And it comes down to one race on Saturday.
For the teams from the University of Washington, Western Washington, and Seattle Pacific, the miles run over the summer and the races during the fall comes down to one more race on Saturday as the NCAA cross country championships close out the collegiate season.
The University of Washington women's team, which started out the season ranked #5 in the USTFCCCA national poll after finishing ninth at last year's NCAA meet in Louisville, looks to salvage a strong finish in Terre Haute, Indiana, after what's been an up-and-down season.
Their season started with the loss for the first few meets of All-American Megan Goethals due to injury, and a lack of consistency by their back runners in their last few meets after winning the Dellinger Invitational in Oregon on October 5th.
The only constant for the Huskies this season has been senior Katie Flood (above/photo by Paul Merca), who's been the lead runner for the Dawgs this season in four of five races, and is coming off her best cross country performance in two seasons after placing fourth at the NCAA West Regionals in Sacramento last week.
Besides Flood, the Huskies will have a trio of upperclassmen in seniors Liberty Miller and Justine Johnson, along with junior Megan Goethals. They'll also run freshmen Amy-Eloise Neale and Katie Knight, with the final spot on the line to be filled by either frosh Kaylee Flanagan or sophs Baylee Mires and Maddie Meyers.
The Huskies' Aaron Nelson will be the lone representative on the line in the men's national championship race after finishing eighth at the NCAA regional meet last week.
Nelson gets things underway in the men's 10k championship race at 9am, with the women's 6k championship going at 10:15am. Both races will be streamed online at ncaa.com.
The men's race will have some significant story lines involving athletes with Washington ties, as #1 ranked Northern Arizona, with Spokane's Nathan Weitz from Shadle Park HS, goes against #2 Oklahoma State, which has Central Kitsap alum Shane Moskowitz on its squad, and is coached by Olympia native Dave Smith.
The University of Portland, with Seattle Prep alum Charlie McDonald from Bellevue on its squad, looks for a top ten team finish in the national title race.
On the women's side, Redmond HS alum Devin McMahon will run in her third NCAA cross country championship meet for Cornell. The senior finished 123rd in last year's meet.
Across the state in Spokane, both Western Washington squads and Seattle Pacific's women's teams look to improve upon their current ranking in the USTFCCCA poll.
The Western Washington men finished the regular season ranked #19, as did the Seattle Pacific women, while the WWU women finished in the #25 spot.
Western will send seniors Chip Jackson, Tanner Boyd and Dylan Peterson to the line along with Issac Griffith, Nathan Richards and Jonathan Quimby. A decision will be made on Tabor Reedy, who DNF'd at regionals due to a heel injury. If he can't go, Cory Johnson will race.
The Falcons will run McKayla Fricker, Jasmine Johnson, Anna Patti, Sarah Macdonald, Lynelle Decker, Hannah Calvert, and Claire Rachwitz.
The Vikings will line up Katelyn Steen, Haley O'Connor, Taylor Guenther, Austen Reiter, Haida Ikeda, Lillianna Stelling, and Sofia Marikis.
For both teams, early positioning will be a key factor in Saturday's race, which gets underway at 10:30am with the women's 6k, followed by the men's 10k at 11:30am at the Plantes Ferry Sports Complex. Like the Division I race, the Division II race will be streamed on ncaa.com.
Significant runners with Washington ties competing in Spokane on Saturday include Cal Baptist's Bryton Reim, a graduate of Kamiak HS & Everett CC, along with Ashley Nichols from Inglemoor HS in Kenmore, who runs for Bentley (Mass.).
The Division III championship race will be held Saturday in Hanover, Indiana, with Roosevelt HS alum Lucy Cheadle, the winner of the Midwest regional meet, among the runners to watch.
The University of Puget Sound's Kathryn Flyte is in the D3 field as an individual, after her fifth place finish in the West regionals.
The D3 championships will also be streamed on ncaa.com as well.
NOTE: The University of Washington, Western Washington and Seattle Pacific sports information departments, along with the NCAA and the USTFCCCA contributed to this report.