UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - For the second straight year, three Richmond distance runners were selected to compete as part of the 2012 USA Junior Mountain Running Team at the IAAF World Mountain Running Championships. Sophomores Billy Fayette and Clare Moretz return to the team this year and will be joined by freshman Jordan Chavez at the event in Ponte di Legno, Italy, on Sept. 2.
"The hard work and effort Billy, Clare and Jordan have put forth during the past year put them in the position to earn a place on the U.S. team," said head coach Steve Taylor. "Our staff, athletics department and University couldn't be happier for these student-athletes. We believe it proves to the top athletes that they can realize their athletic dreams here at Richmond. It's a tremendous honor to wear the uniform for your country."
The Spider trio of Fayette (Clarendon Hills, Ill./Hinsdale), Moretz and junior Ryan Lee (Wilmington, Del./Archmere Academy) finished among the national team's top three harriers at last year's race. Lee led the men's squad with an 11th-place finish and the third-fastest finish for a U.S. Junior Team member in the 27-year history of the event, while Fayette and Moretz each turned in top-30 showings.
Chavez (Southlake, Texas/Carroll) comes to campus after a decorated career at Carroll High School in Southlake, Texas. He earned both All-State and Academic All-State honors as a senior and was named the recipient of the 2011 Nike Cross Nationals Anchor Award, given annually to the top fifth man in the nation.
The trio is the latest in a long line of Spider distance runners to represent the United States at the World Championships, with Moretz (Madison, Va./Madison) qualifying as the first women's runner in program history to be selected to the team a year ago. The race will include athletes from more than 30 nations and be held in the mountains outside of Ponte di Legno, Italy.
"This year the race will be held on an extremely challenging course in the mountains," added Taylor. "They will be striving to achieve a spot on the podium as a team, and that will require a tremendous amount of tolerance of aerobic pain with narrow trails in excess of a 20% incline. Both Billy and Clare return to the junior (under 20) team for the second consecutive year, so they know what to expect. They'll be able to give Jordan advice and draw upon each other's strengths as they prepare for the World Championships and position themselves to achieve the team goal."
Stay updated on all the latest Richmond Cross Country news on RichmondSpiders.com and by accessing Spider Athletics' mobile apps on your Smartphone or tablet. More in-depth coverage can be found by following Head Coach Steve Taylor on Twitter and by reading his blog. The Spiders also have their own Facebook page and have launched their own YouTube Channel as well.