Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Huskies to send five athletes to USA Cross Country Championships in Derwood, Maryland...

According to the entry lists posted at usatf.org, five University of Washington freshmen will enter Saturday's USA Cross Country Championships in Derwood, Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC.

At stake for the top six finishers are berths to run in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan on March 28th, and in the NACAC Cross Country Championships in Orlando, Florida on March 7th.

On the men's side, the Huskies will run Greg Drosky, Joey Bywater and Rob Webster, Jr (left/photo by Paul Merca) in the 8-kilometer championship race. He ran 8:34.63 at the UW Invitational on January 31st for 3000 meters.

All three frosh were redshirted this fall. Drosky, from Walnut Creek, California, finished fourth in the Emerald City Invitational, and twelfth in the Cascade Conference preview meet last fall. Drosky ran 8:34.64 at the UW Invitational on January 31st.

Bywater, from Lake Stevens, finished 23rd in the Sundodger Invitational in September, the top unattached UW competitor in the field. This indoor season, he's run 8:16.39 for 3000 at the UW Indoor preview meet on January 17th, and 4:14.04 in the mile on January 31st.

Webster, a product of Puyallup HS, ran 8:27.13 for 3000 on January 31st, an improvement over his previous clocking of 8:34.29 two weeks earlier.

Last fall, Webster, the son of former UW 800m school record holder Rob Webster, won the Emerald City Open at Woodland Park in second race. He opened the year with a 43rd-place finish at the Sundodger Invite, and also ran the 6K at the Cascade Conference Preview.

On the women's side, Washington will be represented by Kayla Evans from Tacoma, and Allison Linnell from Colts Neck, New Jersey.

Evans, who ran for Bellarmine Prep, ran 10:33.22 for 3000 at the UW Invitational.

Linnell ran 5:08.06 at the UW Invitational last weekend. Linnell, a prep All-American steeplechaser, finished 40th at the Sundodger Invite, then placed fifth at the Emerald City Open at Woodland Park, and ran at the Cascade Conference Preview, finishing 11th overall.

The junior men’s race may potentially be one of the most exciting races in recent memory, as Oklahoma State freshman German Fernandez, the 2008 USA junior cross country champion and owner of the world junior best indoors at one mile (3:56.50, set on January 24th), faces a loaded field which includes Stanford freshman Chris Derrick, who finished seventh in the NCAA cross country championships, and ran 13:44.01 for 5000 meters in Seattle last week; Oregon freshman Luke Puskedra, who was fifth in the NCAA cross country meet; and University of Oklahoma freshman Kevin Williams, who was a member with Fernandez of last year’s Team USA junior squad at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In the junior women’s race, Shippenburg freshman Neely Spence, the daughter of 1991 World Championships marathon bronze medalist Steve Spence, and the runner-up at the NCAA Division II cross country championships last fall to Seattle Pacific's Jessica Pixler, enters the meet as a slight favorite to win the national crown.

Highlights of the USA Cross Country Championships will be shown in conjunction with the Tyson Invitational indoor meet on February 15th on ESPN.

For more information on the USA Cross Country Championships, click here...

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