Weini Kelati spearheads American hope in World Cross Country Championships


ATHLETICS Weini Kelati spearheads American hope in World Cross Country Championships

Festus Chuma 18:20 - 28.03.2024

Team USA for the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade features a blend of veterans and rising stars.

United States of America national cross-country champion Weini Kelati is at the forefront of a formidable 28-member US team poised to challenge the longstanding East African dominance at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Belgrade on March 30.

Alongside Pan-American U20 champion Ellie Shea, Kelati's remarkable achievements signal a potent US challenge that has been meticulously assembling.

Kelati's ascension to the team's lead was cemented with her overwhelming victory at the US Cross Country Championships earlier this year, where she clinched the senior women’s title by a staggering 37 seconds.

The 27-year-old's prowess was not just limited to national soil; her commendable 21st place at last year's World Cross in Bathurst and a seventh-place finish over 5km at the World Road Running Championships in Riga underscore her versatile talent.

However, it was her North American half marathon record of 1:06:25 set in Houston that truly underscored her potential to spearhead the US challenge

Joining Kelati in the senior women's roster are formidable athletes such as three-time NCAA steeplechase champion Allie Ostrander, ensuring a robust lineup capable of making significant inroads into the traditionally East African-dominated event.

The US senior men's team also boasts impressive credentials, led by Anthony Rotich, a three-time NCAA steeplechase champion.

With Emmanuel Bor and Reid Buchanan, both veterans of the World Cross in Bathurst, the team's depth and experience are evident.

Ellie Shea, who played a pivotal role in securing a historic team bronze medal in the U20 women's race last year, is set to don the US vest again in Belgrade.

Her presence, along with that of Zariel Macchia and Allie Zealand, both team bronze medallists in Bathurst, adds significant strength to the youthful contingent.

Kole Mathison, another Bathurst team bronze medallist, returns to fortify the U20 men’s team, demonstrating the US's strategic investment in nurturing young talent for sustained competitive excellence.

Leading the mixed relay team is Pan-American 5000m champion Kasey Knevelbaard, whose leadership will be crucial in navigating the challenges of a highly competitive field.

US team for Belgrade

Senior women: Katie Camarena, Emma Grace Hurley, Weini Kelati, Cailie Logue, Abby Nichols, Allie Ostrander

Senior men: Christian Allen, Emmanuel Bor, Reid Buchanan, Anthony Camerieri, Ahmed Muhumed, Anthony Rotich

U20 women: Mary Bonner Dalton, Maddie Gardiner, Zariel Macchia, Jolena Quarzo, Ellie Shea, Allie Zealand

U20 men: Noah Breker, Birhanu Harriman, Aidan Jones, Kole Mathison, Berkley Nance, Kevin Sanchez

Mixed relay: Ella Donaghu, Katie Izzo, Kasey Knevelbaard, John Reniewicki

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