EDITORS NOTE:  We've always enjoyed following the USA Junior Mountain Running Team on their adventures. If you have any interest now is the time to jump on it and check out the selection criteria.

On Sunday, June 29, 2014, the 9th annual WMRA International Youth Cup will be held in Arco, Italy. Thismountain running event is for athletes who are at least 16 in the year of competition and not yet 18. Junior boys will race over a 4.7-kilometer course to include 280 meters of elevation change. The course for the junior girls will include 280 meters of elevation change over 3.87 kilometers. Both race courses will start and finish in Piazzale Segantini, the historical city center of Arco, and include ascending and descending.

The U.S. team will be comprised of up to three junior boys, and three junior girls. For team results, all three individuals count toward the scoring. Medals are presented to the top three teams. Athletes also compete for individual medals which are awarded to the top three finishers.

Junior athletes who wish to represent Team USA at this year’s events must be current members of USATF and meet the following criteria. In addition to the age requirement, interested athletes must have posted a 16:45 or better (junior boys) and 19:30 or better (junior girls) in a 5-klometer road or cross country event. Equivalent times – from an alternate race distance that translates to the aforementioned time criteria – will be considered for distances other than 5 kilometers. Experience running – as part of training and preferably racing – on courses similar to that which will be experienced at the Youth Cup event is a must. Finally, athlete must be mature, motivated, and possess a positive attitude to proudly represent the United States and sponsors internationally, under the rules of USATF and the event governing bodies.

Juniors should send their running resume, to include road, track, trail, mountain, and cross country results as well as current training information, by May 1, to this email. A letter of recommendation from a coach, parent, or mentor-runner must accompany the athlete resume. The U.S. team will be announced by May 5, 2014.

This is an unfunded team although there is a small stipend from the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) for travel. Accommodations and meals, as well as transfers to/from the Verona airport are covered by the local organizing committee. Uniforms have been requested from USATF.

This is the fifth time Italy has served as the hosting organization for the Youth Cup. Germany, Slovenia, and Ireland have also hosted the event as has France which hosted last year’s event, boasting the largest international field to date with 81 athletes competing. A record number of teams participated in France with 13 in the boys’ division and 11 in the girls’ division.

This is just one of two international mountain running opportunities for juniors. The World Mountain Running Championships, to be held on September 14 in Casette di Massa, Italy, has a junior competition for athletes who are at least 16 in the year of competition and not yet 20. To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.usmrt.com.

Follow the WMRA on Facebook, or on Twitter @WMRAmountainrun. Follow the U.S. Mountain Running Team on Facebook, or on Twitter @usmrt. For all things trail, visit this link and follow @ATRAtrailrunner.