USA Cross Country Weekend Awaits: High School Challenge Registration Still Open

This year's conditions for the USA Cross Country Championships promise to be a lot warmer and a little drier than last year. Colorado Track XC file photo by Alan Versaw.

If you like cross country, you'll love being in Boulder Saturday morning. The best of the sport will be on display at the Flatirons Golf Course in Boulder, many competing for berths at World Cross Country in China on March 28.

The mornings schedule of races begins with the Masters Women at 8:15. Following that are the Masters Men at 9:00, High School Challenge Girls at 10:00, High School Challenge Boys at 10:25, Junior Women at 10:55, Junior Men at 11:30, Open Women at 12:15, and Open Men at 1 PM.

Online registration for the High School Challenge races remains open until Thursday evening, February 5. At present, 53 girls and 84 boys are registered for these races (start lists as of Feb. 3). Day of race registration is also available at $30 per individual, but it is suggested that entries are made online.

In addition to the opportunity to compete on the championship loop course, there is also the opportunity to watch many of the finest distance runners in the nation ply their trade.

The current high school crowd isn't likely to recognize many of the names in the Masters races, but those of us who've followed the sport a few more years will recognize many of the names, to include some former Olympians.

The Junior races are stacked deep in talent that is very familiar to today's high school distance runners. Among those included in the Junior Women race are Katie Rainsberger, Kaitlyn Benner, Lauren Gregory, and a long list of current college freshmen. The Junior Men boast a field that includes John Dressel, Cerake Geberkidane, Eric Hamer, Paul Roberts, Conner Mantz, and many more.

Be sure to stick around for the open races, too. These are the individuals at the peak of their talents. We'll be seeing individuals like Emma Bates, Laura Thweatt, Sara Hall, Alicia Nelson, Jen Rhines, Chris Derrick, Dathan Ritzenhein, Tabor Stevens, and Ben True.

The course is a 2K grass loop, meaning you'll get several excellent opportunities to see the racers close-up as they pass by.