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Welcome to the 2021 GAXC Festival and HBCU Challenge!

Oct. 2, 2021 update -- We are excited to again be able to host the Great American XC Festival and Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge after a 1-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions. The meet returns to WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. on Saturday, October 2, 2021!

LIVE RESULTS at CLICK HERE (1st race 8am ET)


The GAXC Festival started in 1999, was purchased by the NSAF in 2002, and has been hosted at WakeMed Soccer Park since 2009. In 2019 we had 11 boys' and girls' varsity and junior varsity 5,000m races, highlighted by the Nike Race of Champions events -- plus the Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge men's 8k and women's 5k championship races and college men's 8k and women's 5k.

2020 GAXC Festival, HBCU Challenge cancelled due to COVID-19

August 7, 2020 update -- We are saddened to announce the cancellation of the 2020 Great American Cross Country Festival and Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge, due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19.

The announcement follows delays in the state of North Carolina’s reopening plan, which has affected our WakeMed Soccer Park home, plus the start of the school year and fall sports for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA).



Great Oak's victorious teams celebrate on the awards stage with Nike/Bowerman TC guest athlete Grant Fisher after their Nike ROC sweep! Photo by Walter Pinion.

2019 Recap: Weather cools; performances heat up for harriers

There were nearly 100 reasons to be concerned about the racing conditions for the 2019 Great American Cross Country Festival and Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge during the final countdown to the NSAF’s annual harrier extravaganza – as Raleigh-area temperatures climbed to 99 and 95 degrees the two days immediately preceding the event.

But Saturday, October 5th’s anticipated 20-plus degree temperature drop came through and blazing times were once again the order of a mild day at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary. More than 3,400 athletes competed in the day’s 15 races and, along with their coaches, families, friends and fans, enjoyed the festive atmosphere throughout the morning and afternoon. Check out the highlights below for the record-breaking performances and more!


Tuohy, Great Oak boys establish new GAXC standards

With 2-time NXN Nationals champ Katelyn Tuohy (at right) racing WakeMed for the first time, as well as the return of the Great Oak powerhouse from California, the chances of records falling in the Nike Race of Champions battles was strong indeed.

GAXC and HBCU action photos by Walter Pinion.

Other Highlights

Grant Fisher in the house!

We were thrilled to have Grant Fisher of the Bowerman Track Club as our Nike elite guest athlete. Fisher was a sub-4:00 miler while at Grand Blanc HS in Michigan (Class of 2015) and a 2-time Gatorade National XC Runner of the Year. At Stanford he was a 12-time NCAA All-American, winning the 2017 Outdoor 5,000m title and finishing national runner-up in XC last fall. He has a new 5,000m PR of 13:29.03 after joining the Bowerman TC this past summer.

Fisher signed autographs and posed in photos while handing out Nike swag at a special booth, held the tape for the Nike Race of Champions finishes, and helped hand out awards while posing for more photos. We wish him the best of luck in his professional career!

At right, Grant poses with some of his fans during the GAXC awards. Photo by Walter Pinion.

Grant Fisher profile | Interview with Grant

HBCU Challenge: Return of NCAT men, 1st time for Fay State women

The Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge featured an intriguing mix of the “old” and the new. The “old” included North Carolina A&T State regaining the men’s team title they lost last year and the Aggies’ G’Jasmyne Butler (at right) winning her 2nd straight individual crown. On the other hand, new to the top of the podium was Fayetteville State U. in the women’s team race and Mathew Chesum (lower right) in the men’s individual battle.

HBCU team photos by Chris Coleman.

At left, the champion Fayetteville State U. women; at right, the victorious North Carolina A&T State men.

We love our partners and sponsors

The NSAF is grateful to have had Nike as its title sponsor and partner for the fourth consecutive year and for the GAXC Festival to be the Official NXN Southeast Pre-Regional. Nike provided us with a tremendous amount of outstanding apparel and swag, and we hope you came Friday afternoon or early Saturday to select your favorite items!

And even though the temps cooled down dramatically Saturday, we were very glad to have Gatorade, our Official Sports Fuel Provider, with us all weekend long. Thousands of athletes refreshed and refueled after hard efforts out there on the course.

We hope you also got a chance to try outstanding products from our partners at ElliptiGO, Roll Recovery and Jawku. The first two have been with us for our national class events for several seasons now while Jawku is one of our newest partners.

Finally, we thank The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, the Town of Cary and the Bone and Joint Surgery Clinic for their support. We hope you enjoyed your visit to the Raleigh/Cary area and that you will join us again in 2020!





2018 GAXC Festival and HBCU Challenge: Wet… but fast

More than 3,000 athletes who contested the 2018 Great American XC Festival and Cedric Walker HBCU Challenge last month were greeted on race day by light-to-moderate rain that lasted on and off all day long. But that turned out to be a good thing, when it came to providing faster racing conditions.

The scorching heat from the previous day was gone and, with the rain accompanied by little or no wind, some of the fastest times in meet history were posted at WakeMed Soccer Park. Sixty-eight boys ran 16:00 or faster during the day’s races, while 49 girls broke 19:00.

Race Highlights

Nor did the rain dampen the festivities that make GAXC a “Festival!”  There were fun activities to keep teams and their families entertained all day long at WakeMed. In addition, Nike provided an awesome apparel tent that sold out of almost everything, as well as a special booth where athletes and fans could meet and get autographs from Nike superstar distance runner Shelby Houlihan.

The NSAF thanks its Title Sponsor – Nike – as well as its Official Sports Fuel Provider, Gatorade, for all of their support. We were also glad to have our partner ElliptiGO on hand for GAXC for the first time, along with our new partners from Camp Gladiator! We’re very thankful for all of the other generous supporters for whom our races have been named: The Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance, the Town of Cary, Primo Water, Roll Recovery and the Bone and Joint Surgery Clinic.

Our Partners