The best distance runners in the country will gather in Boulder, Colorado, Saturday for the USA Cross Country Championships. The star-studded field will be competing for $40,000 in prize money and spots on the U.S. team for the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Kenya. As always, the start lists include a number of current and former Minnesotans.
The Boulder championships feature the return of the one-race format used prior to 1999. The single race puts everyone from milers to marathoners on the same starting line, creating match ups rarely seen on the track or the roads.
Katie McGregor will attempt to make her fifth consecutive World Cross Country team in the Open Women's 8K race. McGregor will compete against former Minnesota high school stars Heather Anderson (Osseo, University of Montana), Cack Ferrell (St. Paul Academy, Princeton) and Kara Goucher (Duluth East, University of Colorado). Ferrell is currently training with the Oregon Track Club, while Goucher (who qualified for the World Cross Country team in 2006) is coached by Alberto Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project. Last we heard, Anderson was affiliated with the Montana-based Big Sky Distance Project.
The Open Men's 12K field features even more Minnesota connections. Team USA Minnesota will send Andrew Carlson, Matt Gabrielson and Jason Lehmkuhle to Boulder. Former Drake University teammates Gabrielson and Lehmkuhle both won spots on the World Cross Country team in 2005, with Gabrielson also making the team in 2006. Read the press release from Team USA Minnesota here.
Former Minnesotans Martin Rosendahl (Fridley, MSU-Mankato) and Luke Watson (Stillwater, Notre Dame) will also compete in the 12K event. Rosendahl currently competes for the Brooks-Hansons Distance Project, while Watson coaches at Notre Dame.
Other Minnesotans competing include Winona senior Elliot Heath in the Junior Men's 8K, University of Oregon freshman Bria Wetsch (Holy Family) in the Junior Women's 6k and masters Heidi Keller Miler (40-44) Thom Weddle (65-69) covering 8K.