- The Washington Times - Monday, February 20, 2006

NEW YORK — Georgetown freshman Andrew Bumbalough overcame a side stitch early in his race yesterday and earned a spot on the U.S. team for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in April in Fukuoka, Japan.

Bumbalough, an 18-year-old from Brentwood, Tenn., placed fourth in the junior men 8K race in famed Van Cortlandt Park, one of eight championship races in the weekend’s 2006 USA Cross Country Championships.

“From the get-go, I didn’t feel really good,” said Bumbalough, one of three Georgetown freshmen who redshirted the indoor track season to compete here. “I knew it would be a struggle. I had a side stitch from the beginning. Coming into today, the goal was to win if I could.”

Bumbalough covered four loops of the frozen two-kilometer course in 24:06, some 16 seconds off the win. He was followed by teammates Levi Miller (12th in 24:31) and Alex Mason (33rd in 25:42).

Just a week before, the course was buried under 27 inches of snow. Work crews from the park and the host club, New York Road Runners, worked tenaciously for days to clear the dirt trail in time for the championships. They got some major assistance from a big thaw midweek.

But the chill that overtook the East Coast over the weekend brought temperatures in the high teens and a wind chill in the single digits.

The two other races yesterday — the open women 4K and the open men 12K — were won handily by Carrie Tollefson and Ryan Hall, respectively. Tollefson, from St. Paul, Minn., took a five-second victory in 12:32. It had been years since the 29-year-old Tollefson had competed at Van Cortlandt Park for Villanova.

Hall, a 23-year-old Stanford student who has run in the shadows of Dathan Ritzenhein and Alan Webb since 1999, made a bold surge at eight kilometers and never was challenged, breaking the tape in 34:38. Jorge Torres was 27 seconds behind, and Ritzenhein, the defending champion, was another 22 second back in fourth, still making the world team.

Hall’s wife, Sara, was the sixth and final world qualifier in the open women 4K race, collapsing from exhaustion at the finish.

On Saturday, Samia Akbar of Herndon placed ninth in open women 8K, clocking 27:42. She has a shot at the world squad if at least three women who placed in front of her choose not to compete in Japan.

Heather Hanscom, a Northern Virginia native who moved to Stanford, Calif., last year to train with the elite Farm Team, ran a disappointing 28:45 for 29th place in that race. “It was good for the first 2K,” she said.

Blake Russell upset two-time defending champion Colleen De Reuck in the women 8K by two seconds. She also came back a day later to grab third in the women 4K. And Adam Goucher, the 2000 titlist in both the 4K and 12K, edged Daniel Lincoln by two seconds in 10:50 in the open men 4K. Hall was third, and Torres was right behind in fourth.

On Saturday, Nicole Blood earned a slim victory in the junior women 6K, while Patrick Fuller and Sarah Krakoff took the masters 8K races.

In addition to the trip to Japan, winners of the open races earned $2,000, with $900 going to second place and $600 to third.

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