Eight athletes have been named to the 2023 USATF U18 Mountain Running Team slated to compete in the 16th edition of the International U18 Mountain Running Cup in Annecy, France on Saturday, May 27.The race will be held at Semnoz Ski Resort, approximately 30 minutes from Annecy.
The 4.6-km route includes a short amount of pavement, ski trails, grass and dirt paths and has 230 meters of elevation gain and descent. The top three finishers score for the team and medals are presented to the top three teams and top three individuals in both the girls’ and boys’ divisions. Athletes from over 15 countries are expected at this year’s event.
The U.S. squad will consist of 4 girls and 4 boys:
Keeghan Edwards, 17, Highlands Ranch, CO. Keeghan won the National High School Trail Championships (NHSTC) in 2022 and has a 5km cross country personal best of 16:58. Her 2022 cross country season included a 3rd place finish in the Colorado 5A state championship. “To represent Team USA in Annecy, France is a dream that’s about to become a reality. I am honored to seize this opportunity with such an amazing team, and I cannot wait to represent Team USA in this experience of a lifetime. I cannot wait to race with my teammates against competitors of other nations, and I’m especially excited to face the challenge of mountain trail racing. It’s an art that I long to master.”
Rosie Mucharsky-O’Boyle, 17, Denver, CO. Rosie is a returning member of the U18 Team, having competed in Saluzzo, Italy at last year’s race. She finished second at the NHSTC meet to Edwards and has a 5km cross country 17:36 personal best. “What I am most excited about as a member of Team USA is getting to know my fellow teammates and meeting new people from all over the world. I am also really looking forward to attacking the course and getting the girls team on the podium this year! I will do this by continuing to focus my training on tackling the ascent so that means lots of hill work. I am beyond thrilled to represent the USA again this year.”
Macey Shriner, 16, Plymouth, MA. Macey has a personal best of 5:03 in the mile, a 2:18 800 meters best and also finished 13th overall at the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Cross Country All States Division meet. “Representing Team USA is something I have always wanted to do. It means a lot to me knowing that all of my hard work is paying off.”
Charlotte Tuxbury, 17, Wellesley, MA comes to the team as a relative newcomer to running with a solid background in lacrosse, soccer and basketball. She is the current Massachusetts Division 2 State Indoor Mile Champion as well as being the MA Division 1B State Cross Country Champion. “I am really looking forward to the competition as well as looking forward to getting to know the members of Team USA and the athletes from all of the different countries. I have never been to France and I’m excited to learn more about the culture.”
Benji Anderson, 17, Highlands Ranch, CO. Benji was on the 2022 Team with Rosie where he finished in 7th place in the boys’ event. At NXR Southwest he has the fastest time of an underclassmen with a 15:37. Benji also finished 3rd at the 2022 NHSTC. “It means the world to me and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to run for the USA again in France this year. I’m looking forward to seeing the boys and girls team on the podium this year in France.”
Will Brunner, 17, Avon, CO. Will was the winner at the 2022 NHSTC finishing ahead of 2022 U18 Team Member Porter Middaugh. Will has a 5km cross country personal best of 14:56 along with a 4:16 1600 meter best on the track. “For me, being a part of Team USA in Annecy, France this summer is a dream come true. To be able to represent my country through my love of trail running as well as being able to compete against the best competition from all over the world is an incredible honor and I look forward to the amazing experience ahead of me!”
Matthew Edwards, 17, Monument, CO. Matthew comes to the team with a deep background in trail running across Colorado. He also has an impressive 14:48 5k cross country personal best and finished in the Colorado 3A cross country championships. Matthew also has a 2:06 personal best in the 800 meters. “I am honored to represent Team USA this summer in France and compete against the best athletes from around the world. Making Team USA has been a dream of mine for a long time, so I am very excited to test my athletic abilities on the world stage. I am looking forward to being a representative of the United States and show respect and humility in all that I do. This opportunity means the world to me especially with how selective the committee is in choosing from across the country. I am thrilled to race alongside my new teammates under the leadership of amazing coaches as well and give my all to Team USA. While I finish the rest of my track season I plan to get on some steep, technical trails in order to prepare for racing in the Alps. I also hope to continue racing in physical races to prepare for the highly competitive field at Worlds.”
Jake Schwarting, 17, Erie, CO. Jake lives in the Boulder area and trains extensively on the trails there. He finished first overall at the 2022 McKinley Challenge 15km in Traverse City, MI. Jake has a 16:01 5km cross country personal best. “It is an incredible honor to be able to represent Team USA and it will be an incredible experience to run for something bigger than myself. I am excited to give my all and to work hard to represent Team USA to the fullest of my abilities. I am most looking forward to the team scoring competition. I believe that Team USA has a very strong team this year and can place very well. I am looking forward to doing everything I can to help our team place as high as possible.”
The staff this year are Melody Fairchild, Boulder, CO, and Paul Kirsch, Madison, NH. Melody brings an extensive coaching background with her Boulder Warriors group as well as being a member of the 2012 US Mountain Running Team. Her 8th place finish helped the US Women’s squad to win the gold medal (team pictured above). Paul has been the U20 US Mountain Running Team Manager since 2010 and also has been race director of more than 10 USATF Mountain Running Championships.
“I’m really looking forward to supporting this year’s team in France. It’s a really talented group on the team this year. Having the past team experience of Benji and Rosie will be an added plus. I am also glad to have Melody as my co-Team Manager, bringing her great coaching and race insights,” noted Kirsch.
The International U18 Mountain Running Youth Cup will take place as part of the MaXi Race Series of Lake Annecy which includes races at multiple distances, including the Maxi-Race Salomon that is part of the Golden Trail National Series in France.