2019 USATF Junior Mountain Running Team Announced

USA Track & Field’s Mountain, Ultra, Trail (MUT) Executive Committee has named the Junior US Mountain Running Team members scheduled to compete at the 32nd WMRA World Mountain Running Championships on Friday, November 15, in Villa La Angostura, Argentina. The Team features a mixture of former Youth (U18) and Junior (U20) Team members along with some of the best young track and cross country runners in the country.

The team will be competing on a 6.6 kilometer up/down course in Villa La Angostura that includes grades as steep as 35% in some sections. Their senior team counterparts will be named at the USATF Mountain Running Championships on September 29, in Waterville Valley, NH. Let’s meet the junior team:

Junior Women

Joslin Blair at the 2018 U18 International Mountain Running Youth Cup. Photo by Sport di montagna.

Joslin Blair (Eagle, Colorado) – An experienced runner on every surface, Joslin won the 2018 WMRA U18 International Mountain Running Youth Cup and was the second American at the 2018 World Mountain Running Championship junior women’s race in Andorra. After a strong track season where she finished 5th in the Mile at the 2019 New Balance Nationals Outdoor Championships and was part of the 3rd place 4×800 team at the same championship, she won the 2019 National High School Trail Championships this past July. In addition to her trail and track skills, Joslin also has a personal best of 17:25 for 5 km in cross country running. Joslin is currently in her senior year at Eagle Valley High School in Eagle, CO. “I’m so excited to have been given the opportunity to race in South America while representing Team USA! It’ll be a great chance to challenge myself alongside some amazing teammates while soaking in the culture of a new place!”

Samantha Blair

Samantha Blair (Eagle, Colorado) – After finishing second just behind her sister at the 2019 National High School Trail Championships, Samantha went on to finish in 5th place at the 2019 WMRA U18 International Mountain Running Youth Cup in Susa, Italy to help lead the U.S. girls team to a bronze medal. Samantha has a 17:36 5 km cross country personal best and was part of the 5th place team at the 2019 New Balance Outdoor Championships, running the 800 meter leg of the DMR. She has a personal best of 2:11.65 at the 800 meter distance. Samantha is in her sophomore year at Eagle Valley High School in Eagle, CO. “I am so honored to be chosen for this team. I am so excited and can’t wait for this amazing opportunity to go run in a different country for the US!”

Maggi Congdon

Maggi Condon (Steamboat Springs, Colorado) – Maggi is coming off of her impressive performance for Team USATF at the 2019 WMRA U18 International Mountain Running Youth Cup in Susa, Italy where she finished in 18th place helping to secure a podium spot for her team. Maggi also finished 37th place at Nike Cross Country Regionals this past year and was 3rd at the 2018 National High School Trail Championships. She has personal bests of 2:13.35 for 800 meters as well as a 1600 meter best of 4:59.62. Maggi is a senior at Steamboat Springs High School in Steamboat Springs, CO. “It is such an honor to be selected to race for team USA in Argentina. I’m excited to be able to compete on a tough course in the mountains. I cannot wait to race in a new country and meet lots of new people!”

Lydia Russell

Lydia Russell (Bryn Mawr, PA) – Lydia brings an impressive amount of speed to the team with a 3000 meter track team that was the 9th fastest in the nation in 2019 in a time of 9:37.65. She also ran the fastest outdoor 5K in Pennsylvania state history at the 2019 New Balance Nationals Outdoor in Greensboro, North Carolina with a time of 16:18.72. Lydia recently was the top woman the Trail de Font Romeu 15 kilometer mountain race in Font-Romeu, France where she was also fourth overall. She enjoys longer distance races on the roads as well and ran a 1:27:33 at the Philadelphia Half Marathon, which gives her the strength and endurance that will help her chances on the 6.6 kilometer course in Argentina. Lydia is in her senior year at Friends Central School in Wynnewood, PA. “I’m thrilled and so grateful to have been selected to represent the USA in Argentina this fall. It will be a really fun challenge to race in a new environment, and I can’t wait to experience it with the rest of the US team!”

Junior Men

David Cardenas

David Cardenas (Grand Junction, CO) – Returning from last year’s Junior US Mountain Running Team having competed at the 2018 World Mountain Running Championships in Andorra, David was 4A state champion on the track in 800 meters with a personal best of 1:53.47. He was also 4A state runner-up at 1600 meters with a personal best of 4:16.71. David also has a 15:23.6 5 km cross country personal best and has run 32:35 for 10,000 meters. David is currently a Freshman at Adams State University. “It’s definitely an honor to represent the United States again for mountain running. This means to me another step in my running career and an opportunity to do something great on the world stage!”

Anthony Hancock

Anthony Hancock (Dearborn, MI) – Anthony is the Michigan D2 State Champion at 3200 meters with a time of 9:06. He also has personal bests of 2:01 (800m), 4:24 (1600m) and 15:42 (5000m). He also has great speed off the track with a cross country 5 km personal best of 15:14.97. Anthony is in his senior year at Dearborn Divine Child High School in Dearborn, MI. “I am so thankful to be named to this team and to have the opportunity and experience competing for the USA.”

Michael Hancock

Michael Hancock (Dearborn, MI) – Michael was first place at both the 2 Mile and 3000 meter races at the New Balance Outdoor Nationals Emerging Elite Races and has personal bests of 1:57 (800m), 4:20 (1600m) and 8:46.38 (3000m). He placed 2nd at the State Championships in the 1600 meter event. His cross country personal best for 5 km is 15:33. Michael, who is the twin brother of Anthony, is also in his senior year at Dearborn Divine Child High School in Dearborn, MI. “It is a great opportunity to be on the team and represent the US in Argentina. I love running on tough terrain and exploring the beautiful nature around us. Let’s save the Earth!!”

Tyman Smart

Tyman Smart (Grand Junction, CO) – Tyman won the National High School Trail Championships this past July during a Summer that also saw him compete at the Dynafit Vail Hillclimb where he finished 2nd to 2016 World Mountain Running Champion Joe Gray and the Vail Summer Solstice 10 km where he finished 1st. Tyman has personal best times of 2:02 (800m), 4:36 (1600m) and 16:05 (5000m). His 5 km cross country personal best is 15:31. Tyman is in his freshman year at Western Colorado University. “It means a lot to be a selection on this team because I’ve always wanted to represent the USA, and this is a great opportunity to do so. I look forward to running my best in Argentina.”

Paul Kirsch and David Cardenas at last years World Mountain Running Championships.

Junior Team Manager Paul Kirsch (East Madison, NH) Paul has led the junior program for the US Mountain Running Team since 2010 where he has overseen growth in the number and quality of team applicants. Paul also helps organize the annual USATF Mountain Running Championships in conjunction with the experienced event organizing team at acidotic Racing.

“With over 30 applicants, we had a tremendously talented pool of young athletes this year that were reviewed by our coaching staff and selection committee,” noted Paul Kirsch. “The eight athletes we’ve selected for the team give us a really great opportunity for a strong showing at this year’s championships. I’m excited to see how they perform against the world’s best.”

This years group of junior mountain runners looks to build on the team’s past success at the World Mountain Running Championships. In 2013 Mandy Ortiz became the first American junior woman to win the World Mountain Running Championships leading her team to a silver medal.

In 2014 the junior women’s team won a silver medal on strong races by Mandy Ortiz (4th) and Marisa Ruskan (8th).

2015 Junior World Mountain Running Champion Allie Ostrander.

Allie Ostrander became the second American junior woman to win the World Mountain Running Championships in 2015 while fellow Alaskan Levi Thomet won a silver medal in the junior men’s race. Led by Levi, the 2015 junior men’s team won a silver medal.

In 2017 the junior women’s team won a silver medal on the strength of Lauren Gregory’s individual bronze medal. On the junior men’s team, Talon Hull also achieved the podium with his individual bronze medal.

Junior Teams are selected from the pool of applicants by members of US Mountain Running Team Staff along with members of USATF Mountain, Ultra, Trail (MUT) Committee. All athletes must be U.S. citizens and between the ages of 16-19 in the year of world championship.

Tags: , ,