High Schoolers Dominate U20 Race

By Clay Shaw
Photography by Clay Shaw and Karen Mitchell

Mechanicsville, VA, January 21, 2023, USATF Cross Country Championships 2023 Richmond—Irene Riggs of Morgantown, WV led the way, as high school athletes dominated the U20 6K race at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, VA, just 12 miles from downtown Richmond. Riggs won in 19:44.3, and was followed by four more high school runners. Ellie Shea of Belmont, MA was second in 19:47.5; Zariel Macchia of Shirley, NY was third in 2:04.7; and Abbey Nechanicky of Wazata, MN was fourth in 20:06.6. Karrilynn Baloga of Cornwall, NY was fifth in 20:06.8.

Eva Klingbeil, who runs for the University of North Carolina and was the lone collegiate athlete to finish in the top six, finished in 20:10.4. Klingbeil is from Longmont, Colorado.

8th grader Sophia Rodriguez of Seven Valleys, PA was 16th in 21:41.7. The 14-year-old will be running for York County’s powerful Dallastown High School team in the fall after dominating junior high races.

The top six finishers will represent the USA at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia on February 18, 2023. It’s been four years since a World Cross Country Championship has been held, the most recent in March 2019 in Aarhus, Denmark. 

Top Finishers

  1. 19:44.3 Irene Riggs, 18, Morgantown, WV
  2. 19:47.5 Ellie Shea, 17, Belmont, MA
  3. 20:04.7 Zariel Macchia, 16, Shirley, NY
  4. 20:06.6 Abbey Nechanicky, 17, Wayzata, MN
  5. 20:06.8 Karrilynn Baloga, 17, Cornwall, NY
  6. 20:10.4 Eva Klingbeil, 18, Longmont, CO
  7. 20:25.2 Peyton Schieppe, 18, O’Fallon, IL
  8. 20:31.5 Allie Zealand, 16, Lynchburg, VA
  9. 20:52.1 Ali Weimer, 18, Saint Michael, MN
  10. 21:04.0 Elia Ton-That, 18, Chicago, IL
  11. 21:17.6 Lillian Mataway, 18, Chicago, IL
  12. 21:21.2 Thais Rolly, 17, McLean, VA
  13. 21:27.3 Sarah Ellis, 18, Washington, UT
  14. 21:34.0 Nina Sgambelluri, 18, Greenwich, NY
  15. 21:41.4 Samantha Wood, 18, Post Falls, ID
  16. 21:41.7 Sophia Rodriguez, 14, Seven Valleys, PA
  17. 21:56.8 Cameron McConnell, 19, Amarillo, TX
  18. 22:07.2 Madeline Whitman, 18, Evanston, IL
  19. 22:09.0 Cayden Brickman, 19, Stillwater, OK
  20. 22:12.8 Moran Nygren, 18, Newbury Park, CA
The start of the U20 women at Pole Green Park. Irene Riggs #372, Zariel Macchia #369, and Karrilynn Baloga #362 have the perfect strides to prevail.
Leaders after completing the first 2K loop. Abbey Nechanicky #362, Irene Riggs #372, Ellie Shea #345, Zariel Macchia #369 and Eva Klingbell #355 already in charge of the U20 race.
Irene Riggs (left), Eva Klingbell, Zariel Macchia #369, Ellie Shea #345, and Abbey Nechanicky #362 run together in the lead pack early in the 6K race.
Sophia Rodriguez #373 of Seven Valleys, PA, an 8th grader, holds her own with college runners Nina Sgambelluri #351 of the University of Delaware and Madeline Whitman #348 of Northwestern University.
Lillian Mataway #347 of Loyola of Chicago placed eleventh in 21:17.6. Elia Ton-That of Columbia University was tenth in 21:04.
Sophia Rodriguez of Seven Valleys, PA charges through Pole Green Park in the U20 race. Sophia was the only 14-year old to place in the top 20. She was 16th in 21:41.7.
Six U20 women broke away to earn their spots on the USA team going to Australia. Karrilynn Baloga #362, Irene Riggs #372, Ellie Shea, Abbey Nechanicky #371, Zariel Macchia #369 and Eva Klingbell run together in the front.
Ellie Shea #345, Abbey Nechanicky #371, Eva Klingbell #355, Karrilynn Baloga #362 and Zariel Macchia #369 are safely in the top six while chasing Irene Riggs (not pictured).
Hazel Baird of Utah State runs the U20 race with Isabella Roemer of the U of Minnesota behind her.
Laila Martinez of Wings of America was one of four 14-year-olds in the U20 race.
Irene Riggs of Morgantown, WV wins the U20 USATF Cross Country championship in 19:44.3.
The U20 women’s team going to Bathurst, Australia. Irene Riggs, Ellie Shea, Zariel Macchia, Abbey Nechanicky, Karrilyn Baloga, and Eva Klingbell.
Irene Riggs of Morgantown, WV is happy with the U20 win.
Zariel Macchia of Shirley, NY placed third in the USATF U20 Cross Country Championships. (Photo by Karen Mitchell)
Abbey Nechanicky of Wayzata, MN proudly poses with USA flag after her fourth place finish at the U20 race. (Photo by Karen Mitchell)
Utah State women in the U20 race. Carissa Hofeling #358, Morgan Nygren #359, Sarah Ellis #357 and Hazel Baird #356.
Zariel Macchia with family and friends after third place finish in the U20 women’s 6K race. (Photo by Karen Mitchell)


Categories: Race Coverage

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