MOMBASA, KENYA–In her first appearance in a national uniform, Cack Ferrell of Eugene, Oregon led Team USA to a eighth place team finish in the senior women's 8 km race at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships Saturday at the Mombasa Golf Course here in the east Kenyan seaport city.
She was followed by Renee Metivier Baillie of Boulder, Colorado, who saw her best performance at the championship to date, finishing six places behind in 29:47.
Katherine Newberry of Williamsburg, Virginia finished 39th in 29:54, while Mary Duerbeck of Henderson, Nevada rounded out the American team, running 32:01 to place 71st.
Lornah Kiplagat of the Netherlands earned her country's first world championship medal with her victory on her former native soil, navigating the 8-kilometer course in 26:23. Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba nabbed the silver medal in 26:47, while Meselech Melkamu took the bronze in 26:48. Ethiopia took top team honors with 19 points, with the host nation taking second with 26 points, and Morocco was third with 38 points.
Saturday afternoon's races were contested under sunny but humid conditions with temperatures in the mid 90s, and humidity around 63 percent.
Michael Spence of Ogden, Utah, who like Farrell, made his first appearance Saturday at the World Cross Country Championships, placed 55th in the senior men's 12-kilometer race, running 39:32 to lead Team USA to an 11th place finish, scoring 573 points.
Matt Gabrielson of Apple Valley, Minnesota followed, placing 88th (40:41).
Other Americans included Ryan Shay from East Jordan, Michigan who was 99th; (41:12; Marty Rosendahl of Rochester, Michigan, 103rd (41:25); Celedonio Rodriguez from Alamosa, Colorado, who finished 112th in 41:59; Zach Sabatino from Morgantown, West Virginia, 116th in 42:11; and, Fasil Bizuneh from Flagstaff, Arizona, who was 129th in 44:00.
In an unexpected twist to the dramatic senior men's race, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist at 10000 meters, Zersenay Tadese from Eritrea won the world title in 35:50, wresting it away from defending champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia on the final lap. Moses Mosop (36:13) and Bernard Kiprop Kipyego of Kenya (36:37) to earn the silver and bronze medals, while Bekele failed to finish.
Mosop and Kipyego led a parade of six straight Kenyans across the line, to earn the host country yet another team world championship, scoring 27 points. Morocco was second, with 156 and Uganda was third with 175.
In the opening race involving Team USA, Kenny Klotz of Eugene, Oregon was the first American across the line in the junior men's 8-kilometer race, running 27:11 to finish 56th. Alamosa, Colorado's Ryan McNiff was 86th in 28:28, and Matt Tebo from Albuquerque, New Mexico rounded out the American finishers in 100th (30:56). Team USA's Noel Bateman (New Rochelle, New York), and Joshua Edmonds (Lynchburg, Virginia) failed to finish.
In the junior men's race, Asbel Kiprop led four straight Kenyans across the line, winning the gold medal in a time of 24:07. Vincent Kiprop Chepkop (24:12) and Mathew Kipkoech Kisorio (24:23) earned the individual silver and bronze medals.
Kenya won the junior men's world title with a perfect score of 10 points. Eritrea was second with 44 points, and Ethiopia third with 54 points. Team USA did not have enough finishers to earn a team score.
Team USA did not field a junior women's squad.
Cack Ferrell (Eugene, Oregon, 30th, 29:34)–Honestly, it was so much fun. We all decided that we were going to go out a little more conservatively. It was good that Renee, Kathy, and I went out the way we did. It was reassuring to know that they were right there. Kathy made the point that in these international races, you have to keep moving up, because you really don't know where you are actively seek out people ahead of you. This has been an amazing experience. I am so honored to be part of this team.
Renee Metivier Baillie (Boulder, Colorado, 36th, 29:47): It was really hot, and I starting having problems after 800m, but fortunately I stuck it out for the team, and I could see my teammates around me, which really helped, with Cack in front, and Kathy behind me. I could tell that the other runners around me were having trouble as well, and started passing people, which motivated me. I'm happy that I came here.
Katherine Newberry (Williamsburg, Virginia, 39th, 29:54)–I felt like under the circumstances that we've had this week, that this was my best effort at the world championships. Having the experience of competing here before and knowing what to expect gave me a calm feeling.
Michael Spence (Ogden, Utah, 55th, 39:32)–We got the best conditions of the day. I went out controlled, and felt good the entire race. My only regret was that I didn't go out sooner. I felt like I had a good plan, and executed it. This is big...it's the starting off point for the rest of the season. It's the first time I've been healthy for a full twelve months.
Matt Gabrielson (Apple Valley, Minnesota, 88th, 40:41)–I don't have much experience competing in the heat, but I was pretty calm, and was able to offer advice to the guys, like to not get caught up in the race early, especially on the Kenyan home turf, and because it's a 12 k, to be patient. I think I might have played it a little too conservatively, and wished that I had worked a little bit more with Michael (Spence), and maybe I could've placed higher.
The team staff and coaches did a great job here of making sure that all we had to do is just run.
Ryan Shay (East Jordan, Michigan, 99th, 41:12)–I remember it being hot, but it didn't seem humid. I'm not the best heat runner. As a group, we talked about the weather being a factor. I don't think I could've done anything more to make the race what it turned out to be, which was a death march. I tried to position myself as best as I can, and ended up in no man's land.
Kenny Klotz (Eugene, Oregon, 56th, 27:11)–I felt good in the beginning, and then towards the middle and the end, I slowed down dramatically. I think spending more time training in the climate conditions would help.
Ryan McNiff (Alamosa, Colorado, 86th, 28:28)–It was going alright. I may have gone out too fast. When Josh passed me, I thought we had one lap to go, but after a ways, I realized that I didn't hear the bell. I did everything I could to try and finish. It was a good experience for us, even though it sucked.
Matt Tebo (Albuquerque, New Mexico, 100th, 30:56)–It wasn't our day. I was fine except for my right foot. I didn't feel good, and I couldn't put pressure on it. I tried to finish. I was really hoping to get a team score. I was confident that my right foot would hold out, but it didn't work out.
For more information on the 35th IAAF World Cross Country Championships, please visit www.usatf.org.