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Edmonds Set to Represent U.S. at World Cross Country Championships
Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.) punched his ticket for the meet with a sixth-place finish at the Feb. 10 USATF Junior National Cross Country Championships in Boulder, Colo. Joining him on the United States squad will be Iona's Noel Bateman, Oregon's Kenny Klotz, Adams State's Ryan McNiff and Matthew Tebo of Eldorado High School in New Mexico.
Liberty will be represented at the World Cross Country Championships for the third-consecutive year. Josh McDougal (Jr., Peru, N.Y.) ran the 4K for the U.S. men's senior team in 2005 and brother Jordan McDougal (So., Peru, N.Y.) competed in the junior 8K race a year ago.
Edmonds enjoyed a successful tune-up on March 4, when he placed as the top American and fourth overall in the junior 6K race at the North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships in Clermont, Fla.
Liberty Head Track and Field/Cross Country Coach Brant Tolsma warned about some of the difficulties Edmonds will face in Kenya, though. "Competing well at that meet can be really tough," he noted. "There's a lot of travel involved and the weather will likely be hot and humid."
What Tolsma failed to mention is the stranglehold Kenya and Ethiopia have had on the competition in the men's junior race in recent years. The two African nations have finished 1-2 in the team standings for 22-consecutive years, with host Kenya winning 18 of those championships, including the last eight in succession. Moreover, the last 15 individual champions have hailed from either Kenya or Ethiopia.
The United States broke through for a fourth-place team finish in 2001, ironically the same year Liberty assistant coach Greg Jimmerson helped the U.S. senior men's 12K team take the bronze medal.
Edmonds has competed in the shadow of fellow Empire State natives, Josh and Jordan McDougal, during his first year at Liberty, but has quietly crafted a solid resume thus far. He placed ninth at the Big South Cross Country Championships, earning All-Big South distinction and helping Liberty to its second-straight conference team title. Edmonds was also named the Big South Men's Freshman of the Year at the conference indoor meet, where he was the runner-up at 5,000 meters and took seventh in the 3,000-meter final.
All of these accomplishments may just serve as a glimpse of Edmonds' potential, however. "Josh is still a relatively inexperienced runner," Tolsma observed. "He was a swimmer through most of high school and only got serious about running his senior year. Then, he ended up placing third at the state track meet in the 3,200 meters."
Edmonds inherited some running genes from his father, Dr. Lee Edmonds, who competed in the United States Olympic Trials for the marathon in 1984.
"Josh is a quality kid from a quality family," Tolsma stated. "He is a great representative of Liberty University."