INDIANAPOLIS - A field of than 170 athletes representing 16 national federations will compete this Saturday, March 3, at the third annual North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Cross Country Championships in Clermont, Fla.
The NACAC Championships will contest races for the open men's 8 km, open women's 6 km, junior men's 6 km and junior women's 4 km. At last year's event in Clermont, the U.S. took the open women's, junior women's and junior men's team titles.
With the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships to be held in Mombasa, Kenya, on March 24, the NACAC Championships will give teams and individuals who plan to compete one last opportunity to asses their training progress.
Consisting of many of the country's top emerging-elite athletes, the Team USA squads feature 11 athletes who will be competing in Mombasa.
Leading Team USA in the junior women's 4 km will be Aurora Scott (Chesapeake, Va.), fourth at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, Colo., on February 10. Joining Scott will be Keri Bland (Fairview, W.V.), Jocelyn Burke (Waunakee, Wis.), and Kinsey Farren (Dallas, Texas).
The men's junior team will see USA Junior Cross Country Champion Elliott Heath (Winona, Minn.), along with three of his World Cross Country teammates Ryan McNiff (Los Alamos, N.M.), Noel Bateman (Rochester, N.Y.), and Joshua Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.) for the 6 km in Clermont.
The men's team for the open 8 km event will be led by Michael Spence (Ogden, Utah), fifth at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder, Colo. Joining Spence will be three of his fellow World Cross Country teammates including the runner-up at the 2007 USA Half-Marathon Championships Fazil Bizuneh (Flagstaff, Ariz.), Celedonio Rodriguez (Alamosa, Colo.) and 2003 USA Marathon champion Ryan Shay (East Jordon, Mich.).
The open women's 6 km squad will be led by Desiraye Osburn (Lyndon, Kan.), eighth at the USA Cross Country Championships. Osburn will be teamed with Stephanie Bylander (Alamosa, Colo.), Emily McCabe (Raleigh, N.C.) and Christa Benton (Orlando, Fla.).
In addition to the American hosts, teams from Canada, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Trinidad and Puerto Rico will be competing for team titles at the 2007 NACAC Championships.
The NACAC Cross Country Championships begin at 8:30 a.m. with the Junior Women's 4 km race, followed by the Junior Men's 6 km at 9:00 a.m., the Senior Women's 6 km race at 9:30 a.m. and concluding with the Senior Men's 8 km at 10:00 a.m.
Information on the NACAC Cross Country Championships may also be obtained online at www.usatf.org.