USATF Cross Country Champs: W. Va. state champ Maggie Drazba top prep in 2nd

February, 11, 2012
2/11/12
1:25
AM ET
Coverage of the 2012 USATF XC Championships
Forest Park, St. Louis MO

LINKS: Meet Home Page | Junior Entries
Runnerspace.com Webcast
Scroll down for schedule

HIGHLIGHTS
  • St. Mary's WV jr Maggie Drazba, the WV state champ and 13th at FL South, was the top prep in either junior race, taking 2nd with 21:07.7 for the Junior Women's 6k. DyeStat alum (8th in 2010 Foot Locker Finals) Shannon Osika, a U of Michigan frosh, won overall in 21:04.3. La Costa Canyon CA soph Emma Abrahamson was 7th (21:37), Xavier Prep AZ jr Sarah Fakler 11th (22:00), and Eureka MO frosh Hannah Long 14th (22:07).
  • In the Junior Men's race, La Costa Canyon CA sr Darren Fahy was the top prep, finishing 7th in 25:09.2 for 8k, just out of the money for NACAC team. Former Indiana prep Jacy Lowry (now a Syracuse frosh) won in 24:54.3. Hebron TX senior teammates Kevyn Hoyos (25:27) and Robert Domanic (25:35) were 11th and 13th, topping fellow Texan and Cypress Woods sr Craig Nowak's 16th (25:49).
  • Phillips Andover Acad. MA sr Cayla Hatton, who was 2nd last weekend in the NB Indoor GP girls mile, ran a very strong 13th in the Open (senior) Women's race with 28:26.6 for 8k. Sara Bei topped Molly Huddle in a battle of DyeStat alums for the win, both clocking 26:50.1.

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PREVIEW: Fahy, Tinkey lead prep entries

By Bob Geiger and SteveU

The year 2012 is a very unusual one in international cross country: For the first time, since the meet was inaugurated back in 1973 (previously ICCU Championships since 1903), there will be no IAAF World Cross Country Championships. The sport’s international governing body made the decision in 2009 to go to an every-other-year format beginning with 2011, so the only Team USA berths on the line are for the NACAC Cross Country Championships, a continental meet taking place March 17, 2012, at Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Hence, there’s less incentive for preps (or collegians or elites) to travel to St. Louis in the middle of February to battle over hill and dale in the Junior or Senior races.

Still, a hardy handful of top high schoolers from last fall’s harrier wars will take part in the Junior event, as well as some “DyeStat Alums,” and there will be some storylines worth following.

Junior Men’s 8K Race: Fahy’s chance at redemption

If there’s one prep to watch with an eagle eye Saturday, it’s Darren Fahy. The LaCosta Canyon (Carlsbad, Calif.) senior was ranked in the top 3-4 in the country much of the year as he went undefeated through Foot Locker West, winning the Stanford and Mt. SAC Invitationals, as well as the D2 state meet. In front of the home crowd at Balboa Park for Foot Locker Finals, however, Fahy was a crushing 17th. Before he starts the track season, this is a chance at redemption for the Californian – if he can fare well in what might be dismal weather.

At least another half dozen preps bear significant watching. Three of the other top entries are Texans. Cypress Woods (Cypress, Texas) senior Craig Nowak was tremendous last fall, taking his 5A state meet and then embarking on a nationals double quest: He was third at NXN South, then won Foot Locker South. After a tremendous third in Portland at the NXN Finals, he wound it up with a somewhat disappointing 14th in San Diego. So maybe he’d like a little redemption, too, but he’s still one of the most intriguing entries given that he’s considered a miler above all in track and could be tearing it up on the indoor oval.

That same Texas 5A meet saw Hebron seniors Kevyn Hoyos and Robert Domanic take third and fourth. At NXN South, Hoyos was 2nd and Domanic 7th, so while Hoyos then was 34th in Portland, Domanic went to Charlotte and placed 10th at Foot Locker South and 20th in the finals. Saturday, they’ll be racing together again.

Finally, not surprisingly the St. Louis location for USATFs has drawn some top Missouri runners. Rockhurst (Kansas City, Mo.) senior Zach Herriott was 4th at NXN Midwest, then 9th in the Finals. Festus (Festus, Mo.) senior Drew White was the 3A state champ, then 17th at NXN Midwest.

The favorite in the Junior Men’s race will be Ohio State freshman Michael Bradjic. Bradjic, who as a prep broke Bobby Kennedy's state meet course record, just competed last month in the Great Edinburgh International Cross Country Team Challenge, where he finished seventh to help lead the USA squad to the team title.

Junior Women: Tinkey leads contenders

In the Junior Women’s race, a pair of USATF Junior XC veterans from Arizona and a 3-time Foot Locker Finalist are among the prep contenders.

The latter would be Presbyterian Day School (Macon, Ga.) junior Grace Tinkey, who was 6th in the Finals in December after taking 10th and 20th as a soph and frosh, respectively. Tinkey recently ran 10:04 for 3000 meters at the Jimmy Carnes Invitational in Florida. The Arizonans include Chinle senior Rolonda Jumbo, who was 9th as a frosh in 2009, then 31st and 12th the past two seasons. Xavier College Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) junior Sarah Fakler was 11th here last year for a NACAC berth.

As for local favorites, watch for impressive Eureka frosh Hannah Long, who was 2nd in the Missouri 4A state meet and 11th at Foot Locker Midwest. Then a pair of Californians to watch for are two-time NXN Finals top-20 finisher Rebecca Mehra (Palos Verdes senior; 3rd in 2009, 16th in 2011) and Emma Abrahamson a soph for powerhouse La Costa Canyon. From West Virginia, there’s St. Mary’s jr Maggie Drazba, state champ and 13th at Foot Locker South.

Some post high school runners to look out for include Julie Nacouzi, who was a member of Team USA at last year's IAAF meet in Punta Umbria, Spain, and 3rd at the 2010 Foot Locker Finals. There’s also former Michigan preps Gabby Anzalone (now at Wisconsin; 11th in 2010 Foot Locker) and Shannon Osika (now at Michigan and a sub-4:40 miler; 8th in 2010 Foot Locker), for New York prep Shaylyn Tuite (now at Syracuse; 7th in 2010 NXN Finals).

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SCHEDULE:
8:30 a.m. High School 4 km
9:00 a.m. Community Race 4 km
9:45 a.m. Masters Women's 8 km
10:45 a.m. Masters Men's 8 km
11:45 a.m. Junior Women's 6 km
12:30 p.m. Junior Men's 8 km
1:15 p.m. Open Women's 8 km
2:00 p.m. Open Men's 12 km

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