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Benner Leads U.S. At IAAF Junior XC Championships

Mar 28, 2015

GUIYANG, China - Spring Break is usually a time to relax, but that wasn't the case for a trio of University of Colorado freshmen as they spent their break training and competing for the United States at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in China.

Kaitlyn Benner, who was named the team captain earlier in the week, was the top American in the junior women's 6-kilometer race on Saturday, placing 27th overall in 21:45. Valerie Constien ran the course in 22:58 to place 62nd overall.

"It's an incredible experience to be able to do this," Benner said. "It's crazy to be able to run with the best of the best in the world. It's a confidence booster to know that I can compete with the world's best in my age group."

Paul Miller ran the junior men's 8k race, and placed 74th overall in 26:57. Future Buff John Dressel led the Americans, placing 27th in 25:25.

"The experience gained here will help when I go to the University of Colorado in the fall," Dressel said. "It shows I still have a lot of work to do. I gave it what I could considering it's the world championships."

CU graduate Laura Thweatt won the senior women's championship in February and placed 29th here in 28:49. She was the second American to finish.

GUIYANG, China (CU Athletes, future, current and former)
Women's Junior  6k: 27. Kaitlyn Benner, 21:45; 62. Valerie Constien, 22:58
Men's Junior 8k: 27. John Dressel, 25:25; 74. Paul Miller, 26.57
Women's Open 8k: 29. Laura Thweatt, 28:49