Gits, Torres score top-20 finishes for Team USA at World Cross Country Championships
EDINBURGH, GBR - Alex Gits (Edina, Minn.) finished 13th in the junior women's race and Jorge Torres (Boulder, Colo.) finished 19th in the senior men's race to lead Team USA at the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships Sunday at Edinburgh's Holyrood Park.
Gits, a freshman at Stanford Universityled the Team USA junior women with a 13th place finish. Despite a fall near 3 km, Gits ran 20:41 for the 6 km course to lead the U.S. squad to a sixth-place finish with 100 points, only one point out of fifth behind Canada. Gits was followed by teammates Emily Schwitzer (Minnetonka, Minn.)in 28th place, Laurynne Chetelat (Davis, Calif.) in 29th, Emily Reese (Chamblee, Ga.) in 30th to round out the team scoring, while Lauren Saylor (Clovis, Calif.) and Marissa Treece (Maple City, Mich.) finished 38th and 44th respectively.
Ethiopia won the team gold, led by Genzebe Dibaba's winning run of 19:59. Kenya was second in the team race with 20 points with Japan taking third with 57 points.
In the junior men's race German Fernandez (Riverbank Calif.) covered the junior men's 8 km in 24:15 to finish 25th, leading Team USA to a sixth-place team finish. Emil Heineking (Hartsgrove, Ohio) finished one second and one place behind Fernandez with Kevin Williams (Lakewood, Colo.) and Ryan Sheridan completing the team scoring with their respective 34th and 52nd place finishes.
The junior men's individual title was won by Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia in 22:38, while Kenya won the team competition with 21 points. Ethiopia was second with 28 and Uganda was third with 37 points.
Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.) led the Team USA senior women to a fourth-place finish, running 8 km in 26:36 for 18th. Teammates Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park,, Minn.), Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.), and Kathy Newberry (Williamsburg, Va.) finished within two seconds of each other to take 22nd, 23rd and 24th places respectively. Renee Metivier (Boulder, Colo.) and Amy Hastings (Flagstaff, Ariz.) finished 49th and 62nd respectively.
Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won her third World Cross Country Championship, running 25:10 to lead Ethiopia to their second team Gold of the day with 18 points. Kenya was second with 22 as Australia took the team bronze ahead of the U.S. by three points with 84.
In the final event of the day,Torres ran 36:03 to finish 19th in the senior men's 12 km, while leading Team USA to a seventh-place team finish. His finish was the first individual top-20 finish for the U.S. in the senior men's race since 2003. Following Torres to round out the team score was Josh Rohatinsky (Portland, Ore.) in 44th, Edwardo Torres (Boulder, Colo.) in 46th, Scott Bauhs (Chico, Calif.) in 52nd, Max King (Eugene, Ore.) in 55th and James Carney (Boulder, Colo.) in 85th.
Kenenisa Bekele completed Ethiopia's sweep of the day's individual titles with his 12th World Cross Country title. After losing a shoe six minutes into the race, Bekele rallied to run 34:38 for the 12 km course. Kenya won the team title with 39 points, while Ethiopia scored 105 and Qatar rounded out the top-three with 144 points.
Team USA Quotes:
Jorge Torres (Boulder, Colo.): I told myself that I wasn't going to be afraid to run with those guys. I'm a little disappointed that I didn't finish in the top 10. I gave it a good honest effort, and that's all that I can ask for
Edwardo Torres (Boulder, Colo.): It was a rough start. It was hard to move around and maneuver around all those people and get up in the top 50.
Josh Rohatinsky (Portland, Ore.): The race went out like I expected. I got out pretty well, so that's nice. The first two laps were just insane. You can't take corners because everyone's going down. It was tough because you really couldn't get into a rhythm. It was one of those races where you had to gut things out. Experience is the best thing I can take home from it.
Max King (Eugene, Ore.): I was really going for top 40-top 50, and if I got that, I'd be pretty happy. I felt like I raced well, even if I was back a ways. It's a tough race, with a lot of work out there.
Ryan Bak (Eugene, Ore.): This course was more of a true cross country course. I think I went out a little too aggressive in the first kilometer. In a race that long, you cant get in too far over your head. It's a great learning experience, and I look forward to coming back to some future world cross country championships and having a much stronger showing.
Scott Bauhs (Chico, Calif.): It was tough, but I'm happy with what I did. Hopefully I get some more juice in my legs. It's a good first one to run. The experience is great, and I'm happy that I'm healthy after this.
Jonathan Pierce (Blowing Rock, N.C.): It's frustrating to go out really had and there are a lot of people ahead of you. I need to come back and do better next time. This race goes to show you how many good people there are in the world.
German Fernandez (Riverbank, Calif.): I decided to run a little conservative because of the muddy conditions. I tried to stay with the guys and help each other out. This week, we've been like a family. Just racing here was something different.
Ryan Sheridan (New Rochelle, N.Y.): It didn't go as well as I had planned. I enjoyed myself. It was fun out there.
Emil Heineking (Hartsgrove, Ohio): I started out in the front of the box, and got out pretty quick. I went with whatever felt good, which ended up being a little too fast for the first two laps. I feel like I have a ways to go if I want to compete internationally. I have to work hard if I want to run in something like this again.
Bobby Moldovan (Fort Wayne, Ind.): I got a side cramp about 2k into the race, and tried to fight it, hoping that it would go away. Instead, it kept getting worse, and I couldn't go. It was a great experience.
Kevin Williams (Lakewood, Colo.): I think it went really well. We talked about running as a pack. Ryan, German, and I ran in a pack the first half of the race, and move up. I think it went out a little fast, and I lost some spots on the last lap. It's been an amazing time being here. This has been the best week of my life.
Benjamin Johnson (Albuquerque, N.M.): I said going into the race that the muddier the course, the better it is for me. Normally, the guys who have long strides would get eaten alive, but not today. I went out a little slower, and went out with Kevin. It was hard to see the rest of the guys, as they were in the pack, and I was at the end of the pack..
Katie McGregor (Minneapolis, Minn.): Overall, I thought we did a great job. I sort of got lost for a bit there, but when the other girls started moving up, it helped. It's great when all of your teammates come together.
Amy Hastings (Flagstaff, Ariz.): I think that the people who started up front slowed it down. It (taking the lead early) might not have been the best move for me, but I learned what not to do for future races.
Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.): It felt really good that it was such a team effort out there. I think we had different race strategies today, but we ended up together, and that made us stronger as a team. I am trying to decide what my track distance will be this spring. I may end up running the 5k, but it gives me confidence knowing that I can move up to 10k.
Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.): I really didn't know what to expect. The only thing that kept me from panicking during fhe race was looking for another girl with a USA jersey. We really helped each other a lot.
Alex Gits (Edina, Minn.): I knew I was going to get nice and muddy. I didn't want that front pack to gain so much distance, so I just took a few quick steps and got right back up there.
Emily Reese (Chamblee, Ga.): I usually like to start pretty fast, and after I bit, I noticed that I was up there with the Kenyans, so I slowed down just a bit. When I slowed down just for a little bit, everyone just jumped on me. It was certainly fun being in a race this big.
Marissa Treece (Maple City, Mich.): I didn't have a great placing overall. I got stuck in no-man's land. My kick wasn't too bad, but the rest of my race didn't go over too well. There's a lot of people that are a lot better than me. When you get out on this stage, you find out that you're not that big any more.
Emily Schwitzer (Minnetonka, Minn.): I made sure that I went out slower, as I tend to get intimidated. I tried to gain confidence by picking people off. I learned to run in the pack and keep my arms out, look up, and take the turns wide.
Lauren Saylor (Clovis, Calif.): It was a great experience. I didn't have any serious goals in mind, as I didn't know what to expect. I just went out there, tried to have fun, and use this as a learning experience for the future. I was a bit back there, but I wanted to make sure that on the last lap, that I was going to crank it all the way.
Laurynne Chetelat (Davis, Calif.): I had a great time. I tried a new strategy of going out slower and building up, something that Lauren Saylor had talked about. It seemed to work out pretty good for me today. I didn't find the hill too intimidating, and actually had a fun time in the mud. This race has taught me not to get too excited in the beginning, and concentrate on how I feel.
For more information on the 2008 World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.