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Kennedy wins U.S. long course title


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

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Two-time Olympian and former Indiana University standout Bob Kennedy won his second U.S. open men’s 12 km title Sunday at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships at the Fall Creek and 16th Street Park in Indianapolis.

Shalane Flanagan won her first U.S. open title in the women’s 4 km race defeating runner-up Carrie Tollefson by two seconds, and in Junior Men’s competition, the University of Colorado’s Pete Janson defeated runner-up and future teammate Ryan Deak by a 10-second margin.

The top six finishers at the USA Cross Country Championships qualify for the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, March 20-21 in Brussels, Belgium. The USA Championships follows the same format as the upcoming World Championships, with six races over a two-day span.

The following is a listing of the top 15 finishers in Sunday’s races, along with quotes from selected athletes and a race in review for each contest. Complete results may be found on the USATF Web site at

OPEN MEN – 12,000 Meters

1. Bob Kennedy (Nike), 35:03 2. Robert Gary (adidas), 35:07 3. Jorge Torres (Reebok), 35:15 4. Alan Webb (Nike), 35:21 5. Abdi Abdirahman (Nike), 35:37 6. Nolan Swanson (Asics), 35:39 7. Dave Davis (Nike), 35:46 8. Chris Graff (Farm Team), 35:56 9. Joshua Eberly (Unattached), 36:00 10. Richard Brinker (Hanson-Brooks), 36:10 11. David Cullum (Farm Team) 36:15 12. Ryan Kirkpatrick (U.S. Army), 36:17 13. Bill Nelson (Univ. of Colorado), 36:18 14. Martin Rosendahl (Hansons-Brooks), 36:24 15. Chris Siemers (Unattached), 36:26

Kennedy Notes: In 1992, Kennedy won the NCAA and USA cross country crowns, becoming the first runner since Al Lawrence to accomplish that feat in 32 years. A two-time Olympian, Kennedy placed sixth in the 5,000m at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He is also a four-time U.S. Outdoor 5,000m champion (95’, 96’, ’97, ’01) and a four-time NCAA champion. Kennedy won NCAA cross country titles in his freshman and senior seasons at Indiana University.

RACE IN REVIEW: The final championship race saw 105 athletes in a huge pack dash through the snowy course for six loops. At 2 km (5:47): Abdi Abdirahman, Bob Kennedy, Jorge Torres and Alan Webb ran together. At 4 km (11:42) Abdirahman, Robert Gary, Kennedy, Torres and Webb formed the lead pack. At 6 km (17:33) Abdirahman, Gary, Kennedy, Torres and Webb were ahead of the rest of the field. At 8 km (23:22) Kennedy held the lead followed by Torres, Abdirahman, Webb and Gary. At 10 km (29:12) Kennedy led Torres by seven seconds followed by Gary, Abdirahman and Webb. Kennedy maintained his lead all the way to the finish, with Gary taking second, followed by Torres, Webb, and Abdirahman.

Men’s 12 km quotes:

Bob Kennedy, Nike (1st place)—It was exciting. The weather was challenging today, but I knew I was fit. I was hoping to go at 6 kilometers, but I waited until 8K to go. Before I broke at 8K, it was barely an effort. I give a lot of credit to Robert (Gary) and Jorge (Torres). They fought hard the whole way.

It’s good to be back and to train hard again. When you’ve had some bumps in the road like I have the past few years, you become more appreciative of the good times when you have the ability to train again, and the success that comes from that. When I was struggling, you start to question yourself.

I don’t know how much the altitude (he’s trained in Colorado for the past few weeks) helped, but it helps you focus at a level that you can’t at home. The main thing is that I am healthy and I’m able to train hard like I used to train, and for the last 2 ½ years, I wasn’t able to do that because of injuries and illnesses and it feels good to be able to work hard again.

There’s a lot of friends and fans who were out here today who have never had the opportunity to see me run, and it’s great to win in front of the home crowd. I live about a mile and a half away, so I’ll walk home.

Robert Gary, adidas (2nd place)—I wanted to make sure I could go as hard as I could at the end. If I were five years younger, I’d think that I could pass Bob (Kennedy).

I plan to run the 4K at world championships. I feel stronger than I ever have been, and that’s a good sign. Usually 12K is hit or miss for me.

I felt (yesterday’s 4K race) first thing in the morning in the hamstrings. After four or five cups of coffee I was ready to go.

Jorge Torres, Reebok (3rd place)—This was my first race of the season, but I knew that I’d be contending for the title. It’s just that Bob Kennedy had a good race, and it’s his home town. He went out, put a couple of surges in there, and I couldn’t respond to his big surge. Other than that, I tried to hang in there…hung in second place, then Robert Gary pulled up beside me. He sat back and was able to pull away. He had a little bit more strength than I had in the end.

Going into Brussels, I’ll have one race behind me, and I’ve got the rust out of me. I’ll be able to get a five-week block of training. I feel that I have a real good shot of running well at world championships.

I think we have the makeup for a nice, powerful team. There’s a good mix of experience with Bob Kennedy, and Abdi, and a bunch of young guys who are hungry and are willing to lay it on the line.

Alan Webb, Nike (4th place)—It wasn’t a big surprise to me today that I could run long. Yesterday, I wasn’t wearing long enough spikes, and with it being such a short race like that, and with the ground the way it was, the race was over after 200 meters. You really couldn’t move, even though I was only behind by 15 meters or so.

I got a much better start today, put longer spikes in. It was a slower pace, so I could get into a better rhythm.

My confidence was really, really good at the beginning of the race. Guys started making moves after the first couple of laps. They might have thought that it was slow when they saw me up front, so they started picking it up, then I started hurting after that. It was sort of hang on mode from there. From the second lap on I was trying to stay focused on the backs of Bob and Jorge and Abdi, and I survived.

This and club nationals (Webb won the USATF national club cross country championship in December) are really confidence builders. I’ll definitely go to Brussels.

OPEN WOMEN – 4,000 Meters

1. Shalane Flanagan (University of North Carolina), 12:26 2. Carrie Tollefson (adidas), 12:28 3. Lauren Fleshman (Nike), 12:38 4. Melissa Buttry (unattached), 12:59 5. Janet Trujllo (Nike), 13:01 6. Sarah Hann (New Balance), 13:05 7. Christin Wurth (Nike), 13:08 8. Lisa Aguilera (Run AZ), 13:08 9. Katie Sabino (Unattached), 13:15 10. Bethany Brewster (Wisconsin Runner RT), 13:16 11. Jenelle Deatherage (Unattached), 13:24 12. Carrie Messner (Asics), 13:29 13. Kristen Nicolini (Asics), 13:32 14. Erin Doherty (Run AZ), 13:36 15. Renae Brown (Unattached), 13:37

RACE IN REVIEW: 49 women took off as the gun sounded for the short course race. After 1 km (2:57) Shalane Flanagan and Lauren Fleshman were together in the lead followed by Carrie Tollefson one second back. After 2 km (6:14): Flanagan and Fleshman were together with Tollefson still one second behind. After 3 km (9:21) Flanagan led Tollefson and Fleshman, who were both one second behind. Flanagan kicked home to the victory, followed by Tollefson two seconds later. Fleshman finished 10 seconds behind Tollefson.

Women’s 4 km quotes:

Shalane Flanagan, Univ. of North Carolina (1st place)—This was a very memorable win today. I’m really proud because this was a real great field. The 4K team looks like it’s really stacked.

This win is just a stepping stone to the big leaping board, which is the Olympic Trials. These kind of races only give me more confidence. One of the best assets that a competitor can have is confidence.

My coach was saying to get out and get position early. I didn’t want to start chopping my steps and getting pushed around. From watching the other races, whoever got out early pretty much maintained it. It helped to get out and get into my own rhythm, instead of going off of someone else’s rhythm.

Carrie Tollefson, adidas (2nd place)—I came and did my job, and that’s to make the team. I would’ve liked to have won, but Shalane (Flanagan), and Lauren (Fleshman) are both amazing runners, and they’re young. During the race, I’m thinking ‘Who’s gonna go?’, and so I made a move. I tried to go as hard as I could, but Shalane had another gear today.

We’re going to have a great team this year at worlds. We’re going to have a real strong front pack.

If Shalane, Lauren and Missy (Buttry, 4th place finisher) run the way they did today, they’ll be right up there at world championships. At worlds, you can’t let up…you just have to fight the whole way. Last time I went to worlds, I let up for just a moment, and all of a sudden, 15 girls passed me.

Lauren Fleshman, Nike (3rd place)—The strategy was to run this like a trial, make the world championship team, and to feel good doing this. I got out faster than I expected to, so I was up there in third place from the beginning, so I figured there’s no point slowing down, and the pace felt right. I just hung with that pack and tried to stay relaxed.

It certainly helped to get a cross country race under my belt before nationals (she won the Seattle Open on January 25th in 13:51 over 4.2K). It gave me the chance to get the cobwebs out. It was good practice over cross country terrain, so I felt really prepared going in to this meet.

JUNIOR MEN – 8,000 Meters

1. Pete Janson (University of Colorado), 24:14 2. Ryan Deak (Smoky Hill (CO) HS), 24:24 3. Trent Hoerr (University of Illinois), 24:24 4. Forrest Tahdooahnip (Stanford University), 24:25 5. Joshua McDougal (Unattached), 24:27 6. Ian Burrell (University of Georgia), 24:28 7. Kal Clark (Unattached), 24:37 8. Michael Kilburg (Unattached), 24:41 9. Ben Porter (Unattached), 24:57 10. Glenn Collins (Unattached) 25:03 11. Edward Baynes (Unattached), 25:04 12. Adam Tenerowicz (Unattached), 25:09 13. Sean Quigley (Unattached), 25:19 14. Michael Rooney (Unattached), 25:22 15. Charlie Dickhaus (Unattached), 25:28

RACE IN REVIEW: The first race of the day began as 43 athletes began their adventure on the frozen tundra of Fall Creek and 16th Street Park. At 2 km (6:04) a huge pack was formed, with Pete Janson, Ryan Deak, Trent Hoerr, Forrest Tahdooahnip, Joshua McDougal, Ian Burrell, Kal Clark, Michael Kilburg, Ben Porter, and Glenn Collins all in the mix. At 4 km (12:19) the same group continued to battle as a pack. At 6 km (18:23): Janson, Deak, McDougal in the lead, followed by Hoerr, Tahdooahnip, and Burrell one second back. Over the last 2 km, the race changed dramatically with Janson sprinting to the win, with Deak edging out Hoerr for second, and Tahdooahnip, McDougal, and Burrell claiming the last three spots to qualify for the World Cross Country Championships team.

Junior men’s quotes:

Pete Janson, Univ. of Colorado. (1st place)—I talked to coach (Mark Wetmore) and Billy (Nelson, last year’s national junior champion from Colorado), and they both told me to stay with the pack There really was no specific race plan, just a set of general guidelines.

Janson is a freshman attending the University of Colorado, and graduated from Highland Park HS in Dallas, TX. He was born January 25, 1985 in Bedford, MA.

Ryan Deak, Smoky Hills HS, Aurora CO (2nd place)—It feels awesome to be one of the few high schoolers on the national team! All the hard work and training and dedication makes going to world championships worthwhile. This will be my first time going to Europe, and it will be an experience of a lifetime.

My plan was to stay with the leaders. I didn’t want the pack to get away and get stuck in 7th or 8th place. I’m amazed that I felt this good today.

Deak, a senior at Smoky Hills HS in Aurora, CO., was born July 31, 1985 in Tallahassee, FL.

Trent Hoerr, Univ. of Illinois (3rd place)—The plan was just to go out. I wasn’t going to go out and take the lead. My intention was just to qualify for the team, stay with the pack through the first three laps.

The race felt slow through the first two laps, then McDougal took off, and six of us went with him. With a lap to go, there were still six of us, and then we started stringing out.

Hoerr is a freshman at the University of Illinois, and was born February 5, 1985 in Peoria, IL., and attended Morton HS in Morton, IL.

For complete results from the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships, visit

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