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Flanagan Wins US XC Title, NY’s Cuffe JR. Winner

SAN DIEGO – Olympic Bronze medalist and American record holder Shalane Flanagan (Portland, Ore.) dominated the women’s field to win her fifth USA Cross Country title, while Brent Vaughn (Blackhawk, Colo.) surprised the men’s field to win his first USA title Saturday at the 2011 USA Cross Country Championships.

In addition to the national titles up for grabs in San Diego, open and
junior men and women qualified to represent Team USA at the IAAF World
Cross Country Championships March 20 in Punta Umbria, Spain.

In the women’s 8 km, Flanagan took an early lead and never looked back.
Leading by more than 10 seconds after the first 2 km loop, Flanagan
steadily increased her lead over Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.), who had a small lead over a chase pack that included Lisa Koll (Portland, Ore.), Olympic marathoners Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.) and Blake Russell (Pacific Grove, Calif.), with Zap Fitness standout Alissa McKaig (Blowing Rock, N.C.) hanging on.

After 6 km, Flanagan led by 40 seconds while Koll pulled even with
Huddle. As Flanagan cruised to a 41-second win, Huddle pulled away from
Koll to claim the runner-up spot in 26:31 as Koll took third in 26:41.
Rounding out the Team USA qualifiers, Boulet took fourth in 27:02, with
Russell fifth in 27:06 and McKaig taking sixth in 27:07.

In the men’s 12 km, a large pack ran together through 6 km before
Vaughn made his move, opening a nine-second lead over a chase pack that
included Ed Moran (Williamsburg, Va.), Matt Tegenkamp (Portland, Ore.), Ben True (Hanover, N.H.), Brian Olinger (Westerville, Ohio), Max King (Bend, Ore.) and Andrew Bumbalough (Portland, Ore.).

Over the final two laps, Bumbalough, Tegenkamp, Moran, True, King and
Olinger gave chase, closing the gap on Vaughn. Going into the final
lap, Vaughn looked to have the win secured but waited until the final
meters to celebrate his six second win, finishing in 35:46. Bumbalough,
who made the 2006 world cross country championship team as a junior
member, claimed the runner-up position in 35:52, while Moran took third
in 35:54. Tegenkamp finished in fourth, and True and Olinger rounded
out the Team USA qualifiers in 36:03 and 36:05
respectively.

Cuffe powers to convincing win in junior women’s race

Much as she did two months ago at the Foot Locker National Championships across town, high school senior Aisling Cuffe (Cornwall On Hudson, N.Y.) steamrolled past her opposition to decisively win the junior women’s 6 km championship.

Cuffe opened up a substantial gap on the field early, and was never
challenged for the victory, crossing the finish line in 21:13, a
26-second gap over runner up Molly Grabill of nearby Poway, California.

In the battle for second, Grabill, a senior in high school, tussled with University of Washington freshman Katie Flood
(Des Moines, Iowa), before Grabill inched forward and opened a four
second gap at the finish over Flood, who crossed the line in 21:43.

Sierra Vega (Santa Ana, Calif.) finished fourth in 22:00, while Julie Nacouzi (Santa Rosa, Calif.) of the Buffalo Chips Running Club took fifth in 22:17. Hannah Valenzuela
(Apple Valley, Calif.) took the final spot to Punta Umbria with a
sixth-place finish in 22:17, four seconds up on University of
Washington freshman
Chelsea Orr (Sammamish, Wash.).

Olson wins junior men’s title

Stanford University freshman Erik Olson
(Novato, Calif.) bided his time over a closely bunched group of
runners, before powering away for the victory in the junior men’s 8 km
race.

In a race that had no clear cut favorite
entering Saturday’s competition, Olson waited until the final lap to
put on a surge that broke the field, crossing the line in 24:48, a
nine-second win over runner up Maxwell Straneva (Binghampton, N.Y.).

Heralded high schooler Craig Lutz (Highland Village, Texas) took third in 25:06, with Justin Vilhauer (Visalia, Calif.) fourth in 25:09.

Ryan Poland of (Westminster, Colo.) was fifth in 25:16, and in an identical scenario to last year’s race in Spokane, high school senior Ammar Moussa (Arcadia, Calif.) grabbed the sixth and final spot to the world championships, finishing in 25:20.

Masters Championships

National championships were also decided for masters men and women at 8
km with titles on the line in five-year age groups beginning at age 40
and up.

Masters ace Pete Magill (South Pasadena, Calif.) claimed the overall masters men’s title in 26:17 and Colleen De Reuck (Boulder, Colo.) took the women’s in 28:47. Magill and Kathryn Martin (Northport, N.Y.) claimed the masters age-graded titles.

Webcast Information

Video highlights of the USA Cross Country Championships are available
in cooperation with RunnerSpace.com at www.USARunningCircuit.com.

Athlete Quotes

Brent Vaughn:
It’s gonna be great to put on that USA jersey. It’s gonna be hard to
put it into words. I’m gonna have a hard time sleeping tonight (after
dropping out of the USA half marathon last week) I didn’t want to waste
this opportunity. I’ve been working too hard to waste my fitness. I was
planning to give Ryan Hall a run for his money, but that didn’t happen.
I was so disappointed after DNF’ing last week that I thought about
quitting and getting a job. I felt bad for everyone who’s coached me. I
felt like I let everyone down. Coach (Mark)
Wetmore taught me at Colorado that you finish no matter what.

I like to race aggressively. When you get the lead and you get a gap, all of a sudden your mind gets pretty strong.

Shalane Flanagan:
As soon as I finished, I looked around to see who was finishing behind
me. I think we’re going to have an amazing team in Spain. I’m really
excited about this squad, and I hope that these ladies will commit to
going to Spain.
I hope to run real fast on the track this summer. Daegu is certainly the center of our training for this year
I went out at a fast pace, basically to simulate what I’m going to do
in Spain. I was a little more aggressive than I wanted to be, but it
all worked out in the end. There’s nothing easy about cross country. It
callouses your body for the track.

Aisling Cuffe:
I’m so excited to go to Spain! I saw some of the Washington girls up
front, so I was a little worried. During the race, some of the people
on the course started yelling the distance I was ahead, and so I told
myself to relax and be confident that you’ve got the race.
I’m going to run my normal indoor season before going to Spain.

Erik Olson:
In the last 3k, I tried to drop the hammer. 8K is a pretty long
distance so it’s hard to lead from start to finish, and having said
that, cross country races in college are won in the last 2k. I’m going
to do some multi-tasking the next few weeks, and focus on worlds and
also try to qualify for the NCAA championships indoors.

Colleen De Reuck:
I’m doing half (of the training) that I normally do. I’m training less
and working more. This race was age graded, so you just run. Kathryn
Martin was really the one to beat. The first K was pretty easy, but the
last few were pretty hard.

Pete Magill:
Good races feel pretty easy, and it felt that way. I was feeling pretty
good until about 30 seconds after crossing the finish line. I was gonna
do a little victory dance, then I curled up in the fetal position and
started hurling my cookies. I turn 50 in four months, and I am hoping
to break 15 minutes in the 5k, but on the roads,

For more information on the 2011 USA Cross Country Championships visit www.usatf.org.

About USA Track & Field

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for
track & field, long-distance running and race walking in the United
States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, the
World’s #1 Track & Field Team, the most-watched events at the
Olympics, the #1
high school and junior high school participatory sport, and more than
30 million adult runners in the United States: www.usatf.org.

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