Emily Infeld and Leonard Korir won the 2018 USATF Cross Country Championships on Saturday afternoon in Tallahassee, Florida, clocking times of 33:18.7 and 29:16.6 over 10K.
The win marked Infeld's first at the USATF XC championships, while Korir nabbed his second consecutive victory at the event.
The women's race saw Infeld and her Bowerman TC teammate Courtney Frerichs — the 2017 world silver medalist for steeplechase — lead the main pack along with Saucony's Molly Seidel and HOKA ONE ONE NAZ Elite's Stephanie Bruce. Emily Durgin of New Balance, a recent graduate of Connecticut, also hung with the main through 6K as the women hit splits of about 16:45 for 5K and 20:16 for 6K.
By 7K, Seidel, Infeld, and Bruce had dropped the rest of the field by about seven seconds. The three women passed through 8K in 26:53, but over the course of the following kilometer Seidel and Infeld dropped Bruce to make it a two-woman race.
Infeld made her winning move on a gradual uphill over the final loop with 500m remaining and Seidel could not respond. Infeld won by four seconds over her rival.
The men's race saw a number of different individuals take the lead, including the U.S. Army's Stanley Kebenei just before the two mile mark (3160m split was 9:29.6), HOKA ONE ONE NAZ Elite's Scott Fauble at 5K (14:46), Club Northwest's Joe Gray at 6K (17:56), and recent Ole Miss grad M.J. Erb at 8K (23:49.6).
Lying in the wait for most of the race were Olympic and world steeplechase medalist Evan Jager of Bowerman TC, NOP's marathon medalist Galen Rupp, and defending champion Leonard Korir of U.S. Army.
Just after 8K, Rupp and Korir surpassed Erb; by 9K, Rupp led Korir through the split in 26:27.2 with Jager in third, three seconds behind.
With 500m to go, Rupp accelerated up the hill to take a small lead over Korir — similar to what had been Infeld's winning move — but the defending champion and world finalist over 10K was not finished yet and managed to come back in the final meters of the race to nip Rupp for the win, 29:16.6 to 29:17.8.
Kebenei surpassed Jager for third, 29:31.4 to 29:31.5, while Syracuse alum and former HOKA ONE ONE NAZ Elite runner Martin Hehir took fifth in 29:33.6.
The last time these guys raced each other, Rupp edged Korir in a photo finish for US 20K title. Of their last meeting, Korir said, "when you don't win today, don't worry you will win tmrw. He won 20K and you know what, I have to eat again... I know we would meet again." #USATFxc pic.twitter.com/YHJ7qgENhG— FloTrack (@FloTrack) February 3, 2018