N.C. State XC Koon and Clairmonte

 

The NC State women’s cross country team has shone in recent years. With four straight ACC titles and a fifth-place finish in the NCAA championship this past season, there is no doubt this team is good. But this year, this team is about to be scarily good.

While the Wolfpack will be losing senior Elly Henes, a three-time cross country All-American, she stands as one of only two seniors on the team leaving, with the rest of the squad to welcome 2020’s historical recruiting class.

Headlining the Pack’s recruiting class is Katelyn Tuohy, who is deemed to be the top distance runner in the nation. Tuohy has been named the “Runner of the Decade” by Milesplit, and “America’s Next Great Running Hope” by the New York Times. Highlighting Tuohy’s long list of achievements, she has also won the 2019 Gatorade Player of the Year and stands as the only athlete in history to win the Nike Cross Nationals three times in a row as an individual. 

Right behind Tuohy stands Marlee Starliper, the No.4 recruit in the nation, according to Milesplit. Starliper has set multiple records in her home state of Pennsylvania and recently medaled in the Foot Locker Nationals, taking home the silver, less than two seconds shy of the gold. 

Also coming to Raleigh in the fall is Claire Walters, who recently took home a fourth-place finish at the Nike Cross Nationals, finishing one place above future teammate Starliper. Walters has finished top five in the Nike Cross Nationals for the past three years.

Also joining the Wolfpack are other top recruits such as Jenna Schulz, Alyssa Hendrix and Gionna Quarzo, all notable top runners in their respective states.

While NC State women’s cross country has been making waves in recent years, performing well in national and conference events, it has never been able to get an edge on the western powerhouses such as Arkansas and New Mexico. But with such a historic recruiting class uniting in Raleigh, the Wolfpack is a force to be reckoned with.

Perhaps NC State will be that one school this year that every other school dreads to race against. Is it time that NC State takes home a national championship trophy?