Veteran Tim Hacker, who won his first US harrier title 14 months ago in Portland's harsh conditions, first exploded onto the national scene back in 1985 when he won the NCAA cross country title for Wisconsin. In 1989, Hacker nearly caught 8-time US champ Pat Porter, garnering runner-up honours in a torrential rainstorm after winning the US 5000 crown earlier that year. 1991/1993 US champ Todd Williams (Knoxville, TN), 1994/1996 US champ Reuben Reina (Fayetteville, AR), 1998 Fall Nationals winner
Andre Williams (Washington, DC), 1996 NCAA 5000 champ Alan Culpepper, and hometown favourite Rob Cook (Seattle, WA) are expected to challenge Hacker for the title.
Former Arkansas standout Deena Drossin also won her first national cross country title in Portland, when she thwarted 9-time champ Lynn Jennings' (Newmarket, NH) bid for an unprecedented 10th US harrier crown. Drossin won the gold medal at the 1997 World University Games 10,000. Drossin will have to hold off the likes of 3-time world champion and 1992 Olympic bronze medallist Jennings--who is making another try at winning her 10th US cross country title--1995 US cross country champion Joan Nesbit (Chapel Hill, NC), and 1992 Olympian Gwyn Coogan Boulder, CO).
Dan Browne's win at last year's US Trials marked the beginning of a stellar year for the West Point grad. Highlight's of Browne's year included US titles in the Indoor 3000, Outdoor 10,000, as well as at 5k and 10k on the roads. Browne, who has already recorded a sub-4:00 mile indoors this year, is expected to face stiff challenges from US outdoor 5000 champ Mark Davis and from NCAA harrier champ Adam Goucher in Tacoma.
Former 5000m American record holder Amy Rudolph edged Indoor 3000 champ Elva Dryer (Albuquerque, NM) in the stretch to win last year's US Trials. 1996 Olympian Rudolph went on to finish a step behind Dryer at the IAAF
World Cross Country Championships as the twosome finished 8th and 9th individually. Dryer is expected to challenge for the crown, while Drossin and Nesbit are scheduled to double back from the long course races and could be a factor.
The inaugural USA Winter Cross Country Championships, presented by adidas, are scheduled for February 13-14 at Lake Spanaway Golf Course near Tacoma, WA.
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