U.S. junior men and women competed at the 28thWorld Mountain Running Championships held Sunday, September 2, 2012 in Ponte di Legno, Italy, and posted solid results. The men finished sixth out of 16 teams while the women were ninth out of 15 teams.
Juniors must be at least 16 in the year of competition and not yet 20. The U.S. team included high school and college-level athletes, ages 16 to 19 and were selected in early August based on their running resumes and coaches recommendations. The men’s team can have up to four athletes with three scoring while the women have a maximum of three with two to score.
The women’s course started at the middle cable car station located four kilometers from Ponte di Legno. The 3.9-kilometer course had 310 meters of vertical gain and included a 700 meter loop in a grassy meadow before climbing up a grassy and rock-strewn slope, and then heading downhill to the finish line in Tonale.
Sevilay Eytemis, Turkey, was first to the finish line posting a time of 20:14. The first U.S. runner was San Diego, CA high school runner of the year 2011, Kelly Lawson, who finished in 17th place with a time of 23:28. When asked about the course Lawson said, “It was a lot tougher than running cross country.”
Lawson’s teammate, 19-year-old Clare Moretz, a sophomore at University of Richmond,finished in 23rd position in a time of 24:01. Convinced that her finish place was not as good as last year’s result in Albania, Moretz was happy to learn that she bettered her position by seven places.
The team score for the women placed them ninth out of 15 teams.
The men’s course was the same as that of the senior women – 8.8 kilometers with 760 meters of elevation. Two University of Richmond runners scored for Team USA. Jordan Chavez finished in 17th position with a time of 46:46 and Billy Fayette finished in 39th place with a time of 48:52. Vail, CO’s Cal Deline finished between the pair in 25th place with a time of 47:32. The final team member, Baxter Arguinchona, ran 51:22.
Team Leader Richard Bolt said of the junior results, “While we didn’t win medals in the junior category, I’m proud of all our junior athletes who, year after year compete against an increasingly competitive field. Returning runners Billy and Clare shared what they learned last year in Albania and were great role models for our new junior team members. Once again, all our juniors were mature, dedicated athletes, and a pleasure to work with.”