Team USA ready for World Cross Country Championships
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
BRUSSELS, Belgium – Bob Kennedy, Shalane Flanagan and 34 other members of the Team USA roster practiced Friday at Ossegem Park in Laken-Brussels, Belgium, the site of this weekend’s 32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
The action begins Saturday with the Junior Women’s race at 12:40 p.m., followed by the Senior Men’s 4 km race at 1:30 p.m., and the Senior Women’s 8 km race at 2:10 p.m. The Junior Men’s race will begin the action on Sunday at 1:15 p.m., followed by the Senior Women’s 4 km race at 2:05 p.m. The Championships will conclude with the Senior Men’s 12 km race at 2:45 p.m.
After returning from the Friday morning practice session, Team USA members Bob Kennedy, Katie McGregor and Shalane Flanagan talked about the course.
Bob Kennedy: “It’s a challenging, strength course. It rolls and there aren’t any speed sections and if it gets wet it will get even worse. Over 12 kilometers you really have to be intelligent about your race plan. The start is not ideal and I don’t know what our box selection is yet. We’ll have to pay attention to it and make sure we don’t get stuck in 80th after the first 400 meters. If I’m in 20th as opposed to 25th at that point in the race it’s not going to matter that much. In and of it self, it’s probably the toughest and most challenging World Cross Country course I’ve faced.”
Katie McGregor: “There are some soft spots, but as long as you know where they are you’ll be okay. Overall, I like the couple hills that are out there. If you fall back during a race the hills will give you a chance to gain back some ground. I think it’s a pretty good course. The start is probably my least favorite part of the course. It’s a turn and everyone will be shoving into one little spot and it will be tight.”
Shalane Flanagan: “It’s a true cross country course. It’s a little bit more narrow than the NCAAs, which was a lot wider. I think it’s going to come down to getting out fast to get out front and put yourself in position. The start might be the worst part. It’s definitely the muddiest. After that it’s still muddy and a little uneven, but it’s a true cross country course. There’s a hill with about 800 meters to go and I think it’ll play into my favor. I do like the hill, so hopefully I’ll be strong enough and I’ll save enough energy to motor up that hill and motor on to the finish with a nice stride.”
Upon their arrival in Brussels, members of Team USA selected team captains for this year’s squad. Those team captains are:
Senior Men 12 km – Bob Kennedy: A two-time Olympian, Kennedy earned his trip to Brussels by winning the second U.S. men’s cross country title of his career with his win at last month’s USA Cross Championships in Indianapolis. In his previous World Cross Country appearances, Kennedy placed 14th (1995), 16th (1998) and 12th in 2001 in Oostende, Belgium, in leading the U.S. to a team bronze medal.
Senior Women 8 km - Katie McGregor: In making her third appearance at a World Cross Country Championships, McGregor brings experience and know-how to her leadership role as captain. After competing at World Cross Country as a junior in 1996, McGregor earned a team bronze medal last year in Lausanne, Switzerland with her 16th place finish.
Senior Men 4 km – Luke Watson: A 2002 graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Watson makes his third appearance on a U.S. World Cross Country team following his runner-up finish at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships at Indianapolis. A four-time Big East Conference champion as a collegian, Watson placed third in the mile at the 2003 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Senior Women 4 km co-captains – Sarah Hann: After finishing 66th in the short course race at Dublin two years ago, Hann qualified for her second Team USA cross country roster with her sixth place finish at the Trials in Indy. Joining Hann as a co-captain is Janet Trujillo, who placed fifth at the Trials last month. Trujillo also competed in the short course race in Dublin, finishing 52nd.
Junior Men 8 km – Josh McDougal: In making the Team USA roster with his fifth place finish at the Trials in Indianapolis, McDougal has continued his success as a harrier after his fourth place finish at last fall’s Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. On January 24, McDougal ran 8:50.4 for two miles at the New Balance Games.
Junior Women 6 km – Katy Trotter: A freshman at Stanford University, Trotter punched her ticket to Brussels with her runner-up finish at the Trials in Indy. Last fall she finished in the top ten in seven races for the Cardinal and placed 21st at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Trotter’s twin sister Amber also is on the team following her fifth place finish in Indianapolis.
For more information on the 2004 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.