This year marks the 13th edition of the World Mountain Running Association’s (WMRA) Mountain Running International Youth Cup (U18), and the second consecutive year that Team USA will have a full squad at the event. The mountain village of Lanzada in the Sondrio region of Italy near the Swiss border, is the host venue for the competition scheduled for Saturday, June 16.
The 4.3-kilometer course will be a two-lap route above Lanzada on single track mountain paths with steep ascents and fast descents including dirt road and grass, with a very small section of asphalt. The course has approximately 290 meters of ascending and descending. This is the first year both boys and girls will run the same distance. Each country can run up to four athletes per gender, with the top three scoring for the team.
Team USATF Athletes:
(age listed is the athlete’s age at the end of 2018)
Carley Bennett, 17, Lakewood, CO, 5K PR (xc): 18:03 Nike Cross Regionals – Southwest Championships, fall 2017. Attends Lakewood High School. “I am thrilled to be a part of the mountain running team to represent the USA in Italy. This team is a dream come true! I get to use all of the hilly and high altitude training I’ve done for years by living in Colorado. I am also thrilled to have my love for running take me to beautiful places across the world. My goals in Italy are to have a ton of fun and challenge myself. It would be a great day if I impressed myself out there and left exhausted but with a smile on my face!”
Joslin Blair, 17, Eagle, CO, 5K PR (xc): 17:53.78 Delta Cross Country Invitational, fall, 2017. Attends Eagle Valley High School. “I’m so honored to have been given the chance to run for the USA and for the opportunity to race on a global scale. This will allow me to grow tremendously as both a runner and a person as I learn more about the cultures of different athletes from around the world. I’m looking forward to working with my teammates to bring our country success!”
Anna Shults, 17, Lafayette, CO, 5K PR (xc): 17:19.00 – Nike Cross Regionals – Southwest Championships, fall 2017. Anna attends Peak to Peak High School. “I am honored to represent Team USA at the International Mountain Running Youth Cup in Italy. What an opportunity to be able to race with runners from all over the world and experience international racing at its finest.”
Brin Strouse, 17, Frederick, MD, 5K PR (xc): 18:39, fall 2017. Attends Urbana High School. “I am excited to take on the challenge of the course in Italy with “USA” across my chest. One of my goals for the mountain race is to help my team get on the medal stand.”
Gabriel Dinnel, 17, Washougal, WA, 5K PR (xc): 15:56, fall 2017. Attends Washougal High School. “I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to represent the USA at this international event and I look forward to competing alongside a diverse field of runners in a sport that has been such a big part of my life. In preparation for this event I plan to develop and run more challenging training routes in our local Columbia Gorge hill and mountain areas. I will also continue distance workouts with my teammates as I train for track season. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I plan to do my best to be prepared.”
Jaden Evans, 17, Telluride, CO.,5K PR (xc): 16:13.27 Delta Sweitzer Lake Invitational, fall 2017. Attends Telluride High School. “I am so excited to have been selected to run among such talented athletes at the WMRA Mountain Running International Youth Cup. It will be exhilarating to work and compete with such motivated mountain runners from the across the nation and the world. Running internationally in Italy will be an exciting new experience, and I look forward to representing the United States on a world stage. Time to go work the hills!’”
Nate Schmitt, 17, Lake Bluff, IL, 5K PR (xc): 15:21, fall 2017. Attends Lake Forest High School. “My goals for Italy are to run as hard as I can and have fun doing it!”
Colin Szuch, 16, Evergreen, CO, 5K PR (xc): 16:32 – Nike Cross Regionals – Southwest, fall 2017. Attends Evergreen High School. “I am thrilled to be part of the Junior World Mountain Running Team, and I am proud to represent my country. I am training hard for this race, and plan to give it my all. I have been Mountain Running since the age of six. At heart, I have always been a Mountain Runner. To me, the mountains hold a special power, because of this my best races are always mountain races. I am ecstatic to race in one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world. This is a once in a lifetime experience. TEAM USATF 2018 is going to do great things, and I am proud to be a part of it.’”
Nancy Hobbs, Colorado Springs, CO. “This championship affords young athletes an opportunity to gain experience on the world stage and we’re thrilled to have such a talented squad represent the United States this year in Italy. With the depth of our squad, I see podium potential.”
Mark Weeks, Colorado Springs, CO. “This years’ USA contingent will be looking to improve upon last years’ inaugural trip to the World Youth Cup and these teams should have the horsepower to achieve just that. I look forward to working with these very talented and committed young athletes in the gorgeous surroundings of Lanzada, Italy. This should be a fun and rewarding endeavor!”
An article about the 2017 US Youth Team can be found HERE.
Results for the 2018 WMRA Mountain Running International Youth Cup will be posted on the WMRA website.