Just a few days away from the USATF XC national championships in Spokane.
Looks like it will be a good meet, although the men's field isn't nearly as deep as I would have expected. Given there is no world track championships or Oly Games, I had expected that the big guns would all be showing up. But, that doesn't seem to be the case. Make no mistake, there are still come great athletes; but,, not quite the depth that I thought we would see.
The headliner is clearly Dathan Ritzenheim. Ritz closed out 2009 on a high note. 6th in the world champs 10K in a PR, new American record at 5K, and a bronze medal at the world 1/2 marathon champs in Oct. He's a former bronze medalist in the junior men's world XC race; and, has always excelled on the turf. he's the clear favorite.
After Ritz, we have the likes of Max King, Thomas Morgan, Scott Bauhs, Matt Gabrielson, Billy Nelson, Ryan Vail and Antonio Vega.
On the women's side, the headliner is Bejing bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan. But, the women's field is a bit deeper on the talent side and includes ladies such as Katie McGregor, Emily Brown, Sarah Hall, Molly Huddle, Blake Russell and Magelena Lewy Boulet.
From a Montana connection, the women's field will include Megan Lerch of Missoula (and Mountain West Track Club). Meg finished 19th at the USATF Club Championships in December. She'll be joined by her Mountain West teammates and fellow Misosulians Rye Palen and Jenny Newton.
For the men - the open race will include Alan King of Billings. We'll also see some native Montanan's and MSU grads (now running for Club Northwest) in the form of Brent Winegar and Kevin Murphy.
In the master's race - myself and Jeff Thomas wil be racing.
Should be fun.
I'll keep postings up to date during the weekend.
The Muddy Buzzard.