Staley and Mahoney lead Niagara athletes at National Junior Olympic Championships in Florida


On Saturday (9-Dec.), twenty-eight (28) athletes from USATF Niagara competed at the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships in Tallahassee, Florida. A total of 3,139 athletes and 227 teams from all 50 states competed in the championships.  The races were conducted under unseasonably cold and damp conditions with temperatures in the low 40s throughout the day. Rain fall from the previous days left the course soggy and muddy in spots.
Athletes earned spots on the starting line by either finishing in the top 30 (or as a member of a club that finished in the top 5) at the region 2 championships on November 19.
Races were contested in 6 age divisions (8 & under, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14, 15-16, 17-18) for boys and girls.  The top 25 finishers in each age division earned all-American status and the top 3 teams were presented with championship recognition during the post event awards ceremony.
Similar to last year, both Catherine Staley (unattached) and Jaxyn Mahoney (Southern Tier SOAR) earned all-American honors with top 25 finishes.  Staley finished 12th in the 9-10 girls race; a 12 place improvement over her 24th place finish last year in the division.  Her time was 11:25 over the 3 km course. “My goal going into the race was to be in the top 25,” reflected Staley after the race.  “I was so happy when I was done and made it.  I didn’t know I could go that fast!”
For the fourth year in a row Mahoney earned all-American honors as he placed 24th in the 9-10 boys race running 11:02.
Ten athletes from the Southern Tier SOAR, ten from the Auburn Y Pulsars, and four from Team PREFO competed in the championships.
A complete list of of all Niagara finishers can be found on the Niagara meet coverage page.  
Next year’s championships will be held in Reno, Nevada on December 8.  Initial meet information can be found here.