SAN DIEGO-2004 Olympic team members Shalane Flanagan (Pittsboro, N.C) scored a convincing victory at the USA Cross Country Championships at Mission Bay Park in San Diego on Saturday.
Flanagan, fresh off a stint of altitude training in Mexico, cruised to a 70-second victory over runner-up Renee Metivier Bailie (Boulder, Colo.) over the eight-kilometer distance, running 25:26 under picture perfect conditions, with temperatures in the mid-60s.
Flanagan took matters into her own hands early, daring any of the runners in the field to go with her.
Following Metivier Bailie and earning spots on Team USA for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships were Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.), who ran 26:37, followed a second later by Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park, Minn.).
Recent Notre Dame graduate Molly Huddle (Elmira, New York) finished fifth in 26:52, while world cross country team veteran Blake Russell (Marina, Calif.) nabbed the final team position, running 26:54.
Georgia high schooler Emily Reese (Dunwoody, Georgia) placed third, in 21:26, followed by a trio of college freshmen, led by Notre Dame's Marissa Treece (South Bend, Ind.) in fourth, running 21:33, followed by Duke University's Emily Schwitzer (Durham, North Carolina) in 21:34, and the University of Washington's Lauren Saylor (Clovis, Calif.) garnering the final junior team position, running 21:36 for sixth.
The 2008 USA Cross Country Championships will be televised in association with the AT&T USA Indoor Track & Field Championships February 24, from 5-7 p.m. on ESPN 2.
For more information on the USA Cross Country Championships, please visit www.usatf.org.
Shalane Flanagan-I had my husband telling me how much of a lead I had. I think that training at altitude agrees with me. I'm excited to start the season with a win. This course played to my strength. If we get conditions like this every time at nationals, you can bet that I'll be coming every year. I was within myself, but I stayed aggressive the entire race. I needed to practice that mental toughness for Beijing today. The thought of Beijing is constantly on my mind.