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US-based coach predicts big future for Knight


from the Irish Examiner website By Brendan Mooney

HOLLY KNIGHT will be a new face on the Irish U23 women’s team for the European cross-country championships in Brussels on December 14. With the national inter-counties championships scheduled for Tramore Race Course on Sunday, the Irish selectors will be keeping a close eye on the US national collegiate championships in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Monday with a prediction from top coach, Ray Treacy, that Knight, who recently declared for Ireland, will figure in the top six.

A native of Devon, England, she has finished among the top four in all five races she has run this season and she won two of them.

Treacy, brother of John, coaches at Providence College and was basing his prediction on one of those victories — the NCAA South Regional championship in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was a runaway winner of the women’s title.

Knight blew away the competition in the women’s 6km race which she won in 20:29.67 qualifying her for her first NCAA Championships.

“I felt I could have a good race,” she said. “I went hard and took it out from the start. I just wanted to get an individual position. I felt comfortable and the course worked well for me. Just winning regionals is a great accomplishment. I ran a good time, though, and it definitely gives me a lot of confidence.”

The fields for Sunday’s national inter-counties championships will include all the major contenders for the senior, U23 and junior teams with the exception of Martin Fagan in senior men’s and David McCarthy in the U23.

Fagan, who secured Ireland’s best ever placing in the men’s race at the European championships last year and was named European male athlete of the month for October has been pre-selected for the event as has David McCarthy (West Waterford) who is on scholarship at Providence College and competes in the NCAA championships on Monday in Indiana. Ciaran O Lionaird is also in action in the US, and is likely to be selected on foot of his performances there.