Athletics Australia is excited to announce the teams for the 2019 World Cross Country Championships. This announcement follows the Selection Trials held on Sunday, 27 January at Stromlo Park in Canberra.
The men’s team – headed by Patrick Tiernan who at the last championships in 2017, placed an excellent 13th – a position that amongst Australians only Rob de Castella, Steve Moneghetti and Collis Birmingham have bettered in the 44-year history of the race, first held in 1973.
Although not contesting the trial, Tiernan a week ago indicated his good current form clocking 61:22 in the Houston Half Marathon, a performance which elevated him to number eight Australian all-time. After that brilliant cross-country run in March 2017, Tiernan went on run significant personal bests over 1500/mile/3000/5000/10000.
In 2018 Stewart McSweyn duplicated that feat with significant marks and PBs over the exact same range of events. McSweyn, who also didn’t contest the cross-country trial on Sunday, is rewarded with discretionary selection.
They join the in form Brett Robinson and Jack Rayner, who went one-two in the trial, securing automatic selection. Robinson, an experienced campaigner, is on his fifth cross country team – four as a senior and one in the juniors.
Those four were also members of the 2017 team which placed eighth.
They are joined by Harry Summers and Jack Bruce, third and fourth place getters in the recent cross-country trial. Summers, makes his second cross country Team, 10 years after he ran the junior race in 2009. Bruce, an experienced cross-country athlete from his time at the University of Arkansas where he earned two top-25 NCAA cross country finishes.
In the senior women’s team, Melissa Duncan and Caitlin Adams were automatic selections as the first and second Australian women across the finish line at the Selection Trials.
This is not Duncan’s first senior team, having previously competed at the 2015 World Championships, 2016 World Indoor Championships and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
For Adam’s, this will be her second senior Australian team representation, having been selected in the Australian team which competed at the World University Cross Country Championships in Switzerland in April 2018.
The next four finishers at the Selection Trials – Paige Campbell, Emily Brichacek, Marnie Ponton and Leanne Pompeani – have also been announced as part of the team at the discretion of the selectors.
Campbell made an impressive 10,000m debut on the track at the recent Melbourne Zatopek Classic, finishing seventh in 32mins 39 secs.
Brichacek will bring international experience to the team, having made her Commonwealth Games debut five years ago, and having contested numerous World Cross Country Championships as both a junior and senior athlete.
In the junior team, the selectors have named four in each event. In the junior men Jackson Sharp achieves some redemption for missing selection in the 1500m for the World U20 Championships team in 2018.
Sarah Schiffmann, a revelation in Australian junior cross country running in the last six months, following her surprise wins in August 2018 in the Australian Under-16 XC and then the World U20 Cross Country trial last Sunday, is named in the women’s junior team. The 15-year-old becomes the second youngest ever selected in the team behind Sharon Dalton in 1983.