INDIANAPOLIS - The first North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships will make its debut onto the international calendar this Sunday at the US National Training Center in Clermont, FL.
After years of informal discussions, the concept of a NACAC Cross Country Championships to complement its track and field and race walking championships came into fruition within the last few months after a series of meaningful dialogues between NACAC chairman Amadeo Francis of Puerto Rico, who also serves as a vice president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the sport's international governing body, and Bill Roe, the president of USA Track & Field.
With the IAAF World Cross Country Championships coming up in two weeks in Saint Galmier, France, the NACAC Championships will give teams and individuals who plan to compete in the World Championships an opportunity to see how their training is progressing on the road to France.
One of the athletes planning to take advantage of this international competition is Oviedo, FL High School senior Jenny Barringer, who will make the trip to France in a fortnight.
The three-time Florida state 4A high school cross country champion, who finished fourth in the junior (19-under) race at the USA Cross Country Championships last month in Vancouver, Wash., will have the rare chance to run her final cross country race as a high schooler near her home town, while representing the United States in international competition.
Barringer, who will run in the junior women's 4-kilometer to open the day's competition at 8:30 am, is quite familiar with the 2-kilometer cross country course on the national triathlon training center grounds.
Barringer hopes to use this meet as a springboard to a successful World Championships, where she will make her second appearance as a member of the American squad. In the 2004 world championships in Brussels, Belgium, Barringer finished 35th.
Other Floridians competing for Team USA include Florida State University freshman Alexander Miletich, a graduate of Chiles HS in Tallahassee, who finished twelfth in the junior race last month, and Timothy McLeod, formerly of Episcopal HS in Jacksonville, now residing in Tucson, AZ. Both Miletich and McLeod are part of Team USA's junior men's squad that competes at 9 am over 6-kilometers.
Emerging Elites Comprise Senior Squads
Team USA's senior men's and women's teams will consist of many of the country's up and coming emerging elite athletes. The vast majority of the runners on Team USA will make their debuts as members of the national team, with only senior men's 8-kilometer runner Paul Kezes of Eugene, Ore., going on to France in two weeks.
Team and Individual Entries
With days to go before the meet, countries committed to sending athletes to Clermont for the NACAC Championships include Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Mexico, St. Vincent & The Grenadines, and Puerto Rico, in addition to the host United States of America.
Event Time Schedule--Sunday, March 6, 2005
Action at the NACAC Cross Country Championships gets under way at 8:30 a.m. with the Junior Women's 4 km race. At 9:00 a.m., the Junior Men's 6 km race toes off the line, followed by the Senior Women's 6 km race at 9:45. At 10:30, the Senior Men's 8 km race concludes the morning's championship races.
For more information on the meet, please contact meet director Fred Finke at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information on the NACAC Cross Country Championships may also be obtained online at http://www.usatf.org/events/2005/NACACXCChampionships.
Team USA Roster
Paul Kezes - Eugene, OR
Max King - Bend, OR
Peter Gilmore Menlo Park, CA
Steven B. Sundell - Mountain View, CA
Josh Eberly - Rochester Hills, MI
Fernando Cabada - Bristol, VA
Timothy McLeod - Tucson, AZ
Alexander Miletich - Tallahassee, FL
Dave Mock - Johnstown, PA
Stephan Shay - Lansing, MI
Jon Harding - Seattle, WA
Drew Shakleton - Belmont, CA
Erika Aklufi, Los Angeles, CA
Sabrina Monro - Rochester Hills, MI
Patricia Nervo - Salem, VA
Lucinda Hull - Raleigh, NC
Samia Akbar - Herndon, VA
Bria Wetsch - Chaska, MN
Tori Tyler - Los Altos, CA
Zoe Nelson - Kalispell, MT
Emily Harrison - Charlottesville, VA
Jennifer Barringer - Oviedo, FL