The USATF Club Cross Country National Championships on Saturday were nothing short of stunning, with an idyllic backdrop and stacked fields in every race as national championship contenders took to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco to see who reigned supreme.
Individual national champions were crowned in open men's 10K and women's 6K races, as well as masters age group victors at 6K, 8K and 10K distances.
Stanford grad Garrett Heath continued to prove his dominance on the cross- country circuit, taking the men's individual title in 29:06. Heath, who took the Bupa Great Edinburgh individual crown in early 2015, battled with Boulder Track Club's Jonathan Grey, who finished just behind Heath in 29:10.
Scot Fauble's third-place finish in 29:26 for the HOKA ONE ONE NAZ Elite men proved to be the catalyst for their victory in the team race, as all five athletes finished in the top 25 individually to edge the B.A.A. men, 60-106. The third place team was Boulder Track Club (127 points) behind Grey's runner-up individual finish.
Amy Van Alstine of HOKA ONE ONE NAZ Elite ran a tight race alongside defending individual champion Laura Thweatt and NAZ Elite teammate Rochelle Kanuho, keeping things neck-and-neck over the last 3/4 mile after splitting 9:51. The trio barrelled to the finish, but Van Alstine surged over the final 200 meters to edge Thweatt by a second, 19:51-19:52.
In Albuquerque, N.M., rain showers and 30-degree temperatures were no match for more than 2,900 young runners competing Saturday at the 2015 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Balloon Fiesta Park.
The Palo Alto-based Peninsula Flyers sent 27 athletes to the meet, with Sophia Gallo producing the best result as she finished 31st overall in the Girls 11-12 race -- clocking 12:10.3 over the 3K course.