Saturday, February 7, 2009

Bywater leads Washington finishers at USA Junior Championships...

DERWOOD, Maryland. - Five Husky freshmen took part in the USA Cross Country National Championships Saturday in Maryland, competing in the junior race, as Joey Bywater (left/photo by Paul Merca) led the way with a seventh-place finish in the men's race.

Held at the Agricultural History Farm Park, the junior races preceded the main cross country national championships. Bywater (Lake Stevens, Wash./Lake Stevens) covered the 8,000-meters in 24-minutes, 50-seconds. Rob Webster, Jr. (Puyallup, Wash./Puyallup) placed 21st in 25:40, and Greg Drosky (Walnut Creek, Calif./Las Lomas) was 54th in 27:33.

Another athlete with Washington ties, former Mount Rainier standout Ryan Prentice, who attends Oklahoma State University, finished one spot behind Bywater, clocking 24:55.

Bywater will now be in the mix for a spot on the national team that will represent the U.S. at the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships held in Amman, Jordan on March 28. The top six finishers earn automatic spots so one runner would need to pass on the trip.

In the women's junior race, Allison Linnell (Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck) placed 30th overall in 23:04 for 6,000-meters. Tacoma's Kayla Evans (Bellarmine Prep) was 39th in 23:21.

German Fernandez of Oklahoma State University successfully defended his national title, as he won the men's junior race in a time of 23:20 while Neely Spence, the NCAA Division II cross country runner-up to Seattle Pacific’s Jessica Pixler, won the women's race in 20:43.

Local track and field fans will have the opportunity to see Fernandez run at the Dempsey Indoor, as he told media members at the national championships that he will run the 3000 at the Husky Classic on February 15th.

All five of UW's competitors on Saturday redshirted during the 2008 cross country season, but all have already competed for the Huskies during the indoor track season.

NOTE: The University of Washington media relations department contributed to this report.

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