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By David Monti

(c) 2005 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with Permission.
VANCOUVER, WASH. (13-Feb) -- The rain and wind passed by this port city on the Columbia River today, allowing the sun to shine on three of America's top young distance running stars: Galen Rupp, Dathan Ritzenhein and Shalane Flanagan.  Each was victorious on the second and final day of the U.S. National Cross Country Championships at the Fort Vancouver Historic Site.

Rupp, 18, the U.S. junior record holder for 5000m, controlled the pace of the junior men's 8 km by letting the pace go slack early on.  All of his competitors knew he was so much stronger, that they wouldn't dare push the pace on him.

 "I just wanted to make it as easy as possible from the start," said Rupp who is coached by marathon legend, Alberto Salazar in the Nike Oregon Project.

At the beginning of the third of the four 2-km loops, Rupp and Stuart Eagon from the University of Wisconsin had built up a small lead on the rest of the field. Then Rupp used some speed changes to break the race open, holding a six second lead by the end of the third lap.

"I threw in a couple of surges in the second and third laps," explained Rupp.

Rupp's lead grew to a comfortable level by the time he headed for the home straight on the last lap, winning in 25:13.9, eight seconds over Eagon.  He said he was primarily in a strength phase of training but he planned to peak for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in St. Galmier, France next month.

"His goal was to run as easily as possible," said Salazar.  "I'm pleased.  It looked very easy."

 Despite Sore Foot, Flanagan Prevails

Former University of North Carolina star Shalane Flanagan won the open women's 4 km title by leading from gun to tape.  About 1500 meters into the first of two laps, she already had a four second lead over Shayne Culpepper, Missy Buttry, Blake Russell and Lauren Fleshman, the latter two doubling back after running the 8 km yesterday.

"I was a little bit surprised that it went out that quickly," said Flanagan who was joined briefly in the early going by 800m runner, Nicole Teter.  She said that staying in front allowed her to stay clear of trouble and find the best footing for her sore left foot, which was heavily taped around the arch.

"I just have some tendonitis under my navicular bone," said Flanagan after the race as she iced her foot.  She shook off the notion that it was a serious problem, despite that fact that she was visibly limping after the race.  "I think if I treat it aggressively (it should be OK)," she summarized.  "I've never been injured (before)."

Culpepper held second position to the finish line, and she and Flanagan said that they would both contest the World Championships.  Third place finisher Missy Buttry, the NCAA Division III star from Wartburg College, will also probably take a 4 km team spot, along with fifth placer Fleshman and sixth place finisher Amy Mortimer.  Russell, who made the team in yesterday in the 8 km is officially undecided, but if she passes up her 4 km spot it would fall to seventh place Kelly Strong (formerly Kelly MacDonald).

Ritz Rules

 Dathan Ritzenhein lived up to his billing as race favorite, manhandling the field in the open men's 12 km.  He pumped his right arm in the air as he ran alone down the finish straight to win by 14 seconds over Jorge Torres.  Tim Broe, doubling back from his 4 km victory, finished third another 13 seconds behind.

 Ritzenhein had company in the early going from Alan Webb.  The top-ranked U.S. miler insisted on doubling at these championships, and he ran aggressively right from the gun.  He and Ritzenhein opened a small lead early in the second of six laps.

"Alan latched on my back," recounted Ritzenhein, "probably the last guy I thought would be there."  He then added, "It was good to race him again."

 Webb lasted only 5 km and then dropped out at the far end of the course, allowing Ritzenhein to glide around the grass loop unhindered.  Behind him Torres was locked into second place about 15 seconds back, but well ahead of a trailing group which included Broe, Jason Lehmkuhle, Ian Dobson and University of Wisconsin freshman, Matt Withrow, a junior (b. 26-Dec-1985).  Paul Kezes, who finished 11th in the 4-K yesterday, was just a few steps back in seventh place.

"I gotta make a team sometime," said Kezes before the race.

 The victory assured, Ritzenhein allowed himself to enjoy the final meters and acknowledge the cheers of the crowd.  He didn't even taper for this race.

"I ran 100 miles a week the last four weeks," he revealed.

 After Broe, the other team spots went to Withrow, Lehmkuhle and Dobson, but Kezes will make the team because Broe has already said that his cross country season is over.  Withrow, who is from Tinley Park, Ill. was ecstatic about his performance. 

 "Holy crap," he said.  "Unbelievable, unbelievable."



 1. Galen Rupp, 18, Portland, OR                25:13.9   

 2. Stuart Eagon, 18, Madison, WI               25:22.0   

 3. Hakon DeVries, 18, Stanford, CA             25:27.7   

 4. Christopher Landry, 18, Falls Church, VA    25:33.2   

 5. Jeremy Mineau, 19, Seattle, WA              25:40.0   

 6. Ryan Vail, 18, Gresham, OR                  25:42.2    Oklahoma State

 7. Bradley Harkrader, 18, Boulder, CO          25:46.6    Univ of Colorado

 8. Dave Mock, 18, Johnstown, PA                25:59.8   

 9. Stephan Shay, 19, East Jordan, MI           26:03.7   

10. Timothy McLeod, 18, Tucson, AZ              26:06.0



 1. Shalane Flanagan, 23, Pittsboro, NC        13:24.3    *Nike

 2. Shayne Culpepper, 31, Lafayette, CO        13:27.0    *Nike

 3. Melissa Buttry, 22, Shenandoah, IA         13:29.5    Wartburg College

 4. Blake Russell, 29, Marina, CA              13:30.0    *Reebok

 5. Lauren Fleshman, 23, Palo Alto, CA         13:30.9    *Nike

 6. Amy Mortimer, 23, West Roxbury, MA         13:38.7    *Reebok

 7. Kelly Strong, 26, Seattle, WA              13:47.8    *Asics

 8. Heather Sagan, 24, Forest, VA              13:51.3    *adidas

 9. Sabrina Monroe, 24, Rochester Hills, MI    13:51.7    Hansons-Brooks DistPr

10. Patricia Nervo, 27, Salem, VA              13:58.7



 1. Dathan Ritzenhein, 22, Boulder, CO          36:59.9    *Nike

 2. Jorge Torres, 24, Boulder, CO               37:14.2    *Reebok

 3. Tim Broe, 27, Ann Arbor, MI                 37:27.0    *adidas

 4. Matt Withrow, 19, Madison, WI               37:32.4   

 5. Jason Lehmkuhle, 27, St. Paul, MN           37:33.5    *Asics

 6. Ian Dobson, 23, Stanford, CA                37:34.4    The Farm Team, Inc.

 7. Paul Kezes, 25, Eugene, OR                  37:40.8    Team XO

 8. Matthew Gabrielson, 26, Apple Valley, MN    37:54.1    *Reebok

 9. Joe Driscoll, 25, Lenoir, NC                38:11.1    Zap Fitness

10. Peter Gilmore, 27, Menlo Park, CA           38:15.9   


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