INDIANAPOLIS - Paige Rice of Oregon CC claimed her third straight national cross country title and the San Diego Southern California Road Runners captured four national team titles Saturday at the 2008 USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville, Va.
The USATF Virginia Association, Hanover County Parks & Recreation, the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Sports Backers (Richmond Region Sports Commission) played host to the event that featured nearly 2,000 age-group youth athletes from around the country. The Junior Olympics were contested over the challenging landscape of Pole Green Park, which consists of a 232-acre area in Hanover County. Temperatures on Saturday hovered in the mid-40s, with light winds.
On Saturday, athletes aged 8 to 18 battled it out for boys' and girls' titles in five age divisions. The USATF Junior Olympic program age divisions are bantam (10 and under) racing over 3 kilometers; midget (11-12) racing 3 km; youth (13-14) racing 4 km; intermediate (15-16) racing 5 km; and young men/women (17-18) racing 5 km.
The 2006 bantam girl's winner, Rice dominated the field in the midget girls 3 km race for the second consecutive year, crossing the finish line first in10 minutes 36 seconds. She finished 13 seconds ahead of runner up Anne Charles of the San Diego Southern California Road Runners.
Additional girls winners included Julia Bounds (Palo Alto Lightning/Pacific Assoc.) in the Bantam division 3 km race, Avery Evenson (unattached/Mighigan) captured the Youth division 4 km title, Kelsey Lakowske (Fairchild Flyers/Colorado) was victorious in the Intermediate division 5 km race and the Young Women's group 5 km race was won by Elizabeth Brandon (YMCA Team/Snake River).
The dominant performance in the boy's races was turned in by Justin Liedke (Cornhusker Flyers/Nebraska), who completed the 3 km course in 10 minutes 39 seconds, finishing well ahead of runner-up Will Stanopiewicz, who crossed the finish line in 11:05. Earlier this year, Liedke won national Youth Outdoor Championships in the 1,500 meters and 1,500m race walk, along with the national Junior Olympics 1,500m race walk title.
Additional boy's winners included Samuel Blake (unattached/Pacific) in the Midget Division 3 km race, Cody Curtis (North Idaho/Snake River) in the Youth Boys 4 km race, Southern Cal's Dustin Fay captured the Intermediate 5 km race and the Young Men's 5 km champion was Blake Cowan (Fed Way/Pacific Northwest).
The San Diego Southern California Road Runners captured national team titles in four age divisios on Saturday, winning national crowns in the Bantam Girls, Bantam Boys, Midget Girls, and Youth Girls Divisions. Sixteen members of the club earned All-America honors by finishing in the top 25 in their respective divisions.
Other team champions included Southern California Road Runners in the Midget Boy's division, Granite State Flash/New England in the Youth Boys division, Equalizer Track Club/Southern California won the Intermediate Girl's and Young Men's divisions, Lakers Track Club A/Maine captured the Intermediate Boys national crown and Federal Way TC/Pacific Northwest took home the Young Women's team championship.
For more information on the 2008 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.
Hasay, Solomon win Foot Locker Cross Country titles
Jordan Hasay's high school cross country career came to a close with a dramatic win Saturday at the 2008 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships at Balboa Park in San Diego, Calif.
Hasay, a senior from Mission College Prep in Arroyo Grande, Calif., held off a strong challenge in the girl's race from defending champion Ashley Brasnovan of Wellington, Fla., to win by a three-second margin. This is the second Foot Locker title of her career, with her first coming as a high school freshman in 2005. Hasay joins Erin Sullivan of Jericho, Vt., as the only two-time winners of the women's race. Sullivan won her titles in 1997 & 1998.
A senior at Sherwood High School in Silver Spring, Md., Ethiopian-born Haile Solomon pulled away near the end of the boy's championship race and won it going away in 15 minutes 15 seconds. Solomon finished seven seconds ahead of runner-up Trevor Dunbar of Kodiak (Alaska) High School, with Thomas Porter of Mountain View High in Fredericksburg, Va., finishing 11 seconds behind the winner in third place.