The Best High School Cross Country Runners Of All Time: The Week That Was In Running - December 6 - December 12, 2010

To read last week's LRC Week That Was, click Here.
To read any 2010
LRC Week That Was, click Here
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By LetsRun.com
December 15, 2010

The Recommended Read

We're going to spice things up this week and start the week with our Recommended Reads because we want to basically beg everyone to read Amby Burfoot's piece in Runners world entitled The Turning Point on the historic 2000 Foot Locker cross-country championships that featured three eventual American record holders in Alan Webb (mile), Dathan Ritzenhein (5,000) and Ryan Hall (half marathon and American-born marathon) and on the resurgence of US distance running. The piece is an absolute must-read as it gets at the true greatness and history of the Foot Locker cross-country championships, (which sadly may be dying a slow death thanks to NXN but that's for another article), and the true greatness of Webb, Ritz and Hall, and particularly Ritz on that December day 10 years ago.


Ritz leading Webb.
More 2000 FL photos on the FL site.

The piece includes the following exchange between Dathan Ritzenhein and his coach Brad Prins. Our Quote Of The Week #1 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day):

    "Do you know how you're going to beat Alan Webb tomorrow?" Prins asked.

    Duh, by destroying him and everyone else in the first mile like I've been doing all year long?

    "You're going to go out slow and take it easy the first mile," Prins continued. "I don't care what the pace is. But as soon as you hit the mile, you're going to sprint and sprint and keep on sprinting until you break everyone."

That's exactly what Ritz did and in the end, he had won his second-straight title by an incredible 20 seconds over two runners who would eventually be two of the greatest in America's history. Ritz, who did as many as 32 x 400 in high school, was simply unbeatable and left Webb totally dumbfounded as Webb said, "I'd never been broken so far from the finish. I couldn't believe what was happening."

Ritz's destruction of Webb and Hall was so special it almost destroyed himself, as Ritz admitted: "I was hurting so bad the last two miles. I kept going by telling myself, You only have to hurt another 10 minutes. If you don't keep pushing, you'll regret it the rest of your life."

More: The Turning Point

Additional Recommended Reads/Clicks
*Ritz Over Webb Over Hall At Foot Locker
*Ben St. Lawrence Has Gone From Overweight Boozer (Photo To Prove It) To Aussie Star
*The Stars Of Track And Field Party In Monaco *Wejo's Photo Gallery 1 *
Pro Photo Gallery 2
*Kenya's 1st-Ever Olympic Medallist Wilson Chumo Doesn't Mind Lack Of Accolades
*Michael Aish Talks About Trying To Make It As A Pro
*Meet "The Next Sonia" - Ciara Mageean At 15, she was the Irish 1,500 champ. She might make an NCAA school real happy real soon.


Speaking of Foot Locker cross-country, the 2010 edition was held last week and the big thing to come out of it was the fact that the two favorites in Lukas Verzbicas and Aisling Cuffe proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are the best prep harriers in the land, as Verzbicas became the third boy in 31 races to repeat as champ and Cuffe won by a ridiculous 34 seconds. Into the regional races? The Midwest dominated both, particularly the boys, as the Midwest took the top 3 spots in the boys race.


More FL Photos at TrackandFieldphoto.com

As for the individual winners, what does the future hold for them? Who knows?

One of our favorite statistically-oriented websites is the New York-centered tullyrunners.com website, which is run by scientist Bill Meylan. Don't know of Tully Runners? Not a surprise unless you are from New York. Basically, Meylan looks at cross-country ratings and assigns a speed rating to each performance so it's possible to compare performances on different courses or even on the same course in different conditions - much like the Beyer speed ratings for horse racing.

The ratings are simply amazing in our book. For bigger meets, he sometimes goes outside of New York to create speed ratings. He's created speed ratings for all of the Foot Locker races since 1997 and all of the champions since 1990.

How do Cuffe and Verzbicas stand?

Well, Cuffe's race on Saturday is ranked by Meylan as the 4th-best performance ever by a girl. That's the good news. The bad news is we're not sure if you want to be ranked as the fourth best HS girl in history. If you want proof that many of the high school superstars are not the post-collegiate stars on the women's side, then look no further than Meylan's stats. If you compare the top 10 performers from Foot Locker since 1990 on the boys and girls side, the results are pretty stunning.

On the girls side, there are a number of NCAA All-Americans but there is only one NCAA champ among the bunch and zero Olympians. Yes, that's right, zero. Three of the nine, not counting Cuffe, weren't an NCAA All-American.

On the boys side, the top high school boys have turned out to be pretty much the top professional and college runners. All 10 of them were NCAA All-Americans. Of the eight that have already graduated from college, seven all eight of them were NCAA champions.Yes ladies and gentlman a perfect 8 for 8 in terms of NCAA champions.

So on the girls side, three weren't NCAA All-Americans, whereas among the boys, only three weren't NCAA champions (and we can certainly see Chris Derrick winning one before he graduates). The only graduated man who wasn't an NCAA champion was Stanford's Ian Dobson and he's no slouch. He's run 13:15 and made the 2008 US Olympic team. (Thanks to one of the guys in the top 10 for writing and pointing out that Ian Dobson won an NCAA indoor title in addition to being an Olympian)

On the boys side, five of the eight that have graduated are US Olympians and one of them who isn't an Olympian - Chris Solinsky - is most likely going to be one.

Compare for yourself. The top 10 Foot Locker performers since 1990 according to Meylan are as follows:

Girls

  1. Amber Trotter 2001 - Went to Middlebury (D3) and didn't compete.
  2. Melody Fairchild 1990 - NCAA champ.
  3. Julia Stamps 1994 - 6-time All-American.
  4. Aisling Cuffe 2010 - Going to Stanford next year.
  5. Jordan Hasay 2005 - At Oregon now, stud.
  6. Aislinn Ryan 2004 - Never an All-American. Ran at Colorado.
  7. Erin Sullivan 1997 - All-American at least twice in cross (her 1998 Foot Locker performance was ranked as 8th-best performance).
  8. Erika Odlaug 2001 - Never an All-American. Went to Colorado.
  9. Sara Bei 2000 - 7-time All-American.
  10. Natasha Roetter 2001 - 1-time All-American in XC.

# of Olympians - 0
# of NCAA champions - 1
# of All-Americans - 6

Boys

  1. Dathan Ritzenhein 2000 - NCAA cross-country champion. Olympian. Former AR holder in 5,000 (his 1999 Foot Locker performance was ranked as #4 performance).
  2. Adam Goucher 1993 - 4-time NCAA champ. Olympian.
  3. Chris Solinsky 2002 - 5-time NCAA champion, American 10k record holder, #2 all-time at 5,000.
  4. Donald Sage 1999 - 2002 NCAA 1,500 champion.
  5. Michael Fout 2007 - Runs at FSU, just earned 1st All-American certificate in XC.
  6. Ian Dobson 1999 - 13:15 5,000 PR, 2008 US Olympian.
  7. Josh Rohatinsky 1999 - NCAA cross-country champion. 13:25/27:54 PRs.
  8. Meb Keflezighi 1993 - 4-time NCAA champion. Olympic silver. NYC marathon champ.
  9. Chris Derrick 2008 - Stud at Stanford. 7-time All-American already.
  10. Jorge Torres 1998 - NCAA cross champion. Olympian in 2008.

# of Olympians - 5
# of NCAA champions - 7
# of All-Americans - 10

"Where's Verzbicas?," you might ask. Well, despite the fact that he is only the third two-time champ, Meylan only ranks Verzbicas' 2010 Foot Locker win as the 16th-best Foot Locker performance (15th-best performer) since 1990. (Verzbicas took it very easy the last 100m of Footlocker's this year and that hurts him in the speed rating department (see below)).

Will Verzbicas be an all-time great? That is the question of the day.

Before we get to that, we do know two things for sure about Verzbicas.

1) He won't be an all-time great if he doesn't devote to running full-time. We hope he turns the triathlon down. He's not even the best US junior triathlete in the country and let's be honest - how many people actually do the triathlon worldwide?

2) He deserves a lot of props for taking a ton of credits so he will graduate this spring as an 18-year-old instead of coming back as basically a Super Senior at age 19 and just obliterating a bunch of high school records that used to mean something.

John Kellogg's Top 10 Greatest High School Boy Runners In US History

As for where Verzbicas stands among the great preps in history, we must admit it would take a lot of analysis to figure out exactly where he stands. But he certainly should be ranked higher than #15 in the last 20 years.

His Tully Runners ranking is a bit misleading because he very easily could have been in the top 10. People need to realize he let up at the end and he was running this race the week after winning the Nike Cross Nationals race.

Verzbicas' Tully Runners rating was 2:07.3. Torres at #10 has a 207.9. Fout at #5 has a 2:10.3 Please realize that one point is worth three seconds. Thus, if Verzbicas had run just two seconds faster, he'd be in the top 10 and if he'd run 10 seconds faster, he'd be in top five (since 1990). Considering Verzbicas took it easy down the homestretch, putting him in the top 10 is a no-brainer.

But moving beyond Tully Runners and Foot Locker, we now present to you our top 10 US high school cross-country runners in history. Now remember, this is about high school cross-country and ignores accomplishments later in life. Of course, in looking at the pre-Kinney/Foot Locker era and guys like Gerry Lindgren or Steve Prefontaine, when there was no national meet, we did take their track times into account to figure out how good they were in terms that can be compared with different eras. Lindgren and Pre shouldn't be penalized for competing in an age when there wasn't a XC national championship. People who run low 8:40s for the 2 mile and sub-14:00 5,000s in high school, as long as they are also dominant in cross-country (and win a national title if available), should get the nod over runners who are 15+ seconds slower for 2 miles but also won a national high school title (e.g., Bob Kennedy, Adam Goucher, Abdirizak Mohamud). The late 1980s and the 1990s were, frankly, far less competitive years in absolute terms than the 1970s were, and track performances bear this out. Performing well in international Junior XC and/or winning a national title (in years when there was one) trumps having an otherwise great season but losing the big one, so we put national champs ahead of those who were admittedly superstars but didn't win (e.g., Alan Webb, Galen Rupp, Chris Derrick, German Fernandez) and ahead of other great XC runners who weren't the best in the country at the time (e.g., Thom Hunt, who was generally behind Eric Hulst).

In our minds (actually, mostly in John Kellogg's mind), the top 10 at the high school level are:


Ritz coming out on top.
More classic photos on the FL site.

1) Dathan Ritzenhein - He is definitely the best in US history in our view in high school cross-country. Two-time Foot Locker champ, destroyed Alan Webb and Ryan Hall, World Junior bronze medal in an extremely tough era. Ran 13:51.69 for 5,000 at Penn Relays and then 13:44.70 at the US Championships, just missing Gerry Lindgren's legendary high school record.

2) Eric Hulst - 1976 World Junior XC champion in high school. The competition was almost certainly nowhere near as tough as in Ritzenhein's year, but best junior in the world is best junior in the world. Although he was not undefeated in XC his senior year, having lost to Thom Hunt at Mt. SAC, Hulst later defeated Hunt on an international-style course (with barriers) at USA Juniors (and was also 7th in the US Senior race a week later), then got the biggest honor of all at World Juniors with a 23:54 for an 8k course which included numerous steeplechase barriers, with Hunt in 2nd and Alberto Salazar in 5th. Hulst went on to run 8:44 in the two mile and 28:55 for 10,000 on the track as a high school senior. He passed away in 1992 after a battle with brain cancer.

3) Gerry Lindgren - Undefeated in cross-country as a senior we think (maybe as a junior) and regarded as being by far the best prep long distance runner (cross-country and 2 mile and up - obviously Jim Ryun was better in the 800/mile) of his time. We had to look a bit more at his track times, as there was no high school national or international XC back then that we can find. Lindgren ran 4:01.5 for the mile, 8:40.0 for the indoor 2 mile on an 11-lap-to-the-mile board track and 13:44.0 on a shoddy cinder track in a race which he led much of the way. He also made the 1964 US Olympic team in the 10,000 just after graduation, beating eventual Tokyo gold medallist Billy Mills in the Trials race. Hampered by an injury at the Games, he still finished 9th.

4) Craig Virgin - Virgin won 28 major meets in Illinois XC, including 2 state titles, and had an amazing string of wins in course record times. After 38 years, he still holds the course record at Detweiller Park in Illinois, a mark which Verzbicas (and Chris Derrick and Jorge Torres) couldn't beat. He broke Steve Prefontaine's outdoor 2 mile record by running 8:40.9 in a high school-only race in over 90-degree weather and also ran 13:58 for 5,000.

5) Steve Prefontaine - Undefeated in XC as a junior and senior. Although there was no national meet, Pre was considered far-and-away the best high school XC runner in the nation at the time. He ran a national outdoor record of 8:41.5 for the 2 mile and a 13:52 for 5,000.

6) Rich Kimball - Won the 1974 World Junior XC Championships in high school. Eventual 2-time World XC champ (and 1984 Olympic marathon silver medallist) John Treacy of Ireland was 3rd in that Junior race. Kimball ran a 4:02 mile and an 8:46 2 mile in track.

7) Lukas Verzbicas - Undefeated in high school cross-country in the last two years, winning three national titles in that time. No high international finishes or track times which compare to those we have ranked ahead of him, but a mark like 8:40 or 13:45 (or better) in the spring might make us re-evaluate his absolute greatness and move him up the list when all is said and done. Did he just get lucky and win in two consecutive down years? We don't think so. He's already run a 4:04.38 mile (in 2010) and an 8:53.98 2 mile (in 2009) and he's beaten all comers in XC in a day and age where 23 high schoolers broke 9:00 for 2 miles (or converted 3k/3,200 marks) in a single year (2010). The competition is as deep as ever at the high school level (unlike the 1990s, when there were no more than 3 sub-9:00s in a year until 1999, when there were 7) and Verzbicas has been the undisputed king of XC for two years. Winning two Foot Locker finals and one NXN championship in an age of such great depth makes us believe he's the real deal.


We believe this is Eric Reynolds.
More classic photos on the FL site.

8) Eric Reynolds - Undefeated as a senior in 1982, setting or approaching course records at most races. His season culminated with a crushing 14-second win in the Kinney national finals with a then-course record of 14:35 on the Orlando course (broken by Ritzenhein's 14:29 in 1999). Ran 8:44 for the 2 mile.

9) Chris Solinsky - 3rd at Foot Locker cross-country as a junior. Undefeated as a senior, winning the Foot Locker final by 20.5 seconds in an utterly dominant victory. 3rd-fastest time in course history without being pushed. Ran a 4:05 mile and an 8:43 3,200 in the spring.

10) Jorge Torres - Four-time Foot Locker finalist (and 3 Illinois state titles) - 13th as a frosh, 5th as a soph, runner-up as a junior, champion as a senior. 37th at World Junior Cross in high school. A better finish there would surely rank him even higher among all-time high school XC greats, but as the only 4-time Foot Locker boys finalist, his prowess as a harrier is already legendary.

Torres' incredible total of four Foot Locker All-American awards gives him the nod for the 10th spot over 1993 Foot Locker champ Adam Goucher (who ran a superb 14:42 at Balboa Park to trounce Meb Keflezighi's 14:54) and Thom Hunt (2nd at World Junior XC in 1976, 4:02/8:45).

Others: What about Balboa Park course record holder Reuben Reina? A great HS performer who was undefeated in the US as a senior - but he was only 47th at World Juniors. Had he not competed there and taken some of the luster off his otherwise perfect senior cross-country campaign, we might put him in the top 10. German Fernandez? Chris Derrick? With credentials like 8:34 2 mile and 13:55 5,000, we certainly realize they could very likely beat most of the people on our list above, and they did have stellar senior year campaigns overall, but the list gives preference to honors won - winning the most important meets available to a runner in his era - and guys like Fernandez and Derrick and Rupp, as great as their cross-country seasons were, did have that blemish of not winning the big one. AJ Acosta did do everything right as a senior, capping it all with a win at Foot Locker nationals, and had Solinsky-like track times (4:03/8:46) to prove he measured up well in absolute terms with some of the big names in the sport's history, but his win in the Foot Locker final was a squeaker, nothing like Solinsky's 20-second romp, so we feel Solinsky was a more dominant XC runner. Ergo, Acosta also just misses the top 10. There are also many high school legends of old, like Dave Merrick, Rudy Chapa, Tom GravesBill McChesneyJeff Nelson (4th at World Juniors, 8:36 2 mile) ... the list goes on ... who could give anybody from any era a hard-fought XC race. With cross-country, it's really impossible to tell exactly who ranks where after several decades, except we would bet Ritzenhein tops the list so far.


Quote Of The Week #2 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

"I was lucky that when I came over (to the US), I knew a lot (about running). I was personally coached by Arthur Lydiard, and didn’t even know who he was.

He was just this old guy I met one day; he was a friend of a friend. He'd send me schedules and I'd follow them."

- Two-time Olympian and now US citizen Michael Aish talking in a Running Times profile on him. In the profile, Aish talks about trying to make it with little sponsorship and trying to make it at Western State with little program funding. At Western, he said the guys would go to outlet stores to by shoes and they "had lots of little jokes, like, 'Only in Gunnison would you use a dead snake as a mile marker.'"


Quote Of The Week #2 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

"The problem with our athletes is they forget where they came from the moment they start getting money."

- Former steeple world record holder and three-time world champion Moses Kiptanui talking in an IAAF article on new 1,500 meter star Silas Kiplagat, whom Kiptanui coaches.


Quote Of The Week #3 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

"At that time every good thing belonged to whites and the best coaches were attached to Europeans. Our black side was poorly coached. I copied what a Canadian trainer was instructing some athletes and perfected the skills until I emerged as a winner." 

- Kenya's first Olympic medallist, Wilson Kiprugut Chumo, the bronze medallist at the 1964 Games in the 800, talking in the Daily Nation about how he rose to prominence as an athlete in the 1960s.


Quote Of The Week #3 (That Wasn't Quote Of The Day)

"Let's stop using public money to finance the marathon, since the winners are always Africans and foreigners in underpants."

- Italian politician Pietro Giovannoni, a member of the anti-immigration Northern League party, talking about a road race in Italy. More: Padua councillor calls for scrapping of funds for marathon "Africans always win."


Sports Journalism At Its Worst

Part 1 - The New York Times
Warning - this next blurb is unrelated to running but NFL/Sports fans might enjoy it. Well, actually, given the fact that Jos Hermens and Haile Gebrselassie recently went on national television to question the accuracy of the New York Times, we guess it might end up being a little related to running.

We must admit we laughed out loud on Tuesday morning (12/7) when we tiredly plopped the New York Times down and starting reading the paper. As we slurped down a bowl of cereal, we saw the following written on the front page of the Sports section in a column by the famed Times columnist William C. Rhoden:

    "Normally unrestrained in heaping praise on his team, (New York Jets coach Rex) Ryan was careful with his remarks about Belichick and the Patriots. It was as if he wanted to play down the perception that a shift in power was taking place.

    Too late. The shift has occurred: the Jets are in ascendancy, while New England is in retrograde, though it has nothing to do with one game, one season, injuries or upheaval."

Clearly, the column had gone to print before the game which resulted in a massacre with the final score of New England 45 - New York 3.

The interesting thing now is that there is next to no evidence of the column on the NY Times website any more. A column by Rhoden on the game is now online but it's got a 100% different feel to it, as it's been edited in a way that would make Stalin proud.

The column's name has even changed totally from "The Day the Patriots Empire Began to Crumble" to "Patriots' Romp Stirs Questions, and Not Just for Jets."

You can read the new column here. To find the old one, you have to either have a physical copy of the old paper or you can go to the this New York Jets fan site, where someone had excitedly violated copyright law and pasted the whole thing on their forum in its entirety.

Read the two and you'll see they sound totally different, but yet the Times says on their site only the following:

"The Sports of The Times column on Dec. 7 , about the rivalry between the New York Jets and New England Patriots, misstated the number of Super Bowl championships that Bill Belichick, coach of the New England Patriots, has won. He has won five, not three. (Besides his three titles as Patriots coach, he won two as defensive coordinator of the Giants.)"

Part 2 - The BBC
If you think changing an article after the fact and acting like the original article never existed is bad, then you'll probably also be disappointed in the BBC. Last week, a BBC reporter interviewed Marion Jones and many viewers were outraged as they viewed the whole interview as a PR piece for the cheat Marion Jones. The BBC interviewer Gabby Logan responded to outrage by trying to defend herself with the following quote: "There are legals here. She's never tested positive for drugs. You can't sit there and call someone a drugs cheat when they've never tested positive for drugs. You have to work within the legal parameters and the legals were all over this programme."

Logan's logic is so faulty it's embarrassing. That would be like saying you can't convict someone of murder unless you have a video tape of the murder even though you had DNA and fingerprints linking them to the crime. Does Logan realize that even the liar Marion Jones herself doesn't deny she used illegal PEDs? She just denied using them knowingly.

Hello Mrs. Logan, buy a brain and realize there is ZERO doubt Marion Jones was a drug cheat.

More: *Pats Fans Discuss NY Times Column Change *Odd Column Changes At Times *Maybe Jos Hermens Was Right / Reporting At New York Times *Marion Jones Says She Didn't Deserve Prison *LRC Thread On Jones' Statement *BBC Interviewer Says She Couldn't Call Marion Jones A Drug Cheat We understand the press isn't as free in Britain as it is in the US, but if she's that scared of a lawsuit, she should get out of the business. *Original Interview Here


Some Goodbyes: Gary Reed And Michael Wilbon

OSAKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 02:  Second placed Gary Reed of Canada celebrates after finishing second in the Men's 800m Final on day nine of the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships on September 2, 2007 at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka, Japan.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Canadian 800m great Gary Reed retired last week at the age of 29. Reed had a very impressive career (silver medal at 2007 Worlds, .01, yes 1/100th of a second away from Gold, 4th place at 2008 Olympics, .30 away from gold). If he was an American instead of Canadian, you all would still be talking about his retirement.

As impressive as Reed was on the track, he may be even more impressive off of it. Reed grew up poor and appreciates what a difference a few dollars can make in someone's life, especially a struggling athlete. So he has promised to donate 3% of his salary (we believe for life) to help struggling athletes. Talk about walking the walk.

Pardon the interruption, as we name drop. We only met Reed once, when he came over to Wejo's apartment in Flagstaff. Khalid Khannouchi was also in town and it was probably the only significant gathering of non-wannabe runners at Wejo's house. The place was crowded and Gary was sitting on the floor with his back to the wall. Then slowly the broken floor lamp that was propped against the wall started to fall. The lamp just missed Khalid Khannouchi, who was about two feet in front of the wall and it hit Gary Reed square on the head. Wejo was horrified, but Gary was really cool about it. Ever since then, we have been big fans of Gary. At the time, Gary was a LetsRun.com message board favorite, a 400m runner hoping to move up to the 800m. He moved up quite successfully, got one silver medal and was only .31 combined from 2 golds.

Congrats on the great career, Gary. *Vancouver Sun Article On Gary *Message Board Thread

Speaking of Pardon the Interruption, but PTI's Michael Wilbon retired from the Washington Post. In his farewell column, he said his favorite moment in all of his journalism career was Cathy Freeman's gold medal at the 2000 Olympics. Pretty impressive for track and field. Michael Wilbon Retires From The Washington Post & Says A Track & Field Race Was His Favorite Moment During His Entire Career In Sports Journalism

A 2:07 Non-African Retires And We Notice/The 30 Fastest Non-African Marathoners In History

Last week Japanese marathoner Tomoaki Kunichika retired. "Big deal," you probably say as you've likely never heard of the guy. Well, to us it's a fairly newsworthy story as the 1996 Olympian ran a personal best of 2:07:52, which isn't too shabby by anyone's standards. Please realize that legends like Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar and Frank Shorter never came close to that. Frank Shorter's PR is 2:10:30. Rodgers' is 2:09:27. Even Salazar's PR is over a minute slower at 2:08:53.

We decided to do a little research and, thanks to the stats on tilastopaja.org, found out that Kunichika is the 149th-fastest marathoner in history. In terms of non-African born runners, guess where that places him.

... go ahead and guess ...

He's the 29th-fastest non-African-born marathoner in history. Below we present to you the 30 fastest non-African-born marathoners in history.

The 30 Fastest Non-African-Born Marathoners In History
(number on left is their rank on the all-time list)

24   2:06:05    AR          Ronaldo da Costa               BRA 13 Mar 70 167/55  1                     Berlin                    20 Sep 1998
32   2:06:16    AR          Toshinari Takaoka              JPN 24 Sep 70 186/64  3        LaSalle      Chicago IL                13 Oct 2002
33   2:06:17                Ryan Hall                      USA 14 Oct 82 178/64  5        Flora        London                    13 Apr 2008
43   2:06:36    AR          António Pinto                 POR 22 Mar 66 165/59  1        Flora        London                    16 Apr 2000
44   2:06:36    AR          Benoit Zwierzchlewski          FRA 19 Aug 76 171/57  2                     Paris                      6 Apr 2003
64   2:06:51                Atsushi Fujita                 JPN  6 Nov 76 166/53  1                     Fukuoka                    3 Dec 2000
67   2:06:52    NR          Julio Rey                      ESP 13 Jan 72 166/51  1        Conergy      Hamburg                   23 Apr 2006
71   2:06:57                Takayuki Inubushi              JPN 11 Aug 72 170/58  2        Alberto      Berlin                    26 Sep 1999
88   2:07:12                Carlos Lopes                   POR 18 Feb 47         1                     Rotterdam                 20 Apr 1985
90   2:07:13    NR          Steve Jones                    GBR  4 Aug 55         1                     Chicago IL                20 Oct 1985
91   2:07:13                Atsushi Sato                   JPN  8 May 78 170/55  3                     Fukuoka                    2 Dec 2007
94   2:07:15    NR          Dmytro Baranovskyy             UKR 28 Jul 79 174/59  2                     Fukuoka                    3 Dec 2006
98   2:07:19    AR          Andrés Espinosa               MEX  4 Feb 63 167/55  2                     Boston MA                 18 Apr 1994
100  2:07:20    NR          Vincent Rousseau               BEL 29 Jul 62 176/60  2                     Berlin                    24 Sep 1995
102  2:07:22    NR          Stefano Baldini                ITA 25 May 71 176/58  5        Flora        London                    23 Apr 2006
103  2:07:23                Fabián Roncero                ESP 19 Oct 70 171/58  2        Generale     Rotterdam                 18 Apr 1999
104  2:07:23    NR          Viktor Röthlin                SUI 14 Oct 74 174/58  1                     Tokyo                     17 Feb 2008
115  2:07:33                Oleksandr Kuzin                UKR 21 Oct 74 179/58  1        OMV          Linz                      15 Apr 2007
119  2:07:34                Antoni Peña                   ESP 26 Aug 70 175/60  1                     Otsu                       4 Mar 2001
122  2:07:35                Taisuke Kodama                 JPN 26 Jul 58 165/49  1                     Beijing                   19 Oct 1986
130  2:07:40                Hiromi Taniguchi               JPN  5 Apr 60 171/55  2                     Beijing                   16 Oct 1988
134  2:07:42                José Rios                     ESP 15 Mar 74 170/49  1        Lake Biwa    Otsu                       7 Mar 2004
141  2:07:48                Francisco Javier Cortés       ESP 26 Oct 71 173/59  2        Hansplast    Hamburg                   22 Apr 2001
142  2:07:49                Kim Yi-Yong                    KOR 20 Sep 73 168/54  4        Generale     Rotterdam                 18 Apr 1999
145  2:07:51    AR          Rob de Castella                AUS 27 Feb 57         1                     Boston MA                 21 Apr 1986
146  2:07:51                Domingos Castro                POR 22 Nov 63 167/56  1        Generale     Rotterdam                 20 Apr 1997
147  2:07:52                Giacomo Leone                  ITA 10 Apr 71 171/59  2                     Otsu                       4 Mar 2001
148  2:07:52                Shigeru Aburaya                JPN  8 Feb 77 163/51  3                     Otsu                       4 Mar 2001
149  2:07:52                Tomoaki Kunichika              JPN 22 Apr 73 179/60  1                     Fukuoka                    7 Dec 2003
151  2:07:54                Alejandro Gómez               ESP 11 Apr 67 178/69  2        Generale     Rotterdam                 20 Apr 1997
                                                
                                                                                                                                                                                            

Two Brief Thoughts About European Cross-Country

1) Are we the only ones who thought it was a tiny bit ironic that the top finishers at the 2010 European cross-country championships (which were started in 1994 in part to give publicity to European runners whose cross-country prowess was being overpowered by Africans on the world stage) were named as follows?

Serhiy Lebid (UKD), Ayad Lamdassem (ESP), Youssef El Kalai (POR), Abdellatif Meetah (FRA) and Mourad Amdouni (FRA).

2) We're sort of wondering out loud how the U23 action at European Cross compares to NCAA action. We have little idea and hope that someone who does will email us as we'll update this section with your comments. On the one-hand, Florida State and Ireland's Ciaran O'Lionaird was only 76th at Euros but 18th at NCAAs. In the other direction, Providence's David McCarthy, who was 84th at NCAAs in 2009 was 11th at Euros. Those probably aren't good examples as one probably ran worse and one ran better. McNeese State's David Rooney is probably the best example. He was 50th at NCAAs this year and 20th at U23 Euros.

What we do know for sure is the Irish boys deserve props for giving Ireland its first medal since 2006, as they won the U23 team title.

More: *2010 European XC Results *Athletics: Providence's David McCarthy Leads Irish Team To U 23 Gold & Glory *British Women Claim Team Silver *Serhiy Lebid Gets His Ninth European Title Afterwards, Lebid says he has given up hopes of training for the marathon. He is great at one thing ... cross-country. European XC Women: Portugal's Jessica Augusto Gets Gold on Home Turf The Brits are happy, as Charlotte Purdue won the junior race and the women got a silver.


Other Happenings Of Note

Despite Assistance, Belainesh Gebre Declared Honolulu Marathon Champ The Flagstaff-based Gebre has been tearing it upon the roads. She was not invited to the elite field so she flew to Honolulu on her own and entered the race with her boyfriend. He paced her during the race and they shared drinks, but despite a protest she still got the $40,000 prize. *Top Results
Men: Last Year's Runner-Up Nicholas Chelimo Pockets $40,000

Menjo Dominates 50th Zatopek 10k In the humid conditions of Melbourne, LRC legend Josphat Menjo pulled away after the halfway mark to win the Zatopek 10k. The former 6-night-a-week boozer, Ben St. Lawrence, finished ahead of American star and former NCAA 5k champ Bobby Curtis.
*Melbourne Herald Sun Recap

Khannouchis Are Divorcing, But Sandra Will Still Coach Khalid And They're Both Moving To Colorado Springs Sounds like a very amicable divorce. Clearly, Special K has not given up on competing.


Quotes Of The Day From Last Week

Monday: "This (doping ring) has been a well-known secret but finally the truth is out in the open."

and

"Enough is enough. They (the dopers) rob us and take us for fools. It makes me sick that this is what is happening in my sport."

- Spanish athletes Jesus España and Alberto Marco speaking out in an article translated for LetsRun.com on the doping scandal in Spain. The latest reports say this scandal may go outside of Spain and involves some significant $$$ and money laundering.


Sunday: "It was a tough race. He really pushed me. He pushed me more than I expected. But with 150 to go and I just wanted to celebrate as this is a one in a lifetime chance - well two in a lifetime for me."

- Lukas Verzbicas talking after becoming just the third boy to repeat as a Foot Locker national cross-country champion.


Saturday: "I was hurting so bad the last two miles. I kept going by telling myself, You only have to hurt another 10 minutes. If you don't keep pushing, you'll regret it the rest of your life. It was my last high-school cross-country race," he says. "My last Foot Locker. It was so important. It seemed like the biggest thing in the world."

- Dathan Ritzenhein in a great piece by Amby Burfoot on the 10th year anniversary of his epic battle with Alan Webb and Ryan Hall at the 2000 Foot Locker National Championship. The race lived up to its hype, although Ritz crushed Hall and Webb by 20 seconds. Photos of that race here. Photos of all the Foot Locker winners here.


Friday: "There are legals here. (Marion Jones) never tested positive for drugs. You can't sit there and call someone a drugs cheat when they've never tested positive for drugs. You have to work within the legal parameters and the legals were all over this programme. We had to take some things out that would have got us into serious trouble had they wanted to take action against us."

- Gabby Logan of the BBC talking in an article where Logan admitted the questions she could ask Jones for her recent BBC interview were limited to the topics covered in her book. Limiting the interview is something we can maybe understand but for a journalist to say she can't call Marion Jones a drug cheat is an absolute embarrassment. Marion Jones is a drug cheat and liar - end of story (and we can't believe we keep wasting time talking about her).


Thursday: "I thought I would give myself a year off (from running) to focus on partying and enjoying the social side of things and get back to running in my second year. That one year turned into two, which turned into three, and the further I got into the partying and everything, it looked like running was never going to happen. I was pretty tubby, working in bars and drinking six nights a week and all the other sort of stuff that comes with it. It was great fun, but it honestly got to the point where I had just gone too hard and I think I almost had chronic fatigue, because I couldn't drag myself out of bed for a while. Finally, I just thought I had to change something here ...
Now:

"As a kid I always dreamed of doing this ... To now be lining up against the best Africans all around the world having come from a point where I was ... during that time when I was a party animal I was still a fan of running ... So to go from being a fan of running to racing these guys in such a short period of time, it's like being a golfer and going out and playing a round with Tiger Woods or something."


-
Australia's Ben St. Lawrence, who went from being a 190-lb partier to a 140-lb star on the track. St. Lawrence will take on Menjo in today's 50th Zatopek 10k.


Wednesday: Kenya's 1st-Ever Olympic Medallist Wilson Chumo Doesn't Mind Lack Of Accolades


Tuesday: "I'm pretty fundamental when it comes to running. I definitely agree about altitude - trying to be at high altitude as much as possible ...

So that is the extent of the technology that I or anyone else in our group uses. Under Jerry [Schumacher] that is. A basketball player doesn't practice his free throw shooting by doing slam dunks all over the place. He does it by practicing free throws. That's the attitude we take: You don't get better at running by doing everything but running. You get better by running ...

I don't think Jerry focuses too much at an individual level at tweaking the form too much ...
  Obviously, Alberto [Salazar] and Dathan didn't have terrible results, by altering his stride, but that is risky. It can provide injuries."


- American 10,000-meter record holder Chris Solinsky talking in an interview about what it's like on his side of the Oregon Track Club.


Last Week's Homepages
*Mon (Dec. 13) *Sun (Dec. 12) *Sat (Dec. 11) *Fri (Dec. 10) *Thu (Dec. 9) *Wed (Dec. 8) *Tue (Dec. 7)

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