Truckee cross-country runners compete in Junior Olympics | SierraSun.com

Truckee cross-country runners compete in Junior Olympics

Special to the Sun

Submitted photoFive Truckee runners competed this past weekend in the USATF Cross Country Junior Olympics in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Wearing purple in the front row are Claire Lang-Ree and Carrie Bradley, left to right, with Skyler Flora, Andrew Clusserath, Noah Oberitter and coach Pat Matava.

Thousands of top runners, parents and families from all over the country gathered this past Saturday in Myrtle Beach, S.C., for the USATF Cross Country Junior Olympics, including five young runners from Truckee.

The Junior Olympics offer athletes an opportunity to train and race post season to qualify for the fun-filled yet highly competitive national event held in different cities across the nation every year. Boys and girls race separately in six, two-year age divisions ranging from ages 8-18, qualifying through 57 different association meets and 15 regional meets to advance to the national meet.

The Truckee runners raced on the flat and fast cross-country track at Whispering Pines Golf Course under blue skies, warm temperatures and ocean breezes.

To prepare for the JO meet, the athletes have been training hard with their coaches since the end of their regular cross-country seasons at Alder Creek Middle School and Truckee High. After training at 6,000 feet in cold, wintry conditions, racing at sea level in a mild climate was a welcome change and distinct advantage for the Truckee runners.

Carrie Bradley, a seventh-grader at ACMS, finished 77th out of 251 runners on the 3K Midget Division course with a time of 11:33. In the same race, Claire Lang-Ree, also a seventh-grader, placed 93rd with a time of 11:40.

Andrew Clusserath, an ACMS eighth-grader, raced in a fast Youth Division along with 304 other athletes. He placed 75th in the 4K race with a personal-record time of 13:47.

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Competing in the Intermediate Division were Noah Oberitter and Skyler Flora, both freshmen at Truckee High. Oberitter, racing in his second Junior Olympics, placed 85th in a field of 188 with a record time of 17:22. Flora, racing in her third national meet, placed 22nd in a field of 139 with a personal record of 19:02.

With her top-25 finish, Flora earned the honor of being an All-American in cross country, an outstanding achievement in itself.

and#8212; This article was submitted to Sports Editor Sylas Wright at swright@sierrasun.com.