Terre Haute, Ind., played host to the XC Town USA Meet of Champions, one of the biggest cross-country races of the year, over the weekend. On the men’s side, 2016 3,000m steeplechase NCAA champion Mason Ferlic won in exciting fashion, outkicking Olympic silver medallist Paul Chelimo to take the win. The women’s race was even closer, with 2017 NCAA Cross-Country Championships runner-up Amy-Eloise Markovc taking the win just one second ahead of Emma Wilson. The race saw more than 250 elite runners compete, and many more junior athletes are set to race on Sunday.
Ferlic’s late surge
Ferlic and Chelimo ran together right from the start of the 8K race, and they were joined by Michigan State University senior Morgan Beadlescomb. The small lead group of three remained in tact throughout most of the race, only separating in the final kilometre when Ferlic made his move and dropped Chelimo and Beadlescomb. Neither man could match Ferlic’s pace, and he ran to the win in 23:43.4.
Left to battle it out for second place, Chelimo and Beadlescomb managed to stay ahead of the charging pack behind them, with the Olympian topping the much less experienced Michigan State runner. The pair finished in 23:53.3 and 23:54.3, respectively, and while they had at one point built a healthy lead over the next closest runners, they only just held the fourth- and fifth-place finishers off, both of whom crossed the line less than a second behind Beadlescomb.
“That was a fun race,” Ferlic told DyeStat.com after the race. “Morgan, Paul and I were duking it out since pretty much the first half mile. [I] felt really strong today. Paul was throwing in some surges early. I kind of expected that. It’s his racing style. I just stayed patient, absorbed that and realized the guys were hurting a little bit more than I was, [then] opened it up and put the hammer down with about a K to go.”
A tight finish
In the women’s 6K race, Markovc and Wilson ran together the whole way, staying neck and neck throughout the run. Markovc, who ran for the University of Washington from 2013 to 2018, ultimately got the better of the young Huntington University sophomore, and she crossed the line in 20:17.3, a little over a second in front of Wilson. University of Michigan runner Ericka Vanderlende finished 10 seconds behind Markovc and Wilson to take the third and final spot on the women’s podium.
After the run, Markovc posted on Instagram, writing, “I forgot how much I missed XC! Loved having a (rare) opportunity to toe the line today, and happy to have broken the tape!”
Full results from the Meet of Champions can be found here.