Scotland - Cross Country is still in session! Team USA sent six of their best Junior Athletes to represent the United States at the Great Edinburgh XCountry International Challenge. New York has a tradition of sending athletes to the event, as some years back, Katie Lembo (Penfield) took home a Top 10 finish at the event.
In 2017, it was Kelsey Chmiel's (Saratoga) time to take on the International Scene, and she ran with conviction. As we had seen for much of the year, Chmiel took the race out hard. A shock to the system for many athletes who are used to sit-and-kick, only fellow American, and reigning Foot Locker National Champ, Claudia Lane (Malibu, CA) went with Chmiel.
The pair snaked around the rigid terrain of Scotland, but the field began to close. Chmiel still had a gap on the field, but Lane had begun to fade. Mariana Machado of the Netherlands, representing Europe, was closing quick. Chmiel sensed the danger, and accelerated through the line, taking home the victory in 14:10 for the 4k distance. Lane would take 7th in 14:30, teammates Katelynn Hart (Glenbard West, IL) would take 9th in 14:34, and Emily Venters (Lawrence Free HS, KS) took tenth in 14:34 to round out the Americans in the Top 10.
In the Team Competition, Team Great Britain won the event with 27points, with Team USA coming in a close second at 28points.
What Does This Mean Back Home?
While many may consider this race as a "bonus," and not to be considered for rankings consideration, it does make the question of our XC rankings more interesting. Much has been talked about on the Katelyn Tuohy vs. Claudia Lane front, but I had always believed it clouded the stellar season Kelsey Chmiel was having.
Chmiel set course records at Goddard Park and SPAC this Fall, as well as running #4 All-Time at Bowdoin Park. She then took a convincing second at Nike Cross Nationals, after falling extremely ill the week before. Chmiel would have been the NXN Champ by 11seconds, if not for Katelyn Tuohy. After watching both National Races, I had conversations with both Bill Meylan of TullyRunners and our National Rankers, and very well thought Chmiel could have given the Foot Locker National Title a run for it's money.
The key had been Katelynn Hart, simply because she had been in both races. She also had been sick at NXN, but also had tired legs at Foot Locker from two all-out efforts in a single week. Hart was also in this race, and again their was a big margin between her and Chmiel. We may never know what "could have been," but New York is walking away with two strong victories this XC Season. One at NXN, and one at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge.