UW Runners Race for World Championships berths

Feb. 14, 2006

SEATTLE - Husky freshman Tori Tyler, the 2005 Pac-10 Cross Country Newcomer of the Year, will be one of three Washington distance runners seeking World Cross Country Championships berths this weekend at the 2006 USA Cross Country Championships in New York City. UW women's assistant Kelly Strong, the fifth-place finisher in the steeplechase at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, will also compete at the meet, held at New York's Van Cortland Park.

The top six finishers in this weekend's open and junior races are eligible to compete for the United States at April's IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Fukuoka, Japan. Tyler and Strong will open UW's competition at the meet Saturday, with the Huskies' remaining competitors scheduled to run Sunday.

A 2005 graduate of Los Altos High School in Menlo Park, Calif., Tyler will run at 11 a.m. Eastern time in the junior women's 6,000-meter race. The 2005 state 3,200-meter champion, Tyler enjoyed a breakout fall cross country season, placing among the top-20 finishers at the Pac-10 and NCAA Regional meets to earn All-Pac-10 and All-West Region honors. The freshman also became the first Husky cross country runner ever to capture one of the conference's individual postseason awards when she was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year following the 2005 season.

Tyler will joined in New York by classmates Chris Ahl and Jordan McNamara, each of whom will run Sunday in the junior men's 8,000-meter race (10 a.m. EST). McNamara played a key role in leading the UW men's cross country team to the 2005 NCAA Cross Country Championships, just the Huskies' second NCAA berth since 1993. The Auburn-Riverside High School alum was UW's No. 7 finisher at nationals, and ran in the team's top-10 throughout the 2005 season.

Ahl, meanwhile, will be making his unofficial UW debut after redshirting the 2005-06 cross country and indoor track and field seasons. A 2005 graduate of Seattle's Bishop Blanchet High School, Ahl was a four-time top-10 state championships finisher for cross country and track and field, and let Bishop Blanchet to three state cross country titles.

That talented freshman trio will be joined by fourth-year UW assistant Strong, who is entered in both Saturday's 8,000-meter women's open race (12:10 p.m. EST), and in Sunday's 4,000-meter women's open competition (10:45 a.m. EST). The Tualitin, Ore., native won three Pac-10 titles and five All-America honors during an outstanding collegiate career at Arizona State, and ranks ninth in U.S. history in the women's steeplechase.

Husky signee Mo Huber of Acalanes High School in Lafayette, Calif., will also compete in New York this weekend, joining Tyler in the junior women's 6,000-meter race on Saturday.

Washington boasts an impressive record at the sport's highest level, having sent eight current or former Huskies to the World Championships since 2003, including at least one UW freshman in three of the past four years. Current Husky freshman Anita Campbell, a native of Vancouver, B.C., has already qualified for the event this year after placing second at the Canadian Junior National Cross Country Championships in December.

For event schedules, results and a detailed participant list for the 2006 USA Cross Country Championships, visit www.usatf.org.

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