Nine Australian distance runners will swap the lecture theatre for centre stage at the 2024 FISU World University Cross Country Championships to be held in Muscat, Oman after earning selection for the event on February 17-18.
Set to don the green and gold for the UniRoos, the youthful team ranges from the oldest athlete Andrew Amor (23) to the youngest member on the team Bronte Oates (19), with the contingent set to garner crucial international experience in their budding careers.
Reigning Australian Under 23 champion Bianca Puglisi (Victoria University) and bronze medallist Saskia Lloyd (The University of Melbourne) will spearhead a strong quartet in the Women’s 10km, set to be joined by Australian Under 20 champion Poppy Austin (Adelaide University) and Bronte Oates (The University of Sydney).
19-year-old Austin is one of many young talents riding the wave of the 2023 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, with the global event hosted on Australian soil coinciding with her introduction to the sport.
“2023 was my first year of competitive running after relocating to South Australia [from Victoria] to study at Adelaide University. From placing ninth at the World Cross Country Trials in the Under 20 race in January to winning the Australian Under 20 title in August shows how far my running has come in a short period of time,” Austin said.
“Winning the title has given me greater exposure in the running world, fast-tracking my running journey and making selection for the World University Cross Country Championships a possibility. I am amazed and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to race overseas in the green and gold, representing Australia and my university.”
The Men’s 10km team also features an emerging core, with Luca Di Conza (The University of Melbourne) and Ben Beischer (The University of Melbourne) both producing top-10 finishes at the 2023 Australian Cross Country Championships, with Andrew Amor (New Mexico Highlands University) and Connor Latouf (The University of Queensland) adding further class to the Australian lineup.
Adding to the action, William Lewis (RMIT University) will be Australia’s sole representative in the short races when tackling the Men’s 3km, with the 23-year-old confident that his skillset is well suited to the unique discipline.
“I’m super excited for the opportunity to represent Australia for the first time at the World University Cross Country Championships! I feel like my experience racing in Europe over the past two years will hold me in good stead racing against elite international athletes,” Lewis said.
“I’m expecting the race to be physical and fast from the gun, so I’m hoping my 1500m speed will allow me to handle whatever is thrown at me.”
The FISU World University Cross Country Championships will be held in Muscat, Oman on 17-18 February, 2024. More information can be found HERE.
Australian UniRoos Team for the 2024 FISU World University Cross Country Championships:
Andrew Amor (Robert Devries) - New Mexico Highlands University
Ben Beischer (David Lightfoot) - The University of Melbourne
Luca Di Conza (Steve Fabris) - The University of Melbourne
Connor Latouf (Louis McAfee & Jackson Elliot) - The University of Queensland
Poppy Austin (Adam Didyk) - The University of Adelaide
Saskia Lloyd (Tim O’Shaughnessy) - The University of Melbourne
Bianca Puglisi (Frances Lipscombe) - Victoria University
Bronte Oates (Katie St Lawrence) - The University of Sydney
William Lewis (Steve Fabris) - RMIT University
Written by Lachlan Moorhouse, Athletics Australia
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