Posted by: Joe English | March 31, 2008

Racing: Americans score top-20 finishes at world cross-country championships

EDINBURGH, GBR – Alex Gits finished 13th in the junior women’s race while Emily Brown was 18th and Jorge Torres finished 19th in the senior men’s race to lead Team USA at the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships Sunday at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park.

Gits, a freshman at Stanford Universityled the Team USA junior women with a 13th place finish. Despite a fall near 3 km, Gits ran 20:41 for the 6 km course to lead the U.S. squad to a sixth-place finish with 100 points, only one point out of fifth behind Canada.

Ethiopia won the team gold, led by Genzebe Dibaba’s winning run of 19:59. Kenya was second in the team race with 20 points with Japan taking third with 57 points.

In the junior men’s race German Fernandez covered the junior men’s 8km in 24:15 to finish 25th, leading Team USA to a sixth-place team finish. Emil Heineking finished one second and one place behind Fernandez with Kevin Williams and Ryan Sheridan completing the team scoring with their respective 34th and 52nd place finishes.

The junior men’s individual title was won by Ibrahim Jeilan of Ethiopia in 22:38, while Kenya won the team competition with 21 points. Ethiopia was second with 28 and Uganda was third with 37 points.

Emily Brown led the Team USA senior women to a fourth-place finish, running 8 km in 26:36 for 18th. Teammates Katie McGregor, Molly Huddle, and Kathy Newberry finished within two seconds of each other to take 22nd, 23rd and 24th places respectively.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won her third World Cross Country Championship, running 25:10 to lead Ethiopia to their second team Gold of the day with 18 points. Kenya was second with 22 as Australia took the team bronze ahead of the U.S. by three points with 84.

In the final event of the day, Torres ran 36:03 to finish 19th in the senior men’s 12km race, while leading Team USA to a seventh-place team finish. His finish was the first individual top-20 finish for the U.S. in the senior men’s race since 2003.

Kenenisa Bekele completed Ethiopia’s sweep of the day’s individual titles with his 12th World Cross Country title. After losing a shoe six minutes into the race, Bekele rallied to run 34:38 for the 12 km course. Kenya won the team title with 39 points, while Ethiopia scored 105 and Qatar rounded out the top-three with 144 points.

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