Wednesday, August 19, 2009

US mountain team

I'm headed to Italy in a couple of weeks. I've been involved with the US mountain running team since 1992. For many of those years I attended the World championships as an athlete, and for some of those years I pulled double duty as the men's team manager. This year will be my fourth as the team manager for the junior runners. I've had a lot of fun and the junior teams have really progressed. In the last two years we've gotten our first team medal and our first individual medal. Both the teams look to be very strong this year and I'm looking forward to going back to Italy. Here are the bio's on the juniors:

Teva US Mountain running team – Junior Women’s team

Robyn Arnold – Age 15
Robyn attends Redlands High School in Redlands, CA she will enter her junior year in the fall. She has quite a range of accomplishments across various distances including a remarkable 5th place overall and first place junior finish in the Mt Baldy run to the top. Her coach stated “Robyn is a very impressive athlete with a pure passion for running”. Robyn says “I love the challenges that come with mountain running and I'm very excited to be a part of this USA team." Her personal bests include 18:02 for 5km (XC).

Alexandria Dent -Age 16
Alexandria will be entering her senior year at Hurricane High School in Scott Depot, WV. She ranks in the top 10 all-time in the state of WV in the 3200m and 1600m. Her high school coach notes that “she has no fear when it comes to racing”. Alex feels that “Being picked as a junior member of the US Mountain Running Team has been a surprise and an honor. I've never dreamed of being given such an opportunity! I'm most looking forward, while in Italy, to meeting new people, running in new places and seeing new things”. Her personal bests include 5:08 for 1600m, 11:08 for 3200m and 18:42 for 5km.

Megan Morgan – Age 17
Megan attends Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar, CA. She will enter her senior year this fall. She has been racing track and cross country for five years and for the last three years has been attending high altitude camps. Megan has placed 4th at the CA state XC championships, 5th at the Footlocker Western Regional championships, 24th at the Footlocker XC national championships, and 12th place at the USA XC championships. Her coach notes that she “has it all, intelligence, engaging personality, incredible athletic talent, old-fashioned work ethic, and a pure passion for running”. Her personal bests include 5:00 for the mile, 10:31 for two miles, and 17:46 for 5km.

Teva US Mountain running team – Junior Men’s team

Brandon Lord – Age 17
Brandon will be entering his senior year at Baylor High School in Chattanooga, TN. During his junior year, Brandon captured 2nd place in both the 1600 & 3200m at the TN state meet and won the Emerging Elite 2 mile at the Nike Outdoor Nationals. He notes that “over half of my training takes place on hills, I love trail running and for that reason really enjoy running on the mountains locally”. Brandon’s coach feels that he “is an emerging and virtually untapped talent. He comes from a deep swimming background, providing a strong aerobic base. He thinks tactically whilst in the midst of a race, gauges his effort, and plans his attacks accordingly”. His personal bests include: 4:16-1600m, 9:15-3200m, and 15:19 for 5km.

Dan Nafziger – Age 18
Dan will be entering his freshman year at George Mason Univ., VA. He was injured for part of his senior year at Harrisonburg High School, VA. Injuries curtailed his XC season, however he bounced back and was named team MVP and was Captain of his track team. His accomplishments include 10 times being a VA state selection, winning both the mile and two-mile at the Region III championships, and finishing 15th at the VHSL state cross country championships during his junior year. His coach feels that his “background experiences, including adversity; have made Dan both fitter and hungrier to train hard and smart”. Dan notes "I'm really excited to represent the US and work with my teammates to compete against the rest of the world. Being selected for the team makes all of the hard training I'm doing all the more worthwhile." His personal bests include: 1600m-4:23, 3200m-9:29, and 5km (XC) – 15:57.

Brian Rooney – Age 19
Brian recently completed his freshman year at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. While in high school (St. Albans) he was IAC conference champion in cross country and track and was named All-District in XC and track three times. While at Johns Hopkins he was All-conference in cross country and was also named freshman of the year. He has trained at altitude in both Golden and Boulder CO. Brian said he is “"honored to be a part of the US Junior Mountain Team and look forward to competing in Campodolcino." His high school coach noted that Brian has “strength as a distance runner and strength of character”. His personal bests include: 800m-1:59, 1600m-4:27, 5000m-15:19, and 10km: 33:46.

Tim Smith – Age 19
Tim completed his freshman year at the University of Richmond in Richmond, VA. Last year in Sierre Crans-Montana Tim distinguished himself by placing 5th at the World Mountain running championships. While in High School he was All-State in cross country and finished 22nd in the Footlocker south region cross country championships. At Richmond he finished 6th in the Atlantic 10 indoor track conference championships in the 3,000m (8:37). He recently won the AEP festival 10k in Roanoke over a challenging and hilly course. Tim’s college coach states that he “has become stronger over the past 12 months and is excited about the possibility of returning to the team this year” and Tim notes “I'd just like to express how much I appreciate being selected to the US junior team again. It's a huge honor to be able to represent my country in this race. I'm very excited about the world championships”! His personal bests include: 1600m-4:17, 3200m-9:16, 5k-15:28, and 10k-32:58.

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