Sound Running XC — Wasserman & Wildschutt Seize The Day

Katie Wasserman, the NCAA 5000 runner-up for Notre Dame in ’21, stepped up front with confidence to win. (KEVIN MORRIS)

AUSTIN, TEXAS, November 30 — Unheralded Katie Wasserman and South Africa’s Adriaan Wildschutt, both running for victorious Hoka NAZ Elite squads, emerged on top at the second edition of Sound Running’s Cross Champs. However, despite the race’s position as the only North American gold stop on the WA Cross Country Tour (and thus, a great route to get World Rankings points that can help in Olympic qualification), not many of the top American pros took advantage of the Thursday morning event.

Wasserman led the women from early on, taking the large pack through every mile mark on the 5-loop course, starting with the first (5:35.3). At 3M (16:17.2) she still had 6 competitors in her slipstream, most notably Marisa Howard, Abby Nichols and Katie Izzo. Despite speeding up the pace to a 5:16 for the fourth mile, Wasserman still had teammates Nichols and Mercy Chelangat close, along with Izzo.

It would come down to the kick, and Wasserman, a 15:13.81 performer on the track, had more left than her rivals. She finished the 8K course in 26:49.4, 2 seconds clear of Izzo (26:51.4), with Chelangat (26:54.5) and Nichols (27:08.5) taking the next two places. Wasserman got the win despite somehow going off course and finding herself on the wrong side of the flagging. A spectator lifted up the rope and waved her back onto the race loop.

Hoka NAZ Elite, taking the top three spots, easily defeated the other 3 teams in the 4-deep scoring with its 14 points. Idaho Afoot was 2nd at 34, with Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore winning a tie-breaker with Hansons-Brooks IDP as each tallied 44.

Columbia/Notre Dame alum Wasserman said, “Once we hit that last lap, I was just going to try to go for it… I was feeling good and I was like, ‘It’s time to go I guess.’”

The men’s race featured some burners up front, with the early lead being blazed by former Iowa Stater Wesley Kiptoo. The Kenyan, in his first race since his debut 2:10:28 marathon last month in Chicago, passed the mile in 4:25.5 and 2M in 8:51. That took the lead pack down to 5, with Wildschutt, Edwin Kurgat, last year’s NCAA champion Charles Hicks and the lone American in the group, Ahmed Muhumed, keeping pace.

Wildschutt applied the pressure mid-race and by 4M he, Hicks and Kurgat (himself the ’19 NCAA champion) had built a gap. The Florida State alum’s long drive broke Hicks first, then Kurgat let go with about 600 left, leaving Wildschutt to win at 22:07.4. Kurgat (22:11.4), Kiptoo (22:14.2) and Hicks (22:15.0) followed, with Muhumed (22:26.5) farther back.

“Our plan for our team was just to go out pretty hard,” explained Wildschutt. “Coming around for the last two laps, I thought, ‘Alright, this is my time.’… I never looked back.”

With a top-4 sweep, Hoka NAZ Elite scored a perfect 10. Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore (29) and Railroad Athletics (49) took the next two spots.


Men’s Teams (4 score): 1. Hoka Northern Arizona Elite 10; 2. Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore 29; 3. Railroad Athletic 49; 4. Born to Run 59; 5. Bat City 83.

Individuals (8K): 1. Adriaan Wildschutt’ (HokaNnAz-SA) 22:07.40; 2. Edwin Kurgat’ (UArmDS-Ken) 22:11.40; 3. Wesley Kiptoo (HokaNnAz) 22:14.20; 4. Charles Hicks’ (BowTC-GB) 22:15.00; 5. Ahmed Muhumed (HokaNnAz) 22:26.50; 6. Olin Hacker (HokaNnAz) 22:58.10; 7. Alec Basten (UArmMRB) 23:17.60; 8. Casey Comber (UArmMRB) 23:19.70; 9. Alex Masai’ (HokaNnAz-Ken) 23:22.90; 10. David Ribich (NikeUAC) 23:30.70; 11. James Mwaura (unat) 23:38.10; 12. John Reniewicki (UArmMRB) 23:40.60; 13. Alec Sandusky (Hans) 23:42.30; 14. Vincent Kiprop’ (Riad-Ken) 23:44.40; 15. Eion Nohilly (AtlTC) 23:50.80.

Women’s Teams (4 score): 1. Hoka Northern Arizona Elite 14; 2. Idaho Afoot 34; 3. Under Armour Mission Run Baltimore 44; 4. Hansons-Brooks ODP 44.

Individuals (8K): 1. Katie Wasserman (HokaNnAz) 26:49.40; 2. Katie Izzo (adi) 26:51.40; 3. Mercy Chelangat’ (HokaNnAz-Ken) 26:54.50; 4. Abby Nichols (HokaNnAz) 27:08.50; 5. Marisa Howard (IdAfoot) 27:10.80; 6. Dana Klein (IdAfoot) 27:11.60; 7. Kassie Parker (Hans) 27:29.80; 8. Angie Rafter (Hans) 27:34.20; 9. Krissy Gear (HokaNnAz) 27:48.20; 10. Courtney Barnes (UArmMRB) 28:07.60; 11. Ellie Leather (UArmMRB) 28:12.80; 12. Lydia Olivere (UArmMRB) 28:22.10; 13. Judi Spinks (IdAfoot) 28:24.80; 14. Kinsey Middleton (IdAfoot) 28:28.00; 15. Erin Jaskot (UArmMRB) 28:33.10.