Verdon Leads U.S. At World Jr. XC Championships
BYDGOSZCZ, Poland - University of Colorado freshman Carrie Verdon led the United States with a 20th-place finish at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships on Sunday.
Verdon completed the 6-kilometer course in 19 minutes and 33 seconds; finishing one second in front of Great Britain's Amy Neale and one second behind Japan's Miyuki Uehara (19:32). Her closest U.S. teammates were Emily Stites, 23rd, and Kathryn Knight, 28th. Stitles finished in 19:37 and Knight recorded a time of 19:52.
As a team, the U.S. took sixth overall (105). Kenya was first (14) with its runners finishing 1-2-4-7-8-11 and Ethiopia was second (23) with runners placing 3-5-6-9-10-12.
Verdon was third overall at the U.S. junior championships in February, so this was a great step forward for the talented freshman. Her finish was the highest for a Buff at this meet since 2002 when Erika Odlaug placed 17th in Dublin, Ireland.
"Carrie did wonderfully, exceeding our aspirations," head coach Mark Wetmore said. "She was confidently patient, allowing others to maybe be imprudent in the conditions. Fiftieth in the very early stages, she was 33rd after the first lap, 24th after the second, and still catching people in the final finishing straight."
According to Wetmore, the conditions were challenging with a mixture of snow, ice, mud and big hills. Spectators thought the conditions were dangerous, but he said Verdon said it was fun.
Now that the world junior championships are over, Verdon will be able to switch gears to the outdoor track season.