|From left--Chris Derrick, Ryan Vail, Bobby Mack, James Strang, Elliott Heath, and Ben True.|
Photo by Paul Merca
BYDGOSZCZ, Poland--In one of the most surprising performance in recent memory, Team USA, led by the sixth place finish of Ben True (Hanover, New Hampshire) earned a hard fought team silver medal in the senior men's 12-kilometer race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Myslecinek Park.
Under cold skies, and temperatures hovering slightly above 30 degrees, True, along with the rest of the squad, took a conservative approach on the first lap of the six-lap race, as he started out in 25th place.
He along with Chris Derrick (Portland, Oregon) worked their way through the pack, and found themselves in the top ten at the 10-k mark, while eventual winner Japhet Kipyegon Korir of Kenya, defending world champion Imane Merga of Ethiopia and Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea broke away from the field.
Behind Derrick came Ryan Vail (Portland, Oregon) who finished 17th in 33:42, and Bobby Mack (Raleigh, North Carolina) in 19th at 33:49 to round out Team USA's scorers.
Ethiopia won the team gold medal with 38 points, with Team USA scoring 52 points, two points lower than perennial power Kenya's 54.
In the junior women's 6k race, Glacier Peak HS senior Amy-Eloise Neale (left/photo by Paul Merca), representing Great Britain, finished 20th to help the Brits to a team bronze medal, as she ran 19:34.
Neale's long time high school rival and future teammate at the University of Washington, North Central HS senior Katie Knight was 28th at 19:52.
In the senior women's 8k race, Eastern Washington alum Mattie Suver finished 26th in a time of 25:27.
Afterwards, she said, "It was fun out there, especially on a hard course. It was hard to get a rhythm. We had a great group of women out there. I wanted to get out there and compete and race the other women, and ultimately run as good a race as possible."
In the junior men's 8k race, Mead HS senior Andrew Gardner finished 42nd in a time of 23:30.