Congratulations to Souhegan’s Chloe Trudel, Coe-Brown’s Sheldyn Fisher, Lars Hogne and Aidan Cox as they represented New Hampshire in the finest of fashions at the 2021 Garmin RunningLane National Cross Country Championships held in Huntsville, Alabama. More than 2000 athletes from across the nation were divided up in fields of 300 plus runners to comprise the four race divisions (Blue, Bronze, Silver and Gold). Fisher, Hogne, and Trudel competed in the Silver Race while Cox competed in the Gold Race. Fisher and Hogne, both experiencing their first national championship event, fared quite well. Both stayed consistently strong throughout their races crossing their respective finish lines right at the personal records. Both of their silver races had between 250 and 300 of the best runners in the country. Fisher placed 81st in 19:09 and Hogne placed 95th in 15:41.
Trudel, showing her experience from previous national level meets, displayed great patience going through the first mile of the Silver Race in 5:42 and in 32nd place. She moved up steadily from there. Using the challenging 2nd mile to her advantage, she passed 21 other racers, all the way to 11th! Capitalizing on that momentum, she continued to pass over the last mile to finish 5th overall in a personal best of 17:56! First time under 18 minutes!
Recently crowned Northeast NXN Champion and reigning NH State Champion Aidan Cox of Coe-Brown competed in the most anticipated race of the day, the Gold Race . This race featured Newbury Park of California, arguably the fastest team in US high school history. The race also included four of the top 5 US ranked runners according to MileSplit50 with only #2 ranked New England Champion Gavin Sherry of Connecticut not participating in this event and opting for Eastbay Cross Country Championships (formerly Footlocker) next Saturday.
Cox, running in the lead pack of 20, he went through the opening mile in a fast 4:30 and climbed an uphill 2nd mile in route to approximately 9:16 for two miles. Cox ran comfortably as the lead pack was whittled down to seven contenders, running 9:41 for the 2.1 mile mark.
Between 12:30-13 minutes and within the last 1k, the race began to change dramatically. Zane Bergen of Colorado tried to make a move but the top three boys, all from Newbury Park covered it and then really took control of the race sweeping to a 1,2,3 finish in record fashion. Led by Senior Colin Sahlman, who won the overall title in a new national record time of 14:03.29 eclipsing Dathan Ritzenhein’s record of 14:10. He was followed by his teammate twin brothers Leo Young (14:05.07) and Lex Young (14:05.59). Aidan Cox fought hard to stay in contention and he successfully maintained his spot in the lead pack of seven right to the end running an excellent race, placing 7th in 14:18.
A little noteworthy perspective on this historic finish by Cox. This is just part of the accomplishments of the lead pack of seven that Aidan Cox rubbed elbows with: Colin Sahlman has run 4:03 for 1600m, 4:04 for 1 mile and 8:43 for 3200m. Leo Young has run a 4:07 mile and 8:55 for 3200m. Lex Young has run 8:43 for 3200m and 4:08 mile. Zane Bergen (4th place, 14:09) has run a 4:03 mile. Riley Hough (Michigan state champ), who was undefeated this year, placed 5th in this race at 14:10, was ranked #1 in the US MileSplit50, and has run 4:07 for the mile. Aaron Sahlman, the winner’s brother and 6th place finisher (14:14) has run 4:08 for 1600m and a 4:09 mile. Speaking of brothers, the aforementioned Young twins are Nico Young’s brothers. He just helped lead his Northern Arizona eam to a NCAA Division 1 National Cross Country Title and ran a 13:22 on the track in Boston this weekend.