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Athletics - 31. March 2008.

Gits scores top-20 finishe for Team USA at World Cross Country Championships

EDINBURGH, GBR - Alex Gits (Edina, Minn.) finished 13th in the junior women's race to lead Team USA at the 36th IAAF World Cross Country Championships Sunday at Edinburgh's Holyrood Park.

Gits, a freshman at Stanford Universityled the Team USA junior women with a 13th place finish. Despite a fall near 3 km, Gits ran 20:41 for the 6 km course to lead the U.S. squad to a sixth-place finish with 100 points, only one point out of fifth behind Canada.

Gits was followed by teammates Emily Schwitzer (Minnetonka, Minn.)in 28th place, Laurynne Chetelat (Davis, Calif.) in 29th, Emily Reese (Chamblee, Ga.) in 30th to round out the team scoring, while Lauren Saylor (Clovis, Calif.) and Marissa Treece (Maple City, Mich.) finished 38th and 44th respectively.

Ethiopia won the team gold, led by Genzebe Dibaba's winning run of 19:59. Kenya was second in the team race with 20 points with Japan taking third with 57 points.

Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.) led the Team USA senior women to a fourth-place finish, running 8 km in 26:36 for 18th. Teammates Katie McGregor (Saint Louis Park,, Minn.), Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.), and Kathy Newberry (Williamsburg, Va.) finished within two seconds of each other to take 22nd, 23rd and 24th places respectively. Renee Metivier (Boulder, Colo.) and Amy Hastings (Flagstaff, Ariz.) finished 49th and 62nd respectively.

Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won her third World Cross Country Championship, running 25:10 to lead Ethiopia to their second team Gold of the day with 18 points. Kenya was second with 22 as Australia took the team bronze ahead of the U.S. by three points with 84.


Team USA Quotes:

Senior Women

Katie McGregor (Minneapolis, Minn.): Overall, I thought we did a great job. I sort of got lost for a bit there, but when the other girls started moving up, it helped. It's great when all of your teammates come together.

Amy Hastings (Flagstaff, Ariz.): I think that the people who started up front slowed it down. It (taking the lead early) might not have been the best move for me, but I learned what not to do for future races.

Emily Brown (Minneapolis, Minn.): It felt really good that it was such a team effort out there. I think we had different race strategies today, but we ended up together, and that made us stronger as a team. I am trying to decide what my track distance will be this spring. I may end up running the 5k, but it gives me confidence knowing that I can move up to 10k.

Molly Huddle (Providence, R.I.): I really didn't know what to expect. The only thing that kept me from panicking during fhe race was looking for another girl with a USA jersey. We really helped each other a lot.

Junior Women

Alex Gits (Edina, Minn.): I knew I was going to get nice and muddy. I didn't want that front pack to gain so much distance, so I just took a few quick steps and got right back up there.

Emily Reese (Chamblee, Ga.): I usually like to start pretty fast, and after I bit, I noticed that I was up there with the Kenyans, so I slowed down just a bit. When I slowed down just for a little bit, everyone just jumped on me. It was certainly fun being in a race this big.

Marissa Treece (Maple City, Mich.): I didn't have a great placing overall. I got stuck in no-man's land. My kick wasn't too bad, but the rest of my race didn't go over too well. There's a lot of people that are a lot better than me. When you get out on this stage, you find out that you're not that big any more.

Emily Schwitzer (Minnetonka, Minn.): I made sure that I went out slower, as I tend to get intimidated. I tried to gain confidence by picking people off. I learned to run in the pack and keep my arms out, look up, and take the turns wide.

Lauren Saylor (Clovis, Calif.): It was a great experience. I didn't have any serious goals in mind, as I didn't know what to expect. I just went out there, tried to have fun, and use this as a learning experience for the future. I was a bit back there, but I wanted to make sure that on the last lap, that I was going to crank it all the way.

Laurynne Chetelat (Davis, Calif.): I had a great time. I tried a new strategy of going out slower and building up, something that Lauren Saylor had talked about. It seemed to work out pretty good for me today. I didn't find the hill too intimidating, and actually had a fun time in the mud. This race has taught me not to get too excited in the beginning, and concentrate on how I feel.

For more information on the 2008 World Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.

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