Heinen wins Junior Olympic national title in Florida

Results & Photos

On Saturday (9-Dec.), forty-one (41) athletes from USATF Virginia 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 10 or as a member of a winning team at the Virginia association 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 was the national title won by Mary Heinen (Richmond TF Club) in the girls 15-16 division to lead the Richmond TF Club to a second place team finish.  Heinen, a sophomore at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School, ran 18:30 to win by four seconds over Jenna Strange of Kentucky.  Heinen led her Richmond TF Club to a second place team finish in the 15-18 division (note: the 15-16 and 17-18 division compete together and score as one team).  They scored 48 points to finish behind O’Brien’s Army’s (Southern California) 29 points.  For her win Heinen was presented with the gold medal and the coveted all-American hat.  Following Heinen across the line to complete the team scoring for the Richmond team were four others who earned all-American honors: Nicole Van Ess (2nd 17-18 division), Emilia Joyce (12th 15-16 division), Megan Lee (4th 17-18 division) and Frances Heller (21st 17-18 division).  
Three Richmond TF Club athletes earned all-American honors in the 17-18 division as the team ran to a fifth place finish.  The team was led by the second place finish by Jack Ikenberry.  The Lee Davis HS senior, ran 15:47 to earn his fourth straight all-American honor and highest Junior Olympic finish over the four years.  His Lee Davis and Richmond TF Club teammate Patrick Sutphin was 12th in 16:12 while Blake Mason finished 17th running 16:35.  Patrick McAndrew and Avery Witherow were the number 4 and 5 runners for the team.
In the younger age divisions Layla Driscoll (unattached), Trevor Mason (Richmond TF Club) and Sierra Puleo (Richmond TF Club) all ran to top 100 finishes.  Driscoll finished 66th in the 9-10 girls race running 12:14 over the 3 km course. Mason was 69th in the 13-14 boys race running 13:42 for 4 km and Puleo finished 77th in the 13-14 girls race running 15:22.  
A complete list of the Virginia results can be found here.
The 2018 championships will be held December 8 in Reno, Nevada.
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