Alyssa Snyder to run at Nike Nationals | ParkRecord.com

Alyssa Snyder to run at Nike Nationals

After competing at the Nike Cross Nationals meet in Portland, Oregon, last year, Park City’s Alyssa Snyder thought she could have done a little bit better. This year, the senior cross-country runner will get a chance to show what she can do, as she has once again qualified for the meet.

A 26th-place finish in 2013 put Snyder just outside the All-American requirement of a top-21 finish. That was OK with her, though, as she was new to the experience.

"Last year, I was just kind of excited to be there," she said. "I didn’t really have any goals and I didn’t know what to expect going in. I was new to the whole thing."

When she competes at the event again on Dec. 6, however, she wants to snag that All-American honor.

"This year, I’ve decided to set some goals going in," she said. "I want to finish in the top 21, because that’s All-American."

She also wants to be a little bit more prepared for the weather this year, which caught her off-guard in 2013.

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"For some reason last year, I didn’t think it would be cold in Portland in December," she said. "I was totally unprepared for the cold. This year, I’m definitely prepared for that."

Time-wise, Snyder wants to at least match her time from the Nike Southwest Regional, where she ran the five-kilometer course in 17 minutes, 37 seconds and finished in seventh place. That 17:37 time was a Park City High School 5K record.

"Last year, 18:06 got 26th for me," she said. "This year, based on my time at regionals, where I ran 17:37, I’m hoping that since [finals are] down at sea level, I can run closer to that again."

She’ll be more comfortable running this year, she said, as more Utah runners will be joining her.

"I’ll have some girls like Lucy Biles [of Herriman] and Courtney Wayment [of Northridge] that I’m familiar racing with," she said. "Last year I didn’t have anybody from Utah out there with me other than the Davis [High School] team."

So far as the course goes, Snyder anticipates it will play into her strengths as a runner.

"It’s actually a new course this year," she said. "But typically it’s at a golf course, so it’ll be pretty flat, most likely — not a lot of hills or anything."

Though she’s used to running in the hills of Park City, Snyder said that training translates to faster times on level courses. Add in the fact that the race will be at sea level and she thinks she’s capable of a great race.

"I think it’s actually a lot easier for me because I’m used to the hills," she said. "Coming down to the flatness at sea level is a lot easier on me. I’ve run some of my best times on flat courses. I do OK on hilly courses, but I do prefer to race on flat."

Though Snyder said she’s looking forward to the race, she said the entire atmosphere of the event is enjoyable.

"There’s always all the free Nike gear and getting to meet the professional athletes," she said. "It’s a really fun experience."

For information and results from Saturday’s finals, visit http://www.nxn.runnerspace.com .