On Saturday (4-March) three Pacific Northwest athletes donned the USA uniform as they represented Team USA at the North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Cross Country Championships
in Boca Raton, Florida.
Leading the locals was Joseph Gray (Lakewood, Wash.) as he finished third in the senior men’s race. He clocked 22:51 for the 8 km course and helped Team USA put up a perfect score of 10 points (top four determine score) as they swept the top five places. The race was won by Abbabiya Simbassa, of Colorado in 22:41. This was the Gray’s 21st time to represent Team USA in international competition and was the third time he has helped Team USA win the NACAC team title. In 2013 he was the individual champion.
"I was extremely pumped to be representing Team USA for the 21st time in my career here in Florida. Even more pumped to celebrate the team win with the guys. Simply priceless experience which I'll never forget!”
While Gray relied on his vast international experience, rookie team members Tansey Lystad
(Kirkland, Wash.) and Kristen Garcia
(Sedro Woolley, Wash.) each performed well with top 15 finishes in their respective races. Lystad placed eighth in the open women’s 8 km competition and Garcia finished 14th in the Under 20 race which was run over the 5 km course. In the women’s open team scoring Team USA and Canada each scored 18 points with Canada declared the winner based on the tie-breaker (highest 4th runner placing). The U20 women’s team finished second to Canada as Garcia was the sixth runner for Team USA.
“The overall experience was awesome, stated Lystad upon returning home. “It was great to meet my teammates from all over the country, and representing Team USA for the first time was an incredible honor. While we didn't win the tiebreaker against Canada, it was a confidence booster to race with amazing competitors who will go onto the World Championships. This race left me motivated to continue training hard in hopes that I'll be able to compete for Team USA in the future!“
media services by