Thursday, December 8, 2011

USATF National Club Cross Country Championships set for Saturday in South Seattle...

Defending individual champion Aaron Braun (left/photo by Mike Scott) of Flagstaff, Arizona along with his teammates and two-time men’s team titlists McMillan Elite will join more than 100 USATF club teams Saturday at the 2011 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships at the Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle, using the same course as the 2010 Pac-10 championship meet.

The 14th annual USATF National Club Cross Country Championships features America’s top post-collegiate club teams from across the United States vying for top honors and bragging rights as the nation's top cross country team. More than 1,100 competitors are entered in 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 $30,000, with $25,000 going to the top open teams.

In the women’s 6k team race, the Boulder Running Company/adidas will toe the line looking for their third team title but will face three-time team champion Boston Athletic Association, as well as teams from the New York Athletic Club and New Balance Silicon Valley.

Contenders for the individual title will include Julie Culley of the New York Athletic Club, Sara Vaughn of the Bowerman Athletic Club and reigning NCAA Division II cross country champ Neely Spence (Shippensburg, Pa.) and Bellarmine Prep alum Brie Felnagle of Tacoma, running unattached.

Washington alum Katie Follett is also entered in the meet.

The race for the individual title will feature defending champion Braun and McMillan Elite teammates Brett Gotcher and Nick Arciniaga. Joining the race for individual honors will be Max King and Ryan Bak of the Central Oregon Running Klub; Phillip Reid and Sergio Reyes of the Asics Aggies; and local favorite Mike Sayenko of Club Northwest.

Arciniaga, Reyes & Sayenko all represented Team USA this summer in the marathon at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Daegu.

Former Stanford star and 2008 US Olympian at 5000 meters, Ian Dobson, is also entered in the field.

A minimum of three athletes from Saturday's senior men's and women's races will select themselves for inclusion on Team USA at the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country race in Edinburgh, Scotland based on descending order.

Club teams will not be subject to the logo and uniform regulations that were a big source of contention at  last week's USATF convention in St. Louis, after an agreement was reached between USATF and the Athletes Advisory Council.  Teams will be required to wear similar looking attire.

Meet entries in the open races are available here.

The championships get under way at 9 am with a community race, with the disabled club championships at 9:45. The masters women's 6k goes at 10:45, followed by the masters men's 10k an hour later.

The open women race over 6k at 1:00, followed by the open men's 10k at 1:45 pm.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

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