Webb, Buttry win USA Cross Country titles
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GREENBORO, N.C.- High school mile legend Alan Webb and two-time NCAA Division III cross country champion Missy Buttry won their first career U.S. open titles Sunday at the 2003 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships at Bryan Park Golf Club in Greensboro, North Carolina.
More than 500 competitors were on hand for the event that serves as the USA Open Men’s 10 km, Open Women’s 6 km and Masters 10 km Championships. The National Club Championships feature the top clubs from across the United States as they vie for top honors and bragging rights as the nation’s top cross country team.
The senior men’s and women’s races featured dramatic down-to-the wire battles, where Webb (30:13.1) edged the University of Arkansas’ three-time NCAA steeplechase champion Daniel Lincoln by three-hundredths of a second (30:13.4) in winning the men’s race, and Buttry (19:59.9) used a final burst at the end to win the women’s title by just a couple strides over 2002 NCAA Division I cross country runner-up Kate O’Neill (20.01.4).
The U.S. boys high school mile record holder and the 2001 Big Ten Conference cross country champion, Webb’s 2003 track season ended when he had his appendix removed in late June. In Sunday’s race, Webb (Fairfax, Va.) and Lincoln (Fayetteville, Ark.) ran away from the field at the three-mile mark, with Webb staying on Lincoln’s heels until the final few meters when he sprinted ahead of his rival for the victory.
“I was just trying to hang on at the end,” said Webb. “I knew that if I could be there with him in the stretch, I knew I could get him. He ran a hard fourth mile that shook my legs a little bit. Over the last two miles I was just hanging on for dear life and it worked out. I wanted him to be in the lead so he would do the work. This is a good day. It’s my last race of the 2003 calendar year, and it’s nice to end it on a good note. I’m happy.”
David Cullum (Cupertino, Calif.) was third in the men’s race in 30:34.4, with Peter Julian (Boulder, Colo.) fourth in 30:35.7 and Matt Thull (Wauwatosa, Wisc.) fifth in 30:41.0.
In the women’s race, Buttry and O’Neill ran side-by-side at the halfway point, leaving the remainder of the field behind. They continued their battle until the final 100 meters when Buttry, a junior at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, broke away at the end.
“I usually run better when I go out with the leaders instead of trying to think too much, and that’s what I did today,” said Buttry. “I decided to make my move when we got on the final straightaway. It was an awesome race and Katie is an awesome runner.”
Katherine Newberry (Williamsburg, Va.) was third in the women’s race in 20:20.1, with Ann McGranahan (Lenoir, N.C.) fourth in 20:33.0 and Laura O’Neill (New Haven, Conn.) fifth in 20:51.0. Hansons-Brooks Racing Team won the men’s competition for the third consecutive year, placing all five scoring runners among the first twelve finishers overall and totaling 30 points in the team scoring. Wisconsin Running Team (49 points) followed in second place, while The Farm Team claimed third with 74 points.
The women’s team competition was won by The Farm Team with 40 points, while the Boston Athletic Association finished second with 84 points and adidas Raleigh TC placed third with 84 points. (Under USATF rules, a tie is broken by the fastest final scoring runner, i.e. the fifth runner, between the tying teams).
For more information on the 2003 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, including the complete results, visit www.usatf.org.