Sunday, March 28, 2010

Amazing day in Bydgoszcz!

BYDGOSZCZ, Poland--Just returned to my hotel a little bit after 1 am after hanging out with the Team USA senior women's squad celebrating their third place team finish at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

As many of you know, I have been in Bydgoszcz, Poland working as a media assistant to USATF at the world championships.

Needless to say, it's been an amazing experience working with the four teams, and I feel honored to be a part of this experience. I've worked on ten world cross country teams, and it continues to be quite a thrill.

Here's the release that I helped write for USA Track & Field:

Led by 2008 Olympic 10,000-meter bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan (Portland, Ore.), the Team USA senior women's squad won the bronze medal in the eight-kilometer team competition at the 38th IAAF World Cross Country Championships Sunday at at Myslecinek Park in Bydgoszcz, Poland. It was the first team medal in the senior women's event since 2003.

After the first lap of the two-kilometer loop course, Flanagan was positioned in 16th-place and with the next two laps she moved in to 10th-place. As the athletes faced the log-jump on the last lap, Flanagan faltered slightly slipping to 11th. Sprinting into the final 100 meters, Shitaye Eshete of Bahrain caught Flanagan and just out-leaned her at the line. Both were timed in 25 minutes, 20 seconds.Emily Chebet of Kenya took the overall individual title in 24:19 to lead Kenya to the team title over Ethiopia.

Behind Flanagan, Molly Huddle from Providence, Rhode Island (25:59) and 2008 Olympic marathon team member Magdalena Lewy-Boulet of Oakland, California (26:01) worked together and finished 19th and 20th, respectively.

Amy Hastings (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.), a three time world cross country participant for Team USA, rounded out the American scorers with her 25th place finish in 26:20, exactly one minute behind team leader Flanagan.

Five time world cross country championships team member Renee Metivier Baillie (Boulder, Colo.) and two time Team USA member Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.) rounded out the Americans' six member squad by finishing 38th and 41st respectively in 26:48 and 26:53.

In the senior men's 12-kilometer race, Patrick Smyth (Minneapolis, Minn.) led Team USA across the tape with his 36th place finish in 34:51. Ryan Vail (Stillwater, Okla.) was 45th in 35:04, while Bobby Curtis (Ardmore, Pa.) finished 48th in 35:08, and Scott Bauhs (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) was 53rd in 35:14.

Bobby Mack (Raleigh, N.C.) finished 67th in 35:36, and Ben Bruce (Eugene, Ore.) placed 80th in 35:56.

Kenya's Joseph Ebuya won the world title in 33:00, with Teklemariam Medhin of Eritrea second at 33:06, and Moses Kipsiro of Uganda third at 33:10.

The Kenyans continued their dominance of this event, winning with a team score of 20. Eritrea was second with 46, and Ethiopia was third with 69 points. Team USA finished ninth with 182 points.

High school senior Emily Sisson (Chesterfield, Mo.) led the American charge in the junior women's 6-kilometer race, finishing 18th in 20:08. National junior champion Shelby Greany (Suffern, N.Y.) was 29th in 20:35, while Duke University freshman Juliet Botorff (Newark, Del.) placed 35th in 21:00, and Georgetown University freshman Emily Jones (Harvard, Mass.) rounded out Team USA's scorers in 41st at 21:12.

Sophia Ziemian (Lewisburg, Pa.) was 45th in 21:21, and Laura Tremblay (Loveland, Colo.) was 51st in 21:31.

Kenya's Mercy Cherono led her country to a 1-2-3-4 sweep of the women's junior race, winning in 18:47. Purity Cherotich Rionoripo was second in 18:54, and Esther Chemtai was third in 18:55.

Kenya won the team title with a perfect 10 points, with Ethiopia second at 30 points and Uganda third with 81 points. Team USA finished sixth with 123 points.

University of Portland freshman Trevor Dunbar (Kodiak, Alaska) was the first one across the line for Team USA in the junior men's 8-kilometer race, with his 29th place finish in 23:36. Andrew Colley (Williamsburg, Va.), a freshman at North Carolina State University, was 42nd at 24:10, while high school senior Walter Schafer (Centennial, Colo.) finished 44th in 24:17. Washington State University freshman Andrew Kimpel (Spokane, Wash.) rounded out Team USA's four scorers in 54th at 24:37.

High school junior Ammar Moussa (Arcadia, Calif.) was 66th in 25:00, and Oklahoma State University frosh Michael Lynch (Stillwater, Okla.) was 84th at 25:23.

As in the women's junior race, it was a Kenyan sweep of the individual podium, led by winner Caleb Mwangangi Ndiku at 22:07, followed by teammates Clement Kiprono Langat two seconds behind, and Japhet Kipyegon Korir third at 22:12.

Kenya (10), Ethiopia (32), and Uganda (56) took the podium places, as Team USA was eighth at 169 points.

Athlete quotes:

Shalane Flanagan-I knew going into this that this would be the toughest race of the year. I was mentally prepared. I'm bummed individually, because I let two people pass me after the last log jump. It's a team sport, and I'm proud of how we ran. I think that all of us wanted this for Magda, and we all knew what a place on the podium would mean to her.

Emily Brown-Today went a lot better than the NACAC meet a few weeks ago. You always want to be a scoring member of the US team, but you look at the starting line at your teammates, and you realize that not only are you on the line with the best in the country, but some of the best in the world.

We knew who we were going against in the team race, and we knew that the people who weren't going to score needed to stay as high up as possible.

Amy Hastings-It was one of the toughest courses I've ever run on. We've talked about this all week, and even at USAs, we talked about how we would be contending for a medal. I knew Shalane and Molly and Magda were up there, and I tried to catch every single person. I had to do it for the team!

Magdalena Lewy Boulet-It's an incredible feeling to get on the podium! I knew that if I were to get a medal, that it would happen here with an incredible team. I'm so honored to be on the same team as some of the other girls. I knew we had it in us, so we went out hard.

I felt really good. We went out really hard the first 400, and things got a little physical the first part of the race. It was really good to work with Molly. We kept encouraging each other, and running people down.

The goal of making the podium-Check! Achieved!

Renee Metivier Baillie-It was rough for me, but I knew the team was out there, so that it kept me going, and luckily I got to outkick the last Moroccan, even though we got on the podium by a lot in the end. It was helpful to have the other girls on the team in front of me.

We've gotten fourth several times since I've come here, so it really means a lot to come home with some hardware.

Molly Huddle-Walking away with a medal was the goal coming over here. We got the medal and we talked about it.

The race was hard. There were times where I felt I wasn't moving, and felt like I was standing still. My coach thought that I could get top 20, so I think that it was a successful day.

Emily Sisson-It was a tough race, but I'm really happy with it. We all ran well.

I learned how to run with the group. I've never run with a group of talented runners in a big international race.

Shelby Greany-The race wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Getting out was hard, and I didn't run as well as I thought I would.

I learned how to handle myself in a big international race, and saw how the seniors handled their business, and how other countries handle themselves. It makes you want to train harder and get better.

Trevor Dunbar-I felt really good at the beginning. There were a lot of good people in front of me and that was motivation for me to catch them.

There are a lot of good people here and if you want to be with them, you've got to train hard, and get used to the hard pace.

Andrew Colley-I went out a bit unconservative in order to help get my teammates out and get us some elbow room. Hopefully we were able to do good as a team.

Walter Schafer-It went pretty much as planned. I think I was passing people every lap, and I'm pretty happy with my race.

This race will help me when I get into college next year. This is more of a race that I'm gonna have to get used to. This will make me less nervous when I race against others in the USA.

Ammar Moussa-I came out here with the intent of getting a good race in today. I made sure that I had plenty going into the 5k mark, and at that point I started rolling. I think I must have caught about 20-25 people.

I think what I get out of this race going forward, is that I'll be able to keep my cool and my composure knowing that I've run against the best guys in the world.

Michael Lynch-It was a faster course than what we all thought it would be. I wished I had placed a little higher. I went out easy, and thought I'd have more in the tank that what I actually had. I did what I could but I wished I could have done more.

Andrew Kimpel-It went ok. I think I went out a little conservative at the beginning. I got quite a few people at the end. I was the fourth man, and that gave me a little bit of confidence.

There are a lot of good people out here.

Patrick Smyth-I'm happy with my race, but not ecstatic. For my first world cross country championships, I more than held my own. I hope to be back here next year.

I knew the start was going to be crazy, but not be real conservative, so I wanted to get a good spot. I didn't really move up a lot.

This race will give me confidence going into the season.

Bobby Curtis-I got a little cramp in the middle of the race, lost a few spots, and struggled. It was tough out there.

I think everyone on the team thought they were capable of a top 40 finish, and Patrick was the only one who did that.

Ben Bruce-I was doing what I wanted to do for 2 1/2 laps, and then got hit with a stomach cramp that affected me for the next lap and a half. I just tried to relax and hold my position, and pick a guy or two off. It was a disappointing day, and it's disappointing to run bad in a race this big.

For more information on the 2010 IAAF World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.

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