UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND, Va. - University of Richmond Spiders rising sophomore Marisa Ruskan has been selected to the United States Mountain Running Team (USMRT) Junior U-20 team for the 30th World Mountain Running Championships.
Ruskan, a native of Bridgewater, N.J., will be one of three athletes competing for the U.S. Junior Women’s Team on September 14 at the foot of the Apuan Alps in Casette di Massa, Italy.
Just two weeks ago Ruskan was crowned U.S. Junior (U20) National Champion while simultaneously placing fifth in the inaugural Collegiate Running Association Mountain Running Championships within the Loon Mountain Race in Lincoln, N.H. She is the first athlete in program history to win a USATF Junior National Championship title.
“It was just an awesome feeling”, said Ruskan about receiving a call from U.S Junior Team Paul Kirsch notifying her that she will travel to Italy for the World Championships. “I was screaming around the house. Honestly, I don’t think it has completely sunken in yet. It’s just really awesome.”
Already Ruskan has a long list of accomplishments earned during the 2013-14 season. Last fall she was the 2013 Atlantic 10 Conference Cross Country Rookie of the Year and a member of the All-Conference Cross Country Team. At the 2013 NCAA Southeast Region Championships she was one of only six freshmen to be named to the NCAA All-Region Team.
This spring the Spiders Athletics department honored her with the Donnie Lindsey First Year Spirit Award. The prestigious award is given in his memory to freshmen student-athletes based on outstanding athletic, leadership and scholarly attributes.
“We’re excited about Marisa being added to the team”, said Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, Lori Taylor. “We feel she is a great addition to the U.S. team not only because of her talent and the way she competes but also because of her attitude, enthusiasm and the type of person that she is. This is a great step for her and we couldn’t be more thrilled for her. ”
This year’s World Mountain Running Championships expects to attract 40 nations and will be very unique in that the race will go through a marble quarry in Casetta di Massa. The area was first settled in the second century AD. Massa is a town in the Tuscan region of Italy, in the Massa and Carrara Province. Learn more about the race and region: http://www.wmrc2014.com/en/
With Ruskan’s selection she becomes the ninth Spider athlete to compete on the USMRT. In all nine Richmond athletes have represented the U.S. Mountain Running Team 14 times in international competition since 2006.