BANGOR, Maine — Two Mainers turned in strong performances last weekend during the World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Ben True of North Yarmouth finished in sixth place overall in the men’s senior race, while Matt McClintock of Athens logged a 20th-place finish in the junior event.
True, a former Greely High School and Dartmouth College standout, spearheaded the American team to a silver medal.
He was able to maintain his position among the top 14 runners over the final four laps of the race and survived snowy, muddy conditions to post a time of 33 minutes, 11 seconds over the 12-kilometer layout.
True was the first non-African to cross the finish line and helped the U.S. contingent edge Kenya by two points (52-54) for second place behind world champion Ethiopia.
According to letsrun.com, it was the American team’s first victory over the Kenyans since 1984.
“Going into this, my goal was to get top 25 and the outside shot was to get top 15 so I’d get the automatic ‘A’ [qualifying] standard,” a mud-splattered True told letsrun.com. “I never would have thought I’d be able to get top 10, but the course played to my strengths pretty well and I just hung in there and everyone else started dropping off and I stayed there. It was awesome.”
Before the meet, True described the Polish layout as the hardest course he had seen in his life.
True was making his second appearance in the world championships. He finished 35th at the 2011 event.
In the junior men’s event, McClintock made his presence felt with a 20th-place performance.
The former Madison High School standout, who attends Purdue University, ran the sloppy 8K course in 22:52. He was the first non-African to cross the finish line.
The course proved a huge challenge for all the competitors as McClintock explained to USA Track and Field after the race.
“A bunch of us got knocked down in the first 50 meters,” McClintock said. “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.”
Purdue University reported McClintock’s 20th-place finish was the best for an American in the junior championships since 2009 when German Fernandez took 11th and Chris Derrick claimed 15th.
Purdue also reported that McClintock’s time is the fastest 8,000-meter time by an American runner in the world juniors since 1985.
The U.S. contingent wound up in fourth place in the team competition, its best finish since it took fourth in 2000.
Three people representing the University of Southern Maine men’s indoor track team in Gorham have received season-ending awards from the Little East Conference. The Huskies’ Jeremy Collins of Standish was honored as the LEC Rookie Track Athlete of the Year and Tony Sen of Portland was tabbed the Rookie Field Athlete of the Year.
USM’s Scott Hutchinson was named the LEC Coach of the Year.
Collins helped the Huskies win their fourth LEC title in the past five years. He ran a PR of 23.37 seconds to take second in the 600 at the league championships and also ran a personal best of 49.63 to finish second in the 400 at the New England Open Championships.
Collins also helped the USM 4×400-meter relay team finish second at the ECAC Championships with a 49.5 split.
Sen was 18th at the New England Open meet with a long jump of 6.50 meters, which was fourth among freshmen.
That came after he PR’d with a 6.63 performance and placed fifth at the New England Division III Championships. Sen was ninth at the LEC title meet at 6.44 meters.
Hutchinson won the coaching honor for the fourth time in the past six years. He guided Southern Maine to the program’s ninth LEC crown and a runner-up finish in the New England Alliance standings.
Hutchinson sent the three Huskies to the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, sophomores Kevin Desmond and Jamie Ruginski and junior Sheldon Allen.
USM’s fifth-place finish in the New England Division III Championship standings matched the program’s best result.