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Drossin's silver leads Team USA women to bronze at World XC
3-29-2003

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Jill Geer
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field
(508) 520-1529
Jill.Geer@usatf.org

AVENCHES, Switzerland – Deena Drossin won her second consecutive silver medal Saturday at the 31st IAAF World Cross Country Championships to lead Team USA to a bronze in the Senior Women's long course event. Team USA’s junior women, meanwhile, tied their best-ever performance at Worlds with a fourth-place finish. The men’s short-course team finished 10th.

A seven-time U.S. cross country champion, Drossin assumed the lead about 1,000 meters into the 8,000-meter race, contested at the Institut National Equestre Avenches. It quickly became a two-woman duel, as Drossin and Ethiopia's Worknesh Kidane, a former World junior champion, swiftly separated themselves from the rest of the field.

Drossin assumed the pacemaker's role, pushing the pace throughout the race with Kidane, last year's short course silver medalist, drafting on her shoulder. By mid-race, the duo had opened up a lead of over 100 meters.

With 300 meters to go, the speedy, track-trained Ethiopian sprinted away from the American champion. Kidane claimed the gold in 25 minutes, 53 seconds, while Drossin garnered the silver in 26:02, 26-seconds ahead of Ethiopia's bronze medalist Merima Denoba.

Colleen De Reuck, last year's long course bronze medalist, finished eighth for Team USA in 26:49. Katie McGregor (16th overall, 27:36) and Elva Dryer (19th, 27:43) also placed in the top 20 as the Americans totaled 38 points in team scoring to claim third behind Ethiopia (18 points) and Kenya (27). Milena Glusac (27th, 27:57) and Sara Wells (41st, 28:43) rounded out the U.S. bronze medal-winning squad.

Arizona State's Amy Hastings placed 20th in 22:34 to lead Team USA to fourth in the junior women's race. Team USA scored 82 points, behind first-place Ethiopia (14), second-place Kenya (22) and third-place Morocco (78). The fourth-place effort by the U.S. Junior Women ties the best finish ever by a U.S. Junior Women's squad, a fourth-place finish in 1995 at Durham, England.

Hastings, who was third at last month’s USA Junior Championships, was followed closely by Michigan's Rebecca Walter, 25th in 22:50. Clara Horowitz (23:35), the U.S. junior champ, finished 39th and Julia Lucas (23:40) placed 41st to close out the Team USA scorers. Angela Homan (51st, 24:02) and Laura Hodgson (58th, 24:08) rounded out the U.S. squad.

Great Britain also had 82 points in the junior women’s race, but the United States won out based on the fifth-runner performance of Homan, who placed ahead of Great Britain’s fifth runner, Ruth Proctor (57th).

American soldiers Sandu Rebenciuc (Sergeant, U.S. Army) and Dan Browne (Captain, U.S. Army Reserve) led the U.S. men's squad to 10th in the short course event, totaling 153 points. Rebenciuc claimed 32nd in 11:47, while Browne placed 38th in 11:49. Luke Watson (57th, 12:02) and Karl Savage (60th, 12:03) also scored for Team USA, with Daniel Wilson (61st, 12:04) and Ian Conner (62nd, 12:04) but a stride behind.

Competition resumes on Sunday with the Junior Men's 8 km at 1:30pm local time (Switzerland is 6 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast), followed by the Senior Women's 4 km at 2:20pm, and the Senior Men's 12 km at 3:00pm.

For more information on Team USA at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org. For complete results from Avenches, visit: www.iaaf.org.

SENIOR WOMEN'S 8 km

Individual Standings: 1, Worknesh Kidane, ETH, 25:53; 2, Deena Drossin, USA, 26:02; 3, Merima Denboba, ETH, 26:28; 4, Eyerusalem Kuma, ETH, 26:30; 5, Magdaline Chemjor, KEN, 26:33.

Additional USA Finishers: 8, Colleen De Reuck 26:49; 16, Katie McGregor 27:36; 19, Elva Dryer 27:43; 27, Milena Glusac 27:57; 41, Sara Wells 28:43.

Team Standings: 1, Ethiopia 18; 2, Kenya 27; 3, UNITED STATES 38; 4, Spain 66; 5, Portugal 68.

SENIOR MEN'S 4 km

Individual Standings: 1, Kenenisa Bekele, ETH, 11:01; 2, John Kibowen, KEN, 11:04; 3, Benjamin Limo, KEN, 11:06; 4, Michael Kipyego, KEN, 11:18; 5, Thomas Liplitany, KEN, 11:20.

USA Finishers: 32, Sandu Rebenciuc 11:47; 38, Daniel Browne 11:49; 57, Luke Watson 12:02; 60, Karl Savage 12:03; 61, Daniel Wilson 12:04; 62, Ian Connor 12:04.

Team Standings: 1, Kenya 14; 2, Ethiopia 31; 3, Morocco 44; 4, France 80; 5, Spain 83. United States finished 10th with 153 points.

JUNIOR WOMEN'S 6 km

Individual Standings: 1, Tirunesh Dibaba, ETH, 20:21; 2, Peninah Chepchumba, KEN, 20:22; 3, Gelete Burika, ETH, 20:28; 4, Meselech Melkamu, ETH, 20:33; 5, Emily Chebet, KEN, 20:39.

USA Finishers: 20, Amy Hastings 22:34; 25, Rebecca Walter 22:50; 39, Clara Horowitz 23:35; 41, Julia Lucas 23:40; 51, Angela Homan 24:02; 58th, Laura Hodgson 24:08.

Team Standings: 1, Ethiopia 14; 2, Kenya 22; 3, Morocco 78; 4, UNITED STATES 82; 5, Great Britain & Northern Ireland 82 [USA awarded 4th on basis of better fourth runner].

SENIOR WOMENS 8 km QUOTES:

Deena Drossin (Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 2nd) I am not really disappointed in my race today. I felt a little sluggish and a little tired in my legs from the weeks of high mileage. My body might have been in shock from not doing too much mileage, as I tapered a bit for this race.

(On the current world situation)—I think that sports are a wonderful way to bring all sorts of people together in a peaceful situation. This event is the epitome of what the world should be like.

(On preparing for this year’s race) Last year, I was in the best shape of my life going into the world cross country championships. This year, I just added some long runs on Sundays and Wednesdays to get in some typical marathon training, but the rest of my weekly workouts were cross country based.

(On preparations for the upcoming London Marathon) I am going to be staying the next few weeks outside of London, doing some quality work and some rest and relaxation. I’ve been training with the possibility of an American record in mind. I have been training aggressively, so I want to race aggressively as well. Every time I get out there, the conditions have to be perfect to run fast. I am going to taper my mileage down so by the time I get to the line, I want to feel quick and swift.

I love cross country. It’s my passion. I want to keep coming back to this race until my legs gives out on me. I’m not sure I want to keep running here when I’m 38 or 39 like Colleen. Hopefully by then, I’m running around chasing little ones then.

Both races (world cross and London) have been on my mind the last three months, and now that this race is out of the way, I can now focus on the marathon itself.

Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo., 8th) It’s still so exciting to make it to the podium. The whole team is so wonderful, and everyone worked together. With the development of runners in America, the people are coming together. The younger girls are getting good coaching.

Deena is the standard bearer for all of us in the States. She’s doing for our event what Marion Jones and Gail Devers are doing for the sprints.

Last year I was third as an individual and this year I got eighth, but I feel just as happy to get back on the podium as a team. I thought if I had a good run I could be top-15 and a great run top-10 and I came out eighth, so I’m okay. The first little lap was just a chaos of pushing and shoving, stopping and starting. At the start of the big lap it just spread out and the girls went quite hard then.

Katie McGregor (Edina, Minn.., 16th) I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I felt really good the first two laps -- holding back a little bit -- I knew I was going to get tired later. It went out fast but it calmed down a little bit. It felt good to have my teammates out there.

Elva Dryer (Albuquerque, N.M., 19th) I got out strong at the start but struggled in the middle, and came back in the last lap and a half and knew I had to pass some people. I struggled with the footing a bit.

Milena Glusac (Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 27th) – I went out pretty conservative. I haven’t been able to do much speed work because I haven’t been feeling that well. I just had to rely on my strength to keep it up. After Houston I didn’t have a chance to recover properly. I had hypoglycemia really bad. I just haven’t had time to recover. I’m very excited for the team.

Sara Wells (Edina, Minn., 41st) It went out fast. I felt ready for it but I was really disappointed by the way it felt. I’m just not used to going out that hard. I went out too fast. The last two laps I was really struggling, kind of with my breathing. It was a tough one, and I know I’ve been running well.

Senior Women’s Head Coach Doris Heritage (Seattle, Wash.)—This is the most exciting day of my life. The junior women’s team tied the best performance ever at the world championships. They did a bang up job!

The senior women 8K was just an outstanding event. The race was such that if Deena had been on the track, we probably would’ve seen an American record at 5K. I would say the first four finishers in the women’s 8K race today probably had the race of their lives, and that’s not something you always see in the score.

Being here as a part of this team was a wonderful experience for me, and I am very proud of them.

JUNIOR WOMENS 6K QUOTES

Amy Hastings (Tempe, Ariz., 20th) It was an awesome race. We got out at a good pace. I hung with the pack on the first lap, which was a small loop, and after the first 1000m that’s when the race started. I secured my position, and after that I tried to keep moving up slowly but surely, focusing on the next person and the next person, and it worked out really well.

Rebecca Walter (Ann Arbor, Mich., 25th) I got caught up in the back and used probably the first half of the race to move up just to get back to where I wanted to. The race went by a lot faster than I thought it would.

Clara Horowitz (Durham, N.C., 26th) I think the race went well for the team but I didn’t feel up to par today. From the start I had a gut feeling I didn’t have everything. This is the first of many, hopefully, so I’m just going to learn from my experience because I plan to make world teams again at the senior level some day.

Julia Lucas (Raleigh, N.C., 41st) I didn’t feel really good from the start but then half-way through I realized I was 4th and I needed to pick it up for the team. It was a tough race and I’m glad I ran a good second half.

Angela Homan (51st) For the first 150 yards I was gong pretty good and then a girl fell in front of me and I fell on my face. I finally worked my way up to where I was. Overall, I think I ran pretty good. I wish I could run with this team every day!

Laura Hodgson (Seattle, Wash., 58th) Wow…that was quite an adventure. The start was quite fast, and that’s not my style of running. I would’ve liked to have finished higher.

SENIOR MENS 4K QUOTES

Sandu Reenciuc (Lafayette, Colo., 32nd) Where I was a quarter into the race is where I stayed. You can’t pass! There were points where I was just jogging -- there’s no room to go anywhere – and there were points where it was really fast, just a sprint. It was back and forth, back and forth. You might pass someone who was really dying, but people running the pace were hard to pass. I knew it was going to go super-fast.

On representing the United States for the first time since defecting from Romania and earning US citizenship: This is an honor for me. I was actually on a national team for Romania years ago, and now at the end of my career to be able to represent the United States is just shocking.

Dan Browne (Portland, Ore., 38th) It was a decent day. The conditions were good. I ran conservatively the first half of the first lap…I was in the 60s or 70s during the first lap, then I felt like I got about 20-30 guys on the last lap.

Luke Watson (South Bend, Ind., 57th) I ran it very aggressively. That’s what I came here to do and I’d be disappointed with myself if I’d have done any different. I just found out, unfortunately, that I was a little too aggressive. I was probably in the top-20 at 200 meters, that was right where I wanted to be, but it hurt really bad. I mean, this is the toughest race in the world! It hurts if you’re going to try to be with the leaders. If you want to be the best you have to run with the best so that’s why I came here. It was a great learning experience.

Karl Savage (Lenoir, N.C., 60th) Went out fast, and I did. There’s no reason to come out here and not run well. I felt it the last 2k, and I started to fall back a little. Overall, I was pretty pleased with my race, considering that this is my first one.

Dan Wilson (Lenoir, N.C., 61st) Things didn’t exactly go according to plan. We tried to get out fast, but unfortunately, in the 4k, everyone goes out fast. We were running in a small group, switching the lead back and forth. With about 1000 to go, I felt like a sledgehammer hit me, then I slowed for about 500m, then I kicked in, but it was too little too late. I am a little disappointed right now. If I had run tough in the middle stages, I might have been able to run with Dan (Browne). He played it perfectly. He tried to give us some encouragement, but we couldn’t respond.

Ian Connor (Columbus, Ohio, 62nd) Wow! That’s all I can say. There was no relaxing at all, it was just full-out fast. It was really disheartening to get passed all the time. I just didn’t feel good right out of the gate.

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