Wells adds world trail team to resume | CraigDailyPress.com

Wells adds world trail team to resume

David Pressgrove

— After Clint Wells finished third at the U.S. 10K Trail Championships in Steamboat Springs, Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team manager Nancy Hobbs told the Steamboat Pilot & Today, “I can’t see why, with how (Wells) ran today, that he wouldn’t be on the team.”

Last week, Hobb’s prediction came true as Wells was named to the United States team that would represent the country at the 10K World Championships in September in Switzerland.

Wells, a Moffat County graduate, has been running professionally since graduating from the University of Colorado in 1998. His resume includes a victory in the Denver Marathon, earning a spot on the U.S. team at the World Cross Country championships, a fifth-place finish at the 2000 U.S. Olympic trials and various road racing titles.

Last year, he won the U.S. 10K Trail Championships in Vail and now, according to Hobbs, he can be considered an elite trail runner.

“I don’t know a lot about him, but Clint seems like a guy who will go to the Worlds and compete with the goal of a spot on the podium,” Hobbs said. “He told me he wasn’t in that great of shape at the race in Steamboat, so I assume he’ll be in top shape for the Worlds.”

Wells finished third at the June 30 race in Steamboat. The top two finishers at the championship race in Steamboat, Rickey Gates and Simon Gutierrez, earned automatic bids to be a part of the team. Wells finished seven seconds behind Gates. He and fellow CU graduate Payton Batliner earned the nonautomatic bids to be a part of the six-man team that will represent the U.S. on Sept. 15 in Saillon, Ovronnaz, Switzerland.

Wells didn’t earn a spot last year, despite winning the U.S. 10K trail title, because last year’s championship wasn’t a sanctioned qualifier for the trail team.

“The Vail race was more of an up and down race, and we sanctioned races that were strictly up-hill races last year,” Hobbs said. “This year, Steamboat’s course was similar to what they’ll have in Switzerland.”

The World Trail Championships rotate on a yearly basis from a course that is entirely uphill to an up-and-down course. This year’s course is up and down.

“I think Clint’s strengths will be with this kind of race,” Hobbs said.

Other team members are Pual Low, 33 of Belchertown, Mass., and Shiloh Mielke, 27, of Weaverville, N.C.

Last year, the U.S. men’s team finished fifth, which was the team’s best finish. The U.S. women won the world championship.

Moffat County graduate Emily Mortensen just missed an automatic bid to be a part of the team by finishing third in Steamboat.

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