The 2010 U.S. Mountain Running Team is heading to Kamnik, Slovenia, to compete at the 26th World Mountain Running Championships on September 5. To be elgible to compete as a junior, athletes must be at least 16 in the year of competition and not yet 20.

The Senior Teams were selected at the sole qualifying race at the 2010 Mount Washington Road Race in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire.  The Senior Men’s Team consists of Eric Blake, 31, New Britain, CT,, Joseph Gray, 26, Lakewood, WA, Rickey Gates, 29, Woody Creek, CO, Max King, 30, Bend, OR, Tommy Manning, 34, Colorado Springs, CO, and Chris Lundstrom, 34, Minneapolis, MN.

On the women’s side will be Kristen Price 29, Raleigh, Brandy Erholtz, 32, Bailey, CO, Nicole Hunt, 40, Deer Lodge, MT, and Megan Lund, 26, Basalt, CO.  The women’s team is looking to defend their bronze medal of 2009.

The Junior Teams will be looking to improve upon their very strong finish from 2009 where Junior Team Member Megan Morgan won a Silver Medal and Brandon Lord finished 4th overall, both the highest-ever finishes for individual results for the girls and boys teams, respectively.

The junior men will be competing in the 8.5km race that gains 1035 meters, while the junior women will compete in the 4.5km race, which gains 430 meters.

The junior teams represent six states to include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Tennessee, and Virginia.  They include:

Junior Men’s Team

Chase Caulkins, 18 (Hailey, Idaho) Chase is entering his freshman year at the University of Portland in Oregon.  He was the 2009 Idaho State XC Champion with a 5K XC PR of 15:48, which he set at Nike Nationals last year.  He was also the Idaho 1600m state champion and knocked a minute off his 3200 meter PR in the last year.  Chase also has a background as a competitive Nordic and Alpine skier.

Paul Petersen, 18 (Broomfield, Colorado) Paul is a veteran of the 2008 Junior Mountain Team where he finished 50th.  Paul was the top Junior at this year’s Mount Washington Road Race, finishing 41st overall in a time of 1:14.  His PRs include a 15:55 5km (at altitude).  Paul lives at 8000 feet  and his training regimen typically includes over 10,000 feet elevation gain per week.   “Being a part of the US Mountain Running team is a huge honor and privilege, and I’m excited to see what the international field brings to the table in a steep event such as this” Paul said.  Paul is attending the University of Colorado where he is beginning his freshman year.

Cody Wells, 19 (Snowflake, Arizona) Cody is entering his sophomore year at the University of Portland (Oregon), where he has set track PRs of 3:53 in the 1500m, 15:02 in the 5000m, and an 8K XC PR of 25:09.  Cody’s mountain running experience includes several wins at the very technical and steep Louis Tewanima Footrace in Second Mesa, AZ, named in honor of Hopi Indian and 1912 Olympic Silver Medalist, Louis Tewanima.

Chris York, 19 (White Post, VA) Chris is entering his sophomore year at the University of Richmond.  Chris set his 10K PR at the 2010 Atlantic 10 Championships, finishing in a time of 31:26, finishing 8th overall.   Chris had the fastest 8K for a U of R Freshman in 25 years, finishing in a time of 25:24 at the Paul Short Invitational.  “I am very honored to run for Team USA. I hope to continue the tradition of strong finishes by University of Richmond runners.” remarked Chris.  The University of Richmond athletes who have been on the US Mountain Running Team includes Andrew Benford, the top Senior Team finisher at the 2009 World Mountain Running Championships and the only team member to ever compete on both the Junior and Senior Mountain Running Teams.

Junior Women:

Laura Beresford, 18 (Dana Point, CA) Laura is going into her senior year at Dana High School, where she has already had a strong running career.  This includes a 5K XC PR of 18:24 at the CA State Championships and PRs in the 1600 and 3200 meters of 5:12 and 11:06.  Laura was named All County in XC in both 2008 and 2009 and finished 2nd in the South League Finals of the 1600 on the track.  Laura has been doing a lot of mountain specific training as she prepares for the World Championships.

“”It is such an honor to be selected!  I am really excited to race in Slovenia and do my very best for our team!” Laura said about being selected to the Team.

Hannah Jumper, 17 (Chattanooga, TN) – Hannah is entering her senior year at The Baylor School.  As a junior, she was the Tennessee state XC Champion, with a 5K PR of 18:29 and was also state champion in the 800, 1600, and 3200 meters on the track.  Hannah dropped 16 seconds off of her 1600 meter time in 2010, with a PR of 4:58.  “I am so excited and honored to be apart of the team. It is so humbling to be able to represent our wonderful country while doing something that I love to do.”, said Hannah about being named to the team.

Hannah’s  coach at Baylor, Heather Ott, noted “Hannah is the quintessential teammate, and she is a first-rate human being who seeks and relishes challenges of all sorts.  Her toughness sits right alongside her curiosity, sense of adventure, and compassion—and she will serve her country and teammates well on the Junior US Mountain Running Team.”

Hannah Valenzuela, 17 (Apple Valley, CA) Hannah is a senior at Apple Valley High School, where she holds the school record in the 3200 meters (10:54).  Hannah was also the Mojave League XC champion with a 5K PR of 17:56 and has the fastest 5K road time in the nation for her age.  Hannah is no stranger to mountain running.  She was the top overall female (16th overall)  in the 2009 Mount Baldy Race to the Top, a grueling 8 mile mountain race that consists of 4000 feet of elevation gain, topping out at a lung busting 10,064 feet of elevation gain.

” I am so honored and proud to have been chosen to represent our country! It has been a dream of mine to put on a Team USA uniform since I was a little girl, I will do my best to make everyone proud!” noted Hannah.

Hannah has been training with fellow teammate Laura Beresford this summer.

The Junior Mountain Team is Managed by Paul Kirsch, Madison, NH, who took over the reins from Dave Dunham who has worked with the team the past four years. Kirsch was named the 2009 USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Contributor of the Year. He was the race director for NACAC/USA Mountain Running Championships where one of his duties was to coordinate housing and transportation for elite athletes (more than 30 in total from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico). Kirsch also  serves as the USATF-NE Mountain Ultra Trail Chairperson and provides website design and maintenance for the U.S. Mountain Running Team website & blog (usmrt.com).

To follow the team at this year’s world championships, check out the team website at usmrt.com and on twitter at twitter.com/usmrt.