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Gruber wins first title at USA Cross Country Championships


Nick Karas
Communications Intern
USA Track & Field
(317) 261-0478 x357

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Former University of Kansas standout Charlie Gruber won his first U.S. men’s 4 km national title Saturday at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Gruber won the race in 11 minutes, 14 seconds, holding off Luke Watson at the finish line.

It was also a day for sisters to celebrate as both Kathleen and Amanda Trotter in the junior race and Kate and Laura O’Neill in the women’s 8 km race qualified for the 2004 World Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium.

Other winners today included 2002 World Cross Country Championship bronze medalist Colleen De Reuck in the women’s 8 km competition and UCLA’s Alison Costello in the junior women’s 6 km championship.

In masters’ competition, Peter Magill won the U.S. men’s 6 km title, and Carmen Ayala-Troncoso won the U.S. women’s crown over the same distance.

The action resumes Sunday at 10:00 a.m. at Fall Creek and 16th Street Park in Indianapolis with the Junior Men’s 8 km Championship, followed by the Open Women’s 4 km race at 10:45 a.m. This year’s USA Championships conclude with the Men’s National 12 km Championship at 11:15 a.m. The top-six finishers in the open and junior races are eligible to represent the United States at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, March 20-21 in Brussels, Belgium.

The following is a listing of the top-15 finishers in today’s races that determined roster sports for the 2004 World Cross Country Championships, along with quotes and a race in review for each contest. Full results may be found on the USATF Web site at:

OPEN MEN– 4,000 Meters

1.Charlie Gruber (Nike), 11:14; 2. Luke Watson (adidas), 11:14; 3. Robert Gary (adidas), 11:15; 4. Jared Cordes (Wisconsin Runner Racing Team), 11:17; 5. Isaiah Festa (Wisconsin Runner Racing Team), 11:19; 6. Ian Connor (Nike), 11:22; 7. Sandu Rebenciuc (U.S. Army), 11:28; 8. Alan Webb (Nike), 11:31; 9. Lyle Weese (Unattached), 11:34; 10. JoshuaEberly (Unattached), 11:34; 11. Chad Johnson (Nike), 11:38; 12. Brad Hauser (Nike), 11:41; 13. Matthew Gonzales (University of New Mexico), 11:42; 14. Eugene Dennis (Unattached), 11:44; 15. Darin Shearer (Unattached), 11:44

TEAM SCORING: 1. Universal Sole-Reebok – 12 points; 2. Team Playmakers - 34; 3. Front Line Racing Team – 38; 4. Team Bird - 52

RACE CONDITIONS: Temperatures in the mid 20s. The course was snowy and a bit slippery.

RACE IN REVIEW: The snow continued to fall on the 2 km loop done twice as 112 open men took to decide the short course team for Brussels. After the first kilometer (2:40), there was a pack of runners, including Robert Gary, Luke Watson, Isaiah Festa, Jared Cordes, Sandu Rebenciuc, and Chad Johnson all at the front. At 2 km (5:34), Gary took the lead, and was closely followed by Charlie Gruber, Cordes, Festa, Watson and Ian Connor. The 3 km mark (8:26) saw Gruber, Watson, Gary and Cordes in front. At the finish, Gruber and Watson sprinted for the finish, with Gary and Cordes close behind.

Gruber Notes: Gruber’s title today was the first U.S. title of his career.

Men’s 4 km quotes:

Charlie Gruber, Nike (1st place)—The course got narrow real fast, and made it difficult to move up in place. I got out about tenth or so, and started moving up in place. I was about fourth or fifth at 2km, and I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can win this thing’, so I kept moving up. I took the lead with about a kilometer to go, and concentrated on keeping my rhythm up fast, and focused on keeping my form, because I felt that the snow was making me jostle around. I also wanted to make that World team…that was my motivation.

(on the final sprint)—I got to the front; Luke got by me (with about 50m to go). It was one of those things, where you have to dig and find something else, and fortunately, I had a little bit more in the end. I just went for it, and had to sell out to get the win.

Luke Watson, adidas (2nd place)—I do plan on running the World Championships…it’s the toughest race in the world! I’ll be doing that to prepare for tougher races, like the Olympic Trials and other big invitational meets this spring.

(on the final sprint between he and winner Charlie Gruber): It was bumpy out there. In the last 20 meters, Charlie and I kinda stumbled, and we got tangled up, and so that’s the way it goes. He looks like a football player compared to me. He took me out there.

The move back to Minnesota has been extremely good. I’ve had a lot of positive support since I’ve moved back.

Alan Webb, Nike (8th place)—The course was very slippery…should’ve worn longer spikes. Every time the leaders would make a move, and I’d try to cover the move, I’d get nowhere.

The guys who got out quick were the ones who made the team…those who did not get out didn’t make it.

OPEN WOMEN– 8,000 Meters

1. Collen De Reuck (Nike), 26:16; 2. Katie McGregor (adidas), 26:47; 3. Ann Marie Brooks-Schwabe (Nike), 27:33; 4. Kate O’Neill (Nike), 27:38; 5. Molly Austin (Nike), 27:44; 6. Laura O’Neill, 27:45 (Nike); 7. Katherine Newberry (Unattached), 28:02; 8. Jennifer Crain (Wisconsin Runner Racing Team), 28:12; 9. Sarah Hann (New Balance), 28:23; 10. Sarna Becker (Farm Team), 28:35; 11. Heather Hanscom (Unattached), 28:39; 12. Brianna Torres (Run Az), 28:42; 13. Debra Thornhill (Unattached), 28:44; 14. Melissa White (Hansons-Brooks Distance Project), 28:44; 15. Christina Wells (Fleet Feet Racing-Louisville), 28:45.

TEAM SCORING: 1. Hansons-Brooks Distance Project – 10 points; 2. Universal Sole-Reebok – 26

RACE IN REVIEW: De Reuck had the lead at the 1 km mark (3:05), and was followed by Katie McGregor, Jennifer Crain, Ann Marie Brooks-Schwabe, Laura O’Neill, Kate O’Neill and Molly Austin. De Reuck kept her lead through the 2 km mark (6:28), and was followed by McGregor, Brooks-Schwabe, Crain, Kate O’Neill, Laura O’Neill and Austin. At the halfway point, 4 km (13:04), De Reuck extended her lead over McGregor to 11 seconds, who was followed by Brooks-Schwabe, the O’Neill sisters and Austin. 2 km later, De Reuck’s time was 19:40, and the order had remained the same. At the finish, it was De Reuck in front of McGregor by a considerable margin, and a tightly bunched pack of Brooks-Schwabe, Kate O’Neill, Molly Austin and Laura O’Neill.

De Reuck Notes: De Reuck finished second last year in the women’s 8 km championship. She was also a 2002 World Cross Country Championship bronze medalist.

Deena Kastor, Asics (on her decision not to run)—I love running cross country, and I absolutely love running in challenging conditions like today. I would normally thrive in conditions like these today, but I made a very conservative decision with the Olympic Marathon trials coming up in April.

It’s a hard thing to watch this race today, because my heart is really in cross country, but I have my mind set on the Olympic Trials this year, and on the marathon. I didn’t want to jeopardize it with any little twinges, even if it meant keeping me out a few days of training.

If this had been any other year, I would certainly be out here running. I’ve raced in far worse conditions than this, and I’ve had fun in it.

When I ran on the course yesterday, I really didn’t think it was that bad, but I’m not willing to take risks right now. Any other year, there wouldn’t have been a thought in my mind of not running.

My focus this year is on the marathon trials and the marathon with the sole hope of medaling. I am trying to make the mature decision by not running today. The Deena of four years ago would’ve tried to power her way through this without a thought.

Colleen De Reuck, Nike (1st place)—The surface today was actually a lot better than last year in Houston, because with the mud you were sliding much more, so it wasn’t too bad. Last year in Houston was pretty bad. You just had to shorten your stride a bit.

Deena would’ve won the race if she had run…she’s a far better athlete than I am now, but she didn’t want to jeopardize herself for the marathon. I felt that I was running within myself today.

Katie McGregor, adidas (2nd place)—Things were a bit hectic before the race, but once we got out there, it wasn’t too bad. Last year in Houston was pretty bad, so anything is better than last year. The ground was a bit harder here.

It stinks that we’re not going to have the same team that we had last year. I’m going to Belgium to have fun, compete, and try to do better than I did at world championships last year. The team dynamics will be a lot different than last year. We surprised a lot of people last year, with folks running better than they did, so you never know what’s going to happen.

JUNIOR WOMEN– 6,000 Meters

1. Alison Costello (UCLA), 20:55; 2. Kathleen Trotter (Stanford University), 21:06; 3. Amber Harper (BYU), 21:19; 4. Jennifer Barringer (Unattached), 21:21; 5. Amanda Trotter (Stanford University), 21:34; 6. Brittany Brockman (Baylor University), 21:37; 7. Michelle Sikes (Wake Forest), 21:42; 8. Amber Smith (Unattached), 21:48; 9. Lindsey Scherf (Westchester Track Club), 21:53; 10. Elle Pishny (Unattached), 22:03; 11. Alissa Mckaig (Unattached), 22:10; 12. Dallon Williams (Unattached), 22:13; 13. Rachael Forish (Dallas Metroplex Striders Track Club), 22:14; 14. Debbie Huss (Vanderbilt University), 22:16; 15. Erin Bedell (Dallas Metroplex Striders Track Club), 22:17

TEAM SCORING: 1. Dallas Metroplex Striders Track Club – 10 points; 2. Wings of America – 34 points.

RACE IN REVIEW: At 1 km (3:20), there was a pack of eight, led by Kathleen Trotter, Jennifer Barringer, and Lindsey Scherf. One km later (6:59), a pack of six led the way. They were Alison Costello, Kathleen Trotter, Amanda Trotter, Barringer, Scherf, and Michelle Sikes. At the halfway point of the race, Costello and Kathleen Trotter led the way (10:28) and were followed close behind by Barringer, the other Trotter sister, Brittany Brockman and Michelle Sikes. At the 5 km mark (17:32), Costello was comfortably in front, and was followed by Kathleen Trotter, Amanda Harper, Barringer, Amanda Trotter, and Brockman. The race order was the same at the finish line. Junior women’s quotes:

Alison Costello, UCLA (1st place)—I was trying to be conservative on the first lap. The only girls I recognized were the Trotter sisters from Stanford, and my goal was to stay with them. I was trying to work with them, and pretended that they were my teammates.

Born July 8, 1985, the UCLA freshman graduated from Esperanza HS in Yorba Linda, CA.

Kathleen Trotter, Stanford (2nd place)—The conditions were pretty rough…almost like running in quicksand.

The strategy going into the race was twofold—a 4km race, then a 2km race, but that didn’t work out.

It really means a lot to make the team with my sister (Amanda, 5th). We’ve had a couple weeks of hard training at Stanford, and it’s finally good to know that you’re top six, and that you’re gonna go to World Championships.

Kathleen Trotter and her twin sister Amanda were born April 4, 1985. Both are freshmen at Stanford University, and graduated from Red Bank Regional HS in Little Silver, NJ.

Amber Harper, BYU (3rd place)—I just felt good. I have not had a good race in quite a long time. This is my kind of weather, being I’m from Utah. I like the cold.

I learned a lot from last year. I was an alternate, and I was way disappointed that I didn’t make the team. I’ve gotten a lot tougher, and I learned that I needed to have more strength, especially after running in the mud in Houston.

Harper was born April 23, 1985 in Provo, UT. She is a freshman at Brigham Young University, and graduated from Orem HS in Orem, UT. She is the daughter of Women’s Masters runner-up Cheryl Harper.

MASTERS MEN– 6,000 Meters

1. Peter Magill (Team Runners High), 18:40; 2. Mike Scannell (Front Line Racing Team), 19:04; 3. Lance Denning (Running Republic of Boulder), 19:21; 4. David O’keeffe (Syracuse Chargers Track Club, Inc.), 19:25; 5. David Olds (Team Runners High), 19:43; 6. Andrew Ames (Boulder Road Runners), 19:47; 7. Michael Platt (Syracuse Chargers Track Club, Inc.), 20:04; 8. Mike Egle (Unattached), 20:09; 9. Ronald Zywicki (Front Line Racing Team), 20:11; 10. Angel Roman (Team Runners High), 20:13

Peter Magill, Men’s Masters winner—All of my Southern California fears about the ice and snow went away. We had a lot of fun out on the course today.

The course was horrible when you are jogging, but once you pick up the pace, it begins to flatten out the ruts. There’s a few spots where it was slushy and you could lose your footing. Other than that, this feels like a track…a cold track, but a track nonetheless.

MASTERS WOMEN– 6,000 Meters

1. Carmen Ayala-Troncoso (Team Run Tex), 22:36; 2. Cheryl Harper (Unattached), 24:34; 3. Sheri Wright (Running Republic of Boulder), 24:40; 4. Laurie Decker (Front Line Racing Team), 24:46; 5. Wanda Toro Scheib (Unattached), 25:03; 6. Kelly Kruell (Unattached), 25:24; 7. Karen Murphy (Running Republic of Boulder), 25:39; 8. Diane Thompson (Running Republic of Boulder), 27:09; 9. Carolyn Benson (Running Republic of Boulder), 27:17; 10. Suzanne Sarto (Running Republic of Boulder), 28:11

For complete results from Saturday’s competition at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships, visit our Web site at

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