Written by U.S. Junior Mountain Running Team Manager Paul Kirsch.
With a record number of applicants, USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail executive committee has selected some of the nation’s top junior cross country, track, mountain and trail runners to compete at the World Mountain Running Championships in Premana, Italy on July 30. Junior athletes, ranging in age from 16 to 19, from Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska will be competing for Team USA
“The interest in representing Team USA as a Junior Mountain Team member continues to grow. I am excited with the talent on this year’s team and look forward to supporting them in Italy at the end of this month,” noted Paul Kirsch, Team Manager of the Junior Mountain Running Team. “We have had Junior medals 3 out of the last 4 years and this is a great opportunity for a junior athlete to represent their country. I am very thankful to have the support of more and more coaches who really see the value in providing their athletes the chance to compete in a World Championship event.”
“The junior team has been an important development program for the U.S. Mountain Running Team since 2002. This year we fielded a full team for the Youth Cup in June and now again a strong Junior field for the World Championships in Italy.” said Richard Bolt, Team Leader for the U.S. Mountain Running Team.
The teams will be competing on Sunday, July 30, at the 33rd World Mountain Running Championships along with the senior men’s and women’s squads, which were selected in June at the U.S. Mountain Running Championships in North Conway, New Hampshire at the Cranmore Mountain Race. Unlike the men and women who compete in a qualifier race, the junior squads are selected by running resume and letters of recommendation, acknowledging the challenge of high school athletes’ ability to travel to a mountain running championship event. Juniors selected for the team must be between the ages of 16 and 19 of the competition year.
The world mountain running championships alternates between uphill-only courses and up/down courses every other year. This year’s course in Italy is an up/down course with the junior men and women both competing on a 6.5-kilometer course with 435 meters of elevation gain and descent.
This year’s U.S. Junior Team includes:
Soleil Gaylord, 16, Telluride, CO
Soleil attends Telluride High School and recently finished 18th at the International Youth Mountain Running Cup in Gagliano del Capo, Italy in June. Soleil was a member of the 2016 Junior Mountain Running Team that competed in Bulgaria and is a two-time Junior US Snowshoe Champion.
Lauren Gregory 18, Fort Collins, CO
Lauren graduated from Fort Collins High School in May, where she had PRs of 4:40 for the 1600 and was 3rd overall at Nike Cross Nationals in 2016. She also was a member of the Gold-Medal US Junior Team at the 2017 Great Edinburgh Cross Country Race in Scotland.
Julia Jaschke, 19, Greenwood Village, CO
Julia was selected for the Salomon Running Academy in 2016, and attended their training camp in Garmisch, Germany. She finished 9th at Nike Regionals in Arizona and earned a national elite ranking. Julia was a member of the 2016 Mountain Team and also placed first in her age division at the Mount Evans Ascent. She competed for Middlebury College in Vermont in both Cross Country and Track in the 2016/17 school year.
Quinn McConnell, 16, Erie, CO
Quinn attends the Peak to Peak Charter School and has a 5km cross country personal best of 17:12. Quinn was the 3A Colorado cross country state champion in 2015 and the state champion in the 800m, 1600m, and 4x800m in 2016. She also finished 17th place in the Nike Cross Country Nationals in 2016.
Jackson Brill, 19, Boulder, CO
Like Jaschke, Jackson was a member of the 2016 Salomon Running Academy and has a 1600 PR of 4:36. Jackson is an experienced mountain runner including a 3rd place finish at the Cheyenne Mountain 25km in 2016 and a 4th place finish at the 2017 Broken Arrow Sky Race.
Nate Fedel, 19, Omaha, NE
Nate attends Creighton University where he ran a 27:02 8km cross country time and 34:23 10km time. He also has a 4:15 1500 meter personal best.
Talon Hull 18, Ogden, UT
Talon has a 5km Cross Country time of 15:07 and a 1600 personal best of 4:08. He ran for Weber High School in 2016/17 and finished 4th overall at the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships.
Joseph Simmons, 19, American Fork, UT
Joseph will enter his sophomore year at Idaho State University this fall, and has a personal best of 15:02 5km cross country and a 4:15 1600 meter track time. He has a 33:23 time in the NCAA Cross Country Mountain Regionals.
This is an official USATF team that receives partial funding for the trip to Italy. We encourage donations to help offset travel for our junior team members. Interested supporters can donate via our usmrt.com website (via PayPal), or send a check to the fundraising arm for the team, the American Trail Running Association, PO box 9454, Colorado Springs, CO 80932, and make a notation that the funds are for the U.S. Mountain Running Team.
To learn more about the U.S. Mountain Running Team, follow on social media at any of the following links:
USA Track and Field Official Website: www.usatf.org
To learn more about this year’s World Championships, visit http://www.wmrcpremana2017.com/