The photo attached was one taken before the 2019 Youth champs on Gran Sasso, Italy. The flag displayed by the American athletes is that of the Tenth Mountain Division.

'I am thrilled with this year’s U.S. youth team for these championships. Athletes range from the Green Mountains of Vermont to the Chugachs of Alaska. There’s been a shift in the level of experience of Youth Skyrunners in the U.S. Previously we had been seeking more track, cross-country runners and skiers and trying to convert them to be skyrunners. This year’s team is comprised of through-and-through mountain goats who live and breathe skyrunning for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” said USA Skyrunning coach Ryan Kerrigan, a Duxbury native now living in Italy and seeking Italian citizenship.



The championships are in Bar, Montengro, and get underway on June 28.

“It’s exciting to know many youth athletes are waking in the U.S. everyday who see themselves as skyrunners at heart, and this week in Montenegro is their chance to really shine on the international stage, and form lifelong relationships with equally dedicated athletes from all over the world,” Kerrigan said.

Youth racers will run in two events -- the Vertical Kilometer on June 28 and the Skyrace on June 30.

This is the seventh trip that Americans will make to compete at the annual World Youth Championships. In 2017, father-son duo John and Ryan Kerrigan brought seven athletes from Vermont to compete in the second annual World Youth Skyrunning championships in Andorra. These seven Vermonters represented team USA and placed fourth place out of 14 international teams in the debut for the U.S. at the Youth Skyrunning Championships.

Since 2017, the sport of skyrunning has exploded across several continents. Over 30 countries were represented at the 2023 Youth Championships in Italy. Team USA placed sixth.

John Kerrigan, head coach reported that the 2024 Youth Championships will feature individuals from over 30 countries competing. He said Spain is the favorite to win the team competition. Spain has won the World Youth Skyrunning team title every year since the inaugural event in 2016. Italy, Norway, and Japan are closing the gap with Spain, placing second, third and fourth, respectively in 2023.


“Dozens of youth athletes applied for the 2024 US team. Ten have made the final cut,” said Kerrigan said.

The ten athletes will compete in two races in one of four age categories are listed below.

Youth B Boys (17-18)

James Underwood, Woodstock, Vermont, was the winner in both the 1500 and 3000 at the Vermont State Division 3 Track and Field Championships in 2024. Underwood placed ninth in the Skyrace at the World Youth B boys Skyrunning Championships in 2023 and is poised to take a place on the podium as he will compete once again in the youth B category in 2024.

Boomer Weisman, Jackson Hole, Wyoming, placed sixth in the combined (VK and Skyrace) as a Youth A boy (15-16) category at the world champs in 2023 and is ready to challenge others in his first year as a Youth B. “I have a fire to run in the mountains,” Weisman said.

Lincoln Gage, Sun Valley, Idaho, has been an accomplished track and cross-country runner in Vermont and Idaho. He has also had experience in several ultra -distance events as a runner and skier. This will be his first international competition.

“I feel most alive and at peace in the majestic mountains. The incredible beauty and sense of wonder of something much bigger than myself manifests my feelings of connection to our larger world,” said Gage.   

Ezra Merrill-Triplett, Montpelier, placed 14th overall in the Vermont Cross Country Meet of Champions. This will be his first international competition.


Youth C Boys (19-20)

Bryce Ostermiller, Utah, ran the Col di Lana VK in 44:26 and is also an accomplished ski mountaineer – He placed first and second in the (U-20 category) in races that were part of the U.S. Skimo National cup series. He qualified for the Skimo World Championships in Boi Tauill where he placed 20th overall in the U18 category. He is fluent in several languages and brings several years of international experience to the team.

Tupelo Burdeau, Missouri, and Italy, brings trail running experience to the U.S. squad.

He placed eighth overall at the 42 km Gran Tril dell” Etna, first overall at the Trail dello Zingaro (16.4 km) and second overall at the Trail del Nebrodi (20.5 km). This will be his second appearance at the World Youth Skyrunning Championships.

Scott Klingon Smith, Utah, is an accomplished trail runner who placed first at the Timpanogus Trail Half Marathon, second at the Pony Express 50 miler and fifth overall in the Skyline Mountain 55K. He is an Eagle Scout.

Youth B Girls (17-18)

Estella Laird, Lincoln, Vermont, has a best of 18:30 for a XC 5k which placed her as 18th at the New England XC Championships. She also placed third in both the 1500 (4:45) and 3000 (10:34) at the Vermont Division 1 Track and Field Championships.

According to her coach, David Baird, “Estella has exceptional running fitness and a solid background as a Nordic ski racer. This combined with her hill climbing baseline experience will allow her to become a very successful skyrunner.”

Youth C Girls (19 -20)

Sophie Mayers, Anchorage, Alaska, is in Montenegro on her third trip to the World Youth Championships. She finished in 11th place overall in the combined (VK and Skyrace) last year, her first year as a youth C in the 2023 Youth Champs in Fonte Cerreto, Italy.

U 23 (21-22) Women

Nowelle Spencer, Anchorage, Alaska, is participating in her second trip to the World Youth Skyrunning Championships. She placed fifth in the Skyrace in the U 20 category in 2021. She placed ninth in the women’s division of the prestigious Mt. Marathon race in 2023. Spencer took a year off from training and racing in 2022 and is excited and very prepared to return to the World Youth Skyrunning Championships.