IN WOMEN'S RACEDEENA KASTOR, USA,
FRONTS A LARGE CROWD.
CLAY SHAW PHOTO

USA Men Shock at World at XC Champs
BY CLAY SHAW

BYDGOSZCZ, POLAND -- The Senior Men 12K at World XC had a Kenyan winner, Japhet Korir (32:45), no big surprise. The surprise was the other Kenyans were 12th, 15th, 26th, 36th, and a DNF -- due to a big fall that had him taken to hospital. Imane Merga of Ethiopia, the defending champ from the 2011 meet in Punta Umbria, Spain, was second in 32:51. Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea was third in 32:54. The big story was the USA men led by Maine's Ben True, who was 6th in 33:11, and Illinois' Chris Derrick who was 10th in 33:23. Cold weather and a tough course didn't faze the USA team at all, as Ryan Vail placed 17th in 33:42, and Robert Mack in 19th in 33:49, as the USA placed second among the fifteen teams, behind Ethiopia, and ahead of Kenya. How about that! It was great seeing the joy on the USA teams as they celebrated afterwards. Elliott Heath (30th, 34:11), and James Strang (37th, 34:20), also ran solid races for the USA. 

PS:  A good grandpa, we took our granddaughter, Maggie, to Poland, a combo Christmas, birthday, and graduation gift.  Maggie has decided to attend Kutztown University in the Fall.

TOP 25

 1.    Japhet Korir 32:45 KEN
2.    Imane Merga 32:51 ETH
 3.    Teklemariam Medhin 32:54 ERI
 4.    Moses Kipsoro 33:08  UGA
 5.    Timothy Toroitich 33:09  UGA
 6.    Ben True 33:11  USA
 7.    Goitom Kifle 33:16  ERI
 8.    Collis Birmingham 33:18  AUS
 9.    Feyisa Lilesa 33:22  ETH
10.   Chris Derrick 33:23 USA
11.   Rabah Aboud 33:28  ALG
12.   Hosea Macharinyang 33:29 KEN
13.   Abeba Chane 33:31 ETH
14.   Tesfaye Abera 33:35  ETH
15.   Geoffrey Kirui 33:38  KEN
16.   Sergio Sanchez 33:38  ESP
17.   Ryan Vail 33:42  USA
18.   Abrar Osman 33:42  ERI
19.   Robert Mack 33:49  USA
20.   Elroy Gelant 33:53 RSA
21.   Hicham Bouchicha 33:54 ALG
22.   Mohammed Ahmed 33:56 CAN
23.   Liam Adams 34:07 AUS
24.   Mosinet Geremew 34:09  ETH
25.   Geofrey Kusuro 34:09 UGA

TEAMS

1. ETHIOPIA
2. USA 
3. KENYA
4. ERITREA
5. UGANDA
6. ALGERIA
7. AUSTRALIA
8. ESPANA
9. CANADA
10. POLAND
11. UNITED KINGDOM
12. SOUTH AFRICA
13. RWANDA
14. JAPAN
15. SUDAN


 

PENNSYLVANIA'S NEELY SPENCE,
USA, 13TH, AT WORLD XC.
CLAY SHAW PHOTO
Spence Makes USA Women Proud at World XC
BY CLAY SHAW

BYDGOSZCZ, POLAND--Emily Chebet of Kenya, who won here in 2010, and won again in 2013 with a 24:24. Hiwet Ayalew of Ethiopia had broken away from the pack only to be caught by Chebet on the final lap. Ayalew did place second in 24:27, with teammate Belaynesh Oljira in third in 24:33. Neely Spence of the USA, and Pennsylvania's own, placed 13th in 25:08 to lead the USA to a fourth place position. Emily Infield was 2nd USA and 21st, Mattie Suver was 3rd USA and 26th, Kim Conley was 30th and 4th USA,  Deena Kastor was 34th (and first Masters), and Delilah DiCrescenzo was 47th. Deena had just run the Los Angeles Marathon the weekend prior to World XC. In the pre-race press conference she was total class, talking about her love for the sport and how she was ready for any conditions. In the team competition Kenya was 1st, Ethiopia was 2nd, Bahrain was 3rd, the USA 4th, Ireland was 5th with a great women's team, and France was 6th among 15 teams. 

In my opinion, I wouldn't be upset with being behind Kenya or Ethiopia, but Bahrain? Bahrain buys East African athletes to run for them; Qatar does the same thing. Immigration is one thing, but none of their athletes are born in Bahrain. Anyway, big time congrats to Neely Spence and the USA gals.

TOP 25

1.   Emily Chebet 24:24  KEN
2.   Hiwot Ayalew 24:27 ETH
3. Teklemariam Medhin. 24:33  ETH
4.   Shitaye Eshete 24:34  BRN
5.   Margaret Muriuki. 24:39 KEN
6.   Janet Kisa 24:46 KEN
7.   Viola Kibiwot 24:46  KEN
8.   Tejitu Daba 24:55 BRN
9.    Juliet Chekwel 24:58 UGA
10.  Irene Cheptai 25:01 KEN
11.  Beatrice Mutai 25:05 KEN
12.  Salima El Ouali Alami 25:05 MAR
13.  Neely Spence 25:08 USA

 

THE WOMEN’S START.
CLAY SHAW PHOTO
14.  Fionnuala Britton 25:08 IRL
15.  Genet Yalew. 25:10 ETH
16.  Sophia Duarte 25:17 FRA
17.  Almensh Belete. 25:26  BEL
18.  Kenza Dahmani-Tifahi. 25:26 ALG
19.  Nazret Weldu 25:27  ERI
20.  Kareema Jasim 25:27 BRN
21.  Emily Infield 25:27 USA
22.  Diana Martin 25:29 ESP
23.  Nadia Noujani 25:30 MAR
24.  Natasha Fraser 25:30 CAN
25.  Rachel Cliff 25:30 CAN



Kenya and Ethiopia Dominate but USA Junior Teams Hold Own at World XC
BY CLAY SHAW

BYDGOSZCZ, POLAND--For the second time since the 2010 meet, a new, harder course, brutal weather, and brutal course conditions greeted the participants on March 24 in snowy Bydgoszcz.

The IAAF elected to hold the meet every two years, in part due to the East African problem, which in turn has led to a lack of interest by some nations, and sponsorship and TV money.

East Africans are dominant in the sport, mainly Kenya and Ethiopia. Basically, the rest of the world fights it out for the final podium spot, although the cash awards go six deep. But, you cannot win if you do not try....stayed tuned. Kudos to the USA, Canada, Great Britain, France, Spain, Australia, and Japan for being loyal to the event. Boo to Germany, the Netherlands, Russia, all of Scandinavia, and other countries, that even border Poland, who did not send even a single runner.  

In the Junior Women's race it was business as usual as Kenyans and Ethiopians took the first 12 places, followed by a pair from Uganda, and a Moroccan gal. In 16th place Emelia Gorecka of Great Britain was the first non-African runner. Carrie Verdon of the USA was 20th.  Faith Kipyegon of Kenya won in 17:51, edging Agnes Tirop by a step. Kenya won the team title, with Ethiopia second, the UK third, Japan was fourth, Uganda was fifth, and the USA 6th among the 15 teams.

In the Junior Men's race it was Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia winning easily in 21:04, which led to an Ethiopian team victory as well. The first non-African runner was Matt McClintock from Maine, who placed 20th, leading the USA to a team fourth place behind Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco. Behind the USA was Japan in 5th and Italy in 6th, as 17 teams scored.