Borsheim, Smith finish 1-3 at National Junior Olympics in Florida

Last Saturday (9-Dec), 96 athletes and 8 teams from the Pacific Northwest association competed at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida. 
A total of 3,139 athletes and 227 teams from all 50 states competed in the championships.  The races were conducted under unseasonably cold and damp conditions with temperatures in the low 40s throughout the day. Rain fall from the previous days left the course soggy and muddy in spots.  
Athletes earned spots on the starting line by either finishing in the top 30 (or as a member of a club that finished in the top 5) at the region 13 championships on November 18.
Races were contested in 6 age divisions (8 & under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) for boys and girls.  The top 25 finishers in each age division earned all-American status and the top 3 teams were presented with championship recognition during the post event awards ceremony. 
The storyline of the day for the Pacific Northwest athletes came in the 13-14 girls race where Ella Borsheim (Federal Way Track) won with Julia Smith (Speed Unlimited) finishing less than three seconds back to place third.  Borsheim, who was  ran 13:53 to win by 1.9 seconds over Brooklyn Biancamano of Mississippi.  Borsheim and Smith both came through the mile in 5:23 near the front of lead pack that essentially included the top 100 in a group.  Over the next mile Borsheim and Biancamano established a gap on the field coming through 2 miles in 11:10.  Smith was nine seconds back in fifth place, but about to make a hard charge.  With 700m to go Borsheim began to pull away from Biancamano and used a sustained drive to win her first national championship title.  Meanwhile Smith passed 2 runners over the final 800m to grab the bronze medal and her third straight all-American honor (14th in 2016; 18th in 2015).  Her final 800m was the fastest of all the competitors in the race as she finished just 2.5 seconds behind Borsheim.
"I am very lucky to have had the opportunity to come to Florida and compete against such great runners, stated Borsheim following her race.  “I’m thankful to have the support of my coach and family as well.  I couldn't have accomplished what I did without them.  I'm very happy with how my race went and I'm glad to see all my hard work this season pay off.  It was also great to see girls from our region have success as well!”
In the boys 11-12 race William Schneider finished seventh to lead his Rain City Flyers team to a third place team finish.  Competing in his second national championships (11th in 2013), Schneider came through the 1 mile in 11th place and then passed four runners over the last 1400 meters; stopping the clock at 9:57 on the 3 km course.  The race was won by Zack Gilbertson (North Carolina) in 9:28.  Schneider’s Rain City teammates Drew Oliver and Will Sandnes joined Schneider as individual all-Americans as they placed 18th and 19th, respectively.  Oliver came across the line in 10:06 with Sandnes one second back in 10:07.  Both were all-Americans in 2015 while competing in the 9-10 division.  With a strong top three the Rain City club scored 141 team points and earned a trip to the awards podium.  The other scoring members for the club were Carter Joy (52nd) and Logan Plesko (102nd).
In the girls 11-12 race Ava Borsheim, Ella’s younger sister, ran to the second all-American performance for the Borsheim family as she finished 20th running 11:32 (3 km).  “I'm thankful to have my family and coach helping me and the chance to come to Florida, stated Borsheim.  “I think the course was great and it was a beautiful day to run. I'm happy to accomplish my goal of being All American and Harry Potter world was very fun afterwards.”
In the first race of the day Corinne Hudders (Rain City Flyers) and Abigail Wallace (unattached) scored the first two all-American performances for the Pacific Northwest athletes.  Hudders finished fourth running 8:02 over the 2 km course and Wallace finished in 8:36.  The race was won by Micah Neal of Texas in 7:47.
In the 15-16 girls race Christina Crow (Speed Unlimited) earned all-American honors, placing 21st.
Below are all of the Pacific Northwest team finishes:
3.   Rain City Flyers (11-12 boys)
9.   Cascade Striders (9-10 girls)
13.  Rain City Flyers (9-10 boys)
13.  Whisper Running (13-14 girls)
14.  Speed Unlimited (9-10 boys)
14.  Rain City Flyers (9-10 girls)
18.  Camas XC (13-14 boys)
21.  Speed Unlimited (13-14 girls)
For a complete list of how all the Pacific Northwest athletes and teams finished click here.
Next year's championships will be held on December 8 in Reno, Nevada.  website 
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