Deena Drossin at the 2000 US Olympic Trials (© Getty Images)
USA Track & Field announced the Team USA line-ups that will compete at the 29th IAAF World Cross Country Championships March 24-25 in Ostend, Belgium.
Team USA will be led by Deena Drossin, Elva Dryer, Cheri Kenah and Collette Liss on the women's side, with Mebrahtom Keflezighi, Abdi Abdirahman Bob Kennedy, Tim Broe and Brad Hauser leading the men's contingent.
Athletes earned their places on the U.S. team during a two-day trials competition that mirrored the format used at the World Championships. At the USA Winter Cross Country Nationals February 17-18 in Vancouver, Washington, three championship races were held each day with the top six finishers in each competition qualifying for the trip to Belgium.
Women's Team Preview:
The U.S. women's long course team will be led by Deena Drossin, who has established herself as the dominant force in U.S. women's cross country. Last month in Vancouver, Drossin won her fourth career long course national title, putting her third on the all-time U.S. Championship list, trailing just Doris Brown (five championships) and three-time world cross country champ Lynn Jennings, who owns an amazing nine U.S. cross country titles.
Drossin also won the 4km title at the 2000 USA Winter Nationals in Greensboro, becoming the only woman in history to win the short and long course titles at the same event since the short course race was added in 1999.
Although she battled a nagging Achilles injury before the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Drossin ended the 2000 season ranked #1 in the U.S. at 10,000 meters by Track & Field News. Drossin set a new Olympic Trials record of 31:51.05 when she won the race in Sacramento, Calif. She also placed 2nd in the 5,000 meters at the 2000 Trials, ending the year ranked #2 nationally in that event. Drossin also holds the U.S. 5K road record.
The women's 4km team will be led by Elva Dryer, who placed second in Vancouver. The 3rd place finisher in the 5000 meters at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials, Dryer finished just ahead of Cheri Kenah in Vancouver. Kenah finished the 2000 season ranked #8 nationally at 1500 meters and #10 at 5000 meters, and was runner-up in the 3,000m at the 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix USA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Collette Liss will also compete in the 4K in Belgium after capturing the 2001 U.S. indoor mile. Liss was the top finishing American in the 4K at last year's World Cross Country Championships, placing 20th in 13:32.
The junior women's squad will be led by national champ Laura Zeigle, who placed 3rd at the 2001 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. A prep at South Jordan (Utah) High School, Zeigle won the 3,200-meter title at the 2001 National Scholastics Indoor Championships.
Men's Team Preview
The men's 12km team will be led by Mebrahtom Keflezighi, who dominated a talented field in Vancouver in winning his first U.S. cross country title.
The 2000 Olympic Trials 10,000 meter champion, Keflezighi went on to finish 12th at the Olympic Games in Sydney. A four-time NCAA champion while at UCLA, Keflezighi was the highest finishing American at the 2000 World Cross Country Championships in the12K (26th - 36:45).
Keflezighi's Olympic 10,000 meter teammate Abdi Abdirahman will compete in the 12K in Ostend after placing third at the U.S. Winter Nationals. Abdirahman was third at 10,000 meters at the 2000 Olympic Trials before placing 10th at the Olympic Games. He was 45th at last year's World Cross Country Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal. Also leading the U.S. men's long course squad will be two-time Olympian Bob Kennedy. Kennedy, who in 1992 became the first runner in 32 years to win the NCAA and USA cross country crowns in the same year, is a three-time U.S. 5000 meter champion and the American record holder at that distance.
Tim Broe will lead the U.S. team in the 4km competition in Belgium after winning the U.S. title. The 2000 NCAA 3000-meter steeplechase champ, Broe just missed the U.S. Olympic Team last summer when he finished 4th in that event at the Trials in Sacramento. Broe is enjoying the best season of his career, winning the 2001 USA Indoor title at 3,000m on March 3. Assisting Broe in the leadership role will be 2000 Olympian Brad Hauser, who placed 2nd in the 5000 meters at last year's Olympic Trials. Hauser finished 58th in the long course race at the 2000 World Cross Country Championships.
Topping the U.S. Junior men's squad is 2001 national champ Matt Tegenkamp of the University of Wisconsin. Tegenkamp will be joined by prep phenom and two-time Foot Locker high school cross country champ Dathan Ritzenhein, who placed 2nd at the Winter Nationals, and Stanford's Ian Dobson, who finished third at Nationals.
USA Track & Field for the IAAF
USA Team Roster (Alphabetical)
Senior Men 10km
Senior Men 4km
Junior Men 8K
Senior Women 8K
Senior Women 4K
Lisa Karnoop Nye
Junior Women 6K
Michelle de la Vina
Men's Head Coach/Chef de Mission: Bill Roe
Head Women's Coach: John Babington
Junior Men's Coach: Bruce Bickford
Junior Women's Coach: Mary Shea