Erholtz leads American Women

       The United States women, led by former Minnesota Duluth star and International Falls native Brandy Erholtz of Bailey, Colo., placed third in Sunday’s 25th World Mountain Running Championships at the Madesimo ski resort near Chiavenna, Italy.

     Italy had a perfect score by having the top three finishers — led by champion Elisa Desco in 43 minutes, 39 seconds for 8.6 kilometers. Erholtz, 32, finished 10th overall in a field of 69 in 45:23 to lead the four-runner U.S. team. There were 14 women’s teams.

     Uganda’s Geoffrey Kusuro led the men in 54:41 for 12.9K. The American men were sixth among 19 teams. There were 330 runners from 35 countries competing in senior and junior divisions. The event was held at 5,741 feet above sea level.

     Also Sunday, Brian Bich of Duluth set a course record in winning the seventh St. Croix Valley Olympic-Distance Triathlon in Hudson, Wis. Bich, 43, led a field of 111 in 1 hour, 57 minutes, 39 seconds for a 3/4-mile swim, 24-mile bike and six-mile run.

     Matthew Payne, 32, of Columbia Heights, Minn., was second in 1:58:06.

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