Team USA visits local school in Kenya


Jim Estes
USATF LDR Programs Manager
USA Track & Field

MOMBASA, Kenya - Team USA's squad of 16 athletes visited a local Mombasa school, donating shoes and speaking with students Friday. The team is in Mombasa for the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships on Saturday.

The team visited St. Peter's the Rock Junior School to present a donation of 52 pairs of shoes in conjunction with the One World Running project. U.S. senior women's team captain Renee Metivier Baillie (Boulder, Colo.) and Catherine "Cack" Ferrell (Portland, Ore.) coordinated the visit for the team.

"That was the best experience of my life," said Baillie. "It made the experience of coming to Kenya even more memorable. It was so good to have the team involved, and I think it gave us a great team bonding experience."

Team USA members were treated to a tour of the school as well as several songs performed by the 96 students of the school.

Team captains selected

In preparation for this weekend's championships, members of Team USA's squad selected team captains during a team meeting on Wednesday.

Michael Spence (Ogden, Utah), who qualified for his first Team USA Cross Country squad with a fifth-place finish at the USA Cross Country Championships in Boulder on February 10, was elected by his peers as team captain of the senior men's team.

A nationally ranked steeplechaser, Spence has competed at the previous three USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, posting a best finish of seventh last year.

Renee Metevier Baillie (Boulder, Colo.), was selected by her teammates to lead the senior women's squad. Baillie qualified for her third straight USA World Cross Country team with her fifth-place finish in the women's 8 km race last month in her hometown of Boulder.

In her two previous appearances at the World Cross Country Championships, Baillie finished 42nd in 2005, and 49th in Fukuoka last year.

Josh Edmonds (Cooperstown, N.Y.), a freshman at Liberty University, was elected to lead the Team USA junior men's team. Running 26:24 over the 8 km course for a sixth-place finish at the USA Junior Championships in Boulder earned him a place on the U.S. team for Mombasa.

Edmonds was the top American finisher at the 2007 NACAC Cross Country Championships in Clermont, Florida, placing fourth in 19:31 over 6 km.

The 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships will begin Saturday with the opening ceremony at 2:30 p.m. local time. The Junior Women's race starts at 3:30 p.m., and Team USA's junior men's squad will compete in the 8 km at 4:05 p.m. The senior women's team will race over 8 km at 4:40 p.m., and the senior men will compete in the 12 km, the final race of the day at 5:20 p.m.

A total prize purse of $30,000 will go to the individual placing in the top-six in both the men's and women's open races, while winning teams in the open divisions will receive $20,000 and awards again reaching down to sixth for men's and women's teams.

For more information on the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, please visit