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July 2, 2007

2007 USA 100 km Team Announced

USA Track and Field has named the 2007 USA 100Km Team which will compete in the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 100 Kilometer World Cup on Saturday, September 8 in Winschoten, The Netherlands.
This year’s team includes some first time members and also seasoned team members. The following athletes will represent Team USA.

Howard Nippert, 43, Fork Union, VA, who competes on his eighth USA National Team said last year after his fifth place and best finish ever, “It's all about place. “I wanted to run 6:38. If I'd done that today I'd have finished about second.” Nippert posted a 6:53 last year at the World Cup. Nippert was the top U.S. finisher in World Cup competition in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006. Turn the calendar back to 1998 when Nippert ran his first ultra at the Rattlesnake 50Km where he shattered the course record by nine minutes timed in 3:30:37. He has continued winning ultras throughout his career, most recently winning the 2005 JFK 50 Miler in the second fastest time on record. He is employed by the Fork Union Military Academy as Director of Maintenance and is a personal coach and often works weekends timing cross country and track meets. Nippert is a member of USATFs Mountain Ultra Trail Council and active in his Virginia USATF Association.

Greg Crowther, 34, Seattle, WA, was a member of the fourth-place men's team that competed in the 2005 World Cup 100K in Japan, where he finished 20th individually. Subsequent races have included victories at the 2006 Houston Ultra Event Weekend 100K (in a personal best of 6:59:40), the 2006 Sunmart 50-Miler, and the 2007 USATF 50K and 100K road championships.

Bob Sweeney, 40, Rye Brook, NY has a 100Km PR of 6:57:39 which he hopes to better this year in Korea, his fifth National Team. He started running at age 12 and has won 30 ultramarathons since his debut at the 1994 Sybil Ludington 50Km in Carmel, NY. In 2006, he finished in 7:34:45 for Team USA in South Korea with a 30th place finish and posted wins at the Lost Dutchman Marathon, the Sybil Ludington 50Km (eighth win), the Kurt Steiner 50Km (fourth win), and the Toronto Ultra Run 100Km (second win in course record time). His personal bests are 100 Miles in13:05:33, 50 miles in 5:38:41, and 50Km in 3:14:47. Sweeney is a member of the Westchester Track Club and is coached by Mike Barnow. He lives with his wife Suzanne and daughter Corinne in Rye Brook.

Chad Ricklefs, 40, Boulder, CO, has been competing in ultramrathons at a national level since 1998. He is a former National 100Km Road Champion, winning the 2002 USATF National Championships in 2002 in a PR of 7:09. In 2004 Chad was the National 50 Mile Road Champion and he also posted the fastest 50 Mile time of the year – 5:24. Prior to competing on the road, he enjoyed success on the trails, having won the prestigious Leadville Trail 100 Mile in 2000 and 2002. His 2002 win at Leadville was a new course record. In 2002 Chad was also named the USATF Ultrarunner of the Year (Ted Corbitt Award). When not training or competing, Ricklefs is an Environmental Planner. He lives in Boulder with his wife Samantha.

Kami Semick, 41, Bend, OR, excels on both road and trails, ranging in distances from the marathon to 100Km. She is the 2006 National 50Km Trail Champion, and a close runner up to Nikki Kimball in the 2006 & 2005 50 Mile National Trail Championships. Kami has had many wins and course records during her ultra running career. Most recently she won the 2007 Miwok 100k. Additional standout performances include a course record win of 6:13 at the Helen Klein 50 Mile, and a strong 50 mile trail finish at Sunmart 50 mile in a time of 6.42. This is Semick's second consecutive 100Km National Team. Last year she finished in eleventh position among the women with a 7:56:38. "It was the most painful experience of my life," Semick said initially then added, "Childbirth was maybe tougher, but it was shorter." Semick and her husband and five-year-old daughter live in Bend where they own and operate a small software company.

Connie Gardner, 43, Medina, OH is a four-time team member. Last year she finished 23rd in 8:27:20. She won the 2006 Toronto 100Km National Championships, the USA National 100 Mile Trail Championships at Rocky Raccoon, the Umstead 100 Mile setting a new course record, the Laurel Highlands 70 Mile, and the Buckeye Trail 50Km. She won the Sunmart 50 Miler in 2005 timed in 7:16:27.

Julie Udchachon, 37, Eagle River, AK will compete on her second World team this year. Last year she posted a 8:08:32 to finish 16th among the women. Udchachon is the 2007 National 100K Champion running the event under very difficult conditions (cold and wind) in 8:09:04.She is the 2005 50Km National Trail Champion. She won the Seattle Last Chance 100Km in 2006 and was second at the JFK 50 Miler in 2005 running a time of 6:40:53. Founder of the Alaska Snowshoe Club, Udchachon was instrumental in bringing the National Snowshoe Championships to Alaska in 2004. Udchachon lives with her husband Jimmy and son Najim in Eagle River.

Carolyn Smith, 42, Milwaukee, WI, is a versatile ultra-distance runner competing at distances ranging from the marathon to the 24-hr run. She is the reigning 24-hr National Champion having won the 2006 Championship race held last November in Grapevine, Texas with a total distance of 137.04 miles. She is also a veteran of the Badwater 135 Ultramarathon, billed as one of the world's toughest foot races. She will be competing on her 2nd 100Km National Tream last representing the US as a member of the 2004 National Team.

Laura Bleakley, Bedford, NH, holds a course record at the Tahoe Triple (3 day stage race around Lake Tahoe marathon a day over three days). She has only run one 100Km in 8:29:59 (with her splits for 50Km and 50 mile her PRs). Her marathon PR (untapered training for the Tahoe Triple) is 3:14:10 Rochester,NY. Married to husband Jeff, Bleakley was working part time as an Intensive Care Unit RN until two years ago but is now a stay at home Mom with three young boys. Bleakley says, “The Air Force deployed my husband to Iraq in 2004 and I started running and running. I cross the finish line and I’m not sure how I was able to run some of the times that I have.”

Devon Crosby-Helms, 25, San Francisco, CA will compete in her first World team. With less than a year of ultrarunning experience she has posted impressive results both on roads and trails. In her first ultramarathon, she placed 7th in the 2006 National 50K Trail Championship. She won the 2007 Jed Smith 50k in 3:32, posting one of the fastest times for American women in the distance in the past 10 years. This year she has also won the Napa Valley Marathon (RRCA National Championships), Quicksilver 50k and placed second in her 100k Debut at the Made City 100k National Championships.

Staff for this year’s squad includes team leader Lin Gentling of Rochester, MN. Gentling has been 100Km Team leader 12 times and brings a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the team. This will be Gentling’s fourth time attending the World Cup in Winschoten. She was a member of the 100Km team in 1991 and 1992, as well as the 1991 100Km national champion. Gentling has coached athletes for 14 years, helping over 750 runners reach the marathon finish line.

New to the team this year, will be Mike Spinnler of Hagerstown, MD, who will serve as assistant team leader. Spinnler has been the race director of the JFK 50 Mile, America’s oldest, largest and most prestigious ultra marathon, since 1993. In addition to serving on two prior National Team staffs, Spinnler brings years of coaching experience to the table, having coached at the collegiate level from 1983-2001.

Lion Caldwell has been named team physician. This will be Lion’s 12th time traveling as support staff to the U.S. 100Km Team. Caldwell has attended the World Cup in Winschoten on four occasions. He currently serves as a fulltime physician, practicing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. He is Board Certified in Family Practice with a Certificate of Added Qualification in Sports Medicine and has been a competitive ultra marathon runner since 1978.

The team receives limited funding and the athletes will pay for the majority of their trip to The Netherlands out of their own pockets. Expense for team travel (airfare alone) last year totaled more than $15,000. The Fund for National Ultrarunning Teams, Inc., has been set up as the fundraising arm for the Team. Donations are welcome and encouraged. Send your donation made payable to: Fund for National Ultraunning Teams, PO Box 1807, Madison, WI 53701-1807.

2007 USATF 100 km Team Qualification Guidelines

Qualifying Window: March 8, 2006- June 10, 2007 
Team Announced: June 15, 2007

Selection Procedure
Performance List
USATF's 100 km W.C. Home

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