Olympian Bob Kennedy and NCAA champion Shalane Flanagan head the Team USA lineups that will compete at the 32nd IAAF World Cross Country Championships, March 20-21 in Brussels, Belgium.
Team USA will be led by two-time Olympian Bob Kennedy, who won the men’s 12 km title for the second time in his career. Kennedy, who previously won the U.S. long course title in 1992, is the American record holder in the 3000 and 5000m.
Kennedy will be joined on the men’s long course squad by 2000 Olympian Abdi Abdirahman, who will be competing at the World Cross Country Championships for the fifth time in his career after placing fifth at the U.S. Championships. Kennedy and Abdirahman last joined forces at the 2001 World Cross Country Championships where they finished 12th and 15th respectively in helping lead the U.S. squad to the men’s long course team bronze medal. Abdirahman’s best finish at World Cross Country was in 2002 when he placed 11th in Dublin, Ireland.
Also look for Dave Davis to compete on the U.S. men’s long course team following his seventh place finish at the nationals in Indianapolis. Davis placed 64th in the 4 km race at the 2002 World Cross Country Championships.
Team USA’s women’s long course squad will be led by 2004 national runner-up Katie McGregor, who placed 16th at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships in helping Team USA to the team bronze medal.
She will be joined by 2004 third-place finisher Ann Marie Brooks, who placed 56th in the 4km race at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. Molly Austin (5th at Indy) will make her second World Cross Country Championships appearance following her 77th place finish last year in Lausanne. The women’s long course team also will feature former Yale standouts and identical twins, Kate and Laura O’Neill, who placed fourth and sixth respectively in Indianapolis.
Former Notre Dame standout Luke Watson will lead the men’s short course team in Brussels after finishing as the runner-up last month in Indianapolis.
1996 Olympic 3000m steeplechaser Robert Gary also will compete on the men’s short course squad after finishing as the runner-up to Kennedy in the long course race, and third in the short course race in Indianapolis. The 2003 U.S. short course cross country champion, Gary last competed at the World Cross Country Championships in 1998 in Marrakech, Morocco.
Ian Connor (6th at Indy) will compete for Team USA again after placing 62nd in the short course race last year in Lausanne.
The University of North Carolina’s Shalane Flanagan made the U.S. women’s 4 km squad by winning her first USA Cross Country title last month by a two-second margin over Carrie Tollefson. The 2002 and 2003 NCAA Cross Country champion, Flanagan will be joined by 2003 NCAA 5000m champion Lauren Fleshman (3rd at Indy). The two will be reunited in Brussels after solid performances as juniors at the 2000 Worlds in Vilamoura, Portugal, where Fleshman finished 26th and Flanagan placed 29th.
The University of Colorado’s Peter Janson enters the World Cross Country Championships as the 2004 USA junior men’s champion. He is the second consecutive Buffalo to win the U.S. crown after his collegiate teammate Billy Nelson won the title in 2003. Joining Janson on the squad is prep star Ryan Deak, who was the runner-up to Janson in Indianapolis and will enroll as a freshman at Colorado in the fall. Colorado head coach Mark Wetmore serves in that capacity for this year’s junior men’s team.
UCLA freshman Alison Costello will lead the U.S. junior women’s team following her win in the 6 km competition in Indianapolis. One of the Bruins’ top performers at their seventh place finish at last year’s NCAA Cross Country Championships, Costello will be joined by twins Amanda (5th at Indy) and Katherine (4th at Indy) Trotter, both freshmen at Stanford University. Brigham Young University freshman Amber Harper placed third at Nationals and enters the World Championships as the reigning USATF Junior Olympic Young Women’s cross country champion.
USA team for Brussels -
Senior Men’s 12 km
Senior Men’s 4 km
Junior Men’s 8 km
Senior Women’s 8 km
Ann Marie Brooks-Schwabe
Senior Women’s 4 km
Junior Women’s 6 km
NB. Athletes earned their places on the Team USA roster at the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships held February 6-7 in Indianapolis. The event mirrored the format used at the World Championships with three races held each day.