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Strintzos, Campbell lead charge to World Cross Champs

The dust has settled at Stromlo Forest Park, and Australia’s World Cross Country team is starting to take shape! Haftu Strintzos and Paige Campbell, along with Melissa Duncan and veteran Liam Adams, punched their tickets to Serbia after strong performances in the selection trials.

Strintzos Grinds Out Dominant Victory

24-year-old Haftu Strintzos, a product of the esteemed Villanova University program, left his mark on the 10km course. Clocking a 30:04, he systematically wore down his competitors over the four gruelling laps.

“Absolutely, I knew I was capable of winning on a good day,” Strintzos declared.

“This one is special” he added, reflecting on his past near misses for World Cross Country teams.

The Craig Mottram coached attributes his success in part to the wealth of racing experience gained in the NCAA, highlighting the “special relationship” he has with cross country.

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Campbell Battles Back, Secures Return to World Stage

Five years after a strong showing at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships, Paige Campbell roared back to form. She conquered the Women’s 10km in 35:22, edging out the experienced Melissa Duncan by 10 seconds.

Campbell, returning from a two-year injury struggle, capitalised on a tactical opportunity in the final lap to solidify her place on the team.

“It’s been a rough couple of years,” Campbell admitted, “but I owe a lot to my coach Dick Telford.”

Looking ahead to Serbia, she has her sights set on a top-20 finish, a significant improvement on her 29th place showing in 2019.

Young Guns Coomber and Schmidt Secure Spots

Following in the footsteps of the senior athletes, Jack Coomber and Gabby Schmidt staked their claim for spots on the Under 20 teams. Coomber displayed grit and determination in the Under 20 Men’s 8km, outlasting his teammate Charlie Moore in a thrilling final 500m.

“This year I wanted that first place only,” Coomber declared, reflecting on his burning desire to improve upon his 2023 World Championships performance.

Meanwhile, Schmidt took charge of the Under 20 Women’s 6km race, clocking a slick 21:25 to finish ahead of a competitive field.

The full Australian team will be announced in the coming weeks, with the World Cross Country Championships set for Belgrade, Serbia on 30 March.

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Photo Gallery

A photo gallery from the event is available courtesy of Fred Etter. Download photos using the code you receive when you subscribe to our newsletter.