INDIANAPOLIS -- Joseph Gray was named USA Track & Field’s Athlete of the Week after he won the 16th annual USATF National Club Cross Country Championships at River’s Edge Golf Course in Bend, Ore., Dec. 14.
“To be honored as one of the athletes of the week is a huge accomplishment for me, and it’s something I will always remember,” said Gray. “I have been involved with USATF for a long time in my career - since I was running in Junior Olympics.”
The 27-year-old Gray (Lakewood, Wash.) represented Club Northwest among a field of over 400 runners in the men’s open 10 km Club Cross event, and he finished in 31:05, noting, “The best way to say it is that I went out really aggressively because there were so many people in the race.”
Always keeping the front of the pack within reach, “Slowly I started making my way up to fourth place approaching the back stretch,” he continued. “When we had the long climb and it was windy, I was able to take the lead and from there I decided to hang on.”
For Gray, crossing the finish line was unforgettable. “It was a great moment from such a long running career,” said the champion. “I’ve been coming to Club Cross for a long time, so it was unbelievable and a dream come true to win in such a competitive field.”
His elite running career dates back 2003, when he earned his way on the U.S. Junior National Track & Field Team, running steeplechase at the Pan American Games. The 13-time National Team member ran for University of Portland, where competed in the 2003 NCAA Cross Country Championships before transferring to run at Oklahoma State from 2004-2006.
2013 Winners: January 9, Bobby Mack; January 16, Mary Cain; January 22, Ajeé Wilson; January 30, Duane Solomon; February 6, Chris Derrick; February 13, Jeremy Taiwo; February 20, Alysia Montaño; February 27, Galen Rupp; March 6, Jenn Suhr; March 13, Tia Brooks; March 20, Bridget Franek; March 27, Ben True; April 3, Darvis “Doc” Patton; April 10, Octavious Freeman; April 24, Erik Kynard; May 1, Queen Harrison; May 8, Tyson Gay; May 15, Jon Olsen; May 22, Mary Cain; May 29, Michael Tinsley; June 5, Mary Cain; June 12, Brianna Rollins; June 26, Brianna Rollins; July 3, Thomas Burns; July 10, Ryan Whiting; July 17, William Bell. Sr.; July 24, Jenny Simpson; July 31, Tia Jones; August 14, Brittney Reese; August 21, LaShawn Merritt; August 28, Megan Glasmann; September 4, Matt Tegenkamp; September 11, Mandy Ortiz; September 18, David Oliver; September 25, Molly Huddle; October 3, Desi Davila; October 10, Kathryn Martin; October 17, Michael Mannozzi; October 24, Matt Flaherty; October 30, Kelly Calway; November 7, Tatyana McFadden; November 18, Molly Huddle; November 25, Abbey D’Agostino; December 11, Alexa Efraimson; December 18, Joseph Gray.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.