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Tillie Killam of Madison and Laila Goodman of Old Lyme receive their All-American awards for finishing in ninth and first place, respectively, at the National Junior Olympics in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of The Country School )
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The Country School in Madison was represented by a several runners, including two who earned All-American honors, when the National Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships took place on Dec. 14. In cold and windy conditions, 3rd-grade classmates Laila Goodman of Old Lyme and Tillie Killam of Madison made All-American by taking first and ninth place, respectively, among a field of 157 runners at the national meet. More than 4,000 youth runners from ages 7 to 18 took part in the all-day competition, which was held at the Yahara Hills Golf Course in Madison, Wisconsin.
After finishing eighth at the same competition in Reno, Nevada last year, Goodman led the age 7-8 girls’ race from start to finish on her way to taking first place this year. Goodman fended off challenges from top runners from 42 states to finish the 2K course in 8 minutes and 1 seconds, five seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Competing at the Junior Olympic Nationals for the first time, Killam needed a top-25 finish in order to become Country School’s third all-time All-American. Killiam earned it with a well-paced race and a fast-finishing kick to cross the line with a time of 8:29, good for ninth place.
Fellow classmate Lillian Clare of Madison raced in the age 9-10 division and completed the 3K course in 13:10 to place 94th out of 242 runners.
Clare, Goodman, and Killam had qualified for nationals by finishing in the top 30 in Connecticut and then in the top 30 in Region 1, which includes all of New England, Long Island, and the Adirondacks.
In national competitions, all Country School runners compete for Litchfield Track Club. The club’s 8-U girls’ cross country team, led by Goodman and Killam, captured fourth place in the team competition at nationals, while going up against club teams from around the United States.
In addition to Goodman and Killam, the Litchfield Track Club 8-U girls’ team included Gwen Krukar of Goshen (65th place), Alexa Johnston of Litchfield (102nd place), and Attie Bergin of Goshen (115th place). The team had advanced to the finals by winning the Connecticut Association meet and placing second at the Region 1 Championships in Long Island in November.
Liv Killiam, a 1st-grade student from Madison, qualified to run at nationals, but was unable to compete due to a rule that states that a runner must turn 7 years old by December of that year to compete at a national meet.
The Litchfield Track Club saw a few more of its runners compete in Wisconsin. Annecy Vlieks of Madison finished 94th in the 11-12 girls’ division with a time of 12:03, Abbie Johnston placed 105th in the 13-14 girls’ division, and Branford’s Liam Watson finished 188th in the 11-12 boys’ division.
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