USA – Six USATF Future Stars Crowned National Champions JOXC

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Paris, Kentucky – For the first time in 2020 youth athletes had an opportunity to compete for national titles at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships at a new course at Bourbon County Park in Paris, Kentucky. The Championships held Saturday and Sunday, December 12-13, have been scheduled across two days, as opposed to the usual single day event, to accommodate multiple starting waves for each age division.

Athletes in the 7 to 12 hit the course on day one of competition in cool and windy conditions with occasional rain showers early in the day. In the first race of the day, seven-year-old Angelina Alder (Franklin Elite Athletics Track Club) defeated a majority eight-year-old field crossing the line in 8:01.59 to win the girls 8 and under 2k division national title. Taisley Janssen (NX Level Track Club) crossed the line second in 8:10.96 ahead of Amelia Clewley (Unattached) in 8:14.64.

In the boys 8 and under 2k, Micah Weber (Federal Way Track Club) and Matthew Rodriguez (Northeast Striders) battled all the way up the final hill but it was Weber that pulled away 10 meters from the finish line to take the title in 7:29.8. Rodriquez crossed the line second in 7:31.0 just ahead of Everett Hammond (Prospect Park Youth Running) in 7:32.8.

Moving up to the girls 3k 9-10 division, Ela Budzinski (New England Elite Track Club) ran away from the field to win in 11:53.5. Elin Latta (Parker Panthers) and Margaret Mewett (Knoxville Youth Athletics) finished second and third in 12:02.8 and 12:05.5 respectively.

The boys 3k 9-10 division was split into two waves following Covid-19 protocols. In the first wave William Malueg (Jefferson Parks & Recreation) took control from the start and ran by himself the entire race on his way to win the overall title with his time of 10:42.4 withstanding the second wave. Konstantin MacKinnon (Westchester Wolves) fell shy in the second wave crossing the line first in 10:45.4 for second overall behind Malueg. Eli Lesnet (Coram Deo Athletics) was second in the second wave in 10:50.2 to finish third overall.

In the girls 3k 11-12 division, the top two overall finishers came from the first wave. Addison Moore (Unattached) jumped to an early lead but was caught by the defending 11-12 division champion Jessica Abbott (Shore Athletic) around the 1k mark. Abbott would hold off the surging Moore down the final stretch to win wave one with a time of 10:57.2 surviving wave two to win the overall division title. Moore finished second overall in 10:59.2. Helen Oyler (N. Idaho XC) crossed the line in 11:24.9 to win the second wave placing third overall.

Dylan Smith (Parker Panthers) took immediate command of wave one in the boys 3k 11-12 division and never looked back on his way to winning the wave and taking home the overall title in 10:22.0. In wave two, teammates Nathan Lee (Tailwind) and Matteo Chiesara (Tailwind) worked together battling Liam Keffer (Cougar Track Club) before Lee and Keffer separated from the field. With less than 1k remaining, Lee took off to win wave two, finishing second overall behind Smith in 10:24.6. Chiesara came back to take second in the wave and third overall in 10:31.2.

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