Drossin Defends USA 8K XC Title


Drossin Wins 7th USA Cross Country Title Gary Grabs Men’s 4K Crown, Horowitz Junior Champ By Charlie Mahler, Running USA wire

HOUSTON – (February 15, 2003) – 2002 World Cross Country silver-medalist Deena Drossin of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. won her 7th USA Cross Country Championship on Saturday in the slop of Buffalo Bayou Park. Drossin, a member of Team USA California, charged to the front of the pack at the start of the women’s 8K event and romped to a 36 second victory over World Cross bronze-medalist Colleen De Reuck with her 29:06 clocking.

In other action on an off-and-on rainy, 65-degree day that made the 2K loop courses a brown wallow, Olympian Robert Gary won his first-ever U.S. title in the men’s 4K event in 12:53 and Duke freshman Clara Horowitz won the junior women’s 6K event in 23:34. The races selected the six-runner USA teams for the 2003 IAAF World Cross Country Championships to be held on March 29-30 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“My plan going into the race was to stick with the lead pack for a good lap or so until I felt strong enough to go,” Drossin, a 2000 Olympian, said. “But after seeing the course, I didn’t have the confidence that I could pull away like I wanted to, so I went from the gun and tried to push it from the start. The problem is that running aggressively could work against you, especially going down the hill.”

Drossin – who turned 30 on Valentine’s Day – will be joined at Worlds by four other Team USA Distance Running athletes. Milena Glusac of Team USA California finished third in 30:17, Katie McGregor of Team USA Minnesota was fourth in 30:27, Jen Rhines of Team USA California was fifth 30:29, Sara Wells of Team USA Minnesota was sixth in 30:30.

Drossin, De Reuck, Glusac and Rhines were the scoring members of the USA’s 2002 World Cross silver medal-wining team.

“I am optimistic about our chances,” Drossin said of World Cross 2003. “It’s something that I dream about, both for the team and as an individual. I am going to put in a good month of training at altitude at Mammoth Lakes and be ready to run in Lausanne.”

Individually, Drossin continues to close the gap between herself and nine-time USA harrier champ and three-time World Champion Lynn Jennings. Drossin’s seven titles – six at the 8K distance and one at 4K – place her ahead of Doris Brown who won five USA tiles. (Brown, now Brown-Heritage, is the coach of this year’s USA senior women’s team.)

Gary, who competed for the U.S. in the steeplechase at the Atlanta Games but had never won a national title until today, charged up a sharp hill just before the two mile mark to pull away to victory. As is typical for the 4K event, the chute filled quickly behind him.

“I didn’t plan to take the lead early, but once I was up there, I tried to keep things rolling,” the Ohio State grad said. “At the same time, I am not a very big fan of sitting back in cross country races. I wasn’t planning on slowing down and giving anyone a chance to get back into the race.”

Joining Gary on the World team will be Dan Wilson, second in 12:57, Notre Dame’s Luke Watson, third also in 12:57, the U.S. Army’s Sandu Rebenciuc fourth in 12:58, Karl Savage, fifth also in 12:58, and 2002 USA Marathon Champion Dan Browne sixth in 12:59.

In the Junior Women’s race, Horowitz took command of the race near the mile mark and pulled away for a comprehensive victory. For the 2002 graduate of Head-Royce High School in Oakland, Calif., the win and earning a spot on the national team were about redemption and outerwear.

“I have wanted to make the world team ever since I saw the USA jerseys and all the gear,” Horowitz explained. “Last year I ran at Junior Nationals in the track 5000 and I was third when top two go, and I missed it by about less than half a second, so I was really bummed. The fact that I get to represent the country – even though it’s at a junior level – I’m just really excited.”

Making the USA squad along with Horowitz were Laura Hodgson of the University of Washington, runner-up in 24:10, Amy Hastings of Arizona State, third in 24:19, Rebecca Walter of the University of Michigan, fourth in 24:21, Julia Lucas of North Carolina State, fifth in 24:25, and Angela Homan of Auburn University of 24:39.

In USA Masters Championship competition, Carmen Ayala-Troncoso won the women’s 6K event in 23:49, while David Olds won the 6K men’s event in 21:42.

Team Championships were contested as well at Buffalo Bayou. The adidas team of Glusac, McGregor, Rhines and Amy Rudolph won the women’s 8K event scoring with 14 points to Nike’s 22. Nike won the men’s 4K scoring with a 21-22 victory over adidas. The Reebok Aggies won the junior women’s event with 17 points.

Championship racing resumes tomorrow morning with the junior men’s 8K at 10:00 a.m., followed by the women’s 4K at 10:45 a.m., and finishing with the men’s 12K race at 11:15 p.m. Defending junior men’s champ Tim Moore and men’s 12K champ Meb Keflezighi of Team USA California return to defend their titles.

USA Cross Country Championships Houston, TX, Saturday, February 15, 2003

1) Robert Gary, adidas, 12:53
2) Dan Wilson, ASICS, 12:57
2) Luke Watson, Unattached, 12:57
4) Karl Savage, Unattached, 12:58
4) Sandu Rebenciuc, US Army, 12:58
6) Daniel Browne, Nike, 12:59
7) Chad Johnson, Nike, 13:00
8) Brad Hauser, Nike, 13:03
9) Ian Connor, Nike, 13:05
10) Matt Gabrielson, Team USA Minnesota, 13:14

1) Deena Drossin, ASICS*, 29:06
2) Colleen De Reuck, Nike, 29:42
3) Milena Glusac, adidas*, 30:17
4) Katie McGregor, adidas#, 30:27
5) Jen Rhines, adidas*, 30:29
6) Sara Wells, ASICS#, 30:30 7) Amy Rudolph, adidas*, 31:02
8) Elva Dryer, Nike*, 31:19
9) Sarah Toland, Nike, 31:24
10) Dana Coons, adidas, 31:35
*Team USA California; #Team USA Minnesota

For full results and more, go to: http://www.usatf.org