March 24, 2013
BYDGOSZCZ, Poland - Matthew McClintock finished 20th in the world at the World Junior Cross Country Championships on Sunday. McClintock was the first harrier to cross the finish line that was not from Africa, the continent that historically has dominated the sport. McClintock posted a time of 22:52.
“A bunch of us got knocked down in the first 50 meters,” McClintock told USA Track and Field after the race. “One of the guys caught me and told me to get up and maintain my cool. I'm most proud of the fact that I maintained my composure after getting knocked down, and that I was able to keep fighting for my friends and for Team USA.”
McClintock helped the United States finish fourth in the world with a total of 106 points. The Athens, Maine, native’s 20th-place finish is the USA’s best since 2009 for the when German Fernandez finished 11th and Chris Derrick took 15th. The team’s fourth-place finish is the country’s best finish since 2000 when the USA also finished fourth. McClintock’s time is the fastest USA 8,000-meter time since 1985.
The Boilermaker freshman’s time was nine seconds faster than any other American in the race. His final time, though, was nearly two minutes behind than Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet who won the race.
“We are so proud of Matt,” Purdue head coach Lonnie Greene said. “He finished 20th in the world and was the first American to finish. When you think about that, it is phenomenal. These are the absolute best in the world he is competing against and I’m really just so proud of him. He represented the United States, Purdue University, and his family very well. We are very blessed to have Matt as a part of our team and university.”
McClintock had to battled cold temperatures that including rain, snow, and a muddy course. Despite all that, the freshman still was one of the world’s best.
“We are extremely proud of Matt’s accomplishment today in Poland,” said Purdue distance coach Dave Hartman. “He showed tremendous poise in battling difficult weather conditions, a treacherous course, and the pressure of competing against the best in the world. This trip will provide him with a wealth of experience in his personal and professional career. We are very proud of him.”
A video with highlights of the race can be found at the bottom of the page. Though McClintock cannot be clearly seen in any of them of the shots, the video provides good footage of the snowy, muddy, and hilly course the harriers were faced with.