National XC Review - Kate Avery stars - USA Athletics Scholarships

National XC Review – Kate Avery stars

Kate Avery

Perhaps an example of just how unpredictable yesterday’s NCAA XC Championships was that no one managed to get the correct predictions in our XC spike giveaway competition.

The chaos started before the men’s race even took off. A waterlogged first 150m by US standards forced the organisers to move the starting pens forward 150m. A course normally reflective of collegiate cross country meets now resembled a British cross country league. Wind and mud offered no respite to an athlete favouring more firm and favourable conditions.

In his last collegiate race before turning professional, Chris O’Hare made a confident start alongside favourites Kithuka, Chelimo, Cheserek and Korolev. But it didn’t take long before the conditions took its toll and the leading group was reduced to single figures. Last year’s champion, Kennedy Kithuka, had been unbeaten all year and looked to be running away from all his nearest rivals by the 8k mark. But even Kithuka, a man famed for his no nonsense front running, struggled into the wind and cold (27 fahrenheit). By 8k, he was beginning to struggle and Oregon sophomore Edward Cheserek covered the remaining 2k 19 secs quicker than the Kenyan to take a surprise victory.

30 seconds back the team prize was hotting up, while conditions remained less so. Tom Farrell’s OSU was moving up the pack at each split but by the time they reached the finishing stretch it was apparent that both NAU and Colorado were ahead. Mark Wetmore’s Buffaloes took the title narrowly for the first time since 2006, from a resurgent NAU. Farrell managed 16th and OSU’s first scorer to take them to a bottom step podium finish. A credible performance but not an expected one.

New Mexico’s Luke Caldwell was the British/Irish top stick in 10th place. The only other All-American, on a topsy-turvy day, was courtesy of a sublime run by Iona’s Dan Clorley in 38th. Butler’s Tom Curr narrowly missed the same honour in an agonising 41st place.

But if Clorley thought he had given Iona the best run of the day, he hadn’t bargained on an inspired Kate Avery. The Iona transfer went from the gun, almost holding off a plethora of the nation’s top distance runners including eventual winner, Abbey D’Agostino. It was only in the last half mile that Avery was passed by the Dartmouth athlete and Boise State’s Bates.


Butler’s women fulfilled their season-long potential by taking a fantastic third place in the team score behind winners Providence, including Irish athlete Sarah Collins, and Arizona. Individual All-American honours went to Avery, Sarah Collins, Charlotte Arter with Butler’s Katie Clark seemingly copying Tom Curr’s 41st position only an hour before, a bitter pill no doubt sweetened by the team bronze.

What a day. It had it all. 6 All-Americans, 1 individual medal, three team medals to briefly summarise.

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Men’s 10k School
Luke Caldwell New Mexico 10 30:17
Tom Farrell OSU 16 30:24
Dan Clorley Iona 38 30:44
Tom Curr Butler 41 30:46
Shane Quinn Providence 42 30:48
Ben Connor Providence 44 30:51
Chris O’Hare Tulsa 50 30:55
Keiran Clements Iona 57 30:58
Adam Bitchell New Mexico 61 31:00
Jake Byrne Iona 71 31:03
Matt Gillespie Iona 92 31:17
Kevin Dooney Yale 100 31:19
Andy Heyes Tulsa 107 31:23
Ross Matheson New Mexico 132 31:35
Harvey Dixon Providence 165 31:55
David Flynn Arkansas 167 31:56
Marc Scott Tulsa 194 32:13
Tom Purnell Harvard 199 32:16
Adam Cotton Harvard 209 32:27
Ash Harrell Lamar 230 32:44
Women’s 6k
Kate Avery Iona 3 20:05
Charlotte Arter New Mexico 18 20:31
Sarah Collins Providence 39 20:45
Katie Clark Butler 41 20:47
Calli Thackery New Mexico 68 21:04
Kirsty Legg Butler 73 21:08
Eli Kirk UAB 87 21:15
Hannah Walker FSU 98 21:18
Pippa Woolven FSU 106 21:21
Vicky Fouhy Virginia 130 21:30
Tamara Armoush New Mexico 148 21:39
Georgia Peel FSU 191 21:58
Eji Okoro Iowa State 200 22:04
Nicole Roberts New Mexico 233 22:27
Katie Good Butler 239 22:39

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