Sixteen year old, Tyler Scholl has now added world traveler to his list of achievements.
He traveled to Puglia, Italy by himself to compete in the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) International Youth Cup 2017 – a championship-level mountain race designed to showcase 16 and 17-year-old racers.
The International Youth Cup hosted 17 countries for the 5.7 kilometer course that began at sea level at the Mediterranean Sea and ended at 1200 feet in Gagliano del Capo. The cobblestone course had sharp inclines that could gain over 1,000 vertical feet in a mile and sharp declines. The runners ran in 98 degree temperatures with 65-70% humidity.
Scholl and his teammates met each other for the first time on Italian soil even though five of the six runners on team USA were from Colorado. The boys’ team placed 7th overall and Scholl was 24th out of 68 runners. The USA girls’ team placed 5th.
The athletes in the World Youth Cup were treated to an opening and closing ceremony in a packed stadium and as the racers finished the course on paved streets nearly 3,000 people gathered. “The energetic atmosphere for runners in Europe is what we see for basketball and football in America,” Scholl explains of the experience.
During the six day stay, Scholl says the group of international mountain runners became a close-knit group and enjoyed cliff jumping into the Mediterranean Sea and indulged in the culture. He was also exposed to a variety of cultures as he mingled with racers from Wales, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, Slovakia, and Czech Republic.
“Our team representative Nancy Hobbs (of Colorado Springs) said we were the tightest knit group she had seen,” said Scholl of his new friends.
Scholl who was chosen for the International Youth Cup on his merits as a racer, and hopes to compete in Italy again at the World Championships for those under 19 years of age.
“The best part is knowing you are the representation for the USA… you are team USA,” said Scholl.
Currently, Scholl is on a two week break and will then begin to train for the U.S National Trail Championships in Salida on July 29. He will then head into his junior year of high school where he will limit his athletic focus to two sports, cross country and track.
“In Short, I am truly living my dream and doing what God created me to do.”