BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - Iona College men's cross country freshman Kieran Clements finished third overall in the 19th SPAR European Cross Country Championship Junior race Saturday. Competing for his native Great Britain, Clements finished the 5000-meter event in 18:57.
Believed to be the highest ever Iona finisher at the European Cross Country Championship, Clements finished behind Poland's Szymon Kulka (18:43) and Bulgaria's Mitko Rumenov Tsenov (18:47). Norway's Ferdinand Kvan Edman (18:59) and France's Djilali Bedrani (18:59) rounded out the top five. Great Britain was third overall in the team standings with 54 points. Russia (50) and France (51) narrowly won gold and silver.
The recap from European Athletics (www.european-athletics.org):
After the opening rush, Croatia's Dino Bosnjak took an early lead to shake up the field with Belgium's Isaac Kimeli and Kulka in attendance.
Of those three only Kulka was to make the podium as Bosnjak eventually finished eighth and Kimeli sixth.
On lap two of four it was Germany's Johannes Motschmann who decided the pace was not fast enough but with the field watching each other it was no more than a passing phase and the German finally ended up 12th.
Although at the half-way mark it was still Motschmann in front with Kulka following comfortably, but Tsenov was starting to make his presence felt. Clements meanwhile was lurking in the background not yet ready to play his hand.
As the runners entered the barn with two thirds of the race gone, Kulka and Tsenov held a five metre lead over Clements and Kimeli and the medals were becoming defined.
By the time they went through the barn on the final lap, Kulka had already opened up a comfortable 20m gap and Poland could begin to celebrate its second gold.