U.S. Trail Team announced for the 2019 Trail World Championships

[Updated May 10, 2019] Twelve American trail running athletes to compete at the Trail World Championships in Miranda do Corvo, Portugal.

The USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council is proud to announce members of the U.S. Trail Team scheduled to compete at the 2019 Trail World Championships (TWC) on June 8, in Miranda do Corvo, Portugal. The US team of 6 women and 6 men will tackle the technical 44 kilometer (27.3 mile) single-loop course, which starts at 334 feet above sea level in the city of Miranda do Corvo adjacent to the Louzan Mountain range. Climbing to a maximum height of 3083 feet above sea level, the hilly course has 7050 feet of ascending and descending. A profile and map for the race course can be found here. The top three finishers from their respective nation will score for the team in each gender division.

This year marks the fifth year the event has been designated a “World Championship” by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and the fourth year the American team will receive partial funding from our National Athletics Federation USA Track & Field. During this short history the team has seen podium success and met challenges with gutsy determination.

The American men’s team finished on the podium in silver-medal position at the 2015 Trail World Championship led by Alex Nichols’ 6th place. After a medal drought in 2016, the American men made it back to the podium with a bronze medal at the 2017 led by Mario Mendoza’s 9th place. In 2018, Zach Miller led for much of the men’s race before dropping back to 8th while Mario Mendoza moved up throughout the race to finish 6th. The 2018 U.S. women took home a team silver medal led by Clare Gallagher’s solid 8th place.

This year’s 12 team members represent six states and range in age from 23 to 39. The women on this year’s team are Kasie Enman, Dani Moreno, Elizabeth Ryan, Corey Conner, Anna Mae Flynn and Kelly Wolf. Representing the men’s team will be Evan Williams, Sam Sahli, Alex Nichols, Mario Mendoza, David Kilgore and Zach Ornelas. [Editors Note April 24, 2019 – Zach Miller has withdrawn due to injury. May 10, 2019 – Tim Tollefson and Anthony Costales have withdrawn due to injury]

The 2019 U.S. Trail Team members are:


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Evan Williams, 32, Seattle, WA. Evan runs for the Seattle Running Club and is a design engineer at Mountain Safety Research. Evan finished 3rd at the 2019 USATF 50 km Trail Championships, finished 4th at the 2018 Escarpment Trail 30K and won the 2018 Backcountry Rise 50K. “I am honored beyond comprehension to be named to the US Trail Team. My running achievements are the sum of many parts: encouragement from my family, challenges from my competition, camaraderie from my friends (especially at the Seattle Running Club), and opportunity from USATF. I am so glad to be here! Finally getting to race WITH these guys is going to be a lot better than going against them. Let’s get to work in Portugal.” Evan knows a thing or two about beer. Ask him about Flying Lion Brewing. Follow Evan on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/edw3lt/


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Zach Ornelas, 27, Plymouth, MI. Zach is a teacher at a private school and was a member of the 2018 US Trail Team. He is a USATF National Champion at 50 miles and 50 kilometers on the roads, won the 2018 American River 50 Mile and most recently ran a 2:17:21 at the California International Marathon. “It has been a banner year for me. Last year’s Trail World Championship in Spain was quite a learning experience. I think it made me tougher, however, because I have PR’d in every single race since then, taking 3 minutes off my marathon to run 2:17, 25 minutes off of my 50 mile to win the USATF 50 Mile Road Championship in 5:55, 2 minutes off of my 50k to win the USATF 50 km Road Championships in 2:50, and capped it off with a top ten finish at the Two Oceans Marathon. Now I’m looking to add a great trail run to this streak of races and there’s no better way to do it than wearing the red white and blue! I’m very thankful that my school is allowing me to travel right before finals and I know my students will be cheering me on from home.” Zach is sponsored by Tracksmith, RunDetroit and NuunElite. Follow Zach on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/zachornelas/


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Mario Mendoza, 33, Bend, OR. Mario was the top American finisher at the 2018 Trail World Championships finishing 6th. He recently won the 2019 Ultra-Trail Taiwan 100K and is a five-time USATF national champion with wins in the trail marathon, trail 10 km, trail 50 mile and 100 km trail. “The Trail World Championships are my favorite race of the year. Not only is the individual competition stacked but the emphasize on the team outcome makes it a different type of race that focuses more on the strength of team, and not just one individual. I was very proud of how we did last year, a bronze medal for the women, and a 4th place for the men. On the men’s team we faced the difficulties of not having two of our top runners participate due to injury. This year I hope we can get everyone healthy and fit to the start line because I believe this is the most talented team we’ve taken.” Mario is sponsored by Brooks, Flora, Honey Stinger, Drymax, Tailwind Nutrition, Backporch Coffee Roasters, and Recharge Fitness. Follow Mario on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mendozarunner/


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Knickenbocker Creek Xing with a mouth full of taters 🥔 . 📸: @luis_escobar

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David Kilgore, 27, New York, NY. David finished 3rd at the 2018 USATF 50 km Trail Championships, 4th at the 2019 USATF 50 km Trail Championships and won the 2018 Breakneck Point 42K. This is David’s first time representing the United States in a world championship competition. “Racing in a USA jersey and representing my country on one of the biggest stages is a pinnacle of what I have been training for since I first started running 13 years ago as a young kid. Not only am excited to represent the as a whole US, but also the communities of where I have grown as a runner and person. All the miles logged over the years were not just by me, but with family, friends, and teammates who have helped get me here as well. This is definitely a tremendous honor and I can’t wait to get messy out in Portugal!” David is sponsored by On Running. Follow David on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/davidkilgore/


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Alex Nichols, 33, Colorado Springs, CO. Alex lead the US team to a silver medal at the first TWC in 2015 with a 6th place and finished 2nd at the famous Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run in 2017. More recently Alex won the 2018 Collegiate Peak 50 Mile in course record time and finished 2nd at the Hong Kong 100K. “I’m very excited and honored to be once again representing the US at the Trail World Championships. My number one goal is to help the team find a spot back on the podium. With the talent that has been assembled, I’m confident that this year’s squad can make that happen.” Alex is sponsored by SCOTT Running and Honey Stinger. Follow Alex on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/axelnichols/


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Sam Sahli, 23, Evergreen, CO. Sam is the youngest member of the team and ran track at Baylor University where he had PRs of 30:38 for 10K, 14:54 for 5K and 8:33 for 3K. He has recently started trail running and finished 2nd at the 2019 FOURmidable 50K, won the 2018 Arches Ultra 21K race and finished 4th at the 2018 Devil on the Divide 50K. “I can’t put into words how honored I am to be selected to represent the United States at the Trail World Championships. Putting on a USA jersey has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I cannot wait to race for my country at an international level. I’m also blown away by the talent on this team! This is definitely my first rodeo, so I’m thrilled I have some of the biggest names in the ultra/trail biz to show me the ropes this summer in Portugal. Seriously, have you seen the names on this roster?! We have an opportunity to do something special as a team, and I am excited to get out there and run alongside these guys.” An accomplished Skimo racer and aspiring quad model, Sam is looking for his first trail running sponsor. Follow Sam on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/sam_sahli/

Kasie Enman, 39, Huntington, VT. Kasie is the most experienced member of the team with numerous top international results over the past decade including winning the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships – the only US woman to do so. In 2015, Kasie returned to the World Mountain Running Championships to help the US women to a silver team medal. More recently, Kasie won the 2018 Ragged Mountain 50K, host to the 2018 USATF 50 km Trail Championships. “This is such a special chance to be part of a team and travel to a beautiful new place – two of my favorite things about our sport. The course in Portugal looks like it will be a diverse mix of technical terrain and speedier trail, which as someone who likes changing gears should be a lot of fun. I don’t know what to expect, since this is my first Trail World Championships, but I always do my best to keep the team score low!” Kasie is a member of the Green Mountain Athletic Association. Follow Kasie on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/kasieenman/


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Corey Conner, 28, Longmont, CO. Corey is a recent convert to trail running from the elite ranks of road and track races where she has PRs of 33:28 for 10K and 15:55 for 5K. Corey won the 2018 Bear Chase Trail Half Marathon, finished 1st at the 2018 Sawmill 27K in course record time and finished 4th at the 2019 FOURmidable 50K. “I am incredibly excited to be a part of the 2019 US Trail Team heading to Portugal. This year we have a great group of women representing the US and I’m excited at the opportunity to contribute to an awesome team performance at the 2019 Trail World Championships. Having met and raced against some of my teammates I know we have some very talented individuals looking to crush some trails in Portugal!” Corey is sponsored by Nike Trail Running. Follow Corey on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/corey_conner_/


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Elizabeth Ryan, 28, San Diego, CA. Elizabeth finished 3rd at the 2018 Ragged Mountain 50K and 2018 Way Too Cool 50K. Like many of her teammates, Elizabeth also has fast road times with a marathon PR and US Olympic trials qualifying time of 2:42. “I’m really excited to be a part of Team USA for the 2019 Trail World Championships! I’m looking forward to contributing to the team score, a rare opportunity in running that keeps me coming back to Cross Country races every fall. When I worked for the Smithsonian Institute in Panama a few years ago, competing in local races allowed me to leave the bubble of research on a remote jungle island, and meet some inspiring, and openhearted, international athletes. So I’m thrilled to be back abroad representing the USA in international competition, and am looking forward to competing with, and meeting, even more foreign athletes.” Elizabeth is sponsored by Prado Racing Team (San Diego, CA), Honey Stinger and Mammoth Crib (Mammoth Lakes, CA). Follow Elizabeth on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/runlizard/


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Kelly Wolf, 24, Mesa, AZ. Kelly is the youngest member of the women’s team but no less prolific in high profile competitions. Kelly won the 2018 Lavaredo Ultra Trail 120K, finished 3rd at the 2018 Transvulcania 73K, 4th at 2018 Ultra-Trail Cape Town and 1st at the 2018 Tarawera 100K. Closer to home, Kelly won the 2018 King Crown 50K and the 2017 Broken Arrow 50K. “This is my first time on Team USA and I am honored to have earned the opportunity! This is a stellar group of strong ladies and I am so excited to take on this World Championship together with them!” Kelly is sponsored by Under Armour, Ultimate Direction and Spring Energy. Follow Kelly on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/kel.lobo/


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Anna Mae Flynn, 31, Marble, CO. Anna Mae finished 3rd at the famous Zermatt Marathon last year. She also finished 6th at the 2018 Transvulcania 73K and won the 2018 GoPro Games 10K. In prior years Anna Mae has had podium finishes at numerous top tier American trail races including Broken Arrow Skyrace, Pikes Peak Ascent, Speedgoat 50K, Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, Moab Trail Marathon, North Face 50 Mile, Power of Four and Quad Rock 50 Mile. “I look forward to representing the US at the 2019 Trail World Championships in Portugal! The race profile looks challenging, but a course our team will do well on. I will give the race my best effort, and support the team in anyway I can. I know we will be competitive this year. GO USA!” Anna Mae is sponsored by Hoka One One and Honey Stinger. You can follow Anna Mae on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/annamaeflynn/


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Dani Moreno, 26, Santa Barbara, CA. Dani won the most recent team selection event and USATF 50 km Trail Championship held in conjunction with the FOURmidable 50K. In 2018 Dani took wins at the Franklin Mountains Trail Run 27K and Broken Arrow 26K. Dani was also a member of the US team at the 2017 Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Premana, Italy where she finished 21st and helped the US women to a team silver medal. “I am beyond excited to be representing Team USA for the World Trail Championships this year. After wearing the jersey for the first time a few years ago, I have been counting down the days until I could make another team. We have strong teams on both sides that I believe are going to perform extremely well. I can’t wait to join my teammates in Portugal!” Dani is sponsored by Hoka One One and rabbit. You can follow Dani on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/dan_yell_a/

These athletes were selected to the team based on performances at selection races which included the 2018 USATF 50 km Trail Championships (Ragged Mountain 50K) and the 2019 USATF 50 km Trail Championships (FOURmidable 50K), as well as resume submissions as outlined in the published selection criteria. Over 30 talented trail runners submitted resumes for this year’s team.

U.S. Trail Team staff members are Richard Bolt and Jason Bryant. Jason has been a team staff member at many past world championship events, is an experienced mountain, trail and OCR athlete and high school coach living in Elkin, North Carolina. According to Jason, “My own experiences representing USA at IAU Trail Championships left me with special memories. I now find it equally rewarding to support these amazing athletes as part of Team USATF. I am excited to see what our US athletes will achieve on the international stage.” Richard raced in three U.S. Olympic Trials for cross country skiing, is a two-time athlete on the US Mountain Running Team and has been a team staff member at more than 20 World Championship events. The pair will be posting team updates from Portugal on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/USMRT

The following athletes earned automatic selection based on performances in selection races or at last years Trail World Championship but declined their spots: Clare Gallagher (8th place – 2018 Trail World Championships), David Sinclair (1st place – 2018 Ragged Mountain 50K), and Rachel Drake (2nd place – 2019 FOURmidable 50K).

The 2018 Trail World Championship was held on May 12 in Penyagolosa/Castellon, Spain in conjunction with the Penyagolosa Trails event. Find photos of Team USATF at the 2018 event HERE.

The 2017 Trail World Championship was held on June 10 in Badia Prataglia, Italy in conjunction with the Trail Sacred Forests event. Find photos of Team USATF at the 2017 event HERE.

The 2016 Trail World Championship was held on October 29, 2016 in Geres, Portugal at the Peneda-Geres National Park and covered 85 km over a profile of 4500 meters. Find photos of Team USATF at the 2016 event HERE.

The first Trail World Championship was held in Annecy, France, at the Maxi-Race on May 30, 2015. Find photos of Team USATF at the 2015 event HERE.

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