SAINT GALMIER, FRANCE - Team USA's Junior women's squad finished fourth for the third consecutive year Saturday at the 2005 World Cross Country Championships in Saint Galmier, France.
Saturday's races were contested under a cloudless sky with temperatures in the lower 70s. The course was dry and fast with one 50-meter long patch of mud for athletes to contend with.
In the Junior Women's 6 km race, Harvard University's Lindsey Scherf led Team USA to a fourth-place finish (118 points) as the fastest U.S. competitor, finishing the race in 18th place in 22 minutes, 12 seconds. A native of Bronxville, N.Y., Scherf placed seventh in the 5,000 meters last week at the NCAA Indoor Championships in Fayetteville, Ark.
This marks the third consecutive year that the U.S. junior women's team has finished fourth at the World Cross Country Championships, which includes the 2004 Championships in Brussels, Belgium, and the 2003 Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Kenya won the team title Saturday with 16 points, with Ethiopia the runner-up with 22 points and Japan third with 56 points.
Additional U.S. finishers included high school standout Erin Bedell (Plano, Texas) 28th, Stanford University freshman Lindsay Flacks (Palo Alto, Calif.) 30th, University of Colorado freshman and reigning U.S. Junior cross country champion Elizabeth Pasciuto (Boulder, Colo.) 42nd, high school senior standout and U.S. team captain Jenny Barringer (Oviedo, Fla.) 47th and North Carolina State University freshman Christina Fiduccia (Raleigh, N.C.) 93rd.
Team USA's women's 8 km team finished fifth with 122 points, tying the fourth place team from Japan. Japan was awarded fourth place in the final standings due to its fourth place finisher placing ahead of Team USA's fourth fastest competitor. Ethiopia won the women's long course competition with 16 points, with Kenya the runner-up with 22 points and Portugal third with 86 points.
2004 Olympic Women's Marathon Trials champion and 2002 World Cross Country long course bronze medalist Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.) led the U.S. squad with her 13th place finish. 1998 NCAA Cross Country Champion Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park, Minn.) finished 30th and 2005 USA Nationals fourth-place finisher Kathy Newberry (Williamsburg, Va.) was 38th. Last week's NCAA 3,000m champion Renee Metivier (Boulder, Colo.) was 42nd with former Brigham Young University All-American Laura Turner (Provo, Utah) 46th and recent Brigham Young University-Hawaii graduate Chelsea Smith placed 64th.
Team USA's men's 4 km squad placed 13th in the team competition with 252 points, with Ethiopia winning the event with 21 points, Kenya was the runner-up with 31 points and Qatar third with 34 points.
2002 NCAA Cross Country Champion and 2005 USA 5,000m runner-up Jorge Torres (Wheeling, Ill.) led the U.S. contingent with his 13th place finish. Other U.S. finishers included former Stanford NCAA 1,500m champion Donald Sage (Elmhurst, Ill.) 60th, former University of Notre Dame All-American Luke Watson (South Bend, Ind.) 83rd, three-time World Cross Country team member Dave Davis (Portland, Ore.), 96th and 2004 NCAA Cross Country All-American Josh McDougal (Peru, N.Y.) 110th.
2000 Olympic Trials 5,000m champion, and 2000 USA Cross Country 12 km and 4 km champion Adam Goucher did not finish the race due to a strained gastroc muscle on the outside of his left calf. He dropped out of the race just after the 2 km mark.
Open Women's 8 km
Individual Standings: 1. Tirunesh Dibaba (EHT), 26:34; 2. Alice Timbilili (KEN), 26:37; 3. Werknesh Kidane (ETH), 26:37; 4. Meselech Melkamu (ETH), 26:39; 5. Isabella Ochichi (KEN), 26:43.
Team USA: 13. Colleen De Reuck (27:51), 30. Katie McGregor (28:57), 38. Kathy Newberry (29:14), 42. Renee Metivier (29:24), 46. Laura Turner (29:37), 64. Chelsea Smith (30:32).
Open Men's 4 km:
Individual Standings: 1. Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 11:33; 2. Abraham Chebii (KEN), 11:38; 3. Isaac Kiprono Songok (KEN), 11:38; 4. Maregu Zewdie (ETH), 11:43; 5. Dejene Birhanu (ETH), 11:43.
Team USA: 13. Jorge Torres (11:58), 60. Donald Sage (12:36), 83. Luke Watson (12:49), 96. Dave Davis (12:58), 110. Josh McDougal (13:15), Adam Goucher, did not finish.
Junior Women's 8 km
Individual Standings: 1. Gelete Burika Bati (ETH), 20:12; 2. Veronica Nyaruai Wanjiru (KEN), 20:39; 3. Beatrice Chepngeno Chebus (KEN), 4. Mercy Wanjiku Njoroge (KEN), 20:46; 5. Belainesh Zemedkun Gebre (ETH), 20:47.
Team USA: 18. Lindsey Scherf (22:12); 28. Erin Bedell (22:32); 30. Lindsay Flacks (22:37); 42. Elizabeth Pasciuto (22:58); 47. Jenny Barringer (23:03); 93. Christina Fiduccia (24:42).
Open Women's Team Quotes:
Colleen De Reuck: It was great. I started out a little cautiously and then tried to work my way up the field. I gave it a solid performance and I'm happy though I'm slipping a little bit, but what can you say. The team did good and everyone ran their hearts out, and it's a pretty young team and that's a good thing for the years to come. It was warm out here, but there was a breeze to cool you down a little bit.
Katie McGregor: This course was similar to Lausanne (2003) because it was so dry and hot out there. I feel like I gave a great effort today, but it was a tougher field and I just wasn't up there as high as I wanted to be. It was definitely hot. You gotta keep telling yourself to keep pushing. If you don't keep going you're not going to get any better and you're definitely going to get a lot worse.
Renee Metivier: I lost a shoe in the mud pit. I usually don't tie my shoes too tight and it was a lesson today. It happened in third lap and in the fourth lap it was really bothering me, so I stopped and threw off my other shoe and ran the last lap barefoot, and I passed three people (laughter). I went out a little too hard and that was my first mistake in the race. This was my first international race, so I got a little nervous.
Kathy Newberry: There's not much to say, I'm not very happy about it. I ran really hard the first lap and I knew I wanted to work my way up from there and I thought I was being patient but I wasn't and I paid for it. I don't know that I went out to fast, but I started pressing, I think.
Chelsea Smith: This is my first international race at all, I just turned 20 so I'm new to all of this. This is a new experience for me and I love being around all these girls. I feel like I have a long way to go and that I had a great race. I was passing people the whole time and I had a good time. I won NCAA Division II two times and this is nothing like that. That was easy and this is a whole different game. I love this and this is what I want to do.
Laura Turner: I'm really happy with what happened. I went out pretty smart and not too fast because everyone in this race bolted really quickly. The last 4K I was able to pass people pretty consistently, so I was really happy about that. I'm really happy. It was my first time being here as a senior, and to finish in the top-50 for me is great.
Open Men's Team Quotes:
Adam Goucher: I've had a sore muscle on the outside of my upper left calf that has been bothering me for a while. It was real bad when I got here and I had some workouts on it and I thought it would be fine. When I started going today it just shut me down. I couldn't get into a stride and I couldn't get into a rhythm, and when I started to lose ground I knew it was over. It hurt so bad that I started limping. This is the first time I've ever dropped out of a race and it was very hard to do. I didn't want to damage myself to the point that it would damage the rest of my year. At this point I don't know what is going on and why it hurts so bad. I need to get that figured out and have a plan of action.
Jorge Torres: I don't know if I improved on what I did last time (11th in 2002) it was a hot day and people were going fast out there and it was no easy task. I just went out there and tried to hang in the back of the pack with the leaders and I was a little too far behind. You got to be up there to finish in the top five and if you're not with them, you're not going to finish with them. I caught several people, but I couldn't finish off the top ten finish that I wanted. But it's a good day overall and I'm pleased with it.
Dave Davis: I never expected it to be this hot. It was surprising. I started to feel sick on the way here and I didn't know how it was going to go. I tried to put myself in a position to do well and do my best, and it didn't turn out very good. It was one more distraction and kind of took the edge off. My training has been going well and I was feeling good coming into it. It's kind of frustrating to have that come up right at the last minute.
Donald Sage: It was tougher than I expected. We were all going to try to pack it up in the top 35 coming off the line and we did that, and then we were going to try to move up. We felt that was a realistic strategy and we felt that we had a great team and that we had a great shot of all running well and finishing in the top 30. I hit the wall at 2K and my legs were burning and my stomach was cramping up the whole last lap and I just tried to keep running the best I could.
Luke Watson: We all pretty much wanted to get out in the 30s in terms of place and we basically did that with six guys right there, maybe with a few in the 20s and a few in the low 40s. That was really the only part of the race that went well. We didn't really expect this kind of heat today. Our start would've been just fine in cooler conditions, but the way it was out there today it hit you like a brick wall at about 1,500 meters or about two kilometers. When we got to the second loop things really started deteriorated fast.
Joshua McDougal: I was expecting condition like Belgium last year with temperatures in the 40s, muddy with some rain. It's kind of like what I've been training in all year. This was amazingly hot and humid. I went out with the guys like I'd planned and I just tanked and I couldn't breathe that last loop at all, and I couldn't move. It felt like my head was going to explode and I just wanted to finish.
Junior Women's Team Quotes:
Jennifer Barringer: I finished farther back than I hoped. I really wanted to score for the team. It's really hard to know how I did compared to my normal races out here. I really thought all the way through that there were some tough spots, but you really had to keep your head straight and lift up your knees. There were a couple spots where I felt a little mentally unprepared and maybe I should have had more preparation. I went out there and had a blast running with these girls. It was fabulous.
Erin Bedell: I think I'm more of a speed runner than a strength runner. I know that a lot of the girls are strength runners and I try to go with them and have a kick at the end. We kept talking all week about how one person counts, so go as hard as you can at the end. I just tried to do my best out there.
Christina Fiduccia: I felt really good at the beginning and went out really hard. Towards the last loop I got a really bad cramp and I had to actually stop to try to get rid of it and it wouldn't go away. This has happened to me before when I tore a stomach muscle before, and I don't know if that's what happened again. It really hurts when I inhale.
Lindsay Flacks: It felt great. I went out really fast and I'm not one who usually goes out that fast. I got close to the back of the pack in the beginning and I got a little worried, but I love this weather, it's definitely California weather so I'm used to that. People started dropping off the last two kilometers and I felt great picking off people one at a time.
Liz Pasciuto: I'm the USA champ and I'm disappointed in myself. I went with my usual race plan to go out slow the first lap and pick off runners in the second lap and finish strong the last lap. It just didn't work out for me today.
Lindsey Scherf: It got a little tough after the first lap or so because they really went out pretty hard. I was far back with the rest of my teammates for about the first 400 meters and other runners had about a 40-meter lead on me when I began to catch up. That first lap was really quite fast and I knew I had to settle back a little bit so I could be strong on the last lap. It was pretty rough, but I just focused on keeping my rhythm.
The Championships conclude Sunday afternoon with the Junior Men's 8 km race, the Open Men's 12 km race and the Open Women's 4 km race.
For more information on the 2005 World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.