Ten athletes win National Junior Olympic titles
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
INDIANAPOLIS – Ten national champions were crowned in five different age groups Saturday at the 2003 USATF National Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships at the Lovelace Soccer Complex on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Highlighting the event that featured more than 2,600 athletes from around the country, were Joe Parker of the Silver State Striders and Amber Harper of the Sojourner's Track Club, who earned Verizon Athlete of the Meet honors for their performances.
Parker, a sophomore at Reno (Nevada) High School, won the Intermediate boys' division in impressive fashion, traversing the undulating 5 km course in 16:51, while Harper, a BYU freshman, won the Young women's 5km race in 18:47. Harper was 49 seconds clear of the next finisher, Danielle Jordan of Southern Oregon, and Parker had a 17-second gap on silver medalist Brett Campfield of Temecula TC to lead his Silver State squad to the team gold.
Parker, who was seventh in this event last year, was fourth in the Nevada state high school 4A championships last month. Harper was 83rd at the NCAA cross country championships in November, and was named Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year.
Seven of this year's champions moved up from lower placings in 2002. Midget boys winner Timond Chubb of the Gazelles TC made the biggest move up, taking the gold after a 41st-place finish in '02. Chubb covered the 3 km course in 11:18.2 for the win, more than five seconds ahead of runner-up Andrew Bednarsky of Transylvania East TC.
Youth boys champion Matthew Frerker of Issaquah Park was 32nd last year, and had to hold off local favorite Dustin Martin of Albuquerque AC up the final hill to move atop the medal stand. Frerker stopped the clock at 14:15 for the 4km distance, three seconds ahead of Martin.
Team Provo won the Young men's team title behind individual champion Brandon Hebbert, who was a 17-second winner with his 16:44 clocking. Hebbert, who was third in the Utah state high school 4A meet in 2002 for Lone Peak, used a late-race surge to outleg World Youth Championships steeplechaser Andres Urbina of Albuquerque to claim the final gold of the meet.
Missouri state 4A champion Merideth Snow of Eureka romped to the Intermediate girls 5 km title in 19:14.6, 27 seconds ahead of Team Wyoming's Sarah Balfour. Snow was sixth in this event last year.
The closest finish of the day saw Nicole Cochran of the South Hill Striders edge out Karleigh Gempler of Team Idaho for the Youth girls 4 km win. Cochran, who was 12th in 2002, held off Gempler up the final stretch to cross the line at 15:59.1, with Gempler just behind at 16:00.4.
Ashley Seymour of the DC Red Wings was a big winner in the Midget girls race, moving up from 10th last year to claim the win with an 11:21.8 effort over 3 km. Runner-up Erin Gillingham helped her San Diego SoCal Roadrunners to the team title with an 11:33.7 run.
Bantam wins went to Shaine Kirtright of Mercury TC, who led his club to the team championship with a dominant 32-second win over Andres Gonzalez of the Gazelles, and Claudia Francis of Starlets TC. Francis won in 12:34.4, 11.6 seconds ahead of silver medalist Tiffany Heflin of the Silver State Striders. Kirtright was fourth last year and covered the 3 km distance in 11:21.4.
For more information on the 2003 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, including the complete results, visit www.usatf.org.