Almonte and Middaugh named to 2022 U.S. International U18 Mountain Running Cup team
Prep stars will compete in Italy on June 26
Battle Mountain cross-country runners Milaina Almonte and Porter Middaugh were selected by U.S. Track and Field (USATF) and the American Trail Running Association (ATRA) as members of the eight-person U.S. contingent set to compete at the International U18 Mountain Running Cup on June 26 in Saluzzo, Italy.
” It’s amazing; they are both fantastic trail runners,” stated coach Rob Parish, who added trail running is a staple of his training, especially in the summer.
“We have so many amazing trail running opportunities, that we lean into trail running to build strength and a massive strength base.”
Almonte joins Victoria Rodriguez (Seven Valleys, PA), Alyssa Sauro (Williamstown, WV), Rosie Mucharsky-O’Boyle (Denver, CO) on the girls team.
“Representing the US in Italy is an exciting challenge and honor,” Almonte told ALTA’s Richard Bolt.
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“Trail running is always a rewarding experience, but trail racing in another country with talented teammates will be an incredible opportunity. I am really looking forward to seeing new places and meeting new people this summer.”
Almonte is competing in the 3200 and 1600-meter runs and 4×800 and 4×400-meter relays at the 4A state track and field meet, a testament to her range.
Middaugh, who provided a memorable runner-up finish at the National High School Trail Championships in Salida last summer when he attempted to dive across the line in front of his brother Sullivan, joins a boys team which includes Garrett Stickley (Winchester, VA), Benjamin Anderson (Highlands Ranch, CO) and William Wachter (Highlands Ranch, CO).
“Living in a trail running hot spot, it has been inspiring to see many of the U.S. Mountain Running team members compete in the Vail Valley over the years,” Middaugh told Bolt.
“It will be a great honor to represent the USA in Italy this summer.”
“They are both mountain goats, who are light on their feet, and can climb endlessly and effortlessly. They are also quick on technical training,” stated Parish.
The pair is continuing a tradition of Vail Valley runners competing at the U18 Mountain Running Cup. Eagle Valley’s Joslin and Samantha Blair have represented the U.S. at the event, with Joslin coming home with the victory in 2018. Battle Mountain alumni Jonny Stevens, Cameron Moore and Mandy Ortiz also computed for Team U.S.A. in international trail competitions. In 2013, Ortiz became the first American junior to win and individual World Mountain Running title and was named USATF Athlete of the Week.
Parish said his program has historically used trails as a means to build foot and lower leg strength as well as incorporate soft surfaces — both of which are injury prevention measures.
“We fully believe that some of our huge peak that comes around in late fall, starts with a big trail running base from the summer,” he said.
The 15th edition of the invitation-only event comes after two years of cancellations and provides a “unique opportunity for youth mountain runners from around the world to test themselves against the world’s best.” The technical 4.4-kilometer course climbs 230 meters into the foothills shadowed by Monviso, the highest mountain in Italy’s Piedmont Region.