While HepsTrack believed that the cross country season was done for the 2011 season, USATF decided to extend the season into 2012 for one Ivy Leaguer.
On December 21st, USATF named the Team USA for the Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country – International Challenge on Jan. 7, 2012. The race features athletes from USA, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and other select European athletes. Princeton freshman Eddie Owens was named on the Junior Men Team USA due to his 2nd place steeplechase finish at the Junior Pan-American Games in July 2011.
On Saturday, Eddie competed in Edinburgh on a very muddy cross country course that featured wooden hurdle logs and water pits, where he came 4th overall. Team USA teammate Kirubel Erassa won the 6k race in 19:54, 14 seconds ahead of Eddie. Team USA won the Junior Men team championship (16 points) over Great Britain and Northern Ireland (26) and Europe (48).
Eddie had this to say about the experience:
“The race was definitely a unique experience. The course was really muddy and that was what caused the slow times, even though it wasn’t particularly hilly. I wasn’t sure going into the race how our US team would stack up and how competitive I would be individually. But once the race started, I put myself in the main pack and stayed there as it got whittled down to four. I fell back a bit with Kirubel Erassa and stayed in 4th for the entire last lap while Kirubel caught up to and passed the two British kids [Mark Shaw and Kieron Clements] who had gotten ahead. Once I finished, I looked back and saw a bunch of USA guys finishing and I immediately knew we had won the team title which I was very happy about. Overall, it was a good race for me and for the team and hopefully is a sign of good things to come in the track season. The whole team USA experience is truly amazing. I can never understand why anyone would ever pass up a chance to represent the US in competition as it is the highest honor and never fails to be a great time.”
For more photos from the event, check out Michael Scott’s online album.