Wajid, Wikstrom run to top ten finishes at National Junior Olympics in Nevada

12/10/2018
 

Last Saturday (8-Dec) 59 athletes and three teams from the New York association competed at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Reno, Nevada. 
 
A total of 2,837 athletes and 230 teams from across the country competed in the championships.  The races were conducted under cold conditions with the first races going off at 9:00am when it was 29°. The course was hard packed for the early races but as the day went on became muddier and slower.  Reno sits at 4500 feet elevation and thus fast times were not the goal for the athletes.
 
Athletes earned spots on the starting line by either finishing in the top 30 (or as a member of a club that finished in the top 5) at the region 1 championships on November 18 at Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx.
 
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. 
 
Five (5) New Yorkers earned all-American honors. They were Aisha Wajid and Saffa Ellis (7-8 girls), Wilem Wikstrom and Pierce Siegel (9-10 boys), and Melanie Romero (9-10 girls).
 
Wajid & Wikerson race to top ten finishes
The storyline for the day were the top ten finishes turned in by Aisha Wajid (VO2Max Track Club) in the 7-8 girls race and Wilem Wikstrom (Chelsea Greyhounds) in the 9-10 boys race.  In the first race of the day Wajid ran to a fifth place finish in the 7-8 division running 8:49 over the sloppy 2 km course.  Fellow New Yorker Saffa Ellis (Prospect Park Youth Running) finished 17th running 9:17 to join Wajid as an all-American. The race was won by Abigail Wallace of Washington in 8:08.
 
In the 9-10 boys race Wikstrom finished eighth running 11:55.  He was the top 9 year old in the race and picked up his third consecutive all-American hat.  In 2016 he finished 11th and in 2017 3rd while competing in the 7-8 division.  Pierce Siegel (Hunter Athletics) finished 23rd in the race running 12:09.  The race was won by Maximo Zavaleta of Southern California in 11:08.
 
In the 9-10 girls race Melanie Romero (Notre Dame TC) finished 18th running 12:57 to earn her second all-American honor in cross country.  In 2016 she finished 19th in the 7-8 girls race in Hoover, AL.
 
Prospect Park Youth rock it in Reno
The Prospect Park Youth Running Club had 33 athletes compete in Reno with scoring teams in the 7-8 boys (17th place), 7-8 girls (8th place), 9-10 boys (12th place), and 9-10 girls (11th place).