Husky Running Club finishes season at annual Nike NXR Regional Race

Junior Xander Hughes, senior Charlie McElyea, and junior Parker Nold warm-up before the race. “I felt that NXR was a great experience and the team performed well overall. The team was also able to bond through the shared experience,” McElyea said. Photo courtesy of Bob McElyea.

The East Husky Running Club competed at the NXR Midwest Regional Race against various Midwest club teams on November 14th in Terre Haute, Indiana. The team placed 27th overall out of 73 teams. 

Hosted by Nike, the NXR Midwest Regional Race is a club competition that provides high school running clubs with the opportunity to race outside of the regular cross country season. 

Senior Charlie Mcelyea said that this race was an exciting experience that he looks forward to every year. 

“You take a trip with some of your closest friends and get the opportunity to race against some of the best competition in the country,” McElyea said. 

Leading up to this race, the runners have achieved recent triumphs at meets during their regular cross country season. 

“[At the NXR race in years past], we placed very well and this year we have a very strong team going into the race. The team competed in regionals where we all had our best races of the season,” McElyea added. 

Milner also mentions that the runners have had multiple top 10 finishes at every level including a championship at the freshman/sophomore race. 

Their early successes during the season continued throughout this race. Senior Creighton Patterson mentioned that the race proved to be a mental challenge that required perseverance and determination.  

“Going into NXR, it was snowing and raining all morning. During our race, it was hailing, so it was more of a mental race than anything. Aside from the weather, it was a fun race and was incredibly nice to race on such a good course,” Patterson said. 

Junior Brandon Gerrans appeared to share the sentiments of the day, saying that their practices prepared him well for the harsh weather conditions during the race. 

“During the race, I felt great. We prepared for the race well, and even with bad conditions, I still came in feeling really excited,” Gerrans said. 

​Senior Charlie McElyea, junior Brandon Gerrans, and seniors Creighton Patterson & Colin Heywood lead the group of runners at the November 14th Midwest Regional Race. “Since it’s my senior year, I no longer had nerves before running and I felt excited. My experience of running at this course in the past prepared me for this race,” Heywood said. Photo courtesy of Bob McElyea. 

Senior Collin Heywood said that the runners faced additional obstacles due to course’s conditions, along with the harsh weather. 

“During the race, it started to feel challenging after the first mile. We were running uphill in cold and muddy conditions. However, I pushed through and completed the race with a time I’m happy with,” Heywood added. 

Despite the course’s difficult circumstances, Husky Running Club sponsor James Milner noted that the LaVern Gibson Championship XC Course gave runners a unique experience. 

“The course was very exciting to run on. It’s often used for college Regional and National meets,” Milner said. 

Even with the grueling course and weather, McElyea said that the challenges they faced strengthened the overall team’s bond. Everyone on the team was encouraging and supportive throughout the race. 

“The team has bonded in a lot of ways. We have the shared experience of going out and doing something that a lot of people can’t or don’t really do, which is running fast and competing,” McElyea added. 

The NXR race was the final race for the Husky Running Club. For Gerrans, he said that it feels bittersweet for the running season to come to an end. 

“It feels both relieving and upsetting to be done with racing because I feel that I get to lay back for a while until next year, but I also want to continue to get better for the next season,” Gerrans added. 

The Husky Running Club will have its first race of the season next November after the cross country season is completed.

Annika Srivastava is a staff writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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