Nine States Represented Among the Sixteen Athletes
Colorado Springs, CO —–The 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team will compete at the 24th World Mountain Running Trophy in Sierre Crans-Montana, Switzerland, on Sunday, September 14, 2008. This yearÛªs senior team includes five former team members and five newcomers ranging in age from 24 to 42. Only one former team member is on the six-member junior squad (athletes must be at least 16 and not yet 20 in the year of competition), while the rest are first-time team members. At the World Trophy, the junior men, like the senior women, will run an eight kilometer course (8.38 km) with 733 meters of ascending. The junior women run 4.72 kilometers with 314 meters of ascending, and the senior men run 12 kilometers with 1046 meters of ascending. Each of the courses consists of only uphill terrain. In odd-numbered years the World Trophy is held on an up/down course.
Senior Men: (alphabetic order with age listed at year end)
Eric Blake, 29, New Britain, CT, is a four-time team member. He earned his spot on this yearÛªs team with his win at the Mount Washington Road Race, the USA National Mountain Running Championships. Blake also won the championships at Mount Washington in 2006. In 2005 Blake finished second to Simon Gutierrez at Mount Washington and was third in 2004. Blake was fifth at the USA National Mountain Running Championships in Vail in 2003. On June 24, 2006 Blake set the treadmill marathon world record of 2:21:40 in Farmington, CT at Malibu Fitness. (The former world record was 2:23:58.) He was 28th in the 2004 World Mountain Trophy in Sauze D’Oulx, Italy, 23rd in the 2005 World Trophy in Wellington, New Zealand, and 11th at the Trophy in Bursa, Turkey in 2006. He was the second American at the 2007 NACAC Mountain Running Championships in Canada. He was 33rd in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. In Lyman Memorial High School in Lebanon, Connecticut, he was the 1996 state open cross-country champion. He is a member of the Boston Athletic Association and is the Assistant MenÛªs Cross-Country and Track and Field Coach at Central Connecticut State University.
Matthew Byrne, 33, Scranton, PA, is a first-time team member. He finished sixth at the Mt. Washington Road Race and second at the Vail Berry Picker Race to earn an at-large berth on the tem. In addition to top finishes at this yearÛªs team selection races, Byrne has a strong road race resume. In the past 18 months he has run 2:25:48 (Boston Marathon), 1:06:01 (Houston Half Marathon), 2:21:50 (Steamtown Marathon). He is a two-time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier (2004 & 2006). His 10 km track PR is 29:49, and his 5 km PR is 14:31. Byrne is a graduate of St. JosephÛªs University where he earned his degree in Marketing. He is employed full time at the Philadelphia Runner.
Zac Freudenberg, 30, St. Louis, MO, finished seventh at this yearÛªs Mt. Washington Road Race which earned him an at-large berth on the team. Freudenberg excels at long distance events, yet possesses the speed necessary to race well at shorter distances. His 1500 m PR is 3:58, his 3000 m steeplechase PR is 9:12, his 5 km PR is 14:48 and his 10 km PR is 30:35. In 2008, his times include 24:30 (5 miles) and 2:24:46 (marathon). He ran 3:56:00 to finish third overall at the Pikes Peak Marathon in 2006, and ran the 2007 Jungfrau Marathon in 3:14:48 to finish eighth. He competed at division III indoor and outdoor track and cross country for Beloit College and was a two-time national qualifier in cross country and once in track in the 3000 m steeplechase. After his undergraduate studies, he lived in The Netherlands for four years where he earned a masterÛªs degree in computer science. Freudenberg is a PhD candidate in Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. ÛÏI plan to run the Pikes Peak Accent this year. I can’t train for the altitude in St. Louis, but I have been running stairwell once or twice a week pretty consistently for the past two years and I added treadmill incline training to get ready for Mt. Washington this year.Û
Rickey Gates, 27, Boulder, CO, made his third consecutive team this year with his third place finish at Mount Washington. He also finished third at the 2006 Mount Washington Road Race to make his first mountain team. He won this yearÛªs Teva Mountain Games Lara Bar 10 km up/down race in June. He had a stellar season in Ûª07 and earned a spot on his second team with back-to-back weekend wins at the USA Mountain Running Championships and the USA 10 km Trail Championships and was also named the 2007 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. Gates was born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley and is a 1999 graduate of Aspen High School. In 1998 Gates finished fourth in the 3A State Cross Country Championships running 16:48. Gates won the 2005 Imogene Pass Race, an 18 mile race from Ouray to Telluride, Colorado ascending for the first 11 miles and downhill for the final seven miles. He won the Run the Register Stair Climb in Denver this past February (47 floors, 1,014 steps). His 10km PR is 31:43 recorded at the Bolder Boulder in May of this year. He competed in college one year while at Lewis and Clark in Portland, OR, and is a graduate of the University of Colorado/Boulder where he studied Sociology and Photography. In 2004 Gates completed a 15,000-mile solo-motorcycle journey from Aspen to South America on a 1979 Honda CX500 that he bought from a friend for $500. He once won AmericaÛªs Uphill (held annually in March) on Aspen Mountain racing in a clown suit. Gates left for Europe in July to compete in several mountain races recently winning the Grintovec Mountain Race in Slovenia on July 27.
Joe Gray, 24, Lakewood, WA, made his first team this year with his fourth place finish at Mount Washington. Gray was a collegiate steeplechaser at the University of Oklahoma and ran his first mountain race last year in Steamboat Springs where he led the pack for the first climb and eventually slipped to an eleventh-place finish. Gray finished a much-improved third at the Lara Bar 10 km in June ÛÒ his second mountain race. Gray has PRs of 3:58 for 1500m, 8:44 for the 3 km Steeplechase,14:15 for 5000m (indoors on 200 meter track), 46:20 for 15 km. Gray was presented the Arthur Ashe Sports Athlete Award in 2007, and was an Academic All American, 2006-2007. He is a six-time NCAA Championships Qualifier and was a member of the USA Junior Pan American Team 2003 (3000m Steeplechase).
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Simon Gutierrez, 42, Alamosa, CO, is a seven-time Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team member (2002-2008) and was the first American at three World Trophy events where he finished 17th overall in 2004, 10th in 2005, and 10th in 2006. He was the 2005 and 2006 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year, and the 2006 and 2007 USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Gutierrez is a nine-time winner of the La Luz Mountain Race and three-time Mt Washington Road Race champion. He is the reigning World Masters Mountain Running Champion having won the event the past two years. He finished fifth at this yearÛªs Mount Washington Road Race, won the Vail HillClimb and the Vail Berry Picker the following month. He is a three-time USA world cross country team member and a 1983 High School cross country All American. At age 17 Gutierrez set the still standing road 10Km record of 29.45. He works at the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center as an outpatient manual /orthopedic physical therapist and works closely with the Adams State men’s and women’s cross country and track teams.
Rachael Cuellar, 26, Albuquerque, NM, was selected for the at-large spot on the womenÛªs team. Cuellar has been a scoring member for the gold-medal womenÛªs teams for the past two years; in Bursa, Turkey she finished 10th and at Ovronnaz, Switzerland she finished in 12th. She participated in the Berry Picker selection race this year and placed fourth and also finished fourth at the USA 8km Trail Championships in Steamboat Springs. She has PRs of 17:40 for 5 km indoor track set in 2006 (5,000 feet), 17:14 for 5 km outdoor track a road 5 km PR of 17:27 set in 2006 at 5,000 feet, and ran the 3000 m steeplechase in 10:12. She is a five-time winner of the La Luz Trail Race, a 9 mile uphill race with 4,578 elevation gain and an average grade of 12 percent. She plans to race La Luz again this August. Cuellar attended New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico and is currently enrolled in a masterÛªs degree program.
Brandy Erholtz, 31, Bailey, CO, is a first-time team member having earned her spot with a win at the USA Mountain Running Championships at Mount Washington. She finished third at the Berry Picker. Erholtz started competing on the trails last year when she raced at the Teva Mountain Games 10 km in Vail and finished third. She finished third again at this yearÛªs event. She competed at the 2007 North American Central American Caribbean Mountain Running Championships (NACAC) for the U.S. Team in Canada finishing fourth overall among the women. Erholtz is employed as a schoolteacher.
Laura Haefeli, 41, Del Norte, CO, will represent the U.S. for the fourth time this year having been on the bronze medal winning team in 2004 (finishing 15th), the top U.S. finisher in 2005 (in eighth place), an individual bronze medalist and a member of the gold-medal winning team in 2007. This year she won the Teva Mountain Games 10km, broke the mastersÛª course record at the Mount Washington Road Race, won the USA 8 km Trail Championships (her fourth USA Trail Championship title) set the course record at the Barr Trail Mountain Race, and finished second at the Berry Picker to earn her spot on this yearÛªs team. Equally talented in summer biathlon (running and marksmanship), Haefeli is a seven-time National Champion and a nine-time National Team Member. She was an All-American during her senior year at the University of Dayton and was twice named All-Ohio Runner of the Year and is a two-time USATF Mountain Runner of the Year (2004 and 2005). Laura and her husband Tom are beekeepers and sell honey and wax. She is the mother of three young children and is also a high school cross country coach.
Megan Kimmel, 28, Silverton, CO, is a newcomer on the national mountain running circuit. She finished second at the USA 8 km Trail Champs in Steamboat Springs and won the Berry Picker to earn a spot on the team. Kimmel ran cross country at Cherry Creek High School for four years. She is a past winner of the Kendall Mountain Race and top finisher in the Imogene Pass Run. She participates in nordic ski racing in the winter. Kimmel lives and trains at elevations above 8,000 feet and is a massage therapist practicing her trade in Silverton and Ouray, CO.
Alexandra Dunne, 17, San Clemente, CA, attends San Clemente High School and will be entering her senior year in September. Her PRÛªs include 10:28 for 2 miles, 4:54 for the mile, 2:10 for 800m, and 17:48 for 5km. Her top performances include a first place finish at the 2007 Clovis Invitational XC timed in 17:48, a 28th place finish at the 2007 Foot locker west regional in 18:16, a win at the 2008 Arcadia Invitational in 4:53, and a second place finish at the 2008 Orange County Championships 10:28. Most of her training is done on hilly trails and single track trails. Her training this summer is going strong and included summiting Mt Whitney (14,500Ûª).
Yasmine White, 19, Arcata, CA, attends Bowdoin College and will be entering her sophomore year in September studying biology. Her PRs include 5:09 for the mile, 10:50 for 2 miles, and 17:58 for 5 km. In 2007 she was named Cross Country All-Region, All-Conference, and Conference Rookie of the Year. Results include a first place finish at the 2007 Frozen Foot 5 km, Boulder CO in 17:58, 37th at the 2007 USATF XC Junior Nationals 6 km, a win at the 2006 junior triathlon national championships, 39th place at the 2006 world junior triathlon championships, fourth place finish at the 2006 National Junior Duathlon championships, and a first place finish at the 2005 North Coast XC Championships. She trains almost entirely on trails on rolling terrain and will spend the summer in Boulder training at altitude.
Levi Grandt, 19, West Union, WV, graduated from Doddridge County High School where he was a multiple-time West Virginia State Cross Country Champion. He trains in the West Virginia Mountains, running on hills and trails. His PRs include a 4:26 mile, 9:22 for 2 miles, 5 km in 15:11, and 10 km in 33:25. Results include an eighth place finish at 2008 Nike Nationals 5,000m (15:11), fifth place at the 2008 WV state champs 800m (2:04), wins at the 2008 WV state champs mile (4:26) and the 2008 WV state champs 2m (9:22). He finished in 20th place at the 2007 Footlocker south regional (15:26). He will attend the University of Richmond this fall where he plans to pursue studies toward a degree in physical therapy.
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Paul Petersen, 16, Broomfield, CO, earned a spot on the team placing first among the juniors at the Berry Picker (finishing 12th overall). He enters his junior year at Legacy High School in the fall. His PRs include a 4:50 mile, 10:20 for 2 miles, 17:56 for 5 km, and 35:30 for 10 km. He was the junior champion at the 2008 USATF 8 km trail championships, and was the first junior at the 2007 Mt Evans ascent (14th overall), and sixth place at the 2008 Colorado 5A region 2 mile timed in 10:20. He trains on the trails and hills of the Horsetooth Mountain Park near Boulder.
Tim Smith, 18, Roanoke, VA, recently graduated from Cave Spring High school where he won the 2 mile state title indoors and earned All-American honors in the 5,000m this spring. He will attend the University of Richmond this fall. His PRs include: 4:17 for the mile, 9:16 for 2 miles, and 5 km in 15:28. He finished sixth at the 2008 Nike Indoor nationals 5,000m (15:29), 22nd at the 2008 Footlocker south regional champs in 15:28, fourth at the 2008 Mid Atlantic track clash 9:20 for 2 miles. Smith was All-State in the 1,600m in 2006, 2007, and 2008, All-State in the 3,200m in 2007 and 2008, and All-State Cross Country 2006 and 2007 (11th and seventh place respectively).
Jonny Stevens, 19, Vail, CO, graduated from Battle Mountain High School where he captained the cross country, track, and ice hockey teams. This is his third U.S. team. He will attend the University of Colorado in the fall. His PRs include 4:25 for the mile, 9:18 for 2 miles, and a 5 km in 15:46. He was the second U.S. finisher at the 2007 World Trophy, the second junior at the 2008 Vail Berry Picker (13th overall), first junior at the 2008 Vail HillClimb, fifth at the 2008 Colorado 4a-5a State champs mile 4:26, second at the 2008 Colorado 4a-5a State champs 2mile 9:33, 17th place at the 2008 Arcadia Invitational 2m 9:18, fourth at the 2007 Colorado State XC champs in 16:42, and first junior at the 2007 USA 10 km trail championships.
The Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team staff includes Nancy Hobbs, Colorado Springs, CO, Richard Bolt, Portland, Oregon, Dave Dunham, Bradford, MA, and Ellen Miller, Vail, CO. The staff will accompany the team to Switzerland.
Sponsors of the 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team include title sponsor Teva, the official footwear of the team since 2002, SportHill is the official apparel sponsor providing team uniforms, OrthoLite Insoles, the worldÛªs leading supplier of open cell foam insoles in the performance and footwear category is the official insole, Fleet Feet Sports Boulder, the official specialty running store, Windermere of Teton Valley, the official real estate company, Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition, Wicked Fast sports nutrition, the official dietary supplements for pre-exercise energy/endurance (Energ-Ease) and post-exercise recovery (Recover-Ease), and product sponsors FuelBelt, Inc. (hydration products), Costa Del Mar (performance sunglasses), and Youth Runner magazine.