5 Thoughts: USATF XC 2019 Fallout

1. In an ideal world, Shelby Houlihan would run IAAF XC this year.

As of this writing, it isn’t clear if Shelby will run in Denmark next month, but it would be great for the sport if she did. The way she handled this weekend’s race against arguably the deepest women’s field ever assembled was a true showing of how she has cemented herself as America’s top runner right now.

2018 Indoor: Mile (4:13.07), 3000m (9:00.08)

2018 Outdoor: 1500 (4:05.58), 5000m 15:31.08

2019 Cross Country (32:46.8)

If indoor was a surprise and outdoor was establishing her dominance then this weekend’s 10k was pouring salt on the wounds.

2. Bowerman Babes (Not Centro) are lightyears ahead of every other US training group

This isn’t new news but just reaffirmation that the training group including NCAA champ Karissa Schweizer, Olympic Silver Medalist Courtney Frerichs, World Championship Bronze medalist Amy Cragg, NCAA Champion Marielle Hall, and previously mentioned Shelby Houlihan, is the best that the US has seen since Athletics West. It probably isn’t a surprise that Bowerman Track Club won the meet but finishing 5 in the top 7 of what could be argued as the best USATF XC meet ever is a huge accomplishment.

3. Scott Fauble, Alphine Tuliamuk and Steph Bruce are closing the gap

I love Ben Rosario and what he represents in the USA running hierarchy, but it’s no secret that they/Hoka are lagging behind what the top tier of American distance running has to offer — overall talent.

4. The Men’s race was everything we could ask for out of USATF XC

While every member in the top 5 of this year’s men’s race were members of the American Distance Project, the race came down to the wire. Shadrick Kipchirchir was able to outlast Bor and Korir by 1 and 3 seconds respectively. Meanwhile, Drew Hunter underwhelmed me in this race overall — as someone who looks to be the future of American distance running, a 9th place finish (29:36) has to be disappointing any way we look at it… but his attitude is infectious:


The biggest problem I had with these Championships is that they weren’t readily available for everyone to watch!



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Justin Horneker

Justin Horneker

USATF Running Coach - Track & Field Journalist - 'Running Through It' Podcast Host