NCAA XC Finale - 5 British All-Americans - USA Athletics Scholarships

NCAA XC Finale – 5 British All-Americans

FSU's David Forrester and Hannah Brooks top British finishers

For the first time in an almost 30 year collegiate coaching career, Irishman Mick Byrne finally led a team to victory at the Men’s NCAA Cross Country Championship. Despite five podium finishes in the past with Iona and now Wisconsin, victory had always eluded Byrne. However, that all changed on Monday in Terre Haute. The top ranked Badgers had looked untouchable all season long and unlike Stanford last year, were able to bring that form with them when it mattered most. They had the outright lead at every split point during the 10k race, and two time defending champions Oklahoma State were simply too far back from the outset to mount a serious challenge. Rapidly improving Mohammed Ahmed led the badgers with a career best 5th place run, and he was backed up by solid performances from team mates Elliot Krause (17th), Ryan Collins (23rd), Reid Connor (36th), and trackboundUSA favourite Maverick Darling (46th).

There were not a huge amount of shocks this year in the team standings. The old adage ‘polls don’t mean anything’ can be somewhat questioned with the results of this year’s race, as the top 8 ranked teams heading into the race occupied the top 8 spots, all be it in a slightly different order. Below the top 10, most teams finished within a few spots of their rankings. This year’s main surprises were the ones that took place 9 days before at regionals, such as powerhouses Arkansas and Oregon failing to qualify.

On the individual front Lawi Lalang (brother of Boaz Lalang) won in emphatic fashion, covering the 10k course in a blisteringly quick 28.44. Lalang sat with the pack for the first half of the race before easing away from Leonard Korir (3rd) and Cameron Levins (4th) at the start of the second lap. Fast finishing Stanford athlete and ever consistent Chris Derrick ran a controlled race to finish 2nd.  Although he has never won an NCAA title, he still becomes just the sixth athlete in championship history to record four consecutive top 10s. Behind the top 5 Luke Puskedra, Diego Estrada, Richard Medina, Colby Lowe, and German Fernandez all closed out their collegiate cross country careers with solid performances.

From a British perspective, it was a day to remember. Four athletes finished in the top 40 (All American), and this was the most depth shown for many years. David Forrester led the Brits with a 16th place finish, the best performance by a Brit since Antony Ford finished 14th in 2005. Forrester was never too far away from the main pack and finished strongly to gain several positions in the last 2k. It was arguably his best performance since finishing 24th in the World Junior Cross Country Championships in 2008.

Great Lakes Champion Callum Hawkins had the race of his young life to finish 26th. From 59th at regionals a year ago to 26th at NCAAs a year later, he has shown what difference a year can make. His 5000m PB of 14.11 also looks like it is due for serious revision in the spring.

Tom Farrell finished in a similar position to what he achieved last year (31st). Whilst his team will no doubt be disappointed not to win a third consecutive title, 31st individually and another All-American honour is highly commendable.

Mitch Goose became an All-American for the first time in his collegiate career, and by finishing 40th he took the final All-American spot, just edging out Irishman David McCarthy (41st).

There were several more British and Irish athletes who competed yesterday, and a full list of their performances is given below. Whilst some did finish well down the field, it was still a great achievement to make the NCAA meet, something a very small percentage of collegiate athletes will ever do.

Also taking place last weekend were the NCAA DII Championships. Matt Bond finished a highly respectable 4th, though defending champions Adams State were unable to match fierce in-state rivals Western State in the team standings. James Mee was the only other British representative, finishing 169th.

Name Position Time School
David Forrester

Callum Hawkins

Tom Farrell

Mitch Goose

Dave McCarthy

Brendan O’Neil

Andy Heyes

Ross Clarke

Tom Marshall

Geraint Davies

Ben Connor

Matt Bond

James Mee

16

26

31

40

41

52

86

136

163

203

212

4 (DII)

169 (DII)

29.40.6

29.56.4

29.58.6

30.12.4

30.14.9

30.24.1

30.41.7

31.05.6

31.21.3

31.50.5

31.56.8

31.00.8

35.27.4

Florida state

Butler

Oklahoma State

Iona

Providence

Florida State

Tulsa

Butler

Tulsa

Tulsa

Providence

Adams State

American International

Full results from the men’s race can be found here. Highlights of the race can be found here.

The women’s race was blown apart by our pre-race tip Silje Fjortfoft of SMU. She developed a 10-15 second gap on a high quality chasing pack including Sheila Reid, Jordan Hassay and Abbey D’Agostino  However, that lead was closed for good with around a mile to go, setting up the race for a sprint finish, in which the Canadian Reid duly obliged. However, those heroics in taking her second successive individual title  wasn’t enough for her Villanova team, and like the men’s race, the three-peat was over, with Georgetown taking the title lead home by 4th place Emily Infield. British and Irish interest is summarised below.

Top British/Irish finisher in the women’s race was Hannah Brooks. New Mexico had all their 5 counter coming from British athletes. Ruth Senior finished frustratingly one place off All American honours, like Dave McCarthy in the men’s. Full results from the women’s race can be found here. Highlights of the race can be found here.

Name Position Time School
Hannah Brooks

Ruth Senior

Hollie Rowland

Natalie Gray

Kirsty Milner

Imogen Ainsworth

Josephine Moultrie

Sarah Waldron

India Lee

28

41

58

81

91

94

101

148

208

 

20:18

20:31

20:41

20:52

20:56

20:59

21:16

21:23

21:57

 

Florida state

New Mexico

Iona

New Mexico

New Mexico

New Mexico

New Mexico

New Mexico

Iowa State

The only thing left to be seen is whether or not any of those who competed in Terre Haute will be back on home shores trying to secure places for their respective national teams for the European Cross Country Championships. Britain has already stated that they will NOT select any athletes from their NCAA form. As far as we are aware Ireland has not placed such restrictions on selection.

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