Off to World Cross
FAYETTEVILLE - University of Arkansas head
women's track coach Lance Harter is off to Brussels, Belgium, as the head
cross country coach for team USA's women at the 32nd annual IAAF World
Cross Country Championships.
Harter's sixth appointment to a Team USA staff,
his duties for the 2004 meet include preparing two squads, a 4,000 and
8,000-meter team, for the best that the world offers.
"I think that it is always an honor to be
selected to coach a team of this caliber by your country," Harter said.
"Our goal is to finish in the top 10 and anything on top of that is gravy.
This is certainly a preview of the upcoming Olympic Games so we want to
do well as a team."
Leading the way for team USA in the long course
is the second-place finisher from the USA Championships and 16th-place
finish at the 2003 IAAF Championships, Katie McGregor. She'll be joined
by up-and-comers Molly Austin and sisters Kate and Laura O'Neill. The
short course team is spearheaded by North Carolina graduate and former
NCAA Champion Shalane Flanagan who took the US title for 4,000 meters.
Former Lady Razorback Christin Wurth-Thomas joins Harter on the trip as
does Wartburg College sensation Melissa Buttry and Stanford grad Lauren
A quick turnaround from the NCAA Championships
held last weekend, Harter departed for his international assignment on
Monday morning, March 15. Competition begins on Saturday with the long
course race followed by the short course on Sunday. Harter returns to
the Lady Razorbacks on Monday, March 22, before leaving again with his
Lady Razorbacks for Stanford that weekend.
"It's never a good time to leave to coach
a World team," Harter said. "You constantly have athletes that are training
back home, but I am fortunate enough to have a great staff to work with
that can handle things during spring break."
While Harter has had the ability to travel
all over the world at various levels including the Olympic Games, he knows
that his time as a coach is limited.
"This is probably my last tour as a Team USA
coach," Harter said. "USA Track and Field needs to get the next generation
of coaches experience at the world level so that they can be prepared
for the Olympics, however if they came calling again I would certainly