A number of athletes with ties to the state of Washington will travel across the country to Bethlehem, PA., for Saturday's USATF national club cross country championships on the Lehigh University cross country course.
Leading the group of Washington athletes are Angela Bizzarri (left/photo by Paul Merca) and Amanda Mergaert of the Seattle-based Brooks Beasts TC. Bizzarri, a former NCAA cross country champion, finished fourth in this meet last year. Mergaert joined the Brooks Beasts in September, and moved to the Seattle area from the Sacramento area.
Western Washington alum and former NCAA D2 cross country champ Sarah Crouch, who finished sixth (seventh before the disqualification of Kenya's Rita Jeptoo) in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon in a PR 2:32:44 in October, is also listed among the entries for Saturday's race, as are Eastern Washington alum and 2013 world cross country team member Mattie Suver, Bellingham HS alum Becca Friday, and Gonzaga University alum Lindsey Drake.
Seattle based Club Northwest will field a team in the women's race, led by Oregon alum Katie Conlon.
On the men's side, Bellingham native and Stanford alum Jake Riley, the 2012 USATF club cross country champ who now competes for the Hansons/Brooks Distance Project in Michigan, is entered. Riley is coming off an 11th place finish (second American) at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, where he ran 2:13:16 in his marathon debut.
Riley will face off against a field that includes former Stanford teammate and reigning USA cross country champ Chris Derrick, along with Matt Tegenkamp, Chris Solinsky and German Fernandex of the Nike Bowerman TC from Beaverton.
Others entered in the meet include Washington alum Jake Schmitt, Western Washington alum Jordan Welling, and a Club Northwest team led by Gonzaga alums Chris Boyle and Brett Winegar.
The women's 6k gets underway at 12:45pm, eastern time, while the men's 10k starts at 1:30pm eastern. USATF.tv will provide on-demand video of the races, which features many of the country's top club teams and individuals. The top six finishers in each of the two races may be selected to represent the USA at the 2015 BUPA Edinburgh Cross Country meet in Scotland next month.
According to USA Track & Field Cross Country Council chair Mike Scott, the entries for the meet, which includes men's and women's masters races, has topped 1800 athletes, making it the largest meet since the 2012 edition at Seattle's Jefferson Park Golf Course.