Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The USA Cross Country Championships kick off a big weekend of competition

Huddle's 2012 return starts
 in St. Louis
There are three big track meets this weekend (Husky Classic, Millrose Games and the new USA Track and Field Classic), but there's also the 2012 USA Cross Country Championships, which will be held this Saturday, February 11th, at Forest Park in St. Louis, MO. There's no World Cross this year, but five slots for the NACAC team are up for grabs. The NACAC Championships will be held on St. Patrick's Day in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Not a bad paid vacation I'd say.

The favorite on the Women's side is American 5000 meter record holder, Molly Huddle. With the recent Olympic Marathon Trials and the aforementioned track meets in play this weekend, competition will be a little lacking on the top end. Sara Hall is registered (Ryan and Desi Davila are speaking at the Friday Panel Discussion), after a nice 3000 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, where she was the top American finisher over the more heralded Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson. Hall has consistently improved in the past few years and hopefully can find her way onto the Olympic team this summer in the steeple. Another podium contender this weekend will be the always strong Renee Metivier Baillie. Former high school phenom, Melody Fairchild, will be competing as well and one interesting entry is the newly pregnant, Julia Webb. Maybe she'll bring her husband and he'll run. Let the speculation begin.

Mack will aim for more
 Team USA gear
On the Men's side, the big news was that Dathan Ritzenhein was planning on bouncing back after a personally disappointing Olympic Trials Marathon and trying to keep the train rolling. That changed a few days ago when Ritz announced his decision to pull out. Some favorites on the Men's side are recent Bupa Great Edinburgh Cross Country Team Race runner-up (and Raleigh resident), Bobby Mack, McMillan Elite's Aaron Braun, Team USA Minnesota's Chris Rombough, road warrior Christo Landry, steepler Kyle Alcorn and USATF 10k Trail Champ, Joe Moore. A few other interesting entries are triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker and the University of Wisconsin's Elliot Krause.

Runnerspace will be broadcasting the event live at starting at 9:45 Central. Full field information (including juniors and masters races) is available here. Check out this page for Runnerspace's coverage leading up to the event.

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  1. Great races and great finishes in mens and womens yesterday! Congratulations Bobby Mack!