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Saratoga's Chmiel wins international XC race in Scotland

Saratoga's Chmiel wins international XC race in Scotland

Representing United States, she takes first in Edinburgh
Saratoga's Chmiel wins international XC race in Scotland
Saratoga Springs' Kelsey Chmiel after winning the Great Edindburgh International XCountry Challenge.
Photographer: PROVIDED

EDINBURGH, Scotland — Kelsey Chmiel has taken her success to a new level: international.

Running for Team USA, the multi-champion from Saratoga Springs got out fast and never surrendered the lead in winning the women's junior division race Saturday at the Great Edinburgh International XCountry Challenge at Holyrood Park in Scotland.

Chmiel, one of six Americans in the 19-and-under 4-kilometer race, ran a 14:10.00. Team Great Britain and Team Europe also had contingents.

"Incredible," said Linda Kranick, co-coach of the Saratoga girls' cross country team with her husband, Art. "She was determined and focused. She took it out, took the lead 400 meters into the race, and never looked back."

Saratoga had never had a cross country runner compete abroad. Chmiel, a 16-year-old junior, was nominated for a spot by the Kranicks, and earned an invite last month from USA Track and Field.

"For years we've been coaching, but this was our first international competition," Linda Kranick said. "It was a really good experience for Kelsey, and for us."

Chmiel won on a muddy grass course at Holyrood Park, which is about a mile east of Edinburgh Castle.

"Many races had gone before her," Linda Kranick said. "She handled it very well, and proved herself. She wasn't the favorite. Just an exciting day."

Linda Kranick said the race favorites were Chmiel's teammate and 2017 Foot Locker national champ Claudia Lane of Malibu, Calif., and Team Europe's Mariana Machado of the Netherlands. Machado made a late push to catch Chmiel, a MileSplit first-team All-American.

"The girl tried to catch her," Linda Kranick said. "At the end, Kelsey turned it on."

Team Great Britain won the event with 27 points, while Team USA was second with 28 (low points win). Lane placed seventh (14:30) for the best Team USA finish behind Chmiel.

"I never saw her smile so much," Linda Kranick said of Chmiel, whose previous outdoor effort was a second at the Nike Cross Nationals. "To represent the USA meant a lot to her. Her brother [Matt] is in the Air Force Academy."

Chmiel has three times been named the top cross country runner in her class by the New York State Sportswriter's Association. This past fall she won Suburban Council and Section II Class A titles, and placed second at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and New York State Federation meets.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Jim Schiltz at 518-395-3143, [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter.

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