INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field announced the U.S. team for the 2006 International Chiba Ekiden, to be held in Chiba, Japan on November 23. A total of 11 teams including Team USA, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, France and Great Britain will compete in the marathon relay.
"Once again, we have several post-collegiate athletes who are eager to compete in such a prestigious international event," said Fred Finke, USATF Long Distance Running Division Chair. In the 2005 edition the U.S. men took third and the women finished ninth.
The relay teams will consist of six legs each, ranging in distance from 5 km to 10 km, Team USA is as follows:
Fasil Bizuneh (Bristol, Va.) - The runner-up at the 2006 USA 5 km Championships, Bizuneh has seen steady improvement since moving to Bristol to train with Chiba teammate, Fernando Cabada. In addition to his 5 km performance, Bizuneh has seen top ten finishes at this year's USA 20 km and Marathon Championships where he finished seventh and fifth respectively.
Andrew Carlson (St. Paul, Minn.) - A Team USA Minnesota athlete, Carlson makes his second appearance on a U.S. team this year. Carlson finished 30th at the IAAF Road Running Championships in Debrecen, Hungary on October 8. Additional season highlights for Carlson include a third place finish at the USA 20 km Championships and a seventh place finish at the USA 5 km Championships.
Josh Moen (Rochester Hills, Mich.) - The anchor leg for last year's third-place team at Chiba, the five-time NCAA Division III champion for Wartburg College, will represent the U.S. for the second time at Chiba. Moen's top performances in 2006 include a runner-up finish at the Steamboat Classic 4 Mile and a sixth place finish at the USA 5 km Championships.
Ed Moran (Williamsburg, Va.) - A four-time All-American at William and Mary, Moran finished sixth in the 5,000 meters at the AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis in June. Also showing a great deal of promise at the 10 km distance, he ran 28:43 to finish eighth at the internationally competitive Beach to Beacon 10K in Cape Elizabeth, Maine in August.
Ryan Sheehan (Rochester Hills, Mich.) - A two-time NCAA Division I All-American at Saint Francis University and Hansons - Brooks teammate to Moen, Sheehan recently won the Food World Senior Bowl 10K in Mobile, Ala., with a time of 29:02.
Patrick Tarpy (Yarmouth, Maine) - A 2005 graduate of Brown University, Tarpy recently finished third, just three seconds behind Alan Webb, at the B.A.A. Mayor's Cup Cross Country. The two-time All-Ivy League athlete earned his way to Chiba with a tenth place finish at the 2006 USA 5 km Championships.
Fernando Cabada (Bristol, Va.) - The 2006 USA 25 km champion and American Record holder, Cabada is making his second trip to the Chiba Ekiden, this one as a team alternate, as he prepares for his marathon debut ten days later in Fukuoka.
Desiree Davila (Rochester Hills, Mich.) - A member of the Hansons - Brooks Distance Project, Davila was a cross country and track All-American at Arizona State University, and ran a 20 km personal best to finish 43rd at the IAAF World Road Running Championships.
Caroline Cretti (Blowing Rock, N.C.) - An NCAA Division III champion at 5,000 and 10,000 meters at Williams College, Cretti earned her spot on the U.S. team by virtue of her 12th place finish at the USA Women's 10 km Championship.
Collette Douglas (Indianapolis, Ind.) - The 2001 USA Indoor Championships Mile and 2001 USA Women's 5 km champion ran to a 13th-place finish at the USA Women's 10 km Championships in Boston last month. After competing at the NACAC Cross Country Championships earlier this year, this will mark the second Team USA appearance for Douglas in 2006.
Renee Gunning (Philadelphia, Pa.) - A former North Carolina State University standout, Gunning saw success at the 2006 USA 5 km and 10 km Championships where she ran personal bests of 16:31 and 35:00 for the road events to finish seventh and tenth respectively. This will mark her first time representing Team USA.
Jody Hawkins (Frisco, Texas) - The head cross country coach at Centennial High School in Texas, Hawkins is no stranger to U.S. teams. Making her first Team USA for the Barcelona Ekiden Relay in 1990, the 2006 team will mark her third time at Chiba and her fifth Team USA appearance. A five-time All-American at the University of Texas San Antonio, Hawkins recently ran 16:15 to win the Gary Burns 5K.
Stephanie Pezullo (Blowing Rock, N.C.) - A first year athlete at ZAP Fitness, Pezullo saw breakthrough races at virtually every distance running personal bests at 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters as well as attempting her first ever 5,000 meters on the track (16:23). Pezullo began her 2006 fall campaign with an 11th place finish at the USA Women's 10 km Championship at the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women.
The 2006 Team USA staff will include Dennis Barker (St. Paul, Minn.), Bob Sevene (Monterey, Calif.) and Sam Grotewold (New York, N.Y.).
For more information on the International Chiba Ekiden visit www.usatf.org.