PARIS, Kentucky — Thousands of runners aged 7-18 vied for a title at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championship. Twelve athletes were crowned national champions and 300 earned All-American recognition.

Athletes took to a muddy course on a cool, windy day at Bourbon County Park. In the first race, Mariam Wajid (VO2Max Track Club) won the 8-and- under Girls 2 km with a time of 7:47.37. Her nearest competitor was Angelina Alder (Franklin Elite Athletics Track), who finished in 7:52.26, followed by Lindsey Camey (Lakeland Track Club) in third with a 7:55.13.
The Boys 8-and-under 2 km race was highlighted by an impressive run from Kingston Hudspeth (Grassroots Running Club). Hudspeth sped to the finish line in 7:34.23 – almost ten seconds faster than the rest of the field. In second place was Robert Stepanov (Unattached) with a time of 7:43.58, followed by Micah Streadbeck (OC Grit) crossing the line in 7:49.28.
In the first 3 km race of the day, Elin Beeler (Cascade Striders) left no room for doubt with her 15-second win. In the 9-10 Girls race, Beeler clocked a time of 11:40.01 for a comfortable win. Brooklynne Cox (Unattached) ran to the line on her own in 11:55.23 for second followed by Zia Fadil (CLCF Panthers), who crossed in 12:20.16.
The Boys aged 9-10 3 km race took off soon after, ending with another large-margin victory. Quenton Lanese (Barron Park Striders) won the division in 11:12.50, followed by the second-place finisher Dashiell Keffer (Unattached) in 11:33.48. Indiana Tzinberg (OC Grit) took third in 11:36.07.
Kaylie Livingston (Ann Arbor Track) came off of a rain delay in the Girls 11-12 3 km to win in 11:34.99. Shortly after came Ellery Lincoln (Beaverton Youth Track) in 11:42.17 for second and Paige Sheppard (Speed Skills) in 11:47.83 for third.
Konstantin MacKinnon (Westchester Wolves) was the only boy in the 11-12 3 km race to finish in under eleven minutes with his 10:58.67. Gabriel Hislop (Mt. Pleasant Track Club) and Austin Carlile (Unattached) battled it out for second place. Hislop won that battle in 11:02.31 with Carlile on his tail in 11:02.67.
Girls 13-14 ran the first 4 km race of the day. Jessica Abbott (Shore Athletic) handily won in 15:41.90, followed by a race to second between Kata Clark (New England Elite Track Club) and Natalie Fouts (Louisville Tigersharks). Clark earned a silver medal with a 15:59.80 run, followed by Fouts in 16:00.00.
The Boys 13-14 4 km saw a sub-14 minute run in Vincent Recupero (Rain City Flyers). Recupero blazed to the finish in 13:59.40, followed by Sam Soto (Whisper Running) in 14:17.10. Bodie Thomas (Unattached) took third place in 14:17.50.
Liliah Gordon (Shore Athletic) won the 15-18 Girls 5 km race, effectively winning the 15-16 girls division with her time of 19:21.60. Second in the 15-16 division was Vanessa Alder (Franklin Elite Athletics) with 19:45.20, and third was Erin Cosgrove (Beaverton Youth Track) in 19:52.50.
The top time in the Girls 17-18 5 km race came from Laci Watford (Unattached) who ran a 20:19.00. Abigail Beville (New England Elite Track Club) finished in 20:21.60 for second and Ava Flaherty (Franklin Elite Athletics Track) finished in 20:22.90 for third.
Nate Boutin (Prospect Park Youth Running) won the 15-16 Boys 5 km in 17:08.81. Paul Bergeron (New England Elite Track Club) and Caughnery Freese (Kenosha Shockwave Track and Field) raced for the next spot. Bergeron took second place in 17:35.53, narrowly beating Freese’s 17:36.62.
The 17-18 Boys 5 km race was a true fight to the finish. Aaron Schimke (Unattached) edged out Kieran Subra (Chicago lakeside Rabbits) for the title. Schimke’s 16:59.11 earned gold, while Subra’s 16:59.65 was good for silver. Third place in the division went to Dawson Gunn (Sol Running Club), who crossed the line in 17:12.74.
Full meet results can be found here.
USATF extends its deepest condolences to the state of Kentucky and especially to the families of those who lost loved ones in the devastating tornadoes during the early morning hours of December 11.