Feb. 5, 2004
UPDATE: University of New Mexico junior Matt Gonzales will travel to Indianapolis this Saturday, Feb. 7, to compete at the USA Cross Country Championships, where he will compete in a 4,000-meter race. The top six finishers in the 4K will be automatically selected for the USA national team, which will compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Belgium in late March.
This will be the second national team trials competition for Gonzales. The Santa Fe native finished 11th in the 10,000 meters at the 2003 USA Track and Field Championships, just one week after earning All-America honors with his third place finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
Gonzales also earned cross country All-America honors for New Mexico as a sophomore when he finished 30th at the 2001 NCAA Championships. He redshirted the 2003 cross country season and will return in 2004 as a senior.
America's finest cross country runners, including six-time returning women's long course champion Deena Kastor (formerly Drossin) and 1992 men's champion and American record holder at 3,000 and 5,000 meters, Bob Kennedy, will compete at the USA Cross Country Championships. The USA Championships follows the same format as the upcoming World Championships, with six races over a two-day span.
More than 400 athletes will compete in six championship races that will be conducted in Indianapolis. The top six finishers in the Senior (open/no age limit) and Junior (age 19 and under) competitions qualify for the U.S. team that will travel to Brussels for the World Championships. The circuit, located just northwest of downtown Indianapolis, features a spectator-friendly, international-style 2000-meter loop grass course.
Many of America's top distance runners are expected to compete, including defending men's 4 km champion Robert Gary and 2000 Olympians Abdi Abdirahman and Adam Goucher. On the women's side, Colleen De Reuck will challenge Kastor once again in the long course race, as will three-time NCAA 5000m champion Lauren Fleshman. 2002 World Cross Country Championships team member Mary Jayne Harrelson and 2003 U.S. runner-up and Word Cross Country Championships competitor Collette Liss are favorites in the women's 4 km race.
Past champions of the men's event include all-time greats such as seven-time champ Don Lash (1934-'40), four-time winner and 1972 Olympic marathon gold medalist Frank Shorter (1970-'73), three-time New York Marathon winner Alberto Salazar, eight-time U.S. cross country champ Pat Porter (1982-'89), two-time Olympian Bob Kennedy and 1996 Olympic Marathon Trials winner Bob Kempainen. At the 2000 Championships in Greensboro, N.C., Adam Goucher became the first and only man in history to win both the long and short course races at the same Championships. The 4 km competitions for senior men and women were added in 1998.
For complete information on the 2004 USA Cross Country Championships visit the following website: