March 23, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Matthew McClintock is set to compete for the USA Junior National Cross Country Team at the World Junior Cross Country Championships on Sunday. The 8,000-meter race is set for 12:30 p.m. local time in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
McClintock qualified for the team earlier this year after finishing third at the USA Cross Country Junior Championships on Feb. 2 in St. Louis. He finished with a time of 24:51.9. The top six finishers at that race qualified for the US Junior National Team.
“This is an awesome experience for Matt,” head track and field and cross country coach Lonnie Greene said. “It doesn’t get much better than having an opportunity to represent your country, your institution, and your family at the world championship level. I’m very, very proud of Matt and I am excited for him. He and Coach (Dave) Hartman have done have put in tremendous work to earn a spot on this stage. We are very fortunate that Matt is a Boilermaker.”
McClintock is one of two Big Ten runners that will represent the United States. Malachy Schrobilgen of Wisconsin finished second at the USA Championships, less than a second ahead of McClintock, to earn his spot on the team.
Craig Nowak of Oklahoma State leads the team as he won the USA Junior Championships. Darren Fahy of Georgetown, Thomas Graham of Stanford, and Andrew Gardner make up the rest of the team.
“I am proud of Matt’s accomplishments throughout the year to put himself in this position,” distance coach Dave Hartman said. “The opportunity to represent your country in International competition is a special achievement. This event will certainly help Matt in his development as an athlete and as a person. He is going to go up against the best distance runners in the world and see how he stacks up. That is an invaluable experience especially for a freshman.”
McClintock and the rest of the USA Junior National Cross Country Team will go up against the world’s best in the event. Darren De Reuck is the junior men’s team leader. This is his second stint as the group leader as he also led the team at the 2010 Championships in Trinidad and Tobago. He is credited with coaching his wife to four Olympics appearances in the 10k and the marathon as well as two US Cross Country titles. He now runs the Boulder Striders in Boulder, Colo., which is a running group for runners of all abilities.
The series began in 1961 for junior men in the national competition. The IAAF incorporated the junior men’s division into the international competition in 1974. The IAAF Junior Men’s Division is for men 19-years old or younger during the entire year of competition. The USA Men’s Junior team has won the event five times while an individual from Team USA has finished first individually four times. The last time the US team won it was 1981. The last US individual to win was Thom Hunt in 1977 on a 7,500-meter race.
"It is a great honor and experience for me to be able to represent my country at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships,” said McClintock. “This competition will grant me valuable knowledge and experience which I will require to pursue my future running goals. I hope to represent my country and my university fully and honorably and to make them both very proud."
The USA men’s junior team’s best finish since 2000 was fourth overall in 2001. The top individual performance in that same span was by German Fernandez in 2009 when he finished 11th overall.
McClintock and the rest of the team look to change that on Sunday on a difficult course that is currently covered in snow against the best in the world.
“Matt is going to lineup with the best in the world,” said Greene. “He is going to be a better athlete because of it. This experience is better than any teaching or training we could offer him and we are fortunate that he will be able to come back to our program and share it with the rest of the team. These guys in the race are all the future of running in the world. It is going to be a priceless experience and if Matt continues to progress the way we think he will, he will see these guys in 2016 and 2020 at the next Olympics.”