INDIANAPOLIS - Athletes from Team USA won three of four individual gold medals, and swept all four team titles in today's inaugural NACAC Cross Country Championships at the National Training Center in Clermont, Florida.
Under clear and sunny skies, and temperatures in the high 50s at the start of the first race, Oviedo, Florida's Jenny Barringer, who occasionally trains here got Team USA off on the right foot by winning the junior women's 4-kilometer race in a time of 14:50. Barringer, who will move on to the World Championships in two weeks, took command early, and never looked back.
Dave Mock of Newport News, Virginia, a freshman at the College of William & Mary, made it a sweep of the individual medals in the junior category, emerging victorious in the men's 6-kilometer race in a time of 19:51, after Jon Harding of Seattle took the leaders through the first two kilometers.
Sabrina Monro, a former University of Washington standout now residing in Rochester Hills, Michigan, made her Team USA debut a successful one, in winning the women's 6-kilometer race, pulling away from teammate Lucinda Hull on the final lap, crossing the line in 21:40.
Mexico's Juan-Luis Barrios prevented a sweep of all four NACAC individual gold medals in winning the senior men's 8-kilometer race in 25:06. Bend, Oregon's Maxwell King was the top American finisher, placing third in a time of 25:36.
Team USA earned three straight perfect 10's in winning the junior women's, junior men's, and senior women's team titles. Team USA concluded its medal haul, scoring 16 points to edge Puerto Rico by four points.
Jenny Barringer: It was real nice to run on a course where friends and family can come out to watch. It's an honor to represent my country, especially in my home state. Today's race was a good barometer of how I'm feeling going into world championships, especially since it's tough to get hills here in Florida, and get that competitive juice going. I'm pretty happy with my race today. I wanted to get out and get a good lead, so that I could establish a gapand bring it on in. Everyone knows I like to go out fast.
Dave Mock: I wanted to go out conservatively and see what the leaders did and play off of that. As it turned out that's what they did. The leaders took it out pretty hard. I hung back and worked the hills. The hills caught up with me at the end. The hills were not what I imagined in Florida. It's a challenging course.
Sabrina Monro: The plan was to take the race out as a group and see how it progressed. It's a lot better to work together as a group than on your own. After 4 km, when I took over the lead, my thoughts were "Please don't catch me." I was exhausted but I knew I had a little bit more at the end. I really enjoy this cross country course. It's a really challenging course. Winning in my first national team race is pretty exciting, and it gives me some hope for next year in trying to make a World Championship team.
Maxwell King: I liked the course; it's really hilly and sandy with a lot of turns. It was pretty warm out there, compared to Oregon. I just wished that I could've hung on to those first two guys. I think they slowed down a bit after they got by me.
Amadeo Francis, NACAC Chairman & Vice President, IAAF: Today's event was a critically important first step in a series of events in which the United States will continue to provide leadership in this area. This event was highly contested. I was very pleased with the results and look forward to next year's event, which will be an even better one. We had tremendous enthusiasm from both the teams and team leaders, and everyone is looking forward to putting on an even better event next year.
Race in Review
Junior Women 4 km - Local favorite Jenny Barringer of Oviedo, Fla., took command of the race shortly after the racers started the first downhill stretch of the National Training Center, and built a lead which stretched to nearly sixteen seconds over teammate and second place finisher Christina Fidducia. The American squad took the first four places, scoring a perfect ten points.
Junior Men 6 km - After a fast start by the Jamaican team, Team USA asserted itself as they rounded the perimeter of the track before making the first uphill climb. Jon Harding of Seattle took the lead through the first two kilometers, before being overtaken by eventual winner Dave Mock.
Senior Women 6 km - The American women worked together through the first two kilometers, before Lucinda Hull and Sabrina Monro pulled away. Monro pulled away shortly after the start of the final two kilometer loop.
Senior Men 8 km - Max King took the early lead in the race, but gave way to Mexico's Juan Luis Barrios and Guatemala's Jose Alfredo Arevalo going into the second lap. King tried to make a late run, to no avail, as Barrios cruised to victory.
For more information and full results on the 2005 NACAC Cross Country Championships, please visit www.usatf.org.