INDIANAPOLIS - Members of the Team USA World Cross Country squad are making final preparations for competition at the 37th IAAF World Cross Country Championships at Bisharat Golf Course in Amman, Jordan on March 28.
The U.S. junior men's squad will feature a trio of college freshmen that could lead Team USA to a team medal. Leading the junior men will be two-time USA Junior Cross Country Champion German Fernandez (Stilwater, Okla.), a freshman at Oklahoma State University.
While Fernandez is considered by many to be a medal contender in Amman, Stanford University freshman Chris Derrick (Naperville, Ill.), the runner-up at the recent USA Cross Country Championships, and University of Oregon freshman Luke Puskedra (Eugene, Ore.), third at the championships, could see potential top-15 finishes as well.
Ryan Hill (Hickory, N.C.), this year's North American Central American Caribbean Cross Country junior champion, and Syracuse University athletes Patrick DuPont (Fairport, N.Y.) and Francisco Medrano (Lafayette, Ind.) will round out a solid U.S. squad.
Team USA's junior women will be led by USA Junior Cross Country champion Neely Spence (Shippensburg, Pa.), the Shippensburg State freshman and 2008 NCAA Division II cross country runner-up. Joining Spence in Amman will be Ashley Brasovan (Wellington, Fla.), the runner-up to Spence at the 2009 USA Championships and 2007 Foot Locker Cross Country champion. Alexandra Dunne (San Clemente, Calif.), Allison McLaughlin (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Sara Vaughn (Tulsa, Okla.), and Emily Pritt (North Canton, Ohio) round out the roster.
The senior women of Team USA will be led by five-time World Cross Country team member Katy Newberry (Williamsburg, Va.) and will also feature Julie Culley (Arlington, Va.), the runner-up at the 2009 USA Cross Country Championships in Derwood, Md.; Samia Akbar (Herndon, Va.), the most decorated female runner in school history at American University; Rebecca Donaghue (State College, Pa.), the fall national XC champion; and Delilah DiCrescenzo (New York, N.Y.), the 2007 fall national XC champion.
The third-place finisher from the 2009 USA championships, Bobby Curtis (Ardmore, Pa.), leads the senior men into Amman as a member of his first U.S. team. Curtis will benefit from the experience of his five teammates; the trio of Ed Moran (Williamsburg, Va.) and Ed Torres (Boulder, Colo.), and Max King (Bend, Ore.), competed at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships, while Ryan Vail (Gresham, Ore.) and Bret Gotcher (Flagstaff, Ariz.) have represented Team USA as juniors. Vail raced in St. Galmier in 2005 and Gotcher in Lausanne in 2003.
A total prize purse of $140,000 will go to individuals placing in the top-six in both the men's and women's senior races with $30,000 going to the champions, while another $140,000 is on the line for the top-six teams in the senior divisions with the top men's and women's teams receiving $20,000.
For more information on the 2009 World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.