USATF Women’s XC — Monson Over Kelati


Alicia Monson (403) ran away from Weini Kelati (427) and the rest on the final loop. (MIKE SCOTT)

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, January 08—A late-race runaway by Alicia Monson at the USATF XC Championships definitively quieted any debate about who the nation’s top overland woman is.

The eagerly-awaited showdown at Mission Bay Park between Monson and Weini Kelati delivered in a big way for fans, as the two ascendent stars battled hammer and tongs for much of the way before Monson made a move before 8K that ultimately gave the Wisconsin alum her first national title.

Many had favored Kelati going in, as the 25-year-old recently turned pro has been on a tear lately with a big course record win at the Manchester Road Race and pavement PRs of 15:18 and 31:18.

Monson, 23, has been hard at training under the guidance of On AC’s Dathan Ritzenhein, but the 10K Olympian hadn’t raced since her 4:25 in the Fifth Avenue Mile.

Both would have to deal with defending champion Natosha Rogers, Olympic marathon medalist Molly Seidel and ’18 champion Emily Infeld.

Over a meandering 2K loop that proved to be challenging, Monson and Kelati went straight to the front, leading a breakaway pack of 5 by the first lap’s end. Infeld and Rogers both stayed close, along with Emily Durgin, the 10K 9th-placer from the Trials. A kilometer later, Rogers slipped back.

On the third loop Monson and Kelati left the others behind, with Monson setting the pace and Kelati just off her shoulder. The pace increased to a 6:44 segment compared to a 6:48 for loop 2. A quartermile later, Monson struck, suddenly leaving Kelati behind on her way to a 6:41 fourth loop. She had passed 8K in 26:45, a 14-second margin.

The final circuit took 6:54, but it was just a formality as Monson stretched her lead to 17 seconds to take the win in 34:01. Kelati crossed in 34:18, as the only others to break 35 minutes over the 10.1K course were Infeld (34:36), Durgin (34:50) and Stephanie Bruce (34:50).

Said the champion, “The is my first win as a pro actually and also my first national title, so it’s a pretty big day for me.”

Hansons–Brooks (16) took the team win over the U.S. Air Force group (26).


Teams: 1. Hanson-Brooks Distance Project 16; 2. U.S. Air Force 28; 3. U.S. Navy 40.

10.1K: 1. Alicia Monson (OnAC) 34:01;

2. Weini Kelati (UArm) 34:18;

3. Emily Infeld (unat) 34:36;

4. Emily Durgin (adi) 34:50;

5. Stephanie Bruce (HokaNAZ) 34:50;

6. Natosha Rogers (HansB) 35:24;

7. Jaci Smith (USAF) 35:48;

8. Molly Seidel (Puma) 35:58;

9. Carrie Verdon (TmBou) 36:01;

10. Susanna Sullivan (unat) 36:11;

11. Maria Mettler (USAF) 36:21; 12. Caroline Sang (USAr) 36:52; 13. Olivia Pratt (HansB) 36:58; 14. Calene Morris (JanesEl) 37:43; 15. Amy Davis (HansB) 38:02; 16. Kathryn Munks (HansB) 38:09; 17. Megan O’Neil (HansB) 38:27; 18. Casey Monoszlay (ValorTC) 38:47; 19. Obsie Birru (unat) 39:12; 20. Amelia Keyser-Gibson (unat) 39:19; 21. Elaine Ribeiro (SDTC) 40:35; 22. Kayla Grahn (unat) 40:48;

23. Janel Zick (unat) 41:21; 24. Audrey Belf (unat) 41:36; 25. Katherine Irgens (USN) 41:43; 26. Elizabeth Conlon (USN) 41:54; 27. Breann Guzman (SDTC) 41:57; 28. Emily Shertzer (USAF) 42:16; 29. Aubrey Martin (SDTC) 42:30; 30. Allison Spies (USN) 43:36; 31. Grace Jenkins (USMC) 44:35; 32. Genevieve Heaps (USMC) 44:39; 33. Carolyn Riggs (USN) 45:26; 34. Sabrina Svoboda (USMC) 45:35; 35. Lisa Veneziano (unat) 45:47; 36. Athena Garretson (USAF) 54:11; 37. Courtney Pollman-Turner (USN) 58:52.

Junior Women

6.1K: 1. Zariel Macchia (NYHS) 22:50; 2. Colleen Stegmann (OkSt) 23:39; 3. Kaybree Christensen (UtSt) 23:51; 4. Madison Eyman (Tol) 23:53; 5. Nora Wollen (LoyIl) 24:10; 6. Aisha Ramone (WingsA) 24:54; 7. Olivia Gang (Tol) 25:06; 8. Emma Burgess (unat) 25:42; 9. Madeline Castillo (unat) 25:54; 10. Lia Castillo (unat) 25:54.