Tallahassee, Florida, February 02—Leonard Korir won the ’17 USATF Cross Country Championships over a challenging, snow-covered course in Bend, Oregon, then beat Galen Rupp—making a rare cross country appearance—over the gently rolling hills of this same Tallahassee course last year to successfully defend his title.
So while Korir entered this year’s meet with the goal of winning his third consecutive title, his quest would not be easy: his own training partners in the American Distance Project (ADP)/US Army WCAP were among his biggest rivals. Shadrack Kipchirchir beat Korir in October at the USATF 10M championships in the Twin Cities, then backed it up with another victory at the USATF 5K a month later in New York City. And steeple specialist Hillary Bor took the win at January’s Great Stirling XC in Scotland with Korir 4th. Additionally, harrier standouts Garrett Heath & Ben True and marathoner Scott Fauble hoped to challenge for the win.
Korir, Kipchirchir, Bor, and their teammates started the race off fast from the gun, leading a large pack of 25 through the first 2M loop in 9:13. By the completion of the second loop (passed in 17:19 for 6K), only the ADP quintet of Bor, Kipchirchir, Korir, Stanley Kebenei and Hillary’s brother Emmanuel Bor were still in contention with only Heath even close—2 seconds behind.
“My coach told us make a move at the beginning, separate from the rest of the guys,” said Kipchirchir. “That was the plan.” Hillary Bor—fresh off his Great Stirling win—pushed the pace hard as the leading quintet completed the third loop in 23:15, 10 seconds ahead of Fauble who was running alone in 6th.
Kipchirchir proved strongest in the final push for the finish, winning in 28:53. ‘Those guys [his ADP teammates] are really strong,” said Kipchirchir. “At training, everyone is really fit. I didn’t know I was going to win because of the five guys, everyone is strong so I just gave my best. I’m glad I took the win. To cross the finish line No. 1 is very awesome.”
Emmanuel Bor (28:54) claimed runner-up honors, followed by Korir (28:56), Hillary Bor (28:57) and Stanley Kebenei (29:05). “We came here to make the team, to represent the United States at Worlds; we don’t want to let them down,” Kipchirchir said when asked whether he and his training partners would go to Worlds. Portland alum Fauble (29:21) came home alone in 6th, then announced on his twitter that he had declined his World Team position.
USATF MEN’S XC RESULTS
Tallahassee, Florida, February 02—
Teams: 1. American Distance Project 10.
10K: 1. Shadrack Kipchirchir (Nik) 28:53; 2. Emmanuel Bor (ADP) 28:54; 3. Leonard Korir (ADP) 28:56; 4. Hillary Bor (ADP) 28:57; 5. Stanley Kebenei (ADP) 29:05; 6. Scott Fauble (HokaNAZ) 29:21; 7. Mason Ferlic (Nik) 29:32; 8. Reid Buchanan (SkechMam) 29:36; 9. Drew Hunter (adiTin) 29:37; 10. Martin Hehir (Reeb) 29:38;
11. Frankline Tonui (ADP) 29:38; 12. Abbabiya Simbassa (ADP) 29:41; 13. Alex Monroe (RRP) 29:48; 14. Joel Reichow (TMn) 29:57; 15. Andrew Colley (OnxE) 30:00; 16. Dillon Maggard (BB) 30:00; 17. David Elliott (unat) 30:02; 18. Evans Kirwa (USAr) 30:04; 19. Seth Totten (SRAEl) 30:10; 20. Lucas Stalnaker (USMC) 30:14;
21. Futsum Zienasellasie (unat) 30:18; 22. Nicolas Montanez (OnMam) 30:18; 23. Garrett Heath (BB) 30:20; 24. Trevor Dunbar (BAA) 30:26; 25. Girma Mecheso (USAr) 30:28; 26. Kiya Dandena (HokaNAZ) 30:32; 27. Timothy Rackers (BouTC) 30:33; 28. David Goodman (unat) 30:46; 29. Joseph Berriatua (TinmE) 30:55; 30. Michael Jordan (USAr) 30:57;
31. Will Christian (USAr) 31:02; 32. Juan Diego Estrada (Asics) 31:11; 33. Ian La Mere (HansB) 31:20; 34. Elias Chesire (USAr) 31:38; 35. Benjamin Zywicki (unat) 31:44; 36. Sid Vaughn (HokaNAZ) 31:48; 37. Stanley Linton (USN) 31:57; 38. Ernie Pitone (unat) 32:08; 39. Benjamin Payne (USAF) 32:10; 40. John Vodacek (unat) 32:19.
8K: 1. Shuaib Aljabaly (Wi) 24:39; 2. Gabriel Mudel (Mi) 24:43; 3. Meika Beaudoin-Rou (Stan) 24:43; 4. Charlie Perry (Stan) 24:43; 5. Khalid Hussein (Mn) 24:46; 6. Robert Cheeseman (TxHS) 24:47; 7. Graydon Morris (TxHS) 24:54; 8. Michael Phillips (Syr) 24:57; 9. Reece Donihi (NM) 25:01; 10. Chad Johnson (IaSt) 25:03. □