Top American Mountain Runners Selected for World Championships in Italy

In accordance with selection criteria published August 11, 2016, final team selection was conducted by Richard Bolt, Nancy Hobbs, Jason Bryant, Maria Dalzot, Eric Blake and Howard Nippert and approved by the USATF Mountain, Ultra & Trail (MUT) Running Executive Committee. 

The USATF Mountain, Ultra Trail Council is proud to announce members of Team USA scheduled to compete at the 2017 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships August 6, in Premana, Italy. The US team of 5 women and 5 men will tackle the technical 32 km loop course in the mountains of the Province of Lecco high above Lake Como.

This year marks the third year the event has been designated a “world championship” by the IAAF, and the second year the American team will receive partial funding from USA Track & Field. From 2004 to 2014 this event was designated a “world challenge” and was held three times in conjunction with the Pikes Peak Ascent in Colorado Springs, CO (2006, 2010 & 2014).

The World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships is regulated by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) under the patronage of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The U.S. Long Distance Mountain Running Team consists of 5 women and 5 men with the top 3 men and top 3 women (cumulative finish places from the top three runners) scoring for the team.

The 2017 WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships will be held in conjunction with the 25th Giir Di Mont race. The 32km course contains 7874 feet of ascent. A course profile and elevations at points along the course can be found on the race website. The weekend prior to Giir Di Mont Premana will play host to the 33rd annual World Mountain Running Championships (short distance) on July 30.

Hometowns, sponsors and quotes from Team USA:

Matt Daniels at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships.

Matt Daniels – age 29 – (Boulder, CO). Top recent results: 2nd – 2016 USATF 30K Trail Championships (1:53), 3rd – 2016 USATF Mountain Running Championships, 44th – 2016 World Mountain Running Championships.
“I’m honored to have the opportunity to represent my country in another world championship! There is no better feeling than getting to go across the world to do the one thing I love most while sporting the red, white, and blue. After being a part of a gold medal team last summer in Bulgaria, I have high hopes for this awesome team that’s been assembled to race in Italy!”

Kasie Enman – 2011 World Mountain Running Champion. (Photo by Joe Viger)

Kasie Enman – age 37 – (Huntington, VT). Sponsors: Salomon Running, Suunto, Green Mountain Athletic Association. Top recent results: 2nd – 2016 USATF 50K Trail Championships (under old CR), 6th – 2016 USATF Mountain Running Championships, 2nd – 2016 Whiteface SkyRace (15M), 11th – 2015 World Mountain Running Championships.
“It’s a pretty special thing to be heading to a World Championship on a course that I have raced before and have had a really positive experience on. I’m hoping to be able to share some of that course knowledge with my teammates to give us an extra advantage as we train and develop our race plans.”

Cole Watson – 2nd place at the 2017 USATF 50K Trail Championships.

Cole Watson – age 25 – (Ashland, OR). Sponsors: Hoka One One, Julbo Eyewear, Bioskin, Rogue Valley Runners, and Trails & Tarmac. Top recent results: 2nd – 2017 USATF 50K Trail Championships (3:39), 1st – 2016 Lithia Loop Trail Marathon (2:36), 1st – 2016 Mt Ashland Hillclimb (1:51).
“I am very honored to represent the US in a race on this kind of stage. I am also very excited to get a taste of the European trail racing atmosphere in Premana!”

Kristi Knecht – 2nd place at the 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 39K.

Kristi Knecht – age 33 – (Flagstaff, AZ). Sponsors: Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters, Paragon Athletics, Salomon, Squirrels Nut Butter, Fbomb Fat is smart fuel. Top recent results: 2nd – 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 39K (4:53:11), 3rd – 2016 Power of Four 50K, 7th – 2016 The Rut 28K (3rd US).
“I’m so proud to have the honor to represent the United States and humbled to be a member of this incredible team! I can’t wait to compete in some of the world’s most beautiful and challenging terrain amongst the very best in our sport! Thank you for this great opportunity!”

Andy Wacker – 2nd place at the 2015 Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Zermatt, SUI.

Andy Wacker – age 28 – (Boulder, CO). Sponsors: adidas, skratch labs, and feetures! Top recent results: 1st – 2016 USATF 1/2 Marathon Trail Championships, 2nd – 2016 Pikes Peak Ascent (2:14:00), 20th – 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, 6th – 2016 USATF Mountain Running Championships.
“2017 will be my fourth consecutive US Long Distance Mountain Running Team. Individually, I have placed 3rd in 2014, 2nd in 2015, and DNF last year after a gnarly month of stomach flu. My goal, this year is to win the race. I have been working furiously to climb faster, sharpen my descent, and increase my endurance. With a strong and experienced team, I know we will make USA proud!”

Dani Moreno –  1st place, 2017 Marin 25K Ultra Challenge (Photo by Cris Gebhardt).

Daniella Moreno – age 24 – (Santa Barbara, CA). Sponsors: Hoka One One and rabbit. Top recent results: 1st – 2017 Marin 25K Ultra Challenge, 9th – 2016 USATF Mountain Running Championships, 4th – 2016 USATF 1/2 Marathon Trail Championships.
“I feel grateful and honored for being named to the US Long Distance Mountain Running Team. While I am looking forward to many things in Italy, toeing the line with such experienced and inspiring women may be one of the things I am looking most forward to. I am also looking forward to competing, as I feel that I can do very well despite being the youngin of the group! I can’t wait to make the best of this opportunity.”

Mario Mendoza – 2015 USATF Trail Marathon Champion.

Mario Mendoza – age 31 – (Bend, OR). Sponsors: Skechers Performance, Drymax Socks, Simple Hydration, Recharge Sport. Top recent results: 11th – 2016 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, 3rd – 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, 2nd – 2016 Chuckanut 50K.
“It’s really exciting to be taking this talented team to Italy. I’m looking forward to seeing new mountain ranges and testing the limits of endurance with these guys. My biggest goal is to give my team my best effort so that we can compete for a podium spot again. Individually, it would be an honor to get top 10. Missed it by one spot last time!”

Addie Bracy at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships

Addie Bracy – age 30 – (Boulder, CO). Sponsors: Salomon Running and Hudson Elite. Top recent results: 1st – 2016 USATF Trail Marathon Championships (3:40), 12th – 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, 2nd – 2017 USATF 50K Trail Championships, 1st – 2016 USATF Mountain Running Championships.
“I’m ecstatic for the opportunity to represent the USA in the World Long Distance Champs in Italy. We have a very talented team of men and women, and I’m honored to be racing with them. I’m confident that we’ll hold our own against some of the best long distance trail runners in the world.”

Tayte Pollmann – 2nd place at the Flagstaff Skyrace 39K (Photo by Kelli Lofgren).

Tayte Pollmann – age 20 – (Sandy, UT). University of Portland student. Top recent results: 2nd – 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace 39K (4:00:28), 2nd – 2016 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, 3rd – 2016 Speedgoat 50K, 18th – 2015 World Mountain Running Championships junior men’s race.
“Before going to bed, I brush my teeth, stretch with some yoga poses, change into my makeshift PJs (whatever running clothes are lying around), and stare at a photo of the small European mountain town called Premana, Italy. For the past nine months, since the day I learned the World Long Distance Championships would be held in Premana, I have been dreaming about racing on this rugged 32K course. I’m grateful for the opportunity to live out this dream in August. I look forward to Italian gelato, cappuccinos, pasta, and meeting my amazing teammates. We’ll bring home the gold for Team USA!”

Anita Ortiz (2nd from right) – member of the gold medal winning women’s team at the 2007 World Mountain Running Championships.

Anita Ortiz – age 52 – (Eagle, CO). Sponsor: Salomon Running. Top recent results: 13th – 2016 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, 2nd – 2016 Pikes Peak Marathon, 1st – 2017 Shootover Moonlight Marathon.
“I am extremely honored to be chosen for Team USA to be competing at the 2017 Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, August 6 in Premana, Italy. It will be exciting to travel with the other US athletes and visit with the many friends from other countries that I’ve made over the years. The race looks to be a great challenge in a beautiful area of the Italian Alps.”

These athletes were selected to the team based on performances at the 2016 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships; selection races at the 2016 Flagstaff Skyrace and 2016 Moab Trail Marathon as well as resume submissions as outlined in the published selection criteria. 38 talented mountain runners submitted resumes for this years team.

Richard Bolt will be team staff for the American delegation. Richard is an athlete ambassador for Salomon & Suunto, has raced in three US Olympic Trials in cross country skiing, is a two-time athlete on the US Mountain Running Team and has been a team staff member at 18 World Championship events. Richard will be posting team updates from Italy on Twitter at: @USMRT

The following athletes won selection races but declined their spots on Team USA: Megan Kimmel (top American, 2016 Long Distance Championships), Alicia (Shay) Vargo (winner, Flagstaff Skyrace), Joseph Gray (winner, Flagstaff Skyrace) and Sage Canaday (winner, Moab Trail Marathon).

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