Captains named for Team USA World Cross Country squad

03-17-2005

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Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
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SAINT-ETIENNE, FRANCE - In preparation for the 2005 World Cross Country Championships this weekend in Saint-Entienne/Saint Galmier, France, members of Team USA's squad selected team captains Thursday during a breakfast meeting.

Athletes earned their places on the Team USA roster at the 2005 USA Cross Country Championships held February 12-13 in Vancouver, Washington.

2004 Olympic Women's Marathon Trials winner Colleen De Reuck was selected as the women's long course captain by her peers on Thursday. The reigning two-time U.S. women's cross country long course champion, De Reuck won the individual bronze medal at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships in Dublin, Ireland in helping the U.S. squad win the team silver medal. De Reuck also placed eighth in the long course race at the 2003 World Championships as Team USA took home the team bronze medal.

2004 Olympic Women's Marathon Trials fourth-place finisher Blake Russell was named the women's short course captain. The 2003 Twin Cities Marathon champion in her debut at that distance, Russell won the Pan Am Games 5,000m bronze medal in 1999.

Fresh off her victory at the inaugural NACAC Cross Country Championships March 6 in Clermont, Florida, Jenny Barringer was named the captain of this year's U.S. women's junior team. Barringer is making her second appearance at the World Cross Country Championships after placing 35th in the junior race last year in Brussels, Belgium.

Following a commanding victory in the men's long course race at the U.S. Championships last month in Vancouver, 2004 Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein was named this year's Team USA men's long course captain. The 2003 NCAA Division I Cross Country Champion from the University of Colorado, Ritzenhein jumped on the world stage on January 9 with his surprising victory at the 2005 Reebok Cross Country Challenge in Belfast, Ireland, against a strong international field.

2000 Olympian Adam Goucher of Portland, Oregon, who remains the only man to win both the long and short-course national titles in the same year in 2000, was selected as Team USA's men's short-course captain. Goucher finished second at this year's national championships at the four-kilometer distance.

Goucher's Nike Oregon Project teammate Galen Rupp was picked by his fellow junior men as their team captain. Rupp, a graduate of Portland's Central Catholic HS, set the American high school record in the 5000 meters last summer and enters this meet as the U.S. national junior cross country champion.

Turner returns to France

Former Brigham Young University standout Laura Turner toed the line in the women's 8 km race at the 2005 USA Cross Country Championships with a special motivation to make this year's World Cross Country Championships team. "Three years ago I served a mission here for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints, so I know a lot of people from here and I love France," she said. "I love the people and I love the food, and I love everything about it."

Turner used her desire to return to France as a motivating factor in her eighth-place finish at last month's Nationals that earned her a spot on the Team USA roster. "It was a huge aspect," she said. "I love having things to run for as opposed to just racing to race. When you have a lot of things to motivate you it helps you do better. Emotionally when I'm into the race it helps me run better. I was just ecstatic to make the team and I couldn't have been happier. I got very emotional when I found out I made the team and it makes me really want to do well here."

Turner, who speaks French fluently, will have a large homegrown contingent of fans supporting her during her race on Saturday. "I never imagined that my friends here would be able to see me race," she said. "For this to happen at the World Championships is amazing. I've spoken to many of them and they can't believe this is happening, and they're all going to be there cheering and that will motivate me to run faster. It'll be fun to hear people cheering for me in French."

Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Oklahoma State University freshman Ryan Vail of Gresham, Oregon, will celebrate his 19th birthday here Saturday as a member of the U.S. junior men's team. Vail, one of the three junior men with Oregon connections, earned the final spot on this year's team with his sixth-place finish in Vancouver last month.

For more information on the 2005 World Cross Country Championships, visit www.iaaf.org.