and 9:00!!!

“He is also undefeated this season and ran the fastest Utah State meet time of all [time], beating Luke Puskedra AND Ben Saarel AND Conner Mantz… as a junior!”

Indeed (although to be factual, Dyestat lists his pbs as 4:13 and 9:03 for 1600 and 3200), Clinger showed his brilliance with a devastating kick over the final 100 meters, ensuring the prophecy came true.

Perhaps we should have paid closer attention to the 2014 results. Clinger was eighth last year (#2 returner), while runner-up Ben Veatch was seventh last year (#1 returner). Clinger will certainly be favored to repeat next year, as the second- through sixth-place finishers are all graduating. But beware Brodey Hasty of Tennessee. Hasty, like Clinger a year ago, is a sophomore, and actually bettered Clinger’s 2014 placing by one spot (he was seventh today).

Tamagno was one of several men in contention early on

Tamagno (foreground, in purple) was one of several men in contention early on

Quick Take #2: A day to forget for Austin Tamagno. But don’t chalk it up to the “California Curse”

Tamagno was just 26th today after running with the leaders for the first two miles. We mentioned in our preview that no California boy had ever claimed the individual crown at NXN, but that’s not why Tamagno faltered today. Two of the top three teams in the boys’ race were from California and Great Oak’s win means that a California boys’ team has won NXN three times — the most in history (Arcadia won in 2010 and 2012). His home state is irrelevant; Tamagno simply didn’t have it in the last mile.

Quick Take #3: Is Great Oak now F-M West?

Fayetteville-Manlius may be known as the greatest cross country program in America, and while that may have been true for the past decade (including last year, when the F-M boys and girls swept the national titles), F-M was not the most successful program in 2015. No, that honor goes to Great Oak, which won the boys’ race and finished third in the girls’ race. Great Oak has put together a tremendous two-year run (the Great Oak girls were 2nd last year behind F-M) but the question now is whether they can sustain it. Great Oak loses its entire top five on the boys’ side, though only one of its top five (#1 Destiny Collins) on the girls’ side.

Quick Take #4: What a turnaround by American Fork

American Fork was just fourth at NXN Southwest two weeks ago (only two teams make it automatically from each region) and had to rely on an at-large bid to even make it to Oregon. Looks like the selection committee got it right as American Fork rebounded to take second in the entire country today, led by a huge run from individual champ Casey Clinger.

Today’s results prove that the Southwest (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada) was the most competitive region in the country in 2015. Both the individual champions come from the Southwest (Clinger and Katie Rainsberger) and two of the top three boys’ individuals are from that region (third placer Alek Parsons is from Utah).

The boys’ race at regionals was incredibly close, which explains how a team can go from 4th at regionals to second at nationals. Check out the boys’ results (with the team’s NXN finish in parentheses):

  1. Mountain Vista (CO) (aka Denver XC) 108 points (11th at NXN)
  2. Timpanogos (UT) 109 points (4th at NXN)
  3. Lone Peak (UT) 109 points (12th at NXN)
  4. American Fork (UT) 121 points (2nd at NXN)

Pretty amazing that a quarter of the top 12 boys’ teams in America hail from Utah — a state that ranks just 33rd in population.

More: *Full Boys Results Here (Discuss this race in our high school forum.
*Official 2015 NXN Live Discussion Thread
*AUSTIN TAMAGNO will be upset by CASEY CLINGER
*Casey Clinger wins nxn!!!!
*Tamagno is DONE!!
*Austin Tamagno chooses NXN – Is he scared of Drew Hunter and Phillip Rocha???

More: Girls’ Race Recap


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