In her three-year cross country career, Riverview's Bailey Hertenstein has finished worse than first only twice: states her freshman year (15th) and 2016 Foot Locker South, where she placed 7th to qualify for Nationals in San Diego.
With two state cross country titles and one state track title to her name, Hertenstein is undoubtedly one of the most prolific female runners competing currently in Florida. In track, she often races a combined total of 6,000 meters, and in cross country, she holds a PR of 17:32.14 and the Apalachee Regional Park course record.
Hertenstein's personal coach Stephen Dunn said they've been cutting down mileage while keeping up the intensity to ensure Hertenstein is ready for nationals Saturday.
"Sunday we did flying 200 x 6 with full recovery, Monday short hills x 6, Tuesday 3 mile easy with some pickup, Wednesday a couple of mile repeats, [Thursday] travel, Friday pre race," Dunn said of Hertenstein's preparation. "...She is ready for a break after this race. So we've been keeping the distance down but good intensity to keep her sharp."
Even though Foot Locker South wasn't Hertenstein's best race, her 17:41.21 was still a top four career-best time and a redemption of sorts after DNF'ing at Foot Locker South in 2015.
"She didn't feel that great in NC so [she] is hoping for a great race in SD," Dunn said. "I would say her mood is good, excited and our training team was giving her a big send off last night after practice just wishing her well."
As for Foot Locker Nationals itself, Hertenstein's looking for a high finish, albeit lower than she's used to, to cap off a stellar junior season.
"We hope to be in the top 25," Dunn said. "That would be outstanding."
- Bailey's Athlete Profile
- Floridians At Foot Locker Nationals: Is Ashley Brasovan The Best Ever?
- 2016 Foot Locker Nationals Meet Page