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USATF Cross Country Jr Nationals

Flatirons Golf Course, Boulder CO

Saturday, February 10th 2007

DyeStat on site - Rich Gonzalez, Marc Davis, and John Nepolitan

You've Qualified, But Ken-Ya Go?
Team USA likely not at full force in Kenya

By Rich Gonzalez, DyeStatCal/DyeStat

BOULDER, CO. -- By the time the snow has softened, the ice had begun to thaw and the crowd of thousands had milled out of Flatirons Golf Course on Saturday, the biggest question remained the same as when they had arrived: Who will represent Team USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Mombassa, Kenya on March 24th?

The identities of the 12 that qualified are known, but that doesn't necessarily mean those dozen will get on the plane. One qualifier was unsure if she'd make the trip due to one reason, while another expressed doubt for an entirely different reason.


Team USA Junior Women for the World XC Champs include (from left) Aislinn Ryan, Aurora Scott, Bona Jones, Jordan Hasay, Kari Hardt, and Jocelyn Burke.  Photo John Nepolitan


Team USA Junior Men for the World XC Champs include (from left) Matt Tebo, Josh Edmonds, Ryan McNiff, Kenny Klotz, Elliott Heath, and Noel Bateman.  Photo John Nepolitan



Newly crowned young women's champion Jordan Hasay seemed all set for the intercontinental trip, but word began to spread by early afternoon that the United States might be sending alternates for some of the Open level (professional) qualifying spots, with concerns by some raised over the logistical challenges of traveling to Kenya. One version making the rounds was that even some officials from Team USA might skip the trip.

From the slate of required vaccinations to recent security concerns over traveling into the region, the site of this year's world championships has posed unique challenges not found in usual Team USA competition destinations. Reports had already surfaced that some nations would likely be sending partial teams or missing the competition altogether.

At least one prominent individual tied in to several of the elites quipped before the race outcomes: "Don't be surprised if at least half of those that qualify turn down their spots. A few have already said if they make the team, they will not go."

Hasay, her parents and her coach eventually found themselves mulling over related reports in the hours after her impressive race win over 6 kilometers, weighing the pros and cons of making the trip.

"It'll largely be up to what she wants to do, but whatever is decided, it may change our (training) plans in the bigger picture," said Armando Siqueiros, Hasay's coach at Mission College Prep.

Siqueiros, who has pushed the right buttons in nurturing the progress of the distance-running prodigy's since taking over her training last year, wished to make sure the innocent nature of the young teen's excitement wouldn't dictate decisions.

"I'm just telling her, 'Let's not get greedy,' " Siqueiros smiled. "It's easy to get caught up in all the success, but there's always what's down the road that we have to consider."

The ever-cautious Siqueiros explained to the young Hasay that if she elected to go to worlds, the training/competition plan for outdoor track would be pushed back, allowing for ample mental and physical recovery. As it is, plans for the outdoor schedule include defense of the 3200-meter title at Arcadia, state championship success in California, then sojourns to Indiana (USATF Junior Nationals) and hopefully Czechoslovakia (IAAF World Junior Championships).

The big mid-term goal will be competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials (likely at 5000 meters) in 2008.

Both of Hasay's parents hinted at concerns of a trip to Kenya given the current logistical obstacles, with Siqueiros opting to leave it to his runner, but reminding of the bigger picture. As the day passed on, Hasay's uncertainty on the Kenya situation grew.

Also expressing doubt was male qualifier Matt Tebo from Eldorado HS in New Mexico. As Tebo explained, teachers at his school were not thrilled at his missed class time earlier this school year (likely centering around the Mt. SAC Invitational, the FootLocker West Regional and the FootLocker Nationals, if not other meets as well) and was unsure if the school would allow for a weeklong absence for the world meet.

"I'm not sure I'd be able to go," he said. "Chances are I won't be able to."

Aurora Scott, the third of the four prep qualifiers, seemed all set for the trip, flashing a smile and answering in the affirmative when asked if she's ready for Kenya.

And Minnesota's Elliot Heath, the male Juniors champion?

He's excited at the thought of going, but admitted he had never really given it much serious thought: "I wasn't thinking about qualifying!"


USATF XC Meet Index