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By David Monti
(c) 2008 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
November 24, 2008

Reigning USA junior cross country champion, German Fernandez, sustained a serious Achilles tendon injury before dropping out of today's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships in Terre Haute, Ind., with less than two kilometers to go.  Fernandez is a freshman at Oklahoma State University, and had a realistic shot at making the podium.

Fernandez, the 2008 Big 12 cross country champion, joined teammates Ryan Vail and John Kosgei in moving up the pack throughout the race. The three had gotten up to the second wave of runners in the field when Fernandez sustained his injury and went down.

"This was a tough break for us but this is how it goes sometimes," said Cowboys coach Dave Smith in a statement posted on the team's website.  "Ryan, German and John did a great job of moving up the pack and were in a good position when the injury happened. It’s very disappointing, but that’s how it goes. We were looking at a very high finish – probably second or third – but injuries are part of the sport and we have to accept that."

Doctors will examine Fernandez when he returns to Stillwater where the university is located, but the initial assessment is that the injury is serious.

"German will need a lot of time off, but we won't know how much time until the doctors look at him," Smith concluded.

Oklahoma State finished eight in the championship with 205 points.  They were ranked second going into the meet.

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