Just the nine British and Irish All-Americans - trackboundUSA

Just the nine British and Irish All-Americans

NCAA XC Regionals

A glorious afternoon in Kentucky saw unquestionably the best ever collective set of performances from British and Irish athletes at the NCAA D1 Cross Country Championships. Three All-Americans on the women’s side, a remarkable six for the men, as well as a member of the winning men’s team were the  highlights amongst our 25 representatives.

Whilst some may have questioned the change of venue from ‘Cross Country Town USA’ Terre Haute, the perfectly manicured Louisville course provided the ideal stage for the best collegiate athletes to demonstrate just how good they are. With winning times of 19.27 by Betsy Saina and 28.31 by Kennedy Kithuka, the quality was remarkably high.

The women’s race went largely to the form book as Iowa State Kenyan Betsy Saina managed to hold off Abbey D’Agostino and Jordan Hasay in an exciting sprint finish. Swiss-Irish freshman Sarah Collins produced the best run of her career to finish in a hugely impressive 10th place. With the drama that followed the race and apparent confusion with the results, she would no doubt have experienced a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. First Oregon win, then Providence win, then Oregon appear again as official winners. The NCAA has since issued an official apology to Providence for this debacle.

Behind Collins, the leading Brits were Katie Clark (Butler 22nd) and Jo Moultrie (New Mexico 30th). Both athletes finishing comfortably inside the top 40 required to achieve the prestigous All-American awards. Falling slightly short of the top 40 was Charlotte Arter (New Mexico 51st). However, much pride can be taken in being part of a solid 10th place team.

The men’s race followed, and almost from the gun a group of six Kenyans and one American-Ethiopian separated themselves from the rest of the 255 strong field. A strong pace was set, with the lead pack going through 5k in just outside 14 minutes. At around 7k, our 2012 tbUSA favourite Kennedy Kithuka put in a big surge to move clear of the Arizona duo of 2011 champion Lawi Lalang and Stephen Sambu. Despite many nervous glances back in the final kilometre  Kithuka’s lead grew in the final mile, and he could afford the luxury of being able to celebrate up the home straight. The winning time for the 10k distance was a staggering 28.31.

David Rooney’s aggressive tactics paid off hugely with a massive breakthrough to finish in 7th. The Irishman looked to always be in control at the front of the chase pack, and finished ahead of many individuals with superior track pedigree to his. Rooney will certainly be one to watch in 2013 if he can maintain this form. Hot on his heels and a crucial member of the winning Oklahoma State team was Tom Farrell. His top 10 finish is the best by a Brit in many years, and after returning from injury over the summer, he perhaps scored an even bigger victory by beating the clock in the race against time to get fit for this race.

Chris O’Hare (20th) led his Tulsa team and fellow Brits Andy Heyes (44th) Marc Scott (93rd) to a school record 7th position. For a school that only made the NCAA meet for the first time in 2007, this is a fantastic achievement and will perhaps serve as an inspiration for some of the other US schools as to what can be achieved by divulging into the foreign recruiting market.

Mitch Goose ended his collegiate cross country career with another solid All-American finish of 23rd. However, it was a massively disappointing day for his number two ranked Iona team who finished well down in 29th after the DNF of Matt Gillespie. Not to be forgotten and making it six British and Irish athletes inside the top 30 were Luke Caldwell (New Mexico 27th), and Breandan O’Neil (Florida State 28th).

Also taking place today were the DII Championships, held in Joplin, Missouri. Western State’s Ieuan Thomas was the only British athlete who competed, and he finished in a creditable 16th position.

So there we have it folks, the end of a hugely successful collegiate cross country season. Whilst the standard of collegiate cross country seems to be getting higher, this set of results shows that the British and Irish athletes are clearly responding to the challenge. For most this will now be the end of the 2012 cross country journey and time relax and recover. Others with unfinished business will be flying straight home hoping to maintain their form for a crack at the European Championships.

As always we have thoroughly enjoyed providing coverage of the collegiate cross country season, and are equally as excited as the NCAA bandwagon rolls on to its next stop; the 2013 indoor season.

Women 6k (Full results here)

Overall Team Athlete Year School (Position) Time
10 4 Sarah Collins FR Providence (2) 19:50.7
22 15 Katie Clark JR Butler (29) 20:03.8
30 23 Josephine Moultrie SR New Mexico (10) 20:11.1
51 37 Charlotte Arter JR New Mexico (10) 20:23.8
168 131 Imogen Ainsworth SR New Mexico (10) 21:14.9
186 148 Georgia Peel FR Florida State (4) 21:25.8
225 187 Kirsty Legg JR Butler (29) 21:46.3


Men 10k (Full results here)

Overall Team Athlete Year School (Position) Time
7 David Rooney SR McNeese State 29:21.3
9 3 Tom Farrell JR Oklahoma State(1) 29:26.3
20 13 Chris O’Hare JR Tulsa (7) 29:46.4
23 16 Mitch Goose SR Iona (29) 29:48.7
27 20 Luke Caldwell JR New Mexico (21) 29:52.0
28 21 Breandan O’Neill SR Florida State (5) 29:52.7
44 32 Andy Heyes SR Tulsa (7) 30:10.7
62 45 David Forrester SR Florida State (5) 30:26.2
69 Shane Quinn SO Providence 30:30.1
93 71 Marc Scott FR Tulsa (7) 30:39.3
126 98 Sam Evans JR New Mexico (21) 30:57.2
163 133 Jake Byrne SO Iona (29) 31:14.7
178 145 Daniel Clorley JR Iona (29) 31:25.0
192 158 Zak Seddon FR Florida State (5) 31:34.1
203 167 David Flynn JR Arkansas (10) 31:45.2


Division II (Full results here)

16 15 Ieuan Thomas JR Western State (6) 29.59.9

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