Winners Dominate at 2011 USATF Cross Country Championships

By David Monti
February 5, 2011

(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

SAN DIEGO (05-Feb) -- In dominant fashion, the six winners at today's USA Cross Country Championships won their respective races by comfortable margins here in Mission Bay Park.  The event, contested for the second time here in four years, selected the junior and senior teams for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships next month in Punta Umbria, Spain, where athletes will compete in similarly warm and sunny conditions.

In the senior women's 8-kilometer race, reigning Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Shalane Flanagan not only won as expected, but ran away from the field.  After the second of four 2-kilometer loops, Flanagan already had a 25-second lead over her top rival and last year's runner-up, Molly Huddle.  Just four seconds behind Huddle, Olympian Magdalena Lewy Boulet and Flanagan's training partner Lisa Koll battled for third.  Never looking behind her, Flanagan nearly doubled her lead over the next loop, and romped to the finish line in 25:47, 21 seconds slower than she covered the same course when she won here in 2008.  Flanagan, 29, the second place finisher at last November's ING New York City Marathon, secured her third national cross country title in four years.

"No, it wasn't," Flanagan replied when asked by a reporter if today's victory was easy.  She continued: "I hurt today.  The fitness is there.  I didn't feel super sharp today, but the strength was there."

Behind Flanagan, Koll caught Huddle with a lap to go, but the USA 5000m record holder surged away from last year's NCAA 5000m and 10,000m champion to collect second place honors in 26:31.

"I caught up to her with about 2-K to go," explained Koll who finished ten seconds behind Huddle and qualified for her first-ever national team.  "She made a move at the same point and I didn't have enough snap in my legs."

Magdalena Lewy Boulet (27:02), Blake Russell (27:06), and Alisa McKaig (27:07) rounded out the team spots.  Kara Goucher, still on the comeback trail from giving birth to son Colton last September, finished seventh in 27:37.  She is training for the NYC Half-Marathon on March 20, and the Boston Marathon on April 18.

Vaughn Dominates Men's Race

While Flanagan's victory was expected, Brent Vaughn's in the senior men's 12-K was not.  The 26 year-old former University of Colorado Buffalo didn't even plan to run this event.  He had been in Houston a week ago to contest the USA Half-Marathon Championships.  He was aggressive in that race, leading through the first half, but he was unable to finish, dropping out at about the 8-mile mark.  He said that as he walked back to his hotel in Houston he thought of quitting the sport, but changed his mind.

"Because of the fitness I knew I was in, my confidence in my coach and my confidence in my ability, I decided, you know, I've got to race," said Vaughn.  "I didn't want to waste this fitness.  I've been working too hard."

It was in the fourth lap of the 6-lap, 12-K contest that Vaughn, 26, broke free of the lead pack, and established an 11-second lead.  He picked up another four seconds on the next lap as his closest pursuers, the Oregon Track Club's Andrew Bumbalough and Matt Tegenkamp, realized that they were battling for second.

"He kind of came out of nowhere," Bumbalough said of Vaughn.  "When he went, he want hard."

Vaughn was never seriously challenged during the second half of the race.  He sailed over the emerald grass course to win by six seconds in 35:46.  His victory represented both his first-ever national title and international team berth.

"I can't really put it into words," he said of what it will mean to put on the Team USA uniform in Spain next month.  "I'm going to have a hard time sleeping tonight."

Bumbalough, who hung on for second in 35:52, was also very pleased with his performance for coach Jerry Schumacher.

"It was finally a winter of fitness instead of injury," said the former Georgetown University Hoya.

Ed Moran passed Tegenkamp to take third, 35:54 to 36:01.  Ben True got fifth (36:03) and Brian Olinger sixth (36:05) to fill out the six-man team.  Several pre-race favorites fared poorly, including Olympians Jorge Torres (10th) and Abdi Abdirahman (29th), and two-time World Cross team member Scott Bauhs (DNF).

Cuffe Cruises in Juniors
Cornwall, N.Y., high school senior Aisling Cuffe crushed the junior women's field by nearly half a minute, clipping through the 6 km course in 21:13.  She left her most serious rivals, Molly Grabill and Katie Flood, after the first of three laps to make her first national team.  The 17 year-old, twice the USA junior champion at 5000m, was clearly thrilled to be headed to her first global championships.

"It was a little tougher than I thought it would be the last K," said Cuffe who could not suppress her joy.  She added: "I'm so excited.  Like, last year I was hoping to go to Canada (for the IAAF World Junior Championships), and I missed it (because she did not have a qualifying time)."

Grabill finished second in 21:39, and Flood third in 21:43.  Two 14 year-olds, Emma Abrahamson (10th) and Alana Hadley (19th) made the top-20.

Stanford University's Erik Olson also dominated in winning the junior men's race.  The bronze medallist in the junior division at the NACAC Cross Country Championships last year accelerated midway through the penultimate lap, breaking away from the field, covering the 8 km course in 24:48, and winning by nine seconds.  Maxwell Straneva of Syracuse University finished next in 24:57, and Craig Lutz of Lewisville Marcus High School in Texas was third (25:06).

"Really, for me, the last 3-K is when I tried to drop the hammer," said Olson who runs for Stanford University.  "I just felt like my strength this past winter... allowed me to push with 3-K to go."

Olson was unconcerned by the early front-running of UCLA freshman Dustin Fay, who was caught in the second lap and would eventually finish 35th.

"Eight-K is a pretty long distance," Olson said.  "It's pretty hard to lead from start to finish.  If it happened to be, like, Dathan Ritzenhein, I'd be a little more worried."

The overall masters (40+) titles went to two athletes in the 45-49 category, Colleen De Reuck and Peter Magill.  De Reuck's win over the 8 km course in 28:47 was expected, and she beat her nearest rival, triathlete Joanna Zeiger, by more than a minute and a half.  Magill, 49, upset Gray Mavhera, 41, and Christian Cushing-Murray, 43, running 26:17.  Magill turns 50 in four months and could become the first-ever 50 year-old to break 15 minutes for 5-kilometers.

"That's my only individual goal this year," said Magill who works in the research department of a California law firm.  He credited his success to training wisely, and not trying to do the workouts he did 25 years ago.

"I don't train like an idiot," Magill quipped.  "Most masters runners train too hard.  You have to adjust every day."

Full Results Here: Top Results Below

Men:

 Place   NO. NAME                     AGE TEAM/CITY                        Finish  Pace
   ===== ===== ======================== === =============================== ======= =====
      1.   807 Brent Vaughn              26 Black Hawk, CO                    35:46  4:46
      2.   712 Andrew Bumbalough         23 Portland, OR                      35:52  4:46
      3.   760 Edward Moran              29 Williamsburg, VA                  35:54  4:47
      4.   808 Matt Tegenkamp            29 Portland, OR                      36:01  4:48
      5.   779 Benjamin True             25 Hanover, NH                       36:03  4:48
      6.   714 Brian Olinger             27 Westerville, OH                   36:05  4:48
      7.   766 Max King                  30 Bend, OR                          36:11  4:49
      8.   713 Andrew Carlson            28 Saint Paul, MN                    36:20  4:50
      9.   723 David Jankowski           26 Blowing Rock, NC                  36:29  4:51
     10.   761 Jorge Torres              30 Boulder, CO                       36:36  4:52
     11.   720 Robert Cheseret           27 Colorado Springs, CO              36:37  4:52
     12.   765 Bobby Mack                26 Raleigh, NC                       36:38  4:52
     13.   801 Colin Leak                24 Ann Arbor, MI                     36:44  4:53
     14.   776 Jeremy Johnson            26 Albuquerque, NM                   36:45  4:53
     15.   792 Jacques Sallberg          36 Pasadena, CA                      36:53  4:54
     16.   767 Craig Curley              22 Tucson, AZ                        36:59  4:55
     17.   800 Charlie Serrano           26 Simi Valley, CA                   37:01  4:56
     18.   773 Benjamin Bruce            28 Springfield, OR                   37:07  4:56
     19.   785 Matthew Gabrielson        32 Minneapolis, MN                   37:13  4:57
     20.   711 Jason Hartmann            29 Boulder, CO                       37:27  4:59
Women
      1.   643 Shalane Flanagan          29 Portland, OR                    25:47  5:07
      2.   623 Molly Huddle              26 Providence, RI                  26:31  5:16
      3.   646 Lisa Koll                 23 Portland, OR                    26:41  5:18
      4.   669 Magdalena Lewy Boulet     37 Oakland, CA                     27:02  5:22
      5.   622 Blake Russell             35 Pacific Grove, CA               27:06  5:23
      6.   626 Alissa McKaig             24 Blowing Rock, NC                27:07  5:23
      7.   666 Kara Goucher              32 Portland, OR                    27:37  5:29
      8.   627 Kim Conley                24 West Sacramento, CA             27:50  5:32
      9.   619 Megan Duwell              24 Flagstaff, AZ                   27:58  5:33
     10.   660 Allison Kieffer           23 Tempe, AZ                       27:59  5:34
     11.   628 Gwen Jorgensen            24 Milwaukee, WI                   28:00  5:34
     12.   665 Kara June                 28 Austin, TX                      28:09  5:36
     13.   649 Katherine Newberry        32 Ann Arbor, MI                   28:19  5:37
     14.   674 Nicole Feest              27 Fort Collins, CO                28:25  5:39
     15.   618 Meghan Armstrong          25 Richfield, MN                   28:27  5:39
     16.   614 Jamie Cheever             23 Minneapolis, MN                 28:32  5:40
     17.   607 Anne Bersagel             27 New Balance Silicon Valley      28:45  5:43
     18.   644 Kate Niehaus              22 Stanford, CA                    29:13  5:48
     19.   653 Amy Mortimer              29 Leonardville, KS                29:17  5:49
     20.   671 Magdalena Donahue         29 Albuquerque, NM                 29:20  5:50

Junior Boys
      1.   540 Erik Olson                18 Novato, CA                      24:48  4:56
      2.   519 Maxwell Straneva          18 Binghamton, NY                  24:57  4:57
      3.   529 Craig Lutz                18 Highland Village, TX            25:06  4:59
      4.   576 Justin Vilhauer           19 Visalia, CA                     25:09  5:00
      5.   528 Ryan Poland               19 Westminster, CO                 25:16  5:01
      6.   501 Ammar Moussa              17 O'Brien's Army                  25:20  5:02
      7.   548 Jacob Benn                18 San Antonio, TX                 25:21  5:02
      8.   571 David Perry               18 Portland, OR                    25:23  5:03
      9.   547 Matthew McElroy           18 Huntington Beach, CA            25:27  5:03
     10.   537 Clint McKelvey            18 Maryville, TN                   25:28  5:04

Junior Girls
      1.   421 Aisling Cuffe             17 Cornwall On Hudson, NY          21:13  5:36
      2.   453 Molly Grabill             18 Poway, CA                       21:39  5:43
      3.   441 Katie Flood               18 Des Moines. IA                  21:43  5:44
      4.   449 Sierra Vega               18 Santa Ana, CA                   22:00  5:48
      5.   401 Julie Nacouzi             17 Buffalo Chips Running Club      22:09  5:50
      6.   452 Hannah Valenzuela         17 Apple Valley, CA                22:17  5:53
      7.   443 Chelsea Orr               19 Sammamish, WA                   22:22  5:54
      8.   412 Julia Foster              17 Wings of America                22:22  5:54
      9.   435 Alexis Goldsmith          18 Orland Park, IL                 22:35  5:57
     10.   423 Emma Abrahamson           14 Carlsbad, Ca                    22:36  5:58

Masters Men
  
   1. Peter Magill             49 M   Compex Racing -B                  26:17  5:13
   2. Gray Mavhera             41 M   Compex Racing                     26:38  5:18
   3. Christian Cushing-murray 43 M   Compex Racing                     26:46  5:19
   4. Rusty Snow               41 M   Santa Barbara Athletic Assn.      26:52  5:20
   5. Tim Julian               40 M   Portland, Or                      27:09  5:24
   6. Mike Blackmore           49 M   Eugene, Or                        27:20  5:26
   7. James Johnson            42 M   Fleet Feet Sports Boulder Racin   27:22  5:26
   8. Everett Whiteside        40 M   Pensacola, Fl                     27:23  5:26
   9. Danny Martinez           48 M   Alhambra, Ca                      27:28  5:27
  10. Tony Torres              41 M   Compex Racing                     27:37  5:29
Masters Women
   1. Colleen De Reuck          46 F      Running Republic of Boulder       28:47  5:43
   2. Joanna Zeiger             40 F      Running Republic of Boulder       30:21  6:02
   3. Tania Fischer             44 F      The Janes Elite Racing            30:36  6:05
   4. Carmen Ayala-Troncoso     51 F      Austin, Tx                        31:15  6:13
   5. Beth Ellickson            44 F      Glendale, Az                      32:05  6:22
   6. Laura Stuart              45 F      Encinitas, Ca                     32:21  6:26
   7. Lisa Goldsmith            46 F      Fleet Feet Boulder - Real Women   32:52  6:32
   8. Rosalva Bonilla           48 F      Big Bear City, Ca                 33:05  6:34
   9. Kathryn Martin            59 F      Northport, NY                     33:39  6:41
  10. Linda Vigil               42 F      Carlsbad, Ca                      33:48  6:43


PHOTOS:
Brent Vaughn pulls away from the field on his way to victory at the senior men's race at the 2011 USA Cross Country Championships in San Diego (photo by Jane Monti).

Aisling Cuffe took the lead in the third kilometer to win the women's junior race at the 2011 USA Cross Country Championships in San Diego (photo by Jane Monti).

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