Rhode Island Cross-Country Runners To Watch: Nikki Merrill, Portsmouth High

Nikki Merrill, Portsmouth High

The Patriot junior was 13th at last year's State Meet. We're expecting that to improve significantly this fall. In fact, we wouldn't be surprised if she is challenging up front with the best the state has to offer. 

Merrill was one of our most dominant competitors on the track oval last year where she won three individual titles (600m, 1,000m and 1,500m) during the indoor season and two more (800m, 1,500m) on the outdoor surface. Merriil saw significant improvement from her freshmen season with national-caliber times of 4:29 for 1,500m and 2:09 for 800m. More importantly, the Patriot all-stater was a gritty competitor last year on the oval in 2016-17, rarely losing to her Rhode Island rivals. With her talent and inner drive, we're predicting she'll be able to make the successful transition to the longer 5K race.

Last year she ran her best of 19:42 at the states.  It wouldn't seem too far-fetched if she runs low 18s this fall, possibly faster!