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USA Championships Lead Runners

Chris Derrick and Bobby Mack, the last two USA national champions, headline the field of entries for Saturday’s USA Cross Country Championships at the Flatirons Golf Course in Boulder, Colorado. Derrick and Mack, who were key components to Team USA’s silver medal performance at last year’s IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, are part of a men’s field that will compete for a overall prize pool of $15,000 awarded to the top ten finishers with the winner taking home $5500. Derrick used his success at both the USA and world cross country championships as a springboard to success on the track, which included qualifying for his first world track & field championship team, where he finished 18th in the 10000 in Moscow, Russia last August. The Stanford alum’s 2014 season has started off right where he left off, as he won the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race in Scotland on January 11th.

Others who could contend in the men’s 12k race include 2011 world championships team member and 2013 USA national marathon champ Nick Arciniaga from Flagstaff, Arizona; University of New Mexico alum Chris Barnicle, a former USA cross country team member as a junior, who was eighth at the USA 10k road championship last year; Christo Landry, a consistent top ten finisher in the USA Running Circuit last year at 12k, 15k, 25k & the marathon; reigning USATF Club Cross Country champ Joseph Gray, Oregon alum Luke Puskedra, who finished in the top 20 at the IAAF world half- marathon championship in 2012; and 2012 USATF Club Cross Country champ Jake Riley.

But keep an eye out for Boulder’s favorites: former USA 20k champ and 2012 world half- marathon team member Boulder Track Club‘s Sean Quigley; Newton Elite‘s Tyler McCandless, the top American at the 2013 USA 10 Mile championship in Washington DC; Patrick Rizzo, who placed 11th month; and 2011 USA cross country champ and Colorado alum Brent Vaughn.

Jenny Simpson, the University of Colorado alum and two time IAAF world track & field medalist at 1500 meters is the headliner in the women’s 8k, as she runs in her second cross country race this season, after finishing third at the Cinque Mulini 6k race in San Vittore Olona, Italy on January 26th. Simpson, a two time Olympian, two-time NCAA runner-up in cross country, and a two-time world cross country competitor as a junior, will face a field that includes BRC/Adidas‘ Mattie Suver, the 2012 USATF Club Cross Country champ who ran for Team USA at the IAAF world cross country championships last year; Kellyn Johnson and HTS Elite Addie Bracy, who ran for Team USA at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race last month; HTS Elite Alia Gray, who was ninth in the USA Half Marathon Championship in Houston last month, and Meghan Peyton, who won the USA 20k road title last year.

In addition to national championships on the line for the senior men and women, titles are up for grabs in the junior men and women, as well as the masters men and women

A pair of Colorado preps will renew their rivalry, as Elise Cranny and Katie Rainsberger top the list of entries in the junior women’s 6k race. Cranny, the runner-up in the 2013 Nike Cross Nationals, edged out Rainsberger in the 2012 Colorado state 4A meet in a photo finish, before winning by 40 seconds last fall. Rainsberger finished sixth in last fall’s Nike Cross Nationals.

Other contenders include Maggie Drazba of West Virginia, the 2012 USA junior cross country runner-up; Lauren Wood of Butler, who helped the Bulldogs to a third place finish in the NCAA cross country championships and was the top junior finisher for Team USA at the BUPA Great Cross Country race last month; and Wood’s USA teammates Sarah Disanza from Sussex, New Jersey and Allie Buchalski from Johns Creek, Georgia.

The junior men’s 8k race features a trio of runners from Stanford University— Sean McGorty, Jack Keelan, and Sam Wharton, all of whom could contend for the national title.

McGorty was the 2013 New Balance Outdoor champ over 3200m, and finished second at the 2012 Foot Locker national cross country race. Wharton won the 2012 Nike Cross Nationals and was sixth in the 2012 Foot Locker nationals, while Keelan was fifth at the Arcadia Invitational 3200m race last spring.

Others to watch include Estevan de la Rosa from Arcadia, California, a two-time member of Team USA at the BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country race, where he finished sixth in 2013, and seventh last month; John Dressel from Colbert, Washington, who was 7th race and was second at last fall’s Foot Locker nationals; Nick Ryan of Syracuse University, who was fifth at the 2012 Nike Cross Nationals; Will Burke from the University of Michigan, who was 21st Polman from the University of Oklahoma.

Four-time USATF Masters Harrier of the Year Peter Magill will face Team Colorado‘s Simon Gutierrez, and seven-time Masters Harrier of the Year award winner Kathryn Martin are the two top entries in the masters national championship races, which kicks off action Saturday morning. will provide live coverage of the USA Cross Country Championships Saturday.

Follow along on Twitter with @RunnerSpace and #USAXCchamps

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