This past Saturday, standout Harvard alum and current Stanford graduate student Maksim Korolev competed in his first IAAF World Cross Country Championships with Team USA in the city of Guiyang, China. In dry conditions and in what has been called the “world’s greatest footrace” (namely by LetsRun.com’s Robert Johnson), each of the four USA teams competed with grit to chase after podium finishes. The course took the shape of a 2km loop, which was covered six times for senior men, four for the senior women and junior men, and three times for junior women (12km, 8km and 6km races). Each team saw a number of spectacular performances on the hilly, obstacle-filled grass course at an altitude of over four thousand feet.
The junior women and men’s teams placed 8th and 6th respectively, while the senior women and men’s teams placed 5th and 7th respectively. Maksim Korolev, the only senior men’s team member not to have previously competed at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, was the fifth finisher placing 57th in a time of 38:27 (note: only the top four finishers on a team contribute to team scoring). Kenya’s Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor took the title of the senior men’s race in a time of 34:52, finishing eight seconds ahead of the second place man.
Fellow members of the senior men’s team placed in the following order: Chris Derrick 24th, Ryan Vail 34th, Patrick Smyth 36th, Robert Curtis 37th and Andrew Colley 90th. The men’s team earned a silver medal at the event last year, yet international competition proved to be especially fierce this year, leading the men to a 7th place finish. Team Ethiopia almost completed a full sweep of the races, winning the senior men, senior women, and junior women’s divisions and just narrowly missing the junior men’s title to Kenya.
Team USA results:
Junior Women: Team USA – 8th place. Individuals – Kaitlyn Benner 27th, Lauren Gregory 33rd, Katie Rainsberger 55th,Valerie Constien 62nd, Kelsey Schrader 66th, Shaelyn Sorensen 68th.
Junior Men: Team USA – 6th place. Individuals – John Dressel 27th, Conner Mantz 29th, Cerake Geberkidane 34th, Eric Hamer 42nd, Paul Roberts 59th, Paul Miller 74th
Senior Women: Team USA – 5th place. Individuals – Sara Hall 20th, Laura Thweatt 29th, Mattie Suver 34th, Brianna Felnagle 45th, Jennifer Rhines 51st, Elaina Balouris 64th
Senior Men: Team USA – 7th place. Individuals – Chris Derrick 24th, Ryan Vail 34th, Patrick Smyth 36th, Robert Curtis 37th, Maksim Korolev 57th, Andrew Colley 90th
– Jenny Desouchet