Update: Cross Country Championships


Here’s a news release detailing who to look out for at this weekend’s USATF Cross Country Championships at Plantes Ferry.

American record holders Dathan Ritzenhein (Portland, Ore.) and Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C.) lead the fields at the 2010 USA Cross Country Championships scheduled for Saturday at Plantes Ferry Recreation Park in Spokane, Wash.

Ritzenhein, a two-time Olympian, will look to take his third U.S. cross country title while Flanagan, the Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000 meters, will be on a quest for her fourth national cross country crown.

In addition to the national titles up for grabs in Spokane, open and junior men and women will qualify to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 28 in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

In the women’s race Flanagan will face defending champion Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.), two-time USA Women’s 10 km Champion Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.) and six-time USA Cross Country team member Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park, Minn.). The women’s race will also see the return of 2006 USA 8 km Cross Country champion Blake Russell (Monterey, Calif.), who is returning to competition for the first time since the birth of her first child last year.

Also racing to make the 2010 Team USA Cross Country squad will be 2008 Olympic Marathon team member Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.), Renee Metivier Baillie (Boulder, Colo.), Kathy Newberry (Williamsburg, Va.) and Sara Hall (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.).

While Ritzenhein seems to be the clear-cut favorite for the men’s title, a large contingent of rising stars as well as familiar faces will be in contention to make the Team USA cross country squad.

In the hunt to punch their ticket to Poland will be Scott Bauhs (Chico, Calif.), a three time NCAA Division II cross country champion; Patrick Smyth (Minneapolis, Minn.), the runner-up at this year’s USA Half Marathon Championships; Billy Nelson (Springfield, Ore.), the runner-up in the 2008 Olympic Trials steeplechase; veterans Max King (Bend, Ore.) and Matt Gabrielson will both be seeking to make their fourth Team USA cross country squad.

The championships will consist of six cross country championship races for men’s and women’s categories with national titles on the line for junior, masters and open divisions.  The nation’s premier cross country event, the Championships will feature $40,000 in prize money.

Junior women
High school senior Emily Sisson (Chesterfield, Mo.), enters the USA Cross Country Championships as a slight favorite to capture the national crown, based on her third place finish in the 2009 Foot Locker national cross country championship, and a recent clocking of 9:25.70 in the 3000 indoors, beating several collegians.

Others to watch include four freshmen who placed in the top 100 in last fall’s NCAA Division I cross country championships–Juliet Bottorff (Newark, Del.) from Duke (59th); Shelby Greany (Suffern, N.Y.) from Providence (89th); Kayla Hale (Indialantic, Fla.) from Duke (90th); and Emily Jones (Harvard, Mass.) from Georgetown (99th). 2009 California state champion and Foot Locker finalist Molly Grabill (Poway, Calif.), University of Washington freshman and 2008 Foot Locker finalist Lindsay Flanagan (Seattle, Wash.), and Kyle Blakeslee (Cannon Falls, Minn.) of NCAA Division II school Augustana College also merit consideration as top contenders.

Junior men
On the men’s side, Trevor Dunbar (Kodiak, Alaska) of the University of Portland, who finished 76th at the 2009NCAA Cross Country Championships, and was a high school All-American, enters the national championships as the leading contender.  Dunbar’s already run 8:04.96 indoors this year in Seattle.

Others to watch include the North Carolina State duo of Bobby Andrews (Wading River, N.Y.) and Andrew Colley (Williamsburg, Va.); Georgetown’s Benjamin Furcht (Haverford, Pa.) and Bobby Peavey (Virginia Beach, Va.); Ohio State’s Julian Meyer (Peninsula, Ohio); Shane Moskowitz (Bremerton, Wash.), the reigning Washington state cross country champion from Central Kitsap HS who finished ninth at the 2009 Foot Locker nationals, and the current national leader indoors in both the mile and 3000; and, Spokane native Andrew Kimpel (Spokane, Wash.) of Washington State University, the 2009 state 3A champ at 3,200 meters.

Masters Championships
National championships will also be decided for masters men and women at 8 km with titles on the line in five-year age groups beginning at age 40 and up.

The fields will feature masters aces Tracy Lokken (Marquette, Mich.), Ray Pugsley (Potomac Falls, Va.), Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.), Laura Haefeli (Boulder, Colo.); and Kathryn Martin (Northport, N.Y.).

For more information on the 2010 USA Cross Country Championships visit www.usatf.org.

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