The U.S. will field both a junior and senior team at the 30th World Mountain Running Championships to be held in Casette di Massa, Italy, on September 14, 2014. Seniors were selected at the USA Mountain Running Championships at Loon Mountain on July 6, 2014. Juniors were selected by resume.
The senior team of six men and three women includes two seven-time team members and one who will make a fourth appearance at Worlds this year. The remaining members of the squad are newcomers to the team.
Senior team members include Joseph Gray, 30, Colorado Springs, CO, and Eric Blake, 35, West Hartford, CT, who each make their seventh appearance at Worlds. Joining the veterans will be newcomers Patrick Smyth, 28, Salt Lake City, UT, Josh Eberly, 33, Gunnison, CO, Zach Miller, 26, Manitou Springs, CO, and David Roche, 26, Mountain View, CA.
On the women’s side, Megan Lizotte, 30, La Jolla, CA, makes her fifth appearance at Worlds. Lizotte’s teammates will be Allie McLaughlin, 23, Colorado Springs, CO, and Megan Deakins (who will become Deakins-Roche August 17, when she marries fellow team member David Roche), 24, Mountain View, CA.
The junior team includes two returning athletes including reigning World Junior Women's Champion Mandy Ortiz, 19, Eagle, CO, and her teammate from the silver-medal winning team of 2013, Tabor Scholl, 17, Kremmling, CO. Marisa Ruskan, 19, Bound Brook, NJ, rounds out the junior women’s squad.
All of the junior team members on the men’s side are untested at the World Championships. The squad includes Jeffrey Thies, 19, Huntington Beach, CA, Peter Howe, 18, Gilmanton Iron Works, NH, Lucas Matison, 18, Palo Alto, CA, and Erik Armes, 17, Coronado, CA.
The course includes some sections on paved roadway and gravel 4-wheel drive roads, as well as single-track trail, grassy pathways, steps, and intense vertical climbing, much of it through a marble quarry.
The junior women will race 3.5-kilometers with 200 meters of elevation gain. For team scoring, the top two finish places are tabulated. The junior men and senior women will each race the same 7.5-kilometer route with 455 meters of elevation gain. The top three finishers in each category are scored for the team. Senior men race 12 kilometers with 1100 meters of climbing. The top four finishers comprise the team scoring.
Follow the U.S. team as they prepare for the competition on Facebook, on Twitter @usmrt, and at this link. There will also be live updates from Italy pre-during-and post race on these social media channels.