NXN winner Riggs leads group of five prep All-Americans in women’s 6-kilometer race securing berths for World U20 event in February in Australia; Young surges late to capture men’s 8-kilometer crown against college freshmen
By Erik Boal, DyeStat Editor
MECHANICSVILLE, Va. – Irene Riggs continued her memorable cross country schedule by adding another title to her exceptional resume.
Leo Young reminded everyone in the country of his championship mettle, winning the longest and most challenging race of his prep career at the USATF U20 Cross Country Championships.
And they weren’t alone, as the event highlighted many of the top national high school competitors, who thrived against several college freshmen Saturday at Pole Green Park, as six athletes in each gender achieved berths to compete Feb. 18 at the World Athletics U20 Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia.
After running away from the field Dec. 3 at Nike Cross Nationals, Riggs – a Stanford-bound senior from Morgantown High in West Virginia – benefited from a more efficient approach in the first half of the 6-kilometer race, before pulling away late to prevail in 19 minutes, 44.3 seconds.
Young, a Stanford commit from Newbury Park High in California who finished 11th at NXN after leading with less than 800 meters remaining, demonstrated patience and maturity in his first 8-kilometer competition to surge past a trio of college athletes in the final 600 meters and triumph in 23:46.8.
Lex Young (24:25.5) and Brayden Seymour (24:56.4), both members of Newbury Park’s national championship lineup in Oregon, placed 12th and 19th, respectively.
Micah Wilson of Wisconsin placed second in 23:53.4, Villanova’s Marco Langon took third in 23:53.8, Washington’s Evan Jenkins finished fourth in 23:54.1 and Air Force Academy’s Max Sannes was fifth in 23:54.2.
Michigan’s Luke Venhuizen secured sixth in 23:58.9 and appeared to have earned the final berth to compete in Australia. But an apparent passport issue for Venhuizen created an opportunity for Champs Sports national champion Kole Mathison of Carmel High in Indiana – who finished seventh in 24:11.7 – to represent the United States next month.
Riggs led a group of five prep athletes on the U.S. women’s roster, with Champs Sports runner-up Ellie Shea, a junior representing Emerging Elites from Massachusetts, placing second Saturday in 19:47.5.
Zariel Macchia, a sophomore from William Floyd High in New…