Wings of America Junior Women’s, Men’s teams claim National Championship
Racing against United States’ top harriers, Wings of America’s 14 to 19-years age division Junior Women and Junior Men’s cross-country teams competed impressively to earn the USATF National Championships in Bend, Oregon.
Wings’ Junior Womens’ team netted 14 points and the Junior Mens’ squad chalked up 11 points en route to earning the National Championship. The team score was calculated with the top four runners from each team with the fifth runner being the tiebreaker. Only runners that live in New Mexico were counted for the team score, due to USATF rules.
This was Wings’ 28th and 29th National Championship in the history of the all-Native American cross-country program.
Wings’ Junior Women’s runners Ali Upshaw and Alliana Atencio and Junior Men’s Jericho Cleveland and Kashon Harrison are alternates for the National Cross-Country Championships in Boca Raton, Florida on March 4 or the World Cross-Country Championships in the city of Kampala, Uganda, Africa on March 26.
Wings’ Program Director Dustin Martin, who accompanied the teams to the national meet, said every member competed with admirable focus.
“With such sloppy conditions on the course, it was very easy for runners to neglect their form and fail to change gears and gain on competitors through the sections that are less difficult,” Martin said. “But they worked off each other throughout the race and no one got comfortable or gave up on having a good race. You can’t ask for much more.”