Leads U.S. Teams to Pair of Top 10s
FAYETTEVILLE - University of Arkansas head track
and cross country coach Lance Harter led Team USA at the 32nd Annual IAAF
World Cross Country Championships with one goal in mind: finish among
the top 10. Harter and America's team fulfilled its goal with fifth and
seventh-place finishes at the championship.
Knowing that he didn't have a full compliment
of weapons as the event began thanks to bone-chilling temperatures at
the USA Championships and the thought of the Olympics on the horizon,
Harter believed that a pair of top 10 finishes in both the long and short
course races would be a great achievement for his group of young distance
runners. To his surprise, Team USA was up to the challenge as they finished
fifth in the long race and seventh on the short course to return the United
States to its spot among the world's elite. In 2003, the U.S. finished
13th in the 4,000-meter race.
"It is always an honor to serve your country
in any capacity," Harter said. "As a team, I think we ran very well this
weekend. This is a chance to look at what might happen at the Olympics
and to see the U.S. runners performing well here is very encouraging for
what's to come in Athens."
Former Lady Razorback Christin Wurth-Thomas
competed in her first international event at the meet, running in the
shorter, 4K competition. The seventh-place finisher at the U.S. Championships
in mid-February, Wurth-Thomas improved significantly among her American
counterparts, finishing third for the U.S. and 43rd overall. Wurth-Thomas
was one of the key factors in Team USA's improvement at the shorter race.
"Christin has always been a competitor," Harter
said. "I knew that she would be just fine when she stepped up against
this type of competition. Her goals now are to train and prepare for the
US Championships and try to make the Olympic team."