INDIANAPOLIS - The men's team from ZAP Fitness and the Boston Athletic Association's (B.A.A.) women will meet America's top post-collegiate club teams to defend their 2006 titles as they converge upon Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio on Saturday, December 8, for the ninth annual USATF National Club Cross Country Championships.
The USATF National Club Cross Country Championships features the top clubs from across the United States vying for top honors and bragging rights as the nation's top cross country team. Close to 1,100 competitors are expected at the event, which features a 10-kilometer men's race and a 6-kilometer women's race. Clubs will compete for a total prize purse of $25,000, with $20,000 going to the top open teams.
ZAP returns four of its five runners from the 2006 national championship squad, led by Thomas Morgan, who finished second in last year's race. Also returning are Joe Driscoll, ninth in 2006, who set his marathon personal best of 2:18:22 at last month's US Olympic Team Trials-Men's Marathon in New York; Brendan O'Keefe, 17th in 2006; and, Ryan Warrenburg, 18th in 2006. The defending champions add Christopher Pfafenroth and Jonathan Pierce to their 2007 team.
Other teams to watch are last year's second place squad, Team XO, along with the Asics Aggies and Wisconsin Runner RT.
Leading contenders for the individual title include Morgan and Driscoll; Payton Batliner and Ben Rosario, who were sixth and seventh respectively last year; recent Team USA harrier squad members Patrick Gildea, Zach Sabatino and Brett Schoolmeester; Ohio State University grads Rob Myers, a 2005 World Championships team member at 1500 meters, and Brian Olinger, a 2004 Big Ten champ at 5000 meters; and Nick Rogers, a 2000 US Olympic team member at 5,000 meters, and a former Team USA cross country squad member.
BAA defends women's title
Looking to capture their fourth team title since 1998, the B.A.A. returns Kasie Enman, 7th in last year's race, along with Jennifer Donovan (39th) and Mary Proulx (59th). They'll be bolstered with Mariko Holbrook, Lara Johnson, Nicole Plante, and Stephanie Wescott in their efforts to win the national title.
Last year's runner-ups Wisconsin Runner Racing Team and 2005 champs See Jane Run aim to dethrone the B.A.A., along with a strong Run Ohio squad led by 2007 World Championships marathoner Ann Alyanak, who is a strong contender for the individual title. Team Indiana Elite also looks for a spot on the podium.
Other contenders for the individual title, which appears wide open, include 2007 NACAC steeplechase champion Kristin Anderson; Wisconsin Runner's Bethany Brewster; ZAP Fitness' Caroline Cretti; former NCAA 10 km champion Leigh Daniel of Run Ohio; former Columbia University steeplechase standout (and inspiration for the Plain White T's hit "Hey There Deliliah") Delilah DiCrescenzo, who finished 11th in last year's race; Mary Duerbeck, who competed on Team USA this year in Mombasa, Kenya; former Indiana University All-American Jessica Gall; North Carolina State All-American Jemissa Hess; former University of Missouri All-American Serena Ramsey; Maria Magdalena Sandoval, who was fifth in this meet in 2004;and, Peninsula Distance Club's Kathleen Trotter, the former Stanford standout and 2004 Team USA junior squad member. Jill Boaz (Asics Aggies), a three-time member of Team USA in the marathon, is another notable entry in this race.
Competitive Masters fields
Many of the country's top masters (athletes 40 years and older) men's squads will also do battle on the Voice of America Park turf for age division championship titles over 10 km, while the women race over 6 km.
Tracy Lokken of Marquette, Michigan, representing the Front Line Racing Team, looks to defend his national title. Former national masters 10 km champion Peter Magill of South Pasadena, Calif., who runs for the Fluffy Bunny Track Club seeks to wrest the championship from Lokken
Bill Iffrig of Everett, Wash., and the Snohomish Track Club will defend his national title in the men's 70-74 division.
National masters distance running superstar Kathryn Martin (Northport, New York) returns to defend her title in the women's 55-59 category, as will 2006 champion in the women's 60-64 category Janet Bowman of Corte Madera, Calif.
Additionally, William Dixon (Seattle, Wash.), Richard Larsen (Shelburne, Mass.), William Dixon (Brattleboro, Vermont), and Thom Weddle (Minneapolis, Minn.) four men who earned national titles in the USATF National Masters' 5 km Cross Country Championships on October 14th in Saratoga Springs, New York, will invade West Chester in hopes of adding the 10k harrier title to their 2007 resumes.
Action at Voice of America Park gets underway at 9:30 am with the community 6 km run. The masters women's 6 km starts at 10:30 am, followed by the masters men's 10 km at 11:30 am. The open women's 6 km begins at 12:45 pm, with the open men's 10 km concluding the day's activities at 1:30 pm.
For more information about the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships, please visit www.usatf.org.