HOKA NAZ Elite, Katie Wasserman, & Adriaan Wildschutt Are the Winners at Cross Champs in Austin

The only WA gold XC meet in the US was held on Thursday and a spectator won MVP honors

HOKA NAZ Elite had a big day at the Cross Champs — the only World Athletics Cross Country Tour gold race in the US — in Austin this morning as they swept the team and individual titles with the wins going to Katie Wasserman and Adriaan Wildschutt.

Women’s Race

In the women’s race, 2021 NCAA 5000 runner-up Katie Wasserman took the lead with roughly 700 meters to go and appeared to be cruising to victory. Except there was one small problem — she was on the wrong side of the flagging dividing the finishing straight from the rest of the course. Thankfully a quick-thinking spectator or race official lifted up the flags and she got back on the course and got the win in the 8k race in 26:49.4, two seconds ahead of former Arkansas runner Katie Izzo, the 2019 NCAA 3rd placer in XC who now runs for adidas. 

Wasserman’s NAZ Elite teammate Mercy Chelangat, the 2020 NCAA XC champ, was was third in 26:54.5. HOKA NAZ Elite’s Abby Nichols, the woman with the fastest 5000 pb in the field (15:09 from earlier this year), was was fourth in 27:08.5. Four people score per team and 2023 US steeple champ Krissy Gear closed out the scoring for HOKA in 9th (8th in team scoring) as they got the dominant win, 14 to 34 over Idaho Afoot.

The women’s race started out slow (5:35 first mile) as Wasserman’s mile splits were 5:35.3, 5:21.5, 5:20.3, 5:16.0, 5:16.2 (the last mile may have been a bit longer as most people ran slower than the fourth mile). The eventual top four broke free during the fourth mile.

Men’s Race

The men’s race was run in the opposite fashion from the women’s. It was fast from the gun as 2021 NCAA indoor 5000 champ Wesley Kiptoo of HOKA NAZ Elite did what he always does — go out fast. The first two miles were hit in 4:25 and 8:51 and the race was quickly a five-man affair. The other four runners were 13:02 5000 meter man Adriaan Wildschutt of South Africa, 2019 NCAA XC champ Edwin Kurgat of Under Armour Dark Sky, 2022 NCAA XC champ Charles Hicks of the Bowerman Track Club, and HOKA NAZ Elite’s Ahmed Muhumed, the former Florida State runner who recently was 2nd at the US road 5k champs.

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Wildschutt, the 2020 NCAA XC runner-up, was the one to keep the pace hot during the third mile and he, Kurgat, and Hicks gapped the others around 4 miles. At the 19-minute mark, Hicks started to get gapped and then around the 20:30 mark, Wildschutt broke Kurgat and cruised to the win in 22:07.4 to Kurgat’s 22:11.4. It was the perfect way for Wildschutt to end his sensational 2023 campaign during which he set South African records at 3000 (7:39.25), 5000 (13:02.46), and 10,000 (27:23.10). And they all were big PBs as well as he started the year with pbs of 7:52.38, 13:09.30, 27:38.54. 

NAZ Elite had a perfect 1-2-3-4 finish in the team standings, with UA Mission Run Baltimore second with 29 points.

Top 10 results appear below (Full results here).

Talk about the race on our messageboard: MB: Cross Champs – WA Gold XC in USA – is Thursday at 8:30 am ET. Official Discussion Thread.

Top 10 Women’s Results

  1. Katie Wasserman Hoka NAZ Elite 26:49.40
  2. Katie Izzo Adidas 26:51.40
  3. Mercy Chelangat Hoka NAZ Elite 26:54.50
  4. Abby Nichols Hoka NAZ Elite 27:08.50
  5. Marisa Howard Idaho Afoot 27:10.80
  6. Dana Klein Idaho Afoot 27:11.60
  7. Kassie Parker Hansons-Brooks ODP 27:29.80
  8. Angie Rafter Hansons-Brooks ODP 27:34.20
  9. Krissy Gear Hoka NAZ Elite 27:48.20
  10. Courtney Barnes Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore 28:07.60

Top 10 Men’s Results

  1. Adriaan Wildschutt Hoka NAZ Elite 22:07.40
  2. Edwin Kurgat Under Armour Dark Sky 22:11.40
  3. Wesley Kiptoo Hoka NAZ Elite 22:14.20
  4. Charles Hicks Nike Bowerman Track Club 22:15.00
  5. Ahmed Muhumed Hoka NAZ Elite 22:26.50
  6. Olin Hacker Hoka NAZ Elite 22:58.10
  7. Alec Basten Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore 23:17.60
  8. Casey Comber Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore 23:19.70
  9. Alex Masai Hoka NAZ Elite 23:22.90
  10. David Ribich Nike Union Athletics Club 23:30.70
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