DENTON - Following a successful 2018 North Texas cross country season, Florian Lussy
is now gearing up to take part in the European Cross Country Championships after being selected to represent his home country of Switzerland in the race Dec. 9.
Lussy will compete in the senior event which features athletes at least 20 years old and includes many seasoned runners. This will be Lussy's first race in the 10k senior event, while he has also competed in the Under 20 6k race made up of runners between the ages of 16-20.
"To compete in the senior race is an additional boost and a big challenge since most of the other athletes are already professional runners," Lussy said. "I am currently in really good shape and obviously really excited to compete on that stage."
The SPAR European Cross Country Championships are being held in Tilburg, The Netherlands, for the 25th
time in European Athletics. With seven events on the program, this year's edition of the championships will be the biggest to date with 616 athletes from 38 countries listed on the final entries. The schedule contains races for senior men and women, under 23, under 20, and a mixed relay, all taking place at Beekse Bergen on a 1500-meter course.
"We are really excited that Florian has been selected to compete at the European Championships," said UNT head cross country coach Kevin Williams
. "It is an honor for any athlete to get to represent their country, and I know Florian is proud to get to wear the Swiss uniform. The race itself is going to be a very tough challenge. The course is brutal with dozens of tight turns and will be extremely muddy, but I think Florian is set up to run well."
The Championships were staged for the first time in Alnwick, Great Britain, in 1994 when the program just consisted of the men's and women's senior races. The U20 races were added in 1997, followed by the U23 races in 2006 before a mixed relay was added last year.
Four individual champions will be defending their titles from last December: Turkey's Kaan Kigen Ozbilen in the men's senior race, Turkey's Yasemin Can in the women's senior race, France's Jimmy Gressier in the men's U23 race and Norway's Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the men's U20 race.
Lussy will be running alongside 99 athletes from 26 countries in the senior race where the athletes will take seven laps on the course.
"Luckily, I am able to take all my finals early. A big thanks to all my professors! Then it is time to fly back to Europe and race as hard as ever before," Lussy said.
Lussy will run Dec. 9 at 7:10 a.m. CST. The event will be streamed live via FloTrack