By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2019 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
TALLAHASSEE (02-Feb) — The under-20 titles at 2019 USATF Cross Country Championship held today at Apalachee Regional Parkwent to two collegiate athletes, Shuaib Aljabaly of the University of Wisconsin and Nicole Clermont of Boston College. Aljabaly, a freshman who finished 120th at the NCAA Cross Country Championships last November, won in the final sprint, clocking 24:38.7 for the 8-kilometer distance.
“The goal was to just qualify, but we talked about winning the race,” Aljabaly told Race Results Weekly. “Both of my coaches told me, you know, if you’re going to win be the last one to make the move.”
Clermont, also a freshman, worked with teammate Kayla Smith to get the win. The women, who are roommates, finished one-two in 21:14.0 and 21:18.2, respectively.
“She’s my roommate, best friend,” Clermont said of Smith. She continued: “I never believe in myself or give myself credit. I finally felt like I did that today.”
Finishing fourth was Grace Ping, a tenth-grader from Cotter High School in Winona, Minn. She is only 15 years-old, and is on her high school’s cross country ski team. That’s how she got fit for these championships, she said.
“I just tried to stick with the top-6 throughout the race, and tried to push it in the last mile,” she said. “I really worked my fitness and endurance.”
The site of the 2020 USA Cross Country Championships has not yet been determined by USA Track & Field. However, the event will likely be held in January to conform to the new IAAF calendar, an official told Race Results Weekly.
The top six finishers in each race qualified to run at the 2019 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, on March 30.