US Club Cross Country Championships - Preview
Charlotte, North Carolina Ė The Boulder Running Company / adidas women face tall odds in this weekendís title defense and the men will try to score an upset victory. Both could walk away team champions. Hereís how the entrant lists look Ė
In the menís race, with a high-powered lead three of Nick Arciniaga, Aaron Braun, and Brett Gotcher, McMillan Elite has to be the favorite. ZAP Fitness and a Hansonís team, including Adams State alum Brian Medigovich, are both entered, but I expect BRC to take them down. Itís between McMillan and BRC for the menís team title. Competing unattached, Boulderís Jason Hartmann and Pat Rizzo are both entered. For Boulder Running Company / adidas then, their A-team includes Scott Dahlberg, Jason Delaney, Ryan Hafer, Paul Michel, Tommy Neal, Greg Reindl, Adam Rich, and Robby Young. Eight guys, didnít realize that they could enter more than seven, but thatís what I see. It appears that BRCís Jay Luna and Pete Remien will compete unattached. Last yearís A-team finished second to ZAP Fitness. From that team, Michel, Reindl, Dahlberg, Neal, and Delaney all return. Itís hard to say who will lead the BRC men, probably Dahlberg. He won the Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day Race 4M over Hartmann and teammates Michel and Delaney. Rich won the Colorado Springs Turkey Trot on a shortened course, over teammate Young. Hafer ran 1:10 if I recall at Novemberís Big Sur Half Marathon. Reindl won Denverís Wash Park Turkey Trot 4M. With that depth, I think Boulder Running Companyís men have a good shot to take the title. I think itís probably more likely that the men win than the women, even though the women are defending champs. In addition to three mentioned above, McMillan has Marco Anzures, Jordan Horn, and Scott Smith. Braun and Gotcher should get in before all of the BRC men, but the BRC guys can match Arciniaga, a 2:12 marathoner, in a cross race and also get in ahead of Anzures, Horn, and Smith. Roll the dice how you will, itís going to be close. Good luck to the BRC men. For the women, their toughest competition will come from Boulder. The Running Republic of Boulder team includes the ageless Colleen DeReuck, US indoor 3K champion Renee Metivier-Baillie, and 2:35 marathoner Nan Kennard. Thatís the Running Republicís top three. Their four and five are Sara Vaughn and Sara Slattery. I donít think anyone would disagree with me in saying that the Saraís are big question marks. Vaughn hasnít raced since giving birth to her second child and Slattery has been absent the race scene for a year. A sixth-place 22:30 at the 2009 Thanksgiving Day 4M is the last result I can recall for her. I have no problem with it, but there was some criticism directed at some of the teams fabricated for this event, including Running Republic, on LetsRun. At the same time though, I recall criticism on there directed at BRC for pulling girls from all over Colorado rather than from one city. Moving right along thenÖ Boulder Running Company / adidas is led by last yearís third-place finisher Nicole Feest. Feest ran 1:29 slower at this year Fort Collins Thanksgiving Day 4M than last year though. The team also includes Stephanie Bylander, Tera Moody, Amanda Occhi, Shannon Payne, Cassie Slade, Wendy Thomas, and Alisha Williams. I think itís most likely that either Slade, Williams, or Thomas lead the team. BRCís Ashley Birger, Adrian Chouinard, Kristen Hemphill, Lori Walker all appear to be competing unattached. Feest, Moody, Williams, Occhi, Slade are all returning members from last yearís winning team. Putting them head-to-head then, Metivier-Baillie will contend for the individual title, likely with Desiree Davila and Sally Meyerhoff. Like Metivier-Baillie, Kennard will also get in before all of the BRC team. Slade, Thomas, and/or Williams may get in before DeReuck and Iím going to say that BRCís 4-5 will get in before Running Republicís 4-5. Similar to the menís race then, itís a toss-up. Good luck to the Running Republic of Boulder and BRC women, one of them will likely take the team title.