PORTLAND, Oregon - America's top post-collegiate club teams will do battle Saturday, December 4 at Portland Meadows race track in Portland, Oregon, at the seventh annual USA Track & Field National Club Cross Country Championships.
The USATF National Club Cross Country Championships features the elite clubs from across the United States vying for top honors and bragging rights as the nation's best cross country teams. More than 60 clubs and 900 competitors are expected to compete in this event, which features a 10-kilometer men's race, a 6-kilometer women's race and a 10-kilometer masters competition. Also held Saturday at Portland Meadows will be the inaugural Nike Team Nationals.
On the men's side, the road to the national championships - and America's top harrier squad - goes directly through the Hanson's/Brooks Distance Project.
The Rochester, Michigan-based team earned a "three-peat" last year in Greensboro, North Carolina, placing all five scoring runners among the top twelve finishers overall and totaling 30 points in the team scoring. It was Hanson's third consecutive team victory at the event. Wisconsin Running Team followed in second place with 49 points, while the Nike Farm Team claiming third with 74 points.
2004 Olympian Alan Webb (30:13.1) was the individual winner of last year's 10-kilometer race, barely edging fellow Olympian Daniel Lincoln by three-tenths of a second (30:13.4).
The Nike Farm Team's women's squad enters this year's national club championships looking to duplicate what the Hanson's harriers accomplished last year - a "three-peat."
The Nike Farm Team from Palo Alto, Calif., successfully defended their 2002 title with 40 points, while the Boston Athletic Association, and newcomer adidas Raleigh TC, both scored 84 points. The BAA earned the silver medal based on a fifth woman tie-breaker.
Missy Buttry of Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa, who recently won her third NCAA Division III cross country title, used a final burst at the end to win the 2003 women's individual title in 19:59.9 over 2004 Olympian Kate O'Neill (20.01.4).
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 broke away at the end.
Local clubs expected to send teams to Portland for the national championships include Team Eugene (Eugene, Oregon), Club Northwest (Seattle, Wash.), and the Seattle Running Company. A total of $17,500 will be awarded in prize money at the championships.
Many of the country's top masters (athletes 40 years and older) squads will also compete on the Portland Meadows turf for age division championship titles.
The USATF National Club Cross Country Championships are part of a day-long celebration of cross country running at Portland Meadows, starting at 9:30 a.m., with the first-ever Nike Team Nationals, a national championship for teams composed of high-school-age athletes and younger. For more information on the Nike Team Nationals, visit http://www.niketeamnationals.com.
For more information on the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, please visit www.usatf.org.
Race Schedule (as of November 30; subject to change)
8:30 am-Race Course Opens
9:30 am-Nike Team Nationals boys race
10:30 am-Nike Team Nationals girls race
11:15 am-Community/USATF Delegates 4 km Fun Run
11:45 am--Open & Masters Women's 6 km Run
12:30 pm--Open Men's 10 km Run
1:15 pm--Masters Men's 10 km Run
All-time USATF National Club Cross Country Men's champions: 1998 Andre Williams, Reebok Enclave - 40; 1999 Ray Appenheimer, Nike Farm Team - 28; 2000 Matt Downin, Wisconsin Runner RT - 60; 2001 Jared Cordes, Hansons' Running Shops - 40;
2002 Jared Cordes, Hansons' Running Shops - 35; 2003 Alan Webb Hansons-Brooks - 30.
All-time USATF National Club Cross Country Women's champions: 1998 Blake Phillips, Boston Athletic Assn-35; 1999 Collette Liss, Nike Farm Team - 21;2000 Kim Fitchen, Boston Athletic Association - 90; 2001 Priscilla HeinIndiana Invaders - 38; 2002 Shayne Culpepper, Nike Farm Team - 28; 2003Melissa Buttry, Nike Farm Team - 40.