As we are all aware the XC season is well and truly swinging at home in the UK, and arguably one of the most important weekends of the season is upon us. Further away from home, the XC season in the NCAA has just come to a close, culminating in the NCAA Division 1, 2 and 3 XC champs which took place this past weekend in the USA.
The Great British European Cross Country Trials will be held this weekend in Liverpool, England. Alongside the domestic athletes entered for the race, there will be a number of athletes returning from duties at their respective Universities in the States. Many are attending the event, in the hope of securing a spot on the Great British team for the upcoming European Cross in Samarin, Slovakia. The event is incredibly well managed, offering athletes that have competed the week earlier at the NCAA championships, a chance to come home to the domestic European scene.
As usual, the NCAA had its elite scattering of British homebred athletes, some of which will very much be in the running for an elusive spot on the team to Slovakia. Among the absolute favourites, within the US collegiate contingent, to secure a spot on that team are, Amy Louise-Neale of the University of Washington, and Charlotte Taylor at the University of San Francisco. They are both very familiar domestically, and had storming runs to finish second and third at the NCAA Division 1 championship in Louisville. Amongst the other All-American finishers (top 40 in the nation) were Alice Wright, who helped the New Mexico Lobos along to a national title, and Bethan Knights of the University of California.
In the mens race, Sean Tobin, an Irish native and a senior at the University of Mississippi, had an excellent All-American finish again, placing 12th. Sean is a regular on the Irish team at European events, and will hope to be picked again for the championships in Samarin. Alex George, representative from the University of Arkansas, had another strong outing with a 51st place finish, just missing out on those All-American honours.
The trials this weekend come after a very long season for a lot of these athletes that have already endured the ultra competitive XC season in the States. We wish all competitors the best of luck, especially those athletes just returning from their US base for the Christmas period.
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